They should, but nothing changes……


May 31, 2012 by welshcyclist

I took my Pioneer Venture GT bike into Halfords, Neath. I have a BikeCare Plan with them. It was the third such visit in three weeks. My gears were slipping badly, the first time I left it with the mechanic, he changed the gear cable and reindexed the gears……..Not!

First ride and the gears were just the same.

I returned with the bike the following week and was assured the gears would be done “properly this time.”  I had to wait three days to be able to pick it up.

Were the gears O.K.?


It was as if I hadn’t gone to the trouble of taking the bike to Halfords!!

So another week, and I returned yet again, after an irate phone conversation with the manager. They rang me that evening to update me with their progress, the mechanic explained that parts needed replacing, i.e., the rear cogset, the derailleur, and chain, that he’d replaced like for like at a cost of £150, which I had to pay.

I asked the obvious question, “Why weren’t these problems identified on the first two occasions that I’d brought the bike in?”

Basically, he stated that he was the senior mechanic, who had been off sick for the past few weeks, and so less qualified mechanics had dealt with my bike. 

I was dumbfounded, and told him that I had paid for my BikeCare Plan in good faith, and was now being told that for two weeks out of three, Halfords weren’t up to the job, and as a result, I wasn’t happy at being given a bill for £150. He told me he would have a word with the manager.

Ten minutes later he rang back and said the manager had agreed to let me have the cheapest part, the chain, free as a form of discount. I told him I wanted to speak to the manager, he said the manager was busy with another customer, but that he could pass on a message.

I said that I was only willing to pay a maximum of £50 towards the cost of repairs to my bike, because of the very poor inadequate service I had received, he said he would get the manager to ring me back.

He did not!!!

So I rang the next day, the store manager came on the phone eventually, saying he hadn’t received the message, and would investigate my complaint, I had by now registered a formal complaint via email to Halfords head office, plus a phonecall.

When he rang me back with his “findings”, he had the gall to say the parts needed replacing because they “weren’t up to the job,”  and he was willing to discount the price by £22.99, the price of the chain. Simply not good enough, I complained, stating what  poor service I had received, having to put up with unqualifeid mechanics making a mess of my bike. 

He agreed reluctantly that I should only pay the £50 I had offered,, but this was further reduced to £40 when I went to pick up the bike the next day.

Whilst in the store the manager emphasised that he had ridden the bike, as well as two qualified mechanics, to make sure everything was working and in order, I took it for a spin around the car park and it “seemed ” O.K., so took it home. I was pleased that the Pioneer was working, and even sent an email to Halfords HQ “bigging up” the manager and staff at the Neath store.

My happines was short lived. Next day, on my commute to work, I found the gears slipping mid range on each of the front three chainrings? The gears needed adjustment. Angry that I hadn’t sussed this out when I’d picked up the bike, I decided to sort it myself, which I did, after a quick referral to a Utube video.

The gears are now working perfectly, no thanks to Halfords BikeCare Plan or their staff.

I thought the bad service and times I’d suffered at the hands of Halfords, when I first started commuting and using the BikeCare Plan as mehanical support were long gone, but no!

They should, but nothing changes……      

The good news is that I have a brand new rear cogset, derailleur and chain for £40………… every cloud…..

Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have good professional service instead.

5 thoughts on “They should, but nothing changes……

  1. Mark Shaw says:

    Halfrauds sorry I mean Halfords are useless overpriced and above all crap in my opinion, I would vote with my feet, have you not got a Local Bike Shop near you ?
    I find I pay that little bit more than the internet for parts but get a much better service when I take my bike in, I have just had mine in the shop, new bottom bracket fitted , gears indexed ( perfectly) and they even filled my pedals with grease as he thinks they may be on their way out but said try this first.all for £30 LBS.s can’t afford to lose business like multi-nationals can hence I find you get a much better service.

    • welshcyclist says:

      Halfrauds, I really like that!, Why couldn’t I have thought of that one? I know you’re probably right, but I’ve stumped up £40 for three years, ends October 2014, on the Bikecare Plan. When I bought it last October, I believed that Halfrauds had turned the corner, and their mechanics were the tops, after some very good experiences at their Swansea store, obviously the reformation hadn’t reached Neath. Cheers.

  2. I’ll have to refrain from mentioning my gearing system won’t I? 🙂

    I’m glad you got something out of it, but I would try a local shop when your care scheme runs out.

    The other option is do it all yourself, parts cheaper from internet and the labour is free! Downside is of course that you need the special tools, which cost a small amount, but your normal shed toolset will get you through most things. I do all my bike maintenance myself, sure, I’ve had to buy some special tools along the way, but they come in useful time and time again – chain tool, crank pull and shimano bottom bracket tool come to mind.

    • welshcyclist says:

      You can mention the Rohloff all you like, I will only desire one even more, though I’ll probably have to buy a new bike to go with it, definitely a Thorn. It might take a lot of pedalling, but I hope to pedal into a Rohloff-Thorn cobination one day in the future, thanks for reminding me of what I want in my cycling future . Meanwhile my toolkit increases slowly, and my gear indexing are now spot on

      • These things take time, but having a dream bike is worth the wait. That tool kit of yours will keep growing and the convenience of doing it yourself will be rewarding in future.

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