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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Let the Buyer Beware.

SO, yea, I promised to keep this updated but it's summertime, the week before the kids go back to school and that is pretty much the peak of the doldrums of summer.  NOTHING happens! 
I've kept busy with a slow stream of repairs and spent the remaining time doing new builds.  Other then that the only occurrence of note happened mid week.  Had a mom and her three kids in shopping for school rides.  As with most parents nowadays she was looking for cheap.  REAL cheap.  Trouble was, for the older kids, both needing a 26" bike, there was no way I could produce anything worth putting out for the thirty a piece price tag she was hoping for.  Let's face it, RE-Furbed means, we strip it down to frame, and rebuild it frame out, replacing and repairing worn and broken parts to full reassembly.  Can't do four plus hours of work AND replace parts for thirty dollars.  Every now and then we get some AS-IS's we put out cheap, but few and far between, because we're not going to sell anything that don't work!  ANYWHO.  They decided to "look around".  Well, apparently they found two, I presume at a local thrift store or pawn shop, and were going to use one of the older kids bikes as a hand me down to the younger.  Very practical. theory.  On the first day of school the kiddos headed off only to make it less then half way there before they had to resort to walking.  Well, the younger one didn't have to, her hand me down worked fine (OK, LOL, it was, coincidently, a bike they bought from us three years ago!) But, the two older ones were having nothing but problems.  As with most places around here (NOT US!) that sell bikes...they won't let you road test them.  SOOOO, they had NO idea just how messed up their bargain bikes were.  The older boys ride was the worst.  The chain fell off and lodged behind the chain ring, so he literally had to drag it to school and the older girl...couldn't stop!  A fact she discovered by apparently almost crashing into traffic! 
The mom, bless her heart, brought them into me the next day for repairs.  I was able to roughly guess their origins by the computer generated price stickers that are used by a couple of pawn shops around here and thrift stores.  I also noticed the prices.  She only saved $20.00 buying them there.
The boys bike, an older Huffy, had a single piece crank that was BADLY bent with a bent chain ring and a twisted chain, as well as a crushed bearing ring on the drive side.  There were a few other mechanical issues that were a problem as well.  The girls bike, a slightly newer next, had been long exposed to the elements and the cables were rusted almost solid in the housings.  When she went to brake, and couldn't stop, she obviously panicked and squeezed REAL hard, snapping one of the dry rotted plastic brake levers.  On top of that, on here ride, the rusting was so bad the chain itself had four areas with fused links. Now mind you, I am not condemning the Mom for wanting to save a few bucks.  As a parent I KNOW how expensive back to school time can be.  Not only that, even in todays world of poor quality control and dispassionate business, most folks STILL expect that if they buy something from a store, it will actually WORK! Even a place selling used goods. 
The sad ending is, to fix the boys bike here, it would have cost $68.00 for a replacement crank, bearings and chain plus labor.  For the girls bikes $46.00. Brake lever and replace all four cables and housings plus chain rustication and clean. Well, for that, plus what she already paid for the bikes...she could have bought all three of them fully refurbished rides here WITH a one year warranty!  And still had cash left over!  Unfortunately, where she bought them had a no return policy, so it looks like the kids will have to walk to school for a while.  Our best advice is to never purchase a bicycle used unless they have a return policy of full refund.  They certainly are NOT going to fix the problem!
Well, that's gonna do it for today.  Now, gonna try and finish up the one ride from yesterday!

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