Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Letter to the Managing Director of Halfords.

9 ...... Park
Co Down
BT** 6 **

The Manager
Customer Services
Halfords LTD,
Icknield St Drive,
Washford West,
B98 0DE

Dear Sir/Madam,

At Christmas last, I decided to buy a bicycle as my last one has worn out. So I bought one from Argos. However, it arrived in pieces and when I tried to put it together the pieces didn't fit.

So I took it back and got a refund. I decided that I would get a pre-built bike from a proper shop.

We have two specialist bike shops here in town but I don't like either of them. One is run by two little dwarfish brothers who tend to be rather pricey. They charged me £50 for some fairly minor parts and service on my previous bike. I don't trust them.

The other bike shop is too intimidating. It is run by one of those lycra-clad semi-pros who probably do a 60km training run before breakfast and sneer at you if want anything less than some carbon, titanium and kryptonite-based vehicle costing £700.

So on Christmas day itself I took advantage of a special offer on your website & bought an Apollo Crossways bicycle for £161.99. The website said it was reduced from £400. Bargain, I thought.

I went round to collect my bicycle a couple of days later from your branch at Clandeboye Business Park, on the Bangor ring road.

Some people might slag Halfords off but my dealings were always pleasant. When the previous old rusted bike I own went kaput, the bloke there fixed the rear wheel for me using some old stock in an afternoon and only charged me a tenner. This was a lifesaver as I worked besides Halfords at the time and do not drive. I live 3.7 miles from the shop, so it would have been a long walk home. I think the bloke who fixed my bike was called Mark.

There were some initial teething problems. When cycling to work, the handlebars suddenly came out as whoever built it hadn't tightened the nuts. And the gears weren't biting.

So I took it back and Mark fixed these problems. Well, at least some of them. Although he tightened the cables, the gears never really bit properly & kept slipping. So I just found a gear I was comfortable with and left it there.

There was also a strange rattling from the pedal housing; the pedals seemed a bit loose in there. I couldn't work out if this was a design problem or a fault with my particular vehicle.

There was also a problem with rust; after a few weeks some of the fixtures and two of the rear spokes rusted. This despite that I always garaged the bike at night.

But otherwise it was good. I put up with these faults because I had bought a bike for £161.99 and it cycled smoothly. I wouldn't have paid the original £400 for it. That would have been taking the proverbial. But for £161.99 I thought it was OK.

I've only used it for commuting the 3.4 miles to work and cycling around town in the last six months. The rear tyre has worn right away since Christmas. Is this normal? Are rear tyres supposed to wear away so fast?

Anyway, onto the main problem.

A few weeks ago, I thought that the rear wheel had buckled slightly. I couldn't tell with the naked eye. Certainly, it seemed to have a slight kink, but I thought it may have been a trick of the mind, so to speak.

But maybe it wasn't.

Because when I cycled up to get the morning paper, travelling at some speed down the road, my back wheel suddenly locked and sent me spilling all over the tarmac. I lay there for a minute just to make sure I was still alive before slowly getting to my feet. It happened right in front of a bus, and facing the local secondary school. Thankfully the bus was empty of passengers so no-one sneered at me.

The bus driver got off and helped me. It was drop-off time at the school and a sympathetic teenage girl picked up my now smashed rear light and batteries for me and fussed over me. She offered me a lift home with her mum. When I looked in and saw an attractive brunette I was sorely tempted. But I declined as the mother remained mute and there was nowhere to put my bike in a black Audi sports car. Maybe it was karma's way of telling me not to buy the Daily Mail. But I bought it anyway.

Raymond the newsagent was also sympathetic and offered to take the bike home in his van or lend me spanners. But I walked it the ten minutes up the road.

I escaped with a skinned knee, a lump on my chin, and a sprained wrist. Lucky. The sprained wrist took a couple of weeks to heal. My knee became infected but is scabbing up nicely now. I had to change the dressing on it every day for a while and it leaked pus into my trousers. Yuck.

I got the rear wheel free and pushed the bicycle the 3.4 miles to Halfords. Mark the bike repair bloke wasn't there so I explained to the young fella at the counter that it was under warranty and could he repair it for me? I wrote down the list of faults with the bike for him to look at.

Well, that was about a month ago and my bike has not been repaired. When I called in a couple of weeks ago I was told by a different member of staff that Mark the bike repairer has been off on the sick and then was about to go on his holidays.

This member of staff told me that he had tried to repair my bike but he "couldn't get the frame loose." He couldn't understand how I had jammed the frame and asked me if I had taken the bike to some rival bike shop to be repaired?!? I told him I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. I still don't. I had no idea that the frame was jammed.

Anyway, he told me that my bike might need some spare parts or a whole new frame, but that "he didn't have the authority" to OK such actions. He would have to wait for the bike bloke to come back from sickness/holiday. He did leave a long note for him in the special Bikehut diary & took my mobile number.

That was about 3 weeks ago, meaning my bike has been in Halfords for a month in total. As I said, I don't drive. I'm having to walk everywhere or pay a pound on the bus. As I'm on Jobseekers' Allowance this is a luxury I literally can't afford.

Here's a deal. I bet you buy these bikes for £30 a pop from Chinese factories. How's about giving me a new one? It is under warranty and only 6 months old. I NEED MY BIKE!




Doctor Duke Guy said...

dude, where's the reply?

bresker said...

They never replied. Cowards.

They just gave me a new bike - after 6 weeks.

Doctor Duke Guy said...

what! I'm appauled, send a snail mail letter to their head fact send 2 - one to Dennis Millard (Chairman of Halfords) and the other to David Wild (CEO).

Address is:
Halfords Ltd
Icknield Street Drive
Washford West
B98 0DE

(Don't you just love the internet, it's full of lovely bits of information like this)