Arrgghhh… halfords rant (boardman content)

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  • Arrgghhh… halfords rant (boardman content)
  • legend
    Member

    any local bike shop

    therein lies the problem, barely more of a bike shop than Argos

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    We also tested a bike at our LBS who were fab. Took the time to set the bike up and let mrs blobby take the bike out for a round the block ride. Not nearly as good a deal as the boardman but the customer service is a world apart.

    druidh
    Member

    mrblobby – Member
    Not nearly as good a deal as the boardman but the customer service is a world apart.

    Do you think that those two aspects might be related?

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Do you think that those two aspects might be related?

    Well yes. Halfords must have done Boardman a very good deal indeed.

    Orange Crush
    Member

    I happened upon a Halfords in Assen recently, much to my surprise, and it was way ahead of those here. Smaller, but everything seemed to be fully assembled and ready to roll and the staff were keen enough.

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
    Subscriber

    Just to add balance, when i was looking at buying my Boardman bike the local Halfords were great. Took the bike down from the rack for me, let me sit on it for a feel and when i realised – as he suggested – that a small would be a better fit he then told me that they didn’t currently have one in stock. He could order one in or check online to see which nearby store had a small, this was the option i chose.
    He called the store and they had it prepped and ready for me to try when i got there. Also let me have £50-worth of kit from the store as well.

    bigG
    Member

    If it helps any, and you’re in the Central Scotland area, I have a small one your wife can have a go on to see if it fits better.

    PS Halfords have been very helpful to me when I’ve buying bikes from them through C2W over the last few years.

    Good lord I could write a book on Halfords customer service. A few years back I needed a frame facing and out of desperation and not wanting a 40 mile round trip to the nearest bike shop I phoned Halfords. They said they could do it and “just pop the bike in”. Happy days and maybe they are not all that bad after all. How wrong I was.! I queue for the best part of half an hour at the bike counter only to be told that I would have to book it in and bring it back next week. I had only spoke to him less than an hour ago and why the **** didn’t he tell me that then.? I despair.

    The kid who worked there years ago (who was a damn good rider) was great and the couple of times I dealt with him he seemed switched on and fit for purpose. The current batch of prize plumbs working in there should not be working with the public.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    I suspect I was a victim of the sunny Saturday afternoon rush too and the chap who served us had probably been dragged to the bike bit from some non-customer facing role.

    bigG, thanks for the offer, but we’re down in Newbury (near Oxford) so Central Scotland would be quite a long way to go for a test ride!

    Anyone have any idea why Boardman don’t do direct sales? I’m sure I heard rumours that they planned on it a while back.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    My local Halfords is much better than my nearest “proper” bike shops. Actually so is the second nearest Halfords. But the other one in the area is properly bloody awful.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Mrs blobby is looking to buy a new road bike and the Boardman Comp fi was top of our list. Went to our local Halfords in Newbury earlier today to check the bike out.

    They had a display model so we asked if we could try it for size. We asked if they could put some pedals on it so mrs blobby could sit on it properly, we were told that they didn’t have any pedals they could put on it! We then asked what size the display model was. No one seemed to know but with the help of a tape measure they suggested the bike was a small. Knowing a little about the frame sizes I suggested that it was in fact a medium. We then asked if they had a small in stock we could try. The chap serving us went to have a look, 5 minutes later he reappeared but instead of coming back to let us know if they had one, he started to serve another customer instead. At this point we walked out in frustration.

    We also asked if we could take the bike for a quick spin around the car park (if we brought our own pedals.) We were told that this was not possible as the bike “might get dirty” and then couldn’t be sold as a new bike. I’ve yet to experience any local bike shop that has any problems with such a test ride.

    To be honest my expectations of customer service at halfords was pretty low before I went in, but they have way exceeded my expectations with this sorry episode. Reluctant to purchase anything from that store now and have written to Halfords to let them know. I’d write to Boardman as well if I could find a contact address. If only they did direct sales with a wiggle style test ride scheme 🙁

    julianwilson
    Member

    Anyone have any idea why Boardman don’t do direct sales? I’m sure I heard rumours that they planned on it a while back.

    They kind of do though really:
    http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/branddisplay_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_categoryId_165555_langId_-1_MFName_Boardman

    Compare this to buying a pinnacle from Evans or one of those new Vitus bikes from CRC. All great value for money by the way, and unlikely to be featured in anyone else’s bike shops.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Blimey, I got a call from the halfords store manager following my letter of complaint. Sounded quite apologetic about our experience. Told us they didn’t have a bike in the size mrs blobby wanted but would get one in and let us know when it was ready. And that a spin around the car park on the bike would not be a problem. Shall give them a second chance.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    Do you think that those two aspects might be related?

    If you mean do I think some shops feel thay can charge top dollar because they have a reputation for excellent customer service, then yes.

    However, I don’t believe the opposite is true:
    I’d find it very difficult to believe that the sole reason that Boardman bikes are exceptionally good value is because some Halfords staff lack training.

    slowrider
    Member

    when i was 16 my first job was working in halfords. with no prior training and only my own experience of maintenance and reading mbuk i was by far the most knowledgeable person in the cycle department. there wasnt a manager or even another employee in the store or the other one in town that rode a bike so the advice, sales and repairs were abysmal.

    its been nearly 15 years since i worked there but back then they just didnt have a clue beyond 80 quid catalogue bikes. ive used halfords from time to time but never ever for advice, just if i was desperate for spares. i really enjoyed working there as i got to fix, maintain and replace parts for free on my bike whilst ‘training’ the other staff and could always swap any rubbish jobs for building bikes up or whatever. i would never rely on them though!

    Premier Icon budgierider67
    Subscriber

    If it helps any, and you’re in the Central Scotland area, I have a small one your wife can have a go on

    Ooh er 😆

    shotsaway
    Member

    The service/satisfaction levels very from one Halfords to another.

    My local store is 1 mile away, so I tend to go there for small/convenient purchases. However on so many occassions they don’t have what I want in stock, so they are not convenient after all! In the last six months, I have popped in for bearings, a star fangled nut, cone spanners, grease, lube, brake pads, a bottom bracket. On each occassion they didn’t have what I wanted in stock. They seem to run a very small stock quota. Yesterday was the rare times that I popped in and they had what I wanted in stock (Puncture repair patches).

    In February a friend of mine, decided to purchase a Boardman FS bike. He is just a recreational rider, so not that knowledgable about bikes and he asked me to go along with him. They let him test ride around on it in the car park. The service was okay but he had to reserve the bike online to get the discount. He did this from his phone whilst in store. He arranged to go back the next day to pick the bike up and they told him that they would set it up while he waited. I told him that as he wasn’t getting a stock pump with the bike that the Reba’s and shock would need to be set to his weight by the shop. He turned up the next day and the bike was ready! When he questioned them about the fork and shock settings, he was told that they were all done. At no point did they ever ask him what his weight was! FWIW – He only weighs 9 stone and they were both set for a heavier rider. Anyway they handed over the bike and he parted with his cash. At no point did they explain about any of the parts on the bike or the operation of those parts. All they tried to do was sell him a service package. When he got it home, he also realised that the stem and forks weren’t aligned.

    He was happy with the service he received whilst looking at the bike but he wasn’t happy with the service he received at the hand over. It was a bit like “We’ve got your cash, so there’s your bike”

    rig
    Member

    I agree that Halfords are a bit hit & miss – even the staff within a store are a bit hit & miss IMHO. But, to be honest, it’s the same at the LBS.

    That said, I can thoroughly recommend Boardman bikes. Mrs rig (5’4″)has a small Ladies Carbon Team bike that she really flies on, & I (6’2″) have an XL Comp. Both were excellent value for money (January sale) & are lovely bikes.

    Just think, as soon as you walk out of the door with the new bike, you’ll never have to see Halfords again! I actually bought my bike online, so I didn’t have to go into Halfords in any case.

    deanfbm
    Member

    With halfords customer service, it’s all down to the particular individual serving you.

    They don’t require you to be knowledgeable about bikes to get a sales job there, they give little or no training either. Unlike in small independents, where the owner generally is a cyclist and will want cyclists working in the shop.

    Also speaking from experience, i worked in a halfords for 4 years. Mainstream customers can wear you down. Also the fact you paddling out £80 bikes knowing full well the customer is going to come back next day because it doesn’t live up to their expectations. it kind of kills your enthusiasm to help people out.

    If you get a cycling enthusiast serving you, it’s likely to be a good experience.

    If anyone is after cheap labour on repairs and their local halfords has a good mechanic, fully kitted workshop, get a bike care plan from them. Such a ridiculously good buy. Go back as many times as you want, for any little adjustment, for 1 year, £17.99, bargain.

    3 yrs ago I tried the MTB Boardman Comp in the store car park and got told off for riding up & down curbs and trying to bunny hop it! Luckily a week later Halfords/Boardman were at the Aston Hill demo day where the staff on the day were the best of any / all the stands I visited and bought a Pro.

    Bike setup & service afterwards was an utter nightmare though, following poor setup, component failures, complaint letters etc I went to the London St Paul’s Bikehut store who were fantastic & ultimately sorted out the bike, so took other bikes there for service & was always top-notch. All the staff were keen cyclists, knowledgeable and interested, and the mechanics were excellent – it was the most reliable bike shop I’ve ever been in. Was genuinely gutted to find they closed down last summer.

    My experience of other Bikehuts & local Halfords stores is dire (loose headset & stem, loose hubs & brakes) – so plan for the worst (and it’s pretty shocking), then you might at least be pleasantly surprised if you get a good build/service. Or if you can track down the mechanics from the St Paul’s store you’re onto a winner.

    Goodness knows what inexperienced cyclists do.

    Premier Icon charliemort
    Subscriber

    went in one once for some jockey wheels

    “what are jockey wheels?”

    thomthumb
    Member

    i bought a boardman a couple of years ago. the lads i dealt with couldn’t have been more helpful. They weren’t the most knowledgable (the lad did say the road specialist was away that day)

    they sold me the display model and gave me £30 of accessories because it was the display one. problem is (as with any chain store) the service depends on the person you see.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Yes I get the impression that’s the case. Our local halfords was ok a few years ago, then a good local bike shop opened and all the staff who knew anything went to work there!

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    The thing is though, they compete directly with mail order stores on price and quality, so the quality of assembly is at best a bonus and at worst you have to do it yourself just like with a mail order. So while it’s not that good, try and keep it in perspective.

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