Swobo Adventures Pt 3 (Why I’ll Never buy Another Swobo Nor Another Bike from Wheelworks Ever Again)
I’ve been a regular customer of Wheelworks since about 2005. If I had to write a Yelp review for it as of August 09, I would’ve given them 3-stars: The staff is pretty friendly, and a select few employees are quite knowledgeable if you’re lucky to be helped by them. But the repair work is inconsistent, and prices are rather high for the work done. What boggled me was this: when they say they’ll call, that your bike will be ready in a couple of days, they really mean that there’s a 20% chance they’ll try to remember to call, at which point you may or may not get your bike back. I know this well, so I always give extra padding when dealing with Ace.
So a week after the Dixon went in and I’ve heard nothing, I figured it was time to take the initiative. I called, and the manager said:
“We called Swobo. They’re not getting back to us.” and that was where the original sales rep left it. No progress. Manager promised to continue to contact Swobo, because he had “a great relationship with Swobo – it’s not like them to ignore me,” and the bike stayed at Ace in the meanwhile. He said he’d call. I said, “Ok.” and thought – “We’ll see if you do.”
Another week went by, no word from Ace. I called, got the manager on the phone. He said he will follow up with Swobo again, and that he will call me back “today.” At about 6pm I got tired of waiting for his call so I went to Ace to find out what the status was, since it would be harder for him to ignore me if I was staring right at him.
“Oh, [manager] left for the day.”
Crud. I almost lost it here, because it was one thing if you don’t call ’cause you don’t have an update, it was another to OFFER TO CALL and then leave me hanging (I sometimes refer to this as “lie”). I asked,
“Could I have my bike back, at least? I’ve gone two weeks without my main mode of transportation. I sort of need it. If there’s no update from Swobo, and I know the bike is ride-able, I don’t see why you have to keep it here.”
A bit of waiting around and a few phone calls later, I got my bike back. Unimpressed, I asked to be kept posted of their attempt to reach Swobo, they agreed, wrote something down, and I left Ace annoyed but happy to have my bike.
Yet another week later (if you’re keeping track, we’re going into fourth week of trying to contact Swobo). Nothing from Ace. Time for another call to the manager. He said:
“Swobo is still avoiding calls and emails. We’ve sent photos to show them the damage, this should be a no-brainer, it’s a warranty replacement,” etc. He said he would prod again and call me back.
Later that day: Success! Swobo gave the ok to swap frame. This was the first phone call with Ace where they dialed my number. Well, bygones, I thought, I’m going to get a new frame! Manager said,
“You can bring bike back at any time, now that we know Swobo will honor the warranty.”
“Since Swobo has agreed to honor the warranty and send a new bike, couldn’t I take a bike from your stock, and you’d take the incoming bike?”
No such luck, because “if Swobo doesn’ send a bike then we’re out a bike.”
Well, isn’t that interesting. Did they agree to honor the warranty or not? I think Ace didn’t know, either.
The night before Hub on Wheels, I went in to see if I can get a fender in place. Manager offered to put a clip-on fender in place, and did so. Things were looking up! Ace was re-earning its gold stars.
I knew that I needed the bike through October as my main transport, so I decided to wait until the first week of November so that I could ride more before the snow hit. Ace manager said that this would be fine, and I could make the exchange whenever I was ready. In one of the earlier conversations, another employee had told me to allow 2-3 weeks for turn-around time. I added some padding to this estimate, made plans for transportation, and said goodbye to the Dixon on Monday Nov 2nd.