Interview with graduate engineer Dirk Zedler, bicycle expert
BIKE: If there is a disagreement between the bike workshop and the customer, experts like you are called in in complicated cases. What are they usually about?
DIRK ZEDLER: The point is that the allegations have to be substantiated by evidence. As a publicly appointed expert witness, I then draw up an expert report that can also be used in court, for example, to clarify claims for damages. In principle, the goods, e.g. the repaired mountain bike, must be handed over free of defects and in a roadworthy condition. If this is impossible or something else was agreed upon, it must at least be documented to prevent any dispute at a later date. My cases range from serious accidents due to material or technical faults to trifles such as a chain that was not oiled, which led to a noise that was inexplicable to the customer; in this case, he had to pay for the entire procedure and expert report.
We have often heard lately that there is a lack of well-qualified staff in the shops, especially fully trained two-wheeler mechanics or mechatronics. Is that true, and does that lead to poor work?
What is true in any case, is that too many dealers show too little commitment to training. In addition, many bike shops have not yet adapted sufficiently to the bike boom, which in many areas is no longer a pure hobby. Greater professionalization would have to take place here. However, clients also have to accept that good work costs money. We are dealing with absolutely high-tech material, and maintenance costs money.
How can I, as a customer, bring myself up to the appropriate level of information to assess what should be done and how often my bike needs servicing in the workshop?
In this connection, the operating instructions supplied with each bike are very important. Although they are as erotic as an athlete's foot, they also include for example maintenance intervals.
Is there also a guarantee or warranty on the repairs, and what is the difference?
Guarantee is only a voluntary service provided by the manufacturer and refers, for example, to components such as the frame. Although the term warranty is often used, it actually refers to the liability for material defects in the case of a purchase. However, you can assert rights under the law of contracts for work and services if the work was carried out improperly or incorrectly.
The interview was held by: Stefanie Weinberger