I noticed some odd behavior when shifting, so I decided to take my bike in for a tune up at one of the local bike repair shops. Local may be difficult to prove. This chain has over 100 stores in 20 states. There are six branches of this store a bike ride away from my place. It’s possible that what I experienced may have to do with the fact that policies are set from on high and must be implemented locally.
I go to the store and they list a tune up for $80 (roughly) and a cleaning for $60. Combine the two and you save $20. Parts and labor are extra. Ok, but wait a minute. When I ask for a tune up, what am I paying for if parts AND labor are extra?
I talk to the counter person at the maintenance window. He examines the bike and says that the cleaning and tuneup will require new bike and shifting cables. That makes sense, since I have been using the same cable since I bought the bike 4(?) years ago. The grip tape is also unwinding, so I’ll get that fixed at the same time.
OK. Let’s get an estimate. Base cost: $203 for parts and labor. However, if you pay for a two-year service plan, today’s work will only cost $207 will include free labor for the tuneup/cleaning and you get another tuneup and cleaning at no charge. That sounds good. What that total cost? $274. … Wait a minute. How did $207 turn into $274? Well, you have to pay for the service plan now and we’ll get a final price when the work is done. How much is the service plan? $159. … Uh, OK. I’m still confused how $207 turns into $274, but I want the work done so let’s do that.
I don’t think the clerk was trying a bait-and-switch. I think he may have been confused about the pricing scheme and presented them improperly. I was unhappy at the confusion, but I needed the work done by Wednesday. When I asked when it would be ready, he said Thursday morning, which was close enough.
As it turned out, I picked up a stomach virus and could not ride on Thursday anyway. I called late Thursday about my bike. They said it would be ready by 6 pm. I got the feeling they had not started working on it, but if I could get the bike by 6, that would be OK. I show up to pick my bike and it’s on the stand. The mechanic is testing the shift levers. He stretches them as best he can, then puts on the grip tape. I walk out of the store with my bike by 7 pm. Total cost: $159 for the service plan and $108 for parts and labor. At least I can ride my bike again.