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Merlin are refusing to repair my Cielo.... Help Please

infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
edited December 2010 in Road buying advice
Hi Everyone,

a few weeks ago I sent my snapped Merlin Cielo back to the American Bicycle Group to be repaired under warranty.

A short while later I received an email stating they thought it had been in an impact and they would not fix it under warranty.

"We do not want to guess as to how the frame has come to be damaged. The rest of the frame does have damage as indicated through the photos. I am sorry that your frame is damaged and I do sympathise with you, but as it stands, we are not going to repair or replace the frame under warranty.

I am sorry that I cannot help you further."

I have sent several emails saying my Merlin has never been in an impact and they are refusing to do anything.

My Merlin was my "Sunday Best" bike, pampered to the extreme and had only done about 10k miles.

If you look at the pics it's easy to tell it was perfect except for where it snapped.


These are the pictures taken by ABG


a1.jpg
a2.jpg

a3.jpg

a4.jpg

a5.jpg

Help Please.


litespeed · quintana roo · merlin bikes · debatable warranty
Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
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  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    And these two pics are just before I took it apart to send back to Merlin

    m10.jpg

    m2.JPG
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • fleshtuxedofleshtuxedo Posts: 1,844
    I'm sure there's people better qualified than me to help you, but the first thing I would want to get from Merlin would be 1. a very clear statement of what they do and do not cover under their warranty (I guess you have this already?) 2. an explanation of why they think your frame failure falls out of the scope of the warranty.

    There's nothing in what you've quoted from them that does this. As for saying "we don't want to guess ......", I think you need to immediately challenge this. They have an obligation to inspect the frame and judge how the damage has occurred, otherwise how can they meet their warranty? They should be able and willing to give you the technical reasons for their findings.

    Think you need to get them to follow the right process rather than fob you off. Easier said than done I know, you're in a difficult position if they don't act with goodwill and fairness and it sounds like they're being slippery.

    I guess you paid a lot of money for the frame, so you may end up having to get legal assistance, but in any case I'd do my utmost to get as far with them myself as I could first.

    PS have you checked if the warranty applies equally in the UK? Worth checking they don't have that to hide behind.

    Good luck!
  • GazzaputtGazzaputt Posts: 3,227
    That is really shoddy of them.

    Agree with above ask them to clarify why they feel the bike has been in an impact. Also ask to explain how an impact would cause such damage.

    To my untrained eye it clearly look like a failure of the dropout against the weld.

    Problem is for you the frame is in the US and your in the UK.

    Is there no-one in the UK who could repair it?
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    It was expensive and was my 50th birthday present too :(

    I am trying to see if I can take them through the small claims court here however their UK employee, Hannah Conlin, refuses to give the work address in the UK for the American Bicycle Group so I can't make a claim.

    My only real chance now is lots of public pressure as I'm sure Evans Cycles dont want a lot of potential customers scared off by non-existent warranty.
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    edited December 2010
    610 Delta Business Park Welton Road
    Swindon SN5 7XG
    United Kingdom
    tel: +44 (01793) 618008
    fax: +44 (01793) 618002


    Is this it?
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    hi Gazzaputt

    I have asked for a a detailed explanation and they have refused.

    Mark at Enigma says he can repair it. It may end up there too.
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    Hi Percy,

    that place closed down years ago. My first merlin Cielo was replaced by them when the glue failed.....
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    Oh...

    If you've exhausted the normal route ie emails/letters etc then I would go legal.

    Tell her it's illegal to not give you their trading address in the UK, and call the usual bodies Trading Standards etc. Then small Claims once you get the address.

    I would also plaster your 1st post over all the cycle forums to make people aware of their customer care policy and off course the workmanship/warranty
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    Hi

    I have told her it is a requirement, she is ignoring me now.

    :(
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    Have you asked the dealer you bought it from for the address?

    Or look up their website, and call their dealers until one gives you her address.
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    I bought it from Hi tech Bikes in San Diego.

    Hank, the owner, does not deal with Litespeed or merlin anymore but he did telephone them for me. He said they were convinced my merlin was in an impact and refused to change their minds.

    It's easy to tell my merlin was not in a crash, except for the snapped dropout it was perfect.

    They just don't want to offer warranty!

    litespeed · quintana roo · merlin bikes · debatable warranty
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • Wow, face it, they kinda out-techhed you on this one. To be honest you're under armed againt a bike frame manufacturer who's heard every JRA story in the book. Frankly they knew what to look for and unless you already made the bent dropout known to them in your original mail (did you ever publish it here) they'll count that as evidence that they found that you didn't disclose which supports their case. Rock, meet hard place, meet infopete.

    So that's the end of the factual stuff. Emotionally, depending how you feel about the company you can have the original builders fix it, or b) get someone else to fix it.

    I'd defo want to keep this frame, it's gorgeous and I bet it rides really freakin sweet. (put on your best Peter Griffin voice)
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    Hi FransJacques

    it's true there is very little I can do but I'm hoping a little market pressure will convice ABG otherwise :)

    Mrs P hated my merlin as I rolled while she pedaled, I loved it....
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • Is the suggestion that a few mill out on the pics with the ruler prove the bike was crashed rather than being out when first built?
    Looks like a straight weld fail to me
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    I think the hanger being a few mill out was the last nail in the coffin for my warranty claim or, a way they could get out of fixing my merlin under warranty :(
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • wickedwicked Posts: 844
    Merlin are talking horse censored . The frame has failed on the weld by the looks of it and that means a manufacturing defect. This holding the rule to show its bent is quite funny, as the weld has failed it will move!
    Get the frame back and take it to a specialist and get an engineers report and take legal action.
    Do not give in.
    Good luck.
    It’s the most beautiful sport in the world but it’s governed by ***ts who have turned it into a crock of ****.
  • suggest you hit up some US based forums as well
  • SLN57SLN57 Posts: 69
    Hi infopete

    In my opinion the bent rear drop out is a direct result of the weld failure and the forces applied to it by your pedalling after the frame broke. That's how I would counter their argument.

    Slippery ba$&ards!
  • suggest you hit up some US based forums as well
    Indeed, like Serotta. In fact, I bet Serotta would treat infopete a lot better since he actually owns the company whereas ABC is a strange melange of Litespeed and others as they clung to the proverbial private equity rock back in the 90s when the US economy and Ti frame builders were all eating sheit financially.

    I'm on the forum as I used to have a Ti Serotta ('97 Legend) and I can vouch that that forum is not a bunch of sock puppets set up by the employees. There is serious 2-way love in that room - Serotta takes pretty good care of his customers. Even if most of his custom HTs are as long as a baseball bat...
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
  • SLN57SLN57 Posts: 69
    Besides isn't it bent the wrong way for normal accident damage?
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    Quite disgusting service from a manufacturer who should know better frankly.

    Merlin frames are not cheap and I always thought a good company to deal with, apparently not. Also disgusting service from the UK rep, appaling.

    The problem is, can you prove the breakage isn't a consequence of an impact? That will be the hard part.

    Do these come with a 'lifetime warranty' or the usual 2 or 3 years?

    p.s. Mark from Enigma is a brilliant guy but he shouldn't have to repair it, Merlin should step up and look after you.
  • andypandyp Posts: 9,104
    p.s. Mark from Enigma is a brilliant guy but he shouldn't have to repair it, Merlin should step up and look after you.

    Oh the irony of someone praising Mark Reilly in a thread about customer service. He did brilliantly with Omega didn't he? :roll:

    Back to the OT, most US states have equivalent organisations to our trading standards so it's probably worth finding the one that covers Merlin and raising this with them, at the very least they should be able to furnish you with details on US consumer law.
  • You need some independent opinion.

    Visit two framebuilders, ideally some geezer who has done some TIG welding, and even better someone who has welded titanium. Mark at Enigma springs to mind, but Peter at Ceeway will tell you if anyone is TIG welding in the UK.

    Pay for a document from each stating their opinion as to reason of failure.

    Sure looks like a weld failure to me.
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    andyp wrote:
    p.s. Mark from Enigma is a brilliant guy but he shouldn't have to repair it, Merlin should step up and look after you.

    Oh the irony of someone praising Mark Reilly in a thread about customer service. He did brilliantly with Omega didn't he? :roll:

    Back to the OT, most US states have equivalent organisations to our trading standards so it's probably worth finding the one that covers Merlin and raising this with them, at the very least they should be able to furnish you with details on US consumer law.
    No! He completely fuc$ed it up with Omega, but this isn't a warranty issue with Enigma is it? No and good businessman or not, obviously not some say, he does know his trade and is a craftsman.

    Anyway I thought this was a thread about Merlin, no?
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    edited December 2010
    Presumably they can repair it but just will not do so under warranty? Have they given any indication how much they would charge to repair it? How about coming to some agreement with them? What warranty would they then give on their repair and the frame? Even if they did repair what would be the likelihood it happening again and you'd be in the same position?

    Alternatively you could cut your losses with them and get your frame back for repar somewhere else. The amount you have paid in shipping will probably be considerable. Did you not think of sending pics first?

    The behaviour of the UK agent is disgraceful. I believe It is a requirement under either the Companies Act or Business Names Act to provide the address of any company to some one who legitmately requires it which includes those who may wish to make a claim against the company or it's agents.

    Moral of the story is don't buy from overseas as you will have little comeback if things go tits up.

    Just another thought. How long ago did you buy it? How old was the frame when the crack appeared? Did you pay with a UK credit card? If so you might be able to enforce your statutory rights against your card provider under s.75 of the Consumer Credit Act which covers all transactions over £100 if I am correct?
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I'd spend the next few days posting those pics on any cycle forum that i could think of.
  • infopeteinfopete Posts: 878
    andyp, my touring bike is an Omega Axis and I bought it off Mark when Omega were in decline. We had one or two "issues" but my Omega is a lovely tourer and commuter and I would buy from Mark again.

    dilemna, I sent pictures first and had to pay lots to send it back.

    I bought the frame in 2004 and I've done about 10k miles on it. It just snapped,, on the flat when I was cycling home after a 30 mile ride. It sounded like a spoke going.
    Oh and please remember to click on my blog:

    http://americanbicyclegroup.wordpress.com

    The more clicks I get the higher it creeps up the google radar :)
  • rakerake Posts: 3,204
    it looks pretty obvious it was fatigue.
    why do some bike have bolted seat stays, to me it looks like that has allowed the dropouts to flex and crack over time.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Looks like a straight-forward weld failure to me to (20+ years in engineering / aerospace & defence so seen enough welded metal to know what I'm talking about). Likewise, if this was crash-induced, I'd expect to see some sort of deformation of the mech hanger in the other direction - they appear to imply that it's been broken due an axial twisting force opposite to anything you'd get in a crash. Can't see from the photos what the crystalline structure of the metal across the fracture - a materials specialist can often determine the failure mode and even cause so worth consulting a specialist.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • eheh Posts: 4,854
    Another weld failure on a Ti frame who'd have thought it, never see them do you :roll: Frames for life my :lol:

    I'd love to see any welding and QA procedures and certification from Merlin, if they even have any.

    One thing got any evidence the mech hanger was straight from new?
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