Mercier: Poor quality and Bad customer service

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by CobraRGuy, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. CobraRGuy

    CobraRGuy Guest

    Hi all,

    I own a bike shop in California and recently one of my best customers
    brought his 2003 Mercier Serpens into my shop for service. In the
    process I noticed that where one of the seat stays was brazed into the
    rear dropout the brazing was not done properly. I advised the customer
    to let me contact Mercier about warrantying the defective frame. The
    reply I got back from Mercier really made me wonder. Here's what
    happened:

    1) I was told that the entire bike needed to be shipped back to Florida
    to be examined so they could determine what was wrong and why it
    happened.
    2) I advised Mercier that the brazing had not beed performed correctly
    during manufacturing, that the seat stay tube was brazed only half way
    around the tube.
    3) I wrote in my reply: "What is wrong is that the brazing was not done
    properly at the factory. I've done lots of brazing myself, so I know
    something about this. What caused it? DEFECTIVE WORKMANSHIP! You don't
    need the whole bike to see that the brazing was done poorly."
    4) I was told that Mercier needed the name and phone number of the
    customer and a copy of the original sales receipt.
    5) I was told: "There has not even been a failure of the product"
    6) I replied: "So what do you consider a failure? Is it when the rider
    hits the ground and breaks a few bones, maybe gets killed in the
    process? Can you blame us for not wanting that to happen?
    7) I was told: "Please have the customer ship the bike to us"
    8) I replied: "I don't want the owner to have to deal with boxing and
    shipping a bike, then having to reassemble it when it comes back"
    9) I also stated: "The frame is defective. I'll ship the entire bike to
    you, but the owner will not be happy when he finds out he has to pay
    for shipping the entire bike to Florida"
    10) I also stated: "I'm not impressed with Mercier, it's products,
    people, or it's policies"
    11) I was then told: "We will not deal with you".

    Of course there was more to the communications than just this, but the
    above snipetts should give you an idea of the way that Mercier operates
    (like I thought it was ridiculous to make the customer ship the entire
    bike to Florida at their own expense, that I did not consider this to
    be "excellent customer service", etc). The vast majority of my concerns
    were never even acknowledged. I was not given the information I asked
    for (like a phone number, address, the name of the person I was dealing
    with, who was in charge there, etc) so I could contact them directly. I
    finally got "Mike" as the person I was dealing with and a shipping
    address (no last name, no phone number, no name or email address of the
    person in charge).
    During the entire ordeal, I was treated like I knew nothing and that
    they have it all right (yeh, like that's why they're so huge and
    successful).
    My intelligence was insulted while the people at Mercier acted with
    arrogance and showed no concern and no willingness to accomodate
    our wishes. I think Mercier could have handled this issue better. YMMV

    CobraRGuy
     
    Tags:


  2. Perry: You chose to increasingly-escalate a confrontational situation, and
    that rarely achieves a satisfactory response. Mercier may indeed have issues
    with quality control, but geez, consider how you'd react if a customer came
    in with that kind of attitude about a repair that something got missed on?

    > 1) I was told that the entire bike needed to be shipped back to Florida
    > to be examined so they could determine what was wrong and why it
    > happened.


    OK, a bit goofy policy, and perhaps even instituted to deliberately make it
    enough of a hassle to not make dealing with them worthwhile. But when the
    customer purchased the bike, they may have (or should have) read the
    relevant warranty info on the website. At some point this is between the
    customer and Mercier, not you.

    > 2) I advised Mercier that the brazing had not beed performed correctly
    > during manufacturing, that the seat stay tube was brazed only half way
    > around the tube.


    This sounds bad, but is it really? I've seen brazed dropouts that looked
    like there was no brazing at all, and yet they held up fine. In many cases,
    there's enough going on internally, where you can't see, to do the job. Back
    in the day, I was told that a lug with 30% gap (no visible brazing material)
    was strong enough to do the job. This could have been an excuse for
    poor-quality craftsmanship on the Gitanes we sold at the time but, to be
    fair, we never saw one fail at a lugged joint.

    > 3) I wrote in my reply: "What is wrong is that the brazing was not done
    > properly at the factory. I've done lots of brazing myself, so I know
    > something about this. What caused it? DEFECTIVE WORKMANSHIP! You don't
    > need the whole bike to see that the brazing was done poorly."


    You wrote in reply to what? Did they tell you there wasn't a problem? Why
    was it necessary to YELL (write in all-caps) at them?

    > 4) I was told that Mercier needed the name and phone number of the
    > customer and a copy of the original sales receipt.


    Do you know of any bicycle manufacturer that acts differently for warranty
    issues? Most (perhaps all?) major bike companies warrant frames only for the
    original owner. How else can they know that's the case without the receipt?

    > 5) I was told: "There has not even been a failure of the product"


    You're in the bicycle business (or *any* business) and you've never before
    heard the line "That's the first we've heard of that" when you know it's a
    common issue?

    > 6) I replied: "So what do you consider a failure? Is it when the rider
    > hits the ground and breaks a few bones, maybe gets killed in the
    > process? Can you blame us for not wanting that to happen?


    The company hasn't seen the product (unless you sent them photos, which you
    didn't mention), so how do they know there's a real issue or that someone's
    worked up over something that isn't a big deal?

    > 7) I was told: "Please have the customer ship the bike to us"
    > 8) I replied: "I don't want the owner to have to deal with boxing and
    > shipping a bike, then having to reassemble it when it comes back"
    > 9) I also stated: "The frame is defective. I'll ship the entire bike to
    > you, but the owner will not be happy when he finds out he has to pay
    > for shipping the entire bike to Florida"
    > 10) I also stated: "I'm not impressed with Mercier, it's products,
    > people, or it's policies"
    > 11) I was then told: "We will not deal with you".


    Since it's not your bike, and since they weren't able to come to terms with
    you, it seems like it's entirely reasonable that they deal with the customer
    directly. Sounds like that's a good thing, too, since it gets you off the
    hook for any issues. It's *not* your bike, after all.

    > Of course there was more to the communications than just this, but the
    > above snippets should give you an idea of the way that Mercier operates
    > (like I thought it was ridiculous to make the customer ship the entire
    > bike to Florida at their own expense, that I did not consider this to
    > be "excellent customer service", etc). The vast majority of my concerns
    > were never even acknowledged. I was not given the information I asked
    > for (like a phone number, address, the name of the person I was dealing
    > with, who was in charge there, etc) so I could contact them directly. I
    > finally got "Mike" as the person I was dealing with and a shipping
    > address (no last name, no phone number, no name or email address of the
    > person in charge).


    The Mercier website is, like many, amazingly short on information concerning
    who you're dealing with. And yet people still buy from such companies. Your
    customer nevertheless decided to deal with them, and should have understood
    the consequences of doing so. Such companies are amazingly transparent in
    their lack of legit contact info. No degree in rocket science required to
    figure that out.

    > My impression is that Mercier never wanted to warranty this frame in
    > the first place, so by making us jump through enough hoops, they hoped
    > we would eventually give up. During the entire ordeal, I was treated
    > like I knew nothing and that they have it all right (yeh, like that's
    > why they're so huge and successful). My intelligence was insulted while
    > the people at Mercier acted with arrogance and showed no concern and no
    > willingness to accommodate our wishes.
    > I promised Mercier that to make this up to them I would post my
    > experiences on all bicycle related newsgroups, that I would make sure
    > that every rider I know gets a chance to see the defective frame, and
    > that I would also let them all know how I was treated. I think Mercier
    > could have handled this issue better. YMMV
    >
    > Perry


    You mentioned you're in California... so how did you decide to cross-post in
    rec.bicycles.tech, rec.bicycles.misc, and... nyc.bicycles??? Your post comes
    across more like something from a disgruntled ex-employee (of Mercier) than
    a successful bicycle retailer.

    Worse, you've made it seem like I'm taking Mercier's side. For that you
    deserve a worse fate than dealing with a faceless Internet company! :>)

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReactionBicycles.com


    "CobraRGuy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I own a bike shop in California and recently one of my best customers
    > brought his 2003 Mercier Serpens into my shop for service. In the
    > process I noticed that where one of the seat stays was brazed into the
    > rear dropout the brazing was not done properly. I advised the customer
    > to let me contact Mercier about warrantying the defective frame. The
    > reply I got back from Mercier really made me wonder. Here's what
    > happened:
    >
    > 1) I was told that the entire bike needed to be shipped back to Florida
    > to be examined so they could determine what was wrong and why it
    > happened.
    > 2) I advised Mercier that the brazing had not beed performed correctly
    > during manufacturing, that the seat stay tube was brazed only half way
    > around the tube.
    > 3) I wrote in my reply: "What is wrong is that the brazing was not done
    > properly at the factory. I've done lots of brazing myself, so I know
    > something about this. What caused it? DEFECTIVE WORKMANSHIP! You don't
    > need the whole bike to see that the brazing was done poorly."
    > 4) I was told that Mercier needed the name and phone number of the
    > customer and a copy of the original sales receipt.
    > 5) I was told: "There has not even been a failure of the product"
    > 6) I replied: "So what do you consider a failure? Is it when the rider
    > hits the ground and breaks a few bones, maybe gets killed in the
    > process? Can you blame us for not wanting that to happen?
    > 7) I was told: "Please have the customer ship the bike to us"
    > 8) I replied: "I don't want the owner to have to deal with boxing and
    > shipping a bike, then having to reassemble it when it comes back"
    > 9) I also stated: "The frame is defective. I'll ship the entire bike to
    > you, but the owner will not be happy when he finds out he has to pay
    > for shipping the entire bike to Florida"
    > 10) I also stated: "I'm not impressed with Mercier, it's products,
    > people, or it's policies"
    > 11) I was then told: "We will not deal with you".
    >
    > Of course there was more to the communications than just this, but the
    > above snipetts should give you an idea of the way that Mercier operates
    > (like I thought it was ridiculous to make the customer ship the entire
    > bike to Florida at their own expense, that I did not consider this to
    > be "excellent customer service", etc). The vast majority of my concerns
    > were never even acknowledged. I was not given the information I asked
    > for (like a phone number, address, the name of the person I was dealing
    > with, who was in charge there, etc) so I could contact them directly. I
    > finally got "Mike" as the person I was dealing with and a shipping
    > address (no last name, no phone number, no name or email address of the
    > person in charge).
    > During the entire ordeal, I was treated like I knew nothing and that
    > they have it all right (yeh, like that's why they're so huge and
    > successful).
    > My intelligence was insulted while the people at Mercier acted with
    > arrogance and showed no concern and no willingness to accomodate
    > our wishes. I think Mercier could have handled this issue better. YMMV
    >
    > CobraRGuy
    >
     
  3. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "CobraRGuy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    > My intelligence was insulted while the people at Mercier acted with
    > arrogance and showed no concern and no willingness to accomodate
    > our wishes. I think Mercier could have handled this issue better. YMMV


    I believe you'll find there's no such manufacturer as "Mercier." This is a
    defunct brand name, the US rights to which were bought by the cycling
    entrepreneur who also operates the Cycle Spectrum chain and the BikesDirect
    website.. The bikes are imported from Asia and the decals are added to
    create the brand.

    These bikes (and Motobecanes, which appears to be a similar story) are sold
    through those two retailers, and extensively via an eBay store also operated
    (apparently) by the same people.

    I speculate that one way they keep prices low is by having no service
    facilities, and by making warranty replacements punishingly difficult for
    the purchaser. However, the terms of the "warranty" are clear at the time of
    purchase:

    "Every CyclesMercier bicycle sold in the U.S.A. is warranted free of
    manufacturing defects for life. If a frame ever fails due to a defect,
    CyclesMercier will replace the frame at no charge - including labor charges.
    If any part on a CyclesMercier bicycle ever fails due to a defect, that part
    will be replaced without charge by an authorized dealer."

    [Note that the frame must fail before there can be a claim. Note that the
    only authorized dealers are probably Cycle Spectrum and BikesDirect, or
    other businesses run by the same company.]

    "This warranty is limited to the original purchaser of new CyclesMercier
    bicycles sold in the United States by an authorized CyclesMercier America
    Dealer. Bending of the frame, fork, or components is not covered by this
    warranty; as bending is a sign of abuse that is inconsistent with the
    intended use of the bicycle. Transportation charges are not covered in this
    warranty."

    So there it is; that's the warranty that your customer accepted when he
    bought the bike. Sounds good until you try to make a claim. Also interesting
    in that the "company" that backs the "lifetime" warranty can be folded up at
    any time (and if there are too many warranty claims, that could easily
    happen). At which point the "lifetime" warranty becomes dead.

    I don't believe there is anything illegal in the way this outfit operates,
    and the bikes they sell may well be fine bikes that are excellent values.
    But buyers should be aware that what the see will be what they get. There's
    a big difference between the company that stands behind, say, a Trek, and
    the one that stand behind a new US-market Mercier.

    RichC
     
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