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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:18 am 
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Posts: 266
Recently I received an email promotion from Sigmasport.co.uk clearing their 2011 shimano C35 wheels for 50% off MSRP. I ordered a pair, and paid in full (via PayPal) the cost, plus shipping, plus currency conversion.

I have now, 5 (FIVE) days later, received an email from their web sales department stating that their C35s are out of stock, and as remediation for this, they have offered me a replacement set in a weeks time at double the price (ie MSRP). I will attach the emails and order shortly for everyone's perusal.

I would suggest that this whole exercise by SigmaSports appears to be a gimmick to increase traffic to their online sales website, and to generate electronic word of mouth referral via forums etc of this 50% off C35 sale. I doubt they had much, if any stock. SigmaSport have subsequently oversold any stock they may have had, and then poorly communicated this in an unacceptable time frame. I find this whole transaction very unsavory, and totally UNACCEPTABLE.

Any thoughts on the matter would be interesting from other WW members. Also, for UK based members, any advice on the regulatory department in the UK that I can make this unsatisfactory experience with SigmaSports known to would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks
Harry

EDIT: Apologies if this is in the wrong forum.....

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Last edited by drmutley on Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:18 pm 
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I ordered some brake cables from hem, the only online retailer I could find with white gore cables showing clearly as 'In stock'.
I needed them for a re-build prior to going away abroad to ride, and they took the money off my credit card that day.
Low and behold, FIVE days later there was no sign of the cables.... strange as they are just over in the next town from me.

I called them up, and they said the cables were out of stock. So not only had their website lied about the availability, they actually took the money for the cables, despite stating clearly on their website they will contact if a product ordered is out of stock.

I asked for a refund and someone said 'they would make a note of the request and pass it on'... err right ok.
I did get my refund the next day, but then later that afternoon received a dispatch email saying the cableset was on its way! Pretty oddway to conduct a business. Certainly wont be going out of my way to order there again.


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Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:18 pm 


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:46 pm 
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Location: London
All the London cycle shops being badmouthed :smartass: :P

OP: I think you have to appreciate they have a physical store where most of these would have been sold on the same day..


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:45 pm 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Websites of often don't have real time updating of stock levels when something is sold through the physical store. Sometimes the updated figures take a little while to come through. This same thing has happened to me on occasion, it's just part of online shopping, and it certainly didn't make me want to slander them over the imternet. I don't think it's very fair that you drag this through a forum when they haven't really done anything wrong. They apologized, get over it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:11 am 
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And to further level things, I purchased a rotor BB from them stating it was via pre order.

Within 30 mins of placing the order, i received a personal (ie non automated) email stating that it had been ordered from their stockists. I replied saying my whole order, as i had ordered items that were in stock too, could be shipped at the same time.

They kept me informed throughout the process and i was very impressed with their service. So quite on the contrary to the OP, i would go out of my way to use them again.

So two polar opposite opinions; one good and one bad.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:16 am 
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jsinclair wrote:
Websites of often don't have real time updating of stock levels when something is sold through the physical store. Sometimes the updated figures take a little while to come through.



Sure maybe for some small time online shop/business. No idea how big sigmasport is, but I have never had that experience with a online bike business like competitive cyclist/real cyclist/colorado cyclist...etc. here in the States. YMMV.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:11 am 
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Location: durp durp durp
To the OP - you need to inspect their terms of sales, which will be somewhere on the website or in the small print of the order confirmation sent to you (they are obliged to have the terms available for inspection).

You need to find out at what point the sale takes place - this is the bit that is crucial...

If they 'complete' the transaction & take your money straight away, then its too late for them to back out of the deal. They have completed the sale & promised for your money consideration to deliver goods of a standard & within a timeframe. Its a contract, they've had your money & now you want what they have promised you. Its black & white, contractual & if they don't like it - well they shouldn't be trading. If they run out of stock, they should pull the listing or prevent you completing the purchase.

If the small print says the sale is complete at the time of dispatch only - then they are being cute, but they are likely to be off the hook in terms of 'having' a legal obligation to deliver the item they are contracting into.

You need to see if they have debited your account & taken the funds - if they have then either they are breaking their own terms of sale & effectively taking monies in advance (which is dodgy) - or they have actually committed to the sale & therefore now bound to deliver the goods.


Try your local citizens advise bureau if your not sure on how this works - they are usually pretty good at explaining how things work & putting things in plain terms so you can make your position clear.

Make your case, put it in writing - Not Email! - and be clear, persistent & above all things - gentlemanly - as though your future employer would be watching over your actions at every turn.


Don't forget - most shops will follow thru with a sale to avoid embarrassment, but if they've gone & messed up a bunch of orders it becomes commercially non-viable to do 'the right thing'. Once your in that situation you need to either be able to force it thru with legal advise / representation or give up on it. It then becomes a question of how much time & money your willing to chase on a difference between price at -30% vs. -40% etc.


FWIW - outfits like chainreaction, ribble & wiggle all run real time & managed stock controls. You can see stock selling out & know when you've got the last item in your 'basket' & that you need to complete the purchase in the 'secured' period otherwise someone else will get it.

Parkerinternational as a counter-example don't keep live stock controls & have a windy statement in the small print explaining that some items will be posted in due course if they're out of stock at the time. You can see the small print here http://www.parker-international.co.uk/e ... tions.html but that said they don't reserve their right to cancel an order on you.

Ribble - nothing on the small print here http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/publish.a ... ery&page=1

Merlin - give notice that you may have to wait for your item & allow you to cancel if its not available, or they offer alternatives (but they essentially stick to a deal once they've made it) http://www.merlincycles.com/terms.html

Chainreaction - a good example of some cute wording! http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Help ... pTopicID=2 - these guys do in fact reserve the right to cancel your order having taken your cash - because they have not accepted your order until the goods are dispatched. At least they making it clear in the small print on where they stand IRT sale of goods act.

Wiggle is pretty clear about when they enter into a contract - http://www.wiggle.co.uk/h/option/terms_ ... sofservice - once the order is confirmed, the contract is made.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:38 am 
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53x12 wrote:
Sure maybe for some small time online shop/business. No idea how big sigmasport is, but I have never had that experience with a online bike business like competitive cyclist/real cyclist/colorado cyclist...etc. here in the States. YMMV.

Not to give this thread more mileage than it deserves, which is very little, but it was a US-based well known online bike store that also has a bricks and mortar shop. It happened twice, once i had to wait a couple of months for the item, the other it was about a week. Both times they apologised even though they hadn't really don't anything wrong. At no point did i feel wronged by them, and i have since shopped there again on numerous occasions, as they are still the best online store of from my experience. I will keep going back. No i won't name them. (edit: the exact same thing happened at a europe based online retailer. Again, they apologised and i accepted it)

mr_tim wrote:
FWIW - outfits like chainreaction, ribble & wiggle all run real time & managed stock controls. You can see stock selling out & know when you've got the last item in your 'basket' & that you need to complete the purchase in the 'secured' period otherwise someone else will get it.

In a lot of cases, not everyone that works for the company has the ability to update the website to reflect the stock levels, sometimes its just one guy, and if he isn't there that day the stock discrepancy remains until he gets a chance fix it. Often the over the counter sales and the web sales operate on two different systems so a physical sale won't instantly be reflected on the site, which is what happened in both cases i mentioned earlier. Yes online stores show up to date stock information, but its accuracy is often limited to the online domain only.

Say this had happened 20 year ago, and the OP was purchasing through mail order after seeing something advertised in a magazine (ok, not the same but similar). He gets a personal letter back apologising for the error and that the special offer is no longer available. Instead of accepting it and moving on, he goes into a circle of people he doesn't know (a large one) and bad mouths the company for his experience without giving them a chance to defend themselves. Most people, if not all would have told him to suck it up. The only difference between then and now is that he has internet access and therefore elevated self-importance. A more mature approach that he could have taken would be to accept what happened and then ask nicely if they would consider giving him a small discount on the wheels when the come into stock again, say 10 or 20%. If he is the sort of person that only shops at sigma when things are 50% off then why should they bother trying to please him, its just not worth their time. If he was entitled to some form compensation from them, say in the form of a discount, then he certainly isn't now.

People seem only too willing to put the boot into bike shops for minor issues like this. Using weight weenies as some kind of leverage only gives the forum a bad rep and the moderators should look to shut threads like this down unless there is a genuine complaint. Take for instance the guy with the Look ISP, who actually has a real problem and was actually treated poorly by the store in question (cyclefit). Even he gave them a chance to respond and alerted them that he would take it public, but only after he had tried to solve it privately. That experience is an actual inconvenience. Was this guy inconvenienced? No. He never actually had possession of the wheels and then had them taken away or damaged. If anything he was just too slow to take up a good deal. If every person who had an issue with a bike store started a thread, this would be a pretty crappy forum to read.

I don't work for a bike shop and i never have, but I'm sick of seeing them badmouthed by immature consumers that can't accept that mistakes happen. Its already hard enough to find a good bike store locally, so why make the environment in which they exist any more hostile.

rant over.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:01 am 
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Not to give this thread more mileage than it deserves, which is very little.

Well, you're mistaken and you sound like an apologist for dodgy dealing and poor management. If someone advertises and then takes your money, then he's in breach of contract. From a legal viewpoint it's offer and acceptance. Sigma make an offer and the consumer provides consideration (money).

Any reasonable company does not take your money as soon as an order is placed. They have a duty to check their stocks, which you appear to think they have no such duty.

Sure, if they don't take payment because they are out of stock, then it's still poor management, but when someone has been debited and is then told the goods are not available, then to me and many others it's classed as sharp practice.

As for saying that this forum's not the place to air dirty linen in public, then I totally disagree. If we accept your skewed logic then we would never have heard about people like Paul Lew and others who can't manage their businesses and consumers suffer financially because of it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:33 am 
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There is no proof that anything they did was dodgy or that they intended it to be. What could they possibly have to gain from taking peoples money only to have to refund it later. There is no suggestion that they aren't willing to refund his costs.

Your comparing sigma to Paul lew is laughable at best. If you re-read my post you'll see that I'm not opposed to dirty laundry being aired, just that it should be a genuine complaint worthy of being made public, and not some first world problem like "oh I couldn't get my £600 wheels because they are out of stock". Sure the definition of a real issue varies from person to person, but this is nowhere near as bad as its being made out to be. He made no attemp to resolve it, save for demanding that they please him or he will get tough.

I'm against dodgy practices, but I don't believe that is what this is. It was a promotion that was probably subject to a "while stocks last" disclaimer, and in this case they didn't. Of course they have a duty to check their stocks, but they can only be so accurate and mistakes happen.

I hope he gets his wheels, but only so sigma might have their reputation restored. I've made my view clear, that this is a minor issue and not worthy of its own thread on ww, and I don't wish to discuss it past what I already have. you can flame it out all you want but neither of our opinions is likely to change.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:48 am 
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KB wrote:
Not to give this thread more mileage than it deserves, which is very little.

Well, you're mistaken and you sound like an apologist for dodgy dealing and poor management. If someone advertises and then takes your money, then he's in breach of contract. From a legal viewpoint it's offer and acceptance. Sigma make an offer and the consumer provides consideration (money).

Any reasonable company does not take your money as soon as an order is placed. They have a duty to check their stocks, which you appear to think they have no such duty.

Sure, if they don't take payment because they are out of stock, then it's still poor management, but when someone has been debited and is then told the goods are not available, then to me and many others it's classed as sharp practice.

As for saying that this forum's not the place to air dirty linen in public, then I totally disagree. If we accept your skewed logic then we would never have heard about people like Paul Lew and others who can't manage their businesses and consumers suffer financially because of it.




+10000. Well said Sir.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:52 am 
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Thanks for all the input guys, and your thoughts... It's nice to hear some counter-arguments here, and I appreciate them... I'll read the responses more thoroughly this afternoon...

As an addit... More than a week has passed since the failed transaction, and an email direct to the sales manager still has had no response, nor have I had any progress in receiving a refund.

I have used sigma sport twice before without any troubles, so this I probably an aberration, but just the same, it highlights very poor service.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:38 am 
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I used Sigma for years from about 2003 until a couple of years ago.

Wouldn't touch them with a barge pole now. You expect premium service. I can honestly say the service (workshop particularly) is vastly better at my local store (Stowes Slough) who sell shopping bikes and tricycles.

Sigmas marketing however is top notch - and I suspect appeals to many of their new clients.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:05 pm 
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I think the big issue here is the taking payment for the goods, then waiting five days to notify him that they were out of stock. THEN the real insult in asking if he would like to purchase them from their next shipment at nearly double the original agreed price. That to me is the whole unethical part to this.

They should still supply his wheels at a later date but for the agreed price at which they have been paid for. Ism sure OP is happy to wait but to ask for double the payment is a bit rude.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Toto76 wrote:
I think the big issue here is the taking payment for the goods, then waiting five days to notify him that they were out of stock. THEN the real insult in asking if he would like to purchase them from their next shipment at nearly double the original agreed price. That to me is the whole unethical part to this.

They should still supply his wheels at a later date but for the agreed price at which they have been paid for. Ism sure OP is happy to wait but to ask for double the payment is a bit rude.


Spot on! :thumbup:

If they can't get their act together with regard to updating physical stock with their online store then they deserve all the flack they get...

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Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:16 pm 


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