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Am I being scammed by Dutch repair shop?
#1
Hi All,

---this is for advice but also a rant to make me feel better--

Myself and my partner are not big into bikes but recently moved to Netherlands and now use bikes as our main form of transport. She recently had the "Rear wheel not moving. Only Chain moves." issue like the thread "Newbie: Rear wheel not moving. Only Chain moves."

My partner uses her bike to get to work but had developed intermittent problem with the back wheel losing drive. I tested it and since the gears were changing ok and chain working, I read it was most likely the cassette inside the back wheel.

The internet advice I found at the time was that sometimes they get clogged inside. I tried the recommended fix by warming the grease by pouring warm water over the cassette and then using WD40 and that if that didn't work we needed to get a new wheel (€20-30?).

Later it was happened again on her way to work so she took it to the bike shop nearest where she was. A large shop near the train station. Unfortunately my partner was in a rush so she didn't ask for a quote first. Her bike cost €170 second-hand reconditioned, and other than the drive problem was in ok condition, some minor rust on the chain. When she picked it up after leaving it with them, they had replaced the whole chain system, derailleur and cogs, (which to me seemed to be working fine) and charged €70.

She took the bike but the problem is still happening and now they said it would be another €40 to continue to fix it. I think replace the wheel like they should have done straight away.

When she said they had not fixed it, and they shouldn't have changed the chain system, they told her, "that's what they always try first", but that they now tested it and know what the problem is. They said they didn't try it first because it's more expensive. However this makes no sense, since they say the additional cost would be 40. So they tried the more expensive thing first without testing what needed to be fixed.

This would put the repairs to 2/3 the price of the whole bike. Personally I would like them to put the old chain system back on and refund the money, or minimum to finish the job they were given at no extra cost. It feels like the shop has either done extra work because my partner didn't know about bikes, or they are incompetent and started unnecessary work without testing what needed to be done.

From what I have read the whole repair should have been for new wheel + fitting, and this should have been known by a repair shop.

She already paid €70 and has the bike back but it still has the same problem and also she says the new gears they put on don't change as well as before, so they have actually made it worse. If she pays again it will be €110. Anyone on the forum who could give advice on what to they would do? (specially if you are used to Netherlands bike shops)

What do you do in this situation? Maybe it's just an expensive bike repair shop who made a mistake.. but to me this feels like they have taken advantage and done an unnecessary work scam. On the face of it did the bike shop do wrong to replace the chain etc?

I want to get some opinions to check that I am correct before I go and trying to get them to fix it for free by threatening to give bad reviews etc.
In the end I think it's a case of "always get a quote", and we'll take it somewhere else.

Thanks
Mike
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#2
Sounds like a case of the shop note really paying attention to what she said the problem was so they just started swapping out the parts that typically wear out. If those parts were worn, they could probably have caused a similar problem to what you're experiencing so they weren't completely off course.

I don't know how the "customer service culture" works in the Netherlands but it seems you at least have a claim to at least ask them to do the extra work with no labor charge, just pay for the parts or something similar. If they won't make any accommodation for charging a bunch of money and not fixing the problem, probably best to just take it to another shop on general principle.

A couple notes
- People are often shocked by how much it costs to fix anything on a used bike. "But I only paid $100 for the bike..." It's not uncommon for a well used bike to need a lot of stuff replaced and between parts & labor it can often cost more than the bike did. Not saying that is your case, but this is something that drives mechanics nuts.

- The hot water/WD40 treatment was probably going after the right area, but wrong materials. Neither water or WD40 is something you ever want to get into a bearing mechanism. You could try flushing it with a cleaner like rubbing alcohol or something that will evaporate fully. Then flush some thicker oil into it. Or you might just try getting some oil in there now. WD40 is not a lubricant and there's probably nothing inside now but dry metal. It may help (though note that this isn't a sure all). Good luck.
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