Do You Think I have a Case...

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby SeanMcN » 10 Jan 2017, 6:25pm

Hi, New to cycling and could do with some advice if anyone has a view. I purchased a Cube Delhi Hybrid from an online retailer in October. To date I have only been out on the bike a few times - less than 200 miles. Last week the chain snapped and the retailer told me that chains were "wear&tear" products and not covered by warranty. I complained and they provided a new chain F.O.C. I asked them if this could have caused more problems and they said no but I decided to get it checked. I have been told that the chain snap has caused damage to other parts which no need to be replaced (de-railler, mech hanger). The bike was on the retailers website for £899. The damage caused has been quoted £100-£120. The retailer is denying any responsibility. I am arguing that damage caused by wear and tear and an item that is susceptible to wear and tear are not the same thing. Their website says general wear and tear of a chain is excluded but they are still saying No.

<200 miles on road cant be wear and tear to a chain can it?

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby Bez » 10 Jan 2017, 8:00pm

£120 for a mech and hanger on a £900 bike? :?

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby brumster » 10 Jan 2017, 8:10pm

Bez wrote:£120 for a mech and hanger on a £900 bike? :?

Labour charges?

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby bohrsatom » 10 Jan 2017, 8:15pm

Worth getting a second opinion on the repair costs as that does seem quite expensive to me, but ultimately a chain on a new bike should last more than 200 miles and the retailer should take responsibility and cover the cost for fixing the problem, or give you money to fix it yourself.

Did you pay for the bike by credit card? If you don't get a satisfactory conclusion talking to the retailer directly you could claim on section 75 [].

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby landsurfer » 10 Jan 2017, 8:17pm

105 Mech £35. Hanger £10 ...???
£75 labour ..... bit steep but not unusual for a lbs ....
Be More Mike.
The Road Goes On Forever

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby Bez » 10 Jan 2017, 8:31pm

£75 labour to change a mech and hanger? I'm in the wrong business.

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby JohnW » 10 Jan 2017, 8:53pm

This is an awful situation. With respect to the chain, then yes, they are 'wear and tear' items, but they last more than 200 miles - several thousands in fact - and in any case, if the chain simply 'snaps' then surely it was either defective to start with, or badly fitted. Either way, the bike was defective.

Was the bike bought and delivered assembled and ready to ride (except possibly the pedals not fitted)? If it was, then assuming you've not done anything to damage the chain, you've been sold something not fit for purpose. In that case, you could approach him (humbly and gentlemanly, although it may stick in your craw to do so) along those lines.

If the bike wasn't assembled, but came in the box (as on-line purchases sometimes are) then the retailer will say - rightly or wrongly - that you've fitted the chain wrongly and it's your own fault. In that case, and unless you can prove that the chain was actually faulty, the retailer is in his favoured position - he's got your money and unless you can prove differently he's laughing. Proving differently won't be easy.

If your chain does 'snap', then it is possible that there could be collateral damage depending upon how it's failed to cause it to 'snap'. If a link has opened up then it may have become entangled with the derailleur cage and forced it into the spokes................if that had happened, you'd certainly know about it and the derailleur cage would be bent. The cage can usually be straightened with care - repeat, with care! A decent bike shop could probably do this.

Someone has told you that collateral damage has been done - have they been specific? If you were to take this to law, it'd cost you, your adviser would probably charge if only to cover his indemnity costs.

To get satisfaction from the on-line retailer may be possible, although you may have to go to law to do it............and then whether it's worth the time, anguish and hassle is questionable. The whole thing sounds a nightmare to me, and we'll all be wiser if you tell us how the whole thing has been sorted out.

There is another aspect to this - if the chain does just 'snap' without warning, and the rider is pedalling uphill or generally pedalling hard then the rider could me thrown from the bike and possibly injured. If the bike was bought, and sold to you, as 'ready to ride' then the retailer is lucky that hasn't happened..............not to mention yourself. If the bike was sold 'ready to ride', the retailer has a responsibility.

However, if you can't get anywhere with the on-line retailer with a polite, humble and gentlemanly approach then what I'd do in the situation - unsavoury as it may seem - is put it down to experience and resolve never to deal with that, or any other on-line retailer again. The one thing to watch for is - on the basis that you've told us that the derailleur hanger has been damaged - whether the frame has been damaged at the hanger fixing.

If you trawl through the Forum, you'll find that you're not alone in experiencing dissatisfaction with bikes bought on-line.

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby PH » 10 Jan 2017, 8:56pm

Yes you might have a case, no I wouldn't peruse it.
There's lots of reasons a chain might have come of and caused the damage, some of them the responsibility of the supplier, the others not. I can't see how you'd be able to demonstrate which it was.
If it needs it, buy your own mech and hanger, maybe learn how to fit it yourself, write it off to experience and get back out cycling.

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby Graham » 10 Jan 2017, 9:25pm

What were you doing when the chain snapped ?

Changing gear OR not changing gear

Spinning the pedals with light pressure OR pushing down hard AND/OR standing up on the pedals ?

If changing gear :-
. . . was it one gear OR more than one gear
. . . rear derailleur OR front derailleur OR both


The retailer will be suspecting some sort of misuse and that would probably be their legal defence ( if it came to it ).

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby SeanMcN » 10 Jan 2017, 9:49pm

Thanks for your advice so far everyone. I get that £100 to £120 I have been quoted may be expensive. I will keep you updated on progress. To answer some of the questions you have asked. I was riding uphill when the chain snapped and was changing gear. Not sure I know the difference yet between spinning pedals with light pressure and pushing down hard although I defo wasn't standing up. I was just maintaining a steady pace. Sorry I don't understand grahams question about changing gear and front or rear derailer. New to cycling- still getting to grips with the technicalities and trying not to be put off by this experience.

The bike came assembled and ready to ride. This is the crux of the argument I am running with the retailer along with the argument that something susceptible to wear and tear still has to actually have experienced wear and tear for the warranty exclusion to apply.

Unfortunately I purchased on the ride to work scheme rather than my credit card so I won't have that extra level of protection.

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby Flinders » 10 Jan 2017, 11:13pm

Chains ought to last far longer than that.
I had an 'operator error' with my 9x3 gear road bike chain last year (I made a stupid gear change when playing with upping my cadence, front and rear changes too close together and the chain jumped and dropped off the front ring, scarring various metal parts as it went). It still didn't snap, and there was no damage to anything else, bar the scratches. It rode perfectly well afterwards, but I replaced it as I'd had to be quite rough with it to get it out of the place it ended up getting wedged in and I didn't want any possible damage to rear its head when I was out alone on a long ride.

My point, though, is this- my chain is a fairly thin, delicate one - much more so than the ones on pics of your type of bike appear to be, but despite everything, and the fact it had done about 1,000 miles at the time, it still didn't break. In fact the LBS didn't think it really needed replacing.

I replace my thin chain about every 1200-1500 miles, depending on how salty/gritty/muddy the roads have been during the time. 200 miles is nothing. When I had a bike with a chain more like I would expect yours to be, I didn't replace a chain for years at a time even when I was commuting on it most days. It must have done a fair few thousand miles. And I've never had one break, ever.

It seems to me a bit odd that your actually broke, when it was so new and it doesn't seem likely you were applying a great deal of force to it. I'd get a local shop to give the whole thing a once-over in case there was a problem with the set-up.

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby Samuel D » 10 Jan 2017, 11:21pm

I agree with PH. You weren’t injured and the bicycle damage is minor. It’s hardly worth dragging this out with the retailer, especially since it may not be their fault.

Sometimes when a derailleur and hanger are damaged when a chain breaks, it turns out the chain didn’t just snap out of the blue. Often the derailleur was forced into the wheel because the limit screws weren’t set correctly. The derailleur was then viciously dragged around with the wheel until the chain broke.

But changing gear uphill is a sensitive procedure at the best of times. Until you have a better feel for things, you should give a spurt of speed just before changing, then turn the pedals weightlessly while changing gear. This applies especially to the front derailleur, which puts tremendous strain on the chain when shifting under any kind of load.

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby Samuel D » 10 Jan 2017, 11:34pm

Flinders wrote:My point, though, is this- my chain is a fairly thin, delicate one - much more so than the ones on pics of your type of bike appear to be…

SeanMcN’s bicycle seems to be 10-speed, no? That would have an even narrower chain than your 9-speed set-up.

None of these chains take well to the lateral forces caused by unsympathetic front shifting uphill. Lennard Zinn seems to think front shifting weakens the chain even when done properly.

And 10-speed systems are particularly fussy to set up, not that that should have prevented the shop from doing so (but maybe they did – we just can’t know).

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby SneakySignalman » 11 Jan 2017, 5:26am

I would say you definitely have a case under the Consumer Rights Act. Any fault occurring within the first 6 months is deemed to have been there from purchase and for a bicycle chain to fail after 5 months and 200 miles would definitely be considered to have failed and not worn out. The retailer has to 'prove' it WAS fair wear and but the condition of other consumables such as brake pads, tyres, brake fluid will support your low mileage claim thus proving the chain wasn't fit for purpose. The other damage is irrelevant as it was caused by faulty manufacturing and it will be the retailers choice in regards of repair or full replacement of your bike. Regardless of it being the retailers fault or not that the part failed, THEY are liable as the seller for any such claim and must not try to divert you to the manufacturer to resolve this.

As it was purchased under Cycle To Work I would contact them and inform them of the problem as they may well want to ensure that the retailers they recommend are acting correctly in respect of issues such as these. But I would definitely not let go as it sounds like another retailer who is banking on you not being up to date with the Consumer Rights Act and is hoping you'll let it drop.

It may be worth seeking legal advice from a consumer rights lawyer as a letter threatening the small claims court action , which I am very confident you'd win, is much cheaper than spending money to fix a fault you didn't cause and are not liable for.

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Re: Do You Think I have a Case...

Postby 531colin » 11 Jan 2017, 6:03am

The ride to work scheme....what a crock of [inappropriate word removed] that is.
This is how it works.
The employer puts up the cash to buy the bike......I think in return for government incentives, ie tax break.
One of several commercial outfits "run the scheme" they shuffle some paper, which gives the retailer a lot of form-filling, and a wait to get paid.....for this they charge the retailer 12.5% of the retail price....not the wholesale price, the retail price. (profit on a bike is 30% wholesale, 20% of that goes straight out as VAT)
Mind you all an internet retailer is doing is shifting boxes, they don't set the bike up, they don't take it out of the box its shipped in from the Far East.
They don't tell a complete novice that a £900 ten speed bike is a stupid first purchase.
The consumer legislation is there to protect the consumer against the retailer, so just scamper off to the small claims court and get your revenge on the retailer.
A competent bookeeper told me that its dead simple to operate a "salary sacrifice scheme" where the employer keeps control of the money, you don't need any of these commercial outfits to shuffle some paper and take a huge slice of the pie, all you need is a competent bookeeper and the company to have the will to take responsibility for doing the job.
The law of unintended consequences......a scheme set up to encourage people to exercise (cycle to work) funds novice cyclists to buy £900 playthings, and spawns a small industry siphoning off the profits made by internet companies which themselves survive by pampering to the whims of people taking the benefit of a considerable tax incentive to buy £900 playthings.
Meanwhile, is it a surprise if somebody trying to make a living puts a bit extra on a repair of a brand new bike you bought somewhere else? Inevitably, every next thing that goes wrong with the bike will be his fault, in the customer's eyes.
Have a great 2017. :wink: