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Giant Warranty Issue

May 22, 2009
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Hey guys, just would like some thought and discussion on my dilemma.

I bought a bike last year, a 2008 Giant OCR Alliance Comp from a local bike shop - TBE Belmont, in Perth, Western Australia.

About a month ago, I had a minor spill on the way to uni and came off at just under 30km/h. I hit the ground quite hard and got some road rash and a chipped tooth. Apart from that everything was okay. I then got up to check the bike, and was absolutely amazed that the front fork had completely sheared in half, halfway down the fork blade. The top of the fork is still attached to the headtube and steerer, whilst the bottom half is still connected to the dropouts on the front wheel. I have taken a few pictures and they are shown as below.


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I know that warranty does not cover crashes or accidental damage. But what does this mean EXACTLY? This phrase is very vague. Does it mean if i'm rolling down my driveway at 10km/h and fall out because I was unable to clip out my pedals and snap a fork, that this would this void the warranty? Surely there must be some baseline margin in which bicycle manufacturer's must meet, even if the consumer (like myself) crashes his/her bike.

In this case I believe my bike/fork was no where near up to the strength it should have been. Falling off the side at less than 30km/h on a dry day without hitting anything that led to a structural failure of a fork is inexplicable.

I remember in the 07 Tour when Marcus Burghardt (also riding a Giant) hit a dog going downhill, which completely demolished his front wheel and drove his front fork into the ground, which came out fine - no failure, no nothing. Even though his wheel was bent like it was a piece of play-dough.

My question is, how can Giant expect me to believe that this fork was structurally sound when I didn't subject it to forces anywhere near racers/other riders would have subjected it to. I have only been riding for about a year, and i'm relatively light (65kg), and I don't put alot of force on the bike itself. The rest of the bike itself is fine - apart from a few scratches on the STI levers and bit of handlebar tape that's come off, its fine. I mean not a SINGLE spoke has been taken out of their housings at the rim or at the hub. The front wheel is still true and there isn't even a flat spot on the front tyre. Clearly there is a disproportionate amount of damage for the amount of force during the crash itself, which leads me to believe that the fork was structurally unsound in some way.

When I took the bike in straight after the crash, the mechanics at the shop were amazed at what had happened and one of the older guys there (I think the manager) said something along the lines of "In my 10 years working here, I have never seen or even heard of a fork failure like the one on yours". Afterwards I spoke to the head of service for the store and he said that he deals with hundreds of services a year, for racers and recreational riders alike, and that he'd never seen anything like it as well. So my question is, how can a recreational rider like myself rip a fork in half just by falling off, when these mechanics who have been dealing with bikes for 10 years + for racers never come across anything like it? After about a month of waiting, I contacted the shop again, and they said Giant would not be replacing my fork under warranty as it's my fault I crashed it, and that's the end of it. They didn't want anything about my story and the circumstances in which the crash occurred. They then said Giant would like to help me out by offering a replacement bike at a 'heavily discounted price' - and when i heard this, in my mind i LOLed. I mean COME ON, do you seriously expect me to fork (no pun intended) out another 2 grand for a bike which I don't trust, and more importantly on a bike built by a manufacturer I don't trust? What's going to happen if I do get a replacement Giant? I ride into a deep pothole and the front fork gives way on me?

Any thoughts/comments welcome, if you've been in a similar situation, please share your situation/comments and what occurred when you dealt with the manufacturer.

-Iceman
 
Mar 11, 2009
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That is **** Iceman, can you take it further with someone like the consumer affairs in WA? They could have at lest replaced your front fork, I mean come on, it costs them next to nothing with their sweat shop labour.
 
May 22, 2009
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Yeah i totally agree. I might just pop an email to Consumer Protection WA.

Just got off the phone with the State rep of Giant, who told me nothing new. He pretty much just said something like 'bottom line is you crashed, and whether or not it was a structural problem, it's your fault you crashed and broke the fork, so we're not going to give you a thing'. And then he said something like '...due to the massive force put through the forks during the crash, we're not going to put another set of forks on even if you pay, cos we don't want you to get hurt blah blah blah...' So pretty much my bike is a write-off. I'm going to go pick up the bike (in 2 pieces) tomorrow.

All i got out of this 20min phone call with the guy was pretty much, 'We're a company, we're bottom line driven, if you crash your bike, drop it, if its up against a wall and a wind blows it over and the fork snaps, its your fault, and we're not helping you out'. Personally this mentality of not caring as soon as the bike's out of the store and in the hands of the consumer is total bulls**t. I honestly hope other bicycle manufacturer's are not like this, and furthermore other bike shops have better customer service. I went for like 2.5-3weeks without a phone call, without acknowledgment as to what was happening to my bike. And when i decided to call, the head of service at TBE just goes 'yeah the rep is going to take a look at it', after telling me that this was going to be done 2.5weeks ago, and then promptly hangs up with no reason as to why there was a delay and no further explanation given.

Advice - if you buy a giant, and do something that's remotely your fault, they'll pin it on you and give you NOTHING.

-Iceman
 
Mar 10, 2009
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A friend had a top tube on 2006 TCR 0 snap in a crit when he slid out in a turn. Giant said told him it was his fault. Just like you, no warranty. He's now riding a Specialized Tarmac.
 
May 22, 2009
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So it's not an isolated case i gather? Giant must not honour any form of warranty at all. Quite ironic really, seeing as the Giant Rep told me to "Consult [my] warranty book". Seems to be as if these warranty books are just consuming trees and serve for no other purpose.
 
The warrantee books are there to show you in writing that under almost any possible circumstance Giant will not stand behind their product. For a fork to snap like that with no damage to the frame or front wheel is not good. I would have no trust in Giant or a replacement frame or fork! I have seen carbon bikes hit objects and destroy the head tube and wheel while the fork looked like nothing had happened. The fork should be stronger than the frame considering the forces that normal riding put in under. Catastrophic fork failure is deadly (literally). You should contact Giant directly and go around the rep.
 
May 22, 2009
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Thanks for all the comments and support.

Yeah i strongly recommend you NOT to get a giant in whatever circumstances, cos they're so big, if you buy a bike from them, they can afford to give you NOTHING after they sell you the product. To them, a few ****ed off/angry customers a year means nothing. Sigh.

Daryl - I have sent an email to Giant Australia directly with my side of the story and the pictures as in the original post. Hopefully they can deal with it, but if the State Rep is anything to go by, I'm not too hopeful.

-Iceman
 
Mar 26, 2009
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I work for a Specialized Concept Store in Canada and we've had a customer crash his S-Works bike into a car rail on the side of a road and get home in an ambulance. The fork had half the damage this one has and they still replaced the whole bike saying the fork shouldn't have sustained such damage. Hopefully, they end up replacing your bike. And next time something like this happen (hopefully never), tell your rep that you heard the fork crack and that's when you crashed. I know it's distorting the truth but their damn product should never have broken in the first place.
 
May 22, 2009
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Yeah, I thought I would do the right thing and tell them what actually happened, because I was very confident that they would replace at least my forks, if not frameset. Apparently not. It's good to hear that not all bicycle manufacturer's are like Giant. I'm just really worried about their attitude towards bikes. The State Rep told me that their factory in Taiwan (where the bikes are manufactured) do tests on batches, where they take 1 bike out of a batch (of 100) and test it for structural weaknesses with the carbon composite material. He claimed that no such faults were detected in the batch where my bike came from. I then asked him whether that meant he could guarantee with 100% certainty that MY bike had no structural weaknesses in the fork/frame and he said that he could guarantee with 100% confidence that my bike was structurally perfect. And i was like you're kidding me right, like seriously how could this guy guarantee that my bike was 100% structurally sound?

The only way they can make this assertion is if every SINGLE bike that comes off the factory line is scanned from the tips of the fork to the connection of the rear triangle with a scanning electron microscope for intrinsic defects with the composite material itself. Because its carbon, structural flaws are essentially invisible to the eye.

This fork should NEVER have broken given the circumstances of my crash.
 
A

Anonymous

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As someone who used to work retail I am finding it hard not to use words like 'insane' 'whining' and 'spoiled' in response here.

You crashed. When that happens, all warranty bets are off. The equipment has been abused, pure and simple. You have no certain knowledge of the forces it underwent or whether they are within its reasonable operating parameters.

Your retailer (with whom you have the contract of sale) is absolutely right to refuse warranty.

I saw plenty of bikes back in the day that had been written off by crashes at this sort of speed. The classic failures on steel bikes were bent-back forks or head tube and down tube folded at the ends of the butts.

Hit something hard enough and the force has to go somewhere. Front wheels are pretty strong against in-plane impacts. I can easily believe that a wheel would survive a hit that destroyed a fork. Perhaps you'd prefer the frame to be the point of failure instead of the relatively cheaper fork?

I'm sorry you crashed. I'm glad you're all right (we hate to lose readers that way). But this isn't Giant's or your dealer's problem.
 
I think if I were someone at Giant and I saw those pictures then I would really question the story of a "minor spill." With the front wheel totally undamaged, I would suspect the bike had an some other accident--maybe in a roof rack?--that had sheered off the fork and the wheel was put in later. I have a hard time seeing how a normal bike accident would take both ends of the fork off at the same distance from the dropouts and leave the front spokes okay. Just saying...
 
May 22, 2009
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I take you point. But there are many factors in a crash, all of which you don't know. Only I know. I thought I was doing the right thing by telling the store/dealer that i took a spill and the fork gave way. I could have easily have said i heard a crack in my fork and went down, but did I? No.

I wanted to do the right thing because I wanted to be honest and make sure nothing was wrong with the bike itself, and I thought they would do the same. Clearly not.

John - Yes i did crash, thanks for pointing out that out, I only just realised that when you kindly told me. As you were someone who used to work in retail, I hardly find that to be an unbiased source of information. If you were in my situation maybe you would have realised what actually happened and the total lack of professionalism and inadequacy in which the dealer and service manager at the store dealt with my problem. I was given next to no information and when I tried to explain to the State Rep my side of the story he didn't even want to hear it. If nothing else I say is true, surely this is not good customer service. Just so you know, I'm not attacking you personally, and I do value your input, but I just want you to see this from my perspective and the total lack of professionalism in which it was dealt with.

I'm not one to whinge and i'm not spoiled, if i honestly believed i was at fault, I would take it on the chin and get on with life. If i rammed it into a car, or crashed into a pole/tree and the fork snapped, I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is if I have a minor spill at less than 30km/h, and the fork gives way as a result.

Forks don't just fail like that. Only a high lateral force on the fork blade OR a structural flaw with the fork itself can lead to such damage. This is clearly not an in-plane impact as you suggest, the forks are weak laterally not longitudinally. I don't think I have to explain that to you, it would seem obvious to anyone who has completed high school physics.

Let's just suppose that there was a high lateral force for argument's sake, surely some spokes would be taken out in the crossfire, but i can tell you that not a single spoke is even remotely close to coming out of it's housings either at the rim or the hub. Two 2cm thick pieces of carbon composite material have given way, whilst 10-15 spokes each about 5mm in thickness that sit in between the two pieces of carbon are essentially untouched. Ask any engineer to explain that outcome.

I hit nothing. I just fell off. Just thought I'd clear that up.

You have no certain knowledge of the forces it underwent or whether they are within its reasonable operating parameters.
I know that if that much force was put through a fork, there would be at least some collateral damage to the wheels - evidently not.

BroDeal - I don't own roof racks, I don't even own a car, I've never raced, the only place that the bike has been apart from locking it up at uni, has been in my garage, out of the sun and out of the heat. Hell, I even bring it indoors on hot days. I can assure you this bike has been cared for perfectly.

Again - I'm not attacking any of you who criticise my situation/thoughts. I'm just expressing what I think and offering you the facts with my opinions. Please don't get offended by any of my comments, as they were said in good faith with nothing malicious attached to it.

-Iceman
 
Iceman, It seems unlikely that you would have lied about the nature of your situation considering that there is nothing to gain here other than sympathy or, as it turns out, accusations of lying and being a 1st class whiner.

I am totally perplexed as to how the forks broke like that without any associated damage to the frame or wheel. The comment about how you should be happy that it was the forks and not the frame that was damaged is nonsense. Forks are not designed to fail in order to protect the valuable frame. They are designed not to fail in order to protect the valuable rider! You are victim of bad design or bad manufacturing.

Can you describe the nature of you crash in more detail? Did you slide out on your back wheel or front? Did you hit a bump or catch a crack in the road?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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John Stevenson said:
As someone who used to work retail I am finding it hard not to use words like 'insane' 'whining' and 'spoiled' in response here....
...
...

Yea, well instead of throwing him a bone they instead now have a customer that hates them.

No matter who's at fault there are better ways of going about this.

Giant and the Bike shop just moved up to the pole position of crappy customer service and the cash machine will ring empty as a consequence.
 
May 1, 2009
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John Stevenson said:
As someone who used to work retail I am finding it hard not to use words like 'insane' 'whining' and 'spoiled' in response here.

...

I'm sorry you crashed. I'm glad you're all right (we hate to lose readers that way). But this isn't Giant's or your dealer's problem.

I think you'll find you may be more likely to lose readers by referring to them as insane spoiled whiners, than crashes.

At the end of the day, it is the customers that make a business. I think the customer service here is the problem. Im not saying they had to replace the bike, just perhaps if Giant had been a bit more understanding, they may have gained a loyal advocate. Instead of losing a customer.

Same story with readers I guess.
 
May 22, 2009
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Black Dog said:
Can you describe the nature of you crash in more detail? Did you slide out on your back wheel or front? Did you hit a bump or catch a crack in the road?

Pulled out of my driveway, went onto the road, slowed for a stop sign then crossed the intersection and stood up to accelerate, sat back in the saddle, when i got it to just under 30km/h i went to tighten a strap on my bag cos the weight distribution wasn't quite centered and it felt weird, but i lost my balance and fell off right hand side of my bike. At the time I was in a bit of shock - that i'd fallen. My right foot was still clipped in and the front wheel and the bottom half of the fork was 2m away in front of me.

I just lost my balance as i went to tighten a strap on my bag. Didn't hit anything in the road in terms of a bump or obstacle. It was a fine day as well.

I then picked up my bike (in 2 pieces), walked home and went to get checked out by a doctor as a precaution. I was fine, just went and saw the dentist that afternoon about my chipped tooth, got that fixed and everything's fine now.

Thanks for all your feedback.

-Iceman
 
From the description of your crash it sounds like your fork was not well built or poorly designed. What would have happened if you had hit a big pot hole at high speed? You would be dead or close to it.
 
May 6, 2009
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I have never heard of a warranty replacement following a crash, but some top builders try to recognize that the people riding their bikes are passionate riders taking risks. These top builders try to share the risks by offering some kind of "crash replacement deal". I'm sure Giant's design is alright, in a crash anything can happen, but maybe they should have offered to help our buddy iceman?
 
May 27, 2009
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John Stevenson said:
<snip>
You crashed. When that happens, all warranty bets are off. The equipment has been abused, pure and simple. You have no certain knowledge of the forces it underwent or whether they are within its reasonable operating parameters.
<snip>
Do you honestly believe that losing the front end at under 30kph, on the flat on a nice road, will subject the forks to supra-operating parameters? Interesting.


John Stevenson said:
I'm sorry you crashed. I'm glad you're all right (we hate to lose readers that way). But this isn't Giant's or your dealer's problem.
Fairly sure it's not that way that you lose readers.


As an aside, for an editor, your grammar sucks :D
 
Mar 11, 2009
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I don't think he's being honest about the "crash". It was probably either a high speed crash into a curb or he had the bike on a roof rack and damaged the fork.

The problem with the internet is you can dispense the information to fit whatever view point you want to portray.

I will say, though, that I would NEVER expect a manufacturer to replace my bike if I crashed it. The fact that Giant was willing to offer you a discount on a new bike is not a bad deal. But honestly, if the rest of the bike is really perfectly functional, as you say, then just poney up $300 and buy a new fork.
 
May 22, 2009
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nightfend said:
I don't think he's being honest about the "crash". It was probably either a high speed crash into a curb or he had the bike on a roof rack and damaged the fork.

The problem with the internet is you can dispense the information to fit whatever view point you want to portray.

No.

As i said if i wanted to lie, why would i even bring it here? I could have just lied to Giant and said "Oh i crashed this morning but before i crashed i heard a cracking sound in my forks, and then it gave way and fell off". So you see, there is absolutely no point in me lying here. You can believe what you want but I know i didn't lie, and if you think i did, well then, that's your opinion.

A high speed crash into a curb? No.
Bike on a roof rack causing damage? No.

Honestly, think about what you're saying, if I was lying, would I even have wasted my time in bringing it here and creating a huge fuss about it all?

I think I understand why you think i'm lying, its because you think there's no plausible situation in which this could have occurred unless I subjected it to some kind of violent force (which you are speculating with your two scenarios). I totally agree, it is a difficult situation to believe, but for the reasons listed above, i am not lying. It is also for this reason that I believe Giant should have dealt with me a more favorable manner than the way they did.

-Iceman
 
Mar 26, 2009
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nightfend said:
I don't think he's being honest about the "crash". It was probably either a high speed crash into a curb or he had the bike on a roof rack and damaged the fork.

The problem with the internet is you can dispense the information to fit whatever view point you want to portray.

I will say, though, that I would NEVER expect a manufacturer to replace my bike if I crashed it. The fact that Giant was willing to offer you a discount on a new bike is not a bad deal. But honestly, if the rest of the bike is really perfectly functional, as you say, then just poney up $300 and buy a new fork.

I've seen a customer at the bike shop I work at, hit a car safety rail, going at least 40km/h and the fork had half the damage this one had... Hard to think that the is no failure in the fork material/design.
 

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