Interview with graduate engineer Dirk Zedler, sworn bicycle and e-bike expert, Zedler-Institut
EMTB: The frame is cracked, the motor grinds like a pepper mill, the display remains dark. What is to be done?
DIRK ZEDLER: First you should collect all documents relating to the purchase and document the damage clearly and with date. Sharp, correctly exposed photos from several perspectives can meanwhile be taken with nearly every mobile. First of all the total view, then the details. With the mobile storing the photo details automatically the actual date is documented as well. This may be important. The next step is to contact the retailer. The retailer and not the manufacturer is the contact in charge.
The retailer probably wants to keep the defective part, for the reason alone to substantiate their claims against their suppliers. Shall I really hand over my piece of evidence?
In the case of physical injuries I would not hand it over. But in the case of normal material defects that are already documented, this is the usual way. After all, the product remains your property, it must not disappear just like that at the retailer. Ask the retailer to sign for receipt.
How can I increase my chances that the retailer performs a repair or reimburses the purchase price?
I am sometimes wondering at how people communicate. Business calls for seriousness, this also applies to the cycle sector. Do you really expect to be taken seriously when you come with a series of sloppy WhatsApp-messages and some unserviceable photos. Just talking with each other and then recording jointly what has been talked about is also a very good idea.
Does it help to engage a lawyer right away?
We should not allow ourselves to be carried away. Those who escalate to a maximum will quickly have a new hobby that will cost more time and money than the actual amount of loss, even if they are successful. I already had to travel as bicycle expert across the entire republic to appear before the court and to confirm personally that the controversial problem would not have occurred when the claimant had oiled the chain. The written expert opinion was not enough for the claimant. In the end, all the fun cost him several thousand euros.
The interview was conducted by Jörg Spaniol
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