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Warranty experience with the big S

bmar560's picture

By bmar560 - Posted on 16 February 2015

Let me share my recent warranty experience with the big red S.

So in December I noticed a mark on my frame around the bottom bracket area that looks rather suspicious, it looks like a deep scratch so I took it to the shop where I got it from to have it looked at. At the same time I sprained my ankle during a ride and I was told to rest it for 6 weeks. The mechanic was certain that the mark was indeed a small crack on the frame, and that he was going to take some pictures and show it to the big S.

2 weeks went by without any progress and a week away from Christmas I received a call from the shop. They have given me to options: A. pay $1500 and get a brand new S-works frame or B. wait for 2 or so weeks for a replacement frame to come from the US. I tried to get option A past the ministress of finance but she wouldn't approve so I had to go with option B. As Specialized changed the frame from 2013 to 2015 I was getting a whole new frame Yooo Hooo ! happy with that.

As it was Christmas/New Years period I understand that it was going to take longer than usual, plus with my injured ankle I wouldn't be able to ride anyway so I wasn't really upset about it.

Mid January the shop finally received the frame and then come the debacle. The big S sent the frame without the new shock which was required, it took them a week to send the shock and then the shop found out that they didn't send the required mounting hardware that was required, that took another week or so. I just got the bike back a week and half ago so the whole process took about 8 weeks !

8 weeks for a warranty replacement, is that normal ?? plus the shop still billed me to swap the parts over.
I read the forums on warranty replacements with different brand and the process is usually a week.

I wasn't impressed with the whole experience, if I was a professional athlete or wasn't injured at the time I would've been jumping up at down at them.
On the other hand I'm happy that they honored the warranty and I got a brand new frame and shock out of it, hope this one will last more than 15 months.

staffe's picture

experience was with my first ever bike quite a few years back and a pretty low key brand - Jamis

The chainstay snapped and that got replaced w/o issues in no time at all with no extra expense on my part. So that was pretty good service from the LBS.

StanTheMan's picture

If you were professional you would have probably had another bike thrown at you by your sponsor. Or you would have ridden any of the 3 or 4 sitting in your garage.It also depends on what terms you are with your LBS. and each LBS is different. Good chance if you are a regular the LBS would have lent you one. It is not uncommon. This hasn't happened to me because I'm not one of those good LBS customers.

Yea shit happens. My Giant Anthem took 6 weeks to replace. I was pretty shitty at the time but I got a brand spanking new frame, with all my old bits then mounted on the new frame.
I've dealt with it now emotionally.

If t happens again I'll just be riding the shitty bike for a while.

I don't know what the warranty is with the Big S bikes(eg limited lifetime or say 5 years). Don't forget the warranty is from the time of purchase not time of replacement.A lot of peps seem to think that if something breaks more than once they deserve extended warranty because of design faults & so on. I Also hope this is the last of it for you.

I also understand that if you spent 8k on a lovely bike, you expect the best after service.I'm in the same boat. Ive stopped expecting this. part of that is because I'm a bad LBS customer.

Discodan's picture

I'm curious about having to pay the labour to swap the parts out, is that legit? If the fuel pump on a car breaks under warranty I'd expect them to replace it, not just give me a part in a box which is effectively what S has done for you here.

Has anyone researched this in terms of consumer protection laws in Australia? I might have a dig around in my spare time

Brian's picture

8 weeks is pretty normal. I waited this for my first frame replacement with Cannondale. As for charging to swap parts that is normal but generally the bike shop you bought it off will do it for free as a goodwill gesture. They're entitled to charge so it's really up to them. The place that did mine did it for free.

Car manufacturer warranties are different.

StanTheMan's picture

I'm not sure what the legalities are. In my case the bike was about 8 months old when it cracked. The LBS took care of it. I don't know if this because of warranty or goodwill. i didn't ask. I just took it.
If the bike was 5 years old. I would be more than happy to pay for swapping the bits over from 1 frame to the other.

If you take a VW to an authorized service place & they forget to put oil in the diff. VW is not obliged to pay for the damage. Even if the diff has less than say 30k km on it. The service place would be responsible for this.

The consumer is protected a fair amount. However you might be surprised a lot of businesses go a lot further than they have to. The Aussie consumer just thinks that the operator must pay for things as soon as things go wrong.

I work in the optical industry and its somewhat cutthroat these days.a lot of stuff gets replaced outside of what has to be replaced by law.

with e-commerce its even worse. To get past the doubting public you get 12 months, no questions asked to return goods. or if it doesn't fit or is ordered with the wrong Rx.
This is not because of the law. Its to make people feel secure with purchasing over the net. Something goes wrong they will not have wasted their money.
Medicare is another. Free eye tests. The Aussie consumer is used to not having to pay for things.(Although we pay for it indirectly)

Aussie retail is seriously tough.A very educated & fussy public. But I would have to agree if you said. Aussie retail has a long way to go if you compare it with places in Europe.

flowbikes's picture

8 weeks is way too long, it only takes 2 weeks to airfreight things to Australia. So about 3 weeks is reasonable for any big brand.

Brian's picture

It's not just the freight time, they take time to approve it, source the right size and if lucky, the same colour. It all adds up.

As a customer I think its too long but the reality is different.

pharmaboy's picture

The time is long because of stuff ups, but charging you for rebuild is very dodgy. Fair enough if you had bought a frame and chosen parts but if you buy a bike off the rack, the retailer is responsible for the warranty, and so returning the bike in a fully built up manner. I've had a couple of warranty reapirs at a Giant dealer, and the bike was dropped of fully built up, and the replacement picked up fully built up.

The above might be different if it was 4 years old, but not while less than 24 months while it's still covered under consumer protection law.

mudgee's picture

You shouldn't have to pay. The retailer should claim this back from the distributor/manufacturer.

Australian consumer law is quite clear.

1. It's the retailers problem.
2.They have to fix it if a major fault if it develops in a reasonable period, considering the price paid (this may be several years for a bike frame - not just the 12 months quoted)
3 they have to fix it at their cost, in a reasonable time or give you a refund
4. They are specifically prohibited from fobbing you off to a manufacturer/distributor/supplier.
5. It is an offence for them to mislead a consumer about their rights under Australian consumer law.

This is to force retailers to be accountable for selling crap products. Unfortunately it also means that retailing costs in Australia are higher. American companies also like to act as though you are in the US where you have fewer protections.

In practice, most retailers like to pretend that they can do what they like. That said, the LBS is often between a rock and hard place because they want to sell a good range, get promised by the distributor that they will be covered but then get dicked around when they need to process warranty issues.

I have found dealing directly with the overseas manufacturer gets things resolved quicker, cheaper and with less stress than dealing with the lbs, local distributor, manufacturer. Find a product managers name via Google and email them directly (pretty easy to find the standard format email address for the company.) you'll usually get a response overnight and parts in the mail pretty quick thereafter.

After all the manufacturers have more at stake from dud product reviews than a bike shop or distributor who can just dump the brand for the next season.

Then you can fit yourself or pay your LBS to do it.

Keep in mind that raising issues via fair trading or the accc is a relatively painful process for all involved. So do everyone a favour and be reasonable.

bmar560's picture

I have gone to fair trading and asked them for their view on this matter. If the law says i shouldn't have to pay, i will have to think whether to go ahead and pursue the refund on the labour cost and forget about future dealings with this LBS again. On one hand it wasnt their fault it took 8 weeks, it's not the first time the big S have stuffed things up(brain service took a month).

fairy1's picture

All the cables, brake lines, steerer are cut to size already, just buy a cheap torque wrench, do some reading and do it all yourself, if the parts fit it's pretty simple stuff.

Spesh have put you in a pretty crap position to be in but the last thing you want is an angry staffer chucking your bike together as quickly as possible.

To the post that mentions Aussie consumers being smart, that is a load of poop, expecting things at cost price just coz doesn't make you smart it makes you an A-hole. I sorta work for a money saving site and the more retarded I make titles for items the more hits they get. Most people still think Kogan give factory backed warranties, and people will buy try to buy glasses from dodgy sites like

I have had one warranty claim with Spesh, it was only a pair of pedals but after a staffer called Spesh I was handed a new pair within 5 minutes, I was impressed as mine were pretty beat up.

Simon's picture

Thought this was very reasonable, bike was 6 months old.

Didn't go for it in the end as only option was the same carbon XO cranks which snapped way to easily mid run at Thredbo. Other OEM parts to fit the new bottom bracket standard werent yet available.

Got sorted with some Saints out of my own pocket which worked best for me. Still allergic to carbon on cranks and bars. Thredbo crew had some very nasty storys of snapped bars on jump landers and people coring their legs on snapped cranks.

obmal's picture

Generally I support the service fee for swapping parts over from a broken frame to new frame, because I don't like to think that a bike shop was out of pocket handling a warranty repair just because the consumer and the distributor squeezed them on the costs to rebuilt the bike with a new frame. I don't believe that they make a lot of money on bike sales in the first place?

However; If I was a regular customer, then I'd think that they would look after me, but this is their choice about how they operate their business, they could look at it as a single transaction or just do the work for free now and get me later with the repeat business, perhaps I'd even go on and tell all my friends about the great bike shop that sorted out my broken bike, post about it on local bike forums, the magical bike shop! dealing with the evil distributors, making sure that they didn't screw me over the replacement and turning the warranty job around in a very short time.. all for nothing.. what stellar customer service! what an awesome bike shop!!

I expect that all bike frames (any frame that's within the desirable range) will probably fail at some point and I'm just happy that they give me a new frame (or repair) for the one that I have already done a stack of Kilometers on.

I have had a few frame failures, all repaired/replaced, all took months to resolve Sad

Chitts's picture

....through Wooly's Wheels early in 2014. There was no BS given by either Wooly's or Specialized and if I recall it took about 4 days from sending the pictures to get approval and then another 2 days to ship the frame up to Sydney.

Brian's picture

The newer the bike the quicker it is. As the model of the bike ages then the available frames for warranty get less so it can take longer to source one.

DigDig's picture

8 weeks over christmas/new year is not unheard of as for paying for the swap over some companys give a small credit for the job others dont so yes its up to the shop.

MrMez's picture

8 weeks sounds about right, especially over the holidays.

Keep in mind, there is plenty of room for errors. Obviously both parties made many assumptions. The new shock would be included, or the old shock would fit. Same for mounting hardware.

As for paying for labour under warranty...
Imagine having to pay thousands in labour for a $10 piston ring on your 6 month old car.

On the other hand, is your bike 15 months old?
The additional warranty Spech provide over the std 12 month warranty could very well be parts only. Which is fair.

Brian's picture

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