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The most common safety risks that we come across in our daily work around bicycle safety, technology and operating instructions are also published by us in articles in the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR (Europe's road bike magazine no. 1), BIKE (Europe's mountain bike magazine no. 1), MYBIKE and EMTB in order to make this information, which is important for the industry, available to a wider public.

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TOUR 09/2019
Reading time 2:40 minutes

“We should not allow ourselves to be carried away”

Interview - Dirk Zedler, Ludwigsburg’s bicycle expert and TOUR author, has been clarifying the facts when retailers, manufacturers and buyers argue about supposed technical defects for more than 25 years now. His advice: more professionalism and calmness

TOUR The frame shows a crack, the sole of the 400-euro-carbon shoe detaches, the navigation system no longer loads. What should we do?
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. Once 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 will probably 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 sufficiently, this is the usual way. The product remains property, it must not disappear just like that at the retailer. When handing it over personally you should request a receipt with description of the object or add a delivery note in the case of postal shipping.

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, the same 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.

And what about handling the issue with a lawyer? Does that help?
We should not allow ourselves to be carried away. Those who escalate to a maximum will quickly have a new hobby that will devour more time and money than is actually in question, even if they are successful. Recently, I had to travel as bicycle expert across the entire republic to appear before the court and had to confirm personally in addition to my expert’s report that the controversial problem would not have occurred when the claimant had oiled the chain. The whole fun finally summed up to several thousands of euro for the claimant.

Many purchases as well as complaints are meanwhile wound up on the internet. Is there a change in the culture of complaints?
Yes, a little. On the one hand buyers are able to inform themselves much better when they want that. On the other hand things tend to escalate quickly. In former days people threatened to write a reader’s letter to be published in the TOUR magazine if their wishes were not complied with. The editorial team would then counter check the issue before printing the letter. In these days anyone can post any nonsense. Depending on the channel of publication, this can be a problem for a company.

The interview was made by Jörg Spaniol

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