I got the idea for this post from reading entries on the Livejournal community bad_service. I thought I’d share my experience with the exercise bike we purchased from Sears.
On February 22nd, we purchased a new exercise bike because our old one was giving us problems (the pedal arm kept falling off) and we were tired of fighting with it every time we used it. So we took a drive south to a larger town where there was an Academy Sports, in addition to a Sears. Academy didn’t really have much selection in store, so we went over to Sears to have a look.
At Sears, we found the Schwinn 270/Journey 2.5 recumbent bike. It looks like this:
Looks like a nice bike, doesn’t it? We thought so too, and decided to give it a try, since in the past we’ve purchased Pro Form/Nordic Track bikes and they just don’t hold up to regular use. (Our previous bike, a Nordic Track, had a pedal arm that wouldn’t stay on. We’d been using the bike less than a year. Doesn’t say much about the quality, does it?) So we decided to give a different company a chance.
If only we’d known what we were getting ourselves into.
After two weeks of use, we noticed that buttons on the control console would randomly stop working. The Programs button seemed to be the main one affected, although the fan button was also not responding. So on March 10th, I called up Sears and spoke to one of their Warranty Service people who declared that the power cord that came with the bike was the problem. The included power cord apparently didn’t supply enough power to consistently run the control console. Great! Problem solved. Send me a new power cord.
I was told that I would get an email confirmation of the part being ordered, and another with tracking info when it shipped. After a few days, I called back and learned that the cord had shipped on March 11th. Since I was aware that it would take 5-7 days for the part to arrive, I wasn’t too concerned. I did reach out via Twitter to find out why I never got the promised emails. Someone was supposed to look into it and call me, but no one ever did.
After a week of using the bike with the new, improved power cord, it was obvious that there was something wrong with the console. It was still acting as goofy as it had previously, with added quirks like the fan not wanting to shut off and not letting us switch between profiles.
So I called again on March 24th and all the customer service rep wanted to do was send a technician out – in three weeks! I told him I didn’t need a service technician to tell me that the console was the problem. He hemmed and hawed a bit, claimed he couldn’t locate the part (the console) in the computer, so he couldn’t say whether or not it was possible to order me a replacement. He also said that since I was past the thirty day return policy, if I wanted to return the bike, I’d have to clear it with the store manager first. Are you kidding me?! The goddamn bike is under warranty – electronic parts for one year, mechanical parts for two years, the frame for ten years. I’d say this qualifies as an electrical problem, wouldn’t you? Needless to say, I was pissed off. I let him make the service appointment for today, April 17th.
I stewed on his incompetence for a little while. Since part of the problem was that he couldn’t locate the part in the system (and I couldn’t give him the model number of the bike, just the name), I got on Schwinn’s website, located the bike and got the model number. Armed with this information, I called back and got a much more helpful CSR this time around. I explained the situation, gave him the model number, and he found the part I needed. Only it was on back order. With no anticipated availability date. Of course. Nothing about this was going to be easy.
At any rate, the helpful CSR ordered a console, tied it to my service appointment and told me that as soon as one was available, it would ship directly to me.
Two weeks passed with no word from Sears about the console. So I called again on April 1st to find out what the status of the part was. Still on back order. The customer service rep did send a message to the Parts Department requesting them to contact me with a time frame for the part. A few days later, I got an email from Sears saying they’ve opened a case on my order. I called to find out what the hell that meant. According to the girl I talked to, since the part is on back order, they are tracking the situation in order make sure that this is resolved to my satisfaction. At this point, I think I had called and complained via Twitter an equal number of times.
Then yesterday, I get a phone call from Sears asking if I’ve received my part as they’re showing it was delivered. I checked my front porch and finally! The console had come in. The fact that it showed up when it did was a total fluke though, because the Parts Department was showing it wouldn’t be available until mid-May at the earliest. I think if we’d had to wait another month, the bike would have been returned and we’d have bought something else, somewhere else.
The service technician came today and put the new console on. He agreed with my assessment that the console was buggy from the get-go and that not having the proper power supply just made the problem worse, to the point that it fried the console. He checked the new one out and it’s working the way it should, so maybe this is finally over.
At this point, I’m less than impressed with both Schwinn (because of their product) and Sears (because of their ineffective methods of dealing with the problem). But at least my bike is fixed.