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  1. #1
    Church of the Wheel
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    An Open Letter To Specialized

    This is an open letter to Specialized. It is from me as an individual, and I make no representation to speak for any other person, organization, or government entity.

    Dear Specialized:

    As one of the Big Three in the American bicycle business, do you realize how hard you make it for US Military Servicemembers who are stationed or deployed overseas to obtain your products?

    First off, you will not ship to APO/FPO addresses (these are the addresses that every Servicemember stationed overseas uses, and they work EXACTLY like a stateside address with the US Postal System). This means that a Servicemember who is committed to purchasing your wares via your online webstore (which is the only place your products exist for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines in many parts of the world) must do the postal shuffle and have you, Specialized, deliver the goods to mom and pop, who then go down to the Post Office and mail them off to Johnny downrange.

    Pretty much every other business in the US supports the military by mailing to APO/FPO addresses. This is because they're willing to use the USPS, which you are not. FedEx does not ship to APO/FPO's.

    If this were the only problem it would be a pain, but workable. Unfortunately, you choose to make things even harder on us, because you will not recognize credit cards that have APO/FPO billing addresses. When Servicemembers deploy for 12 to 15 months, or when they are stationed overseas for tours that last up to several years, it is a necessity that we have our credit card bills mailed to our mailing addresses, which are APO/FPO addresses. Your billing system, however, does not allow this. Credit cards with APO/FPO addresses are rejected.

    This means that for me to purchase something from you, I not only have to do the postal shuffle, but I also have to change my billing address with the bank to something that you will accept, wait several days for the change to take effect, make the purchase, and then change my address back to what it's supposed to be. Ridiculous.

    Why, Specialized, don't you get with the program and support the troops who are putting their asses on the line to defend Your Corporate Model? Please fix your billing and shipping systems, and support the troops.

    I have addressed my concerns directly to your customer support personnel, and my concerns seem to fall on deaf or uncaring ears. It is my hope that this open letter will get your attention more effectively.

    Bikes are a great thing for those who serve to protect our freedoms, just as much as for the rest who enjoy those freedoms daily.

    Respectfully,
    Sergeant First Class Clifrickson
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  2. #2
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    Dear Sgt. Clifrickson,

    I was personally involved with the initial launch of the Specialized online store. At the time (circa 1999), there was some valid reason why we were unable to ship to APO/FPO addresses. Ten years gone, I can't recall exactly what it was, but I believe it was due to us being limited exclusively to UPS as the carrier for web orders.

    Our business has evolved, and it's time that we revisit the issue. I've brought your letter to the attention of our distribution manager, and we'll see if we can find an option that will work for APO/FPO.

    Thanks for your letter, and feel free to PM me.

    Yours on two wheels,
    Sean

    --
    Sean McLaughlin, aka "RedSWeb"
    Specialized Bicycle Components

  3. #3
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    Thank You

    Sean -

    Thank you for your timely response to my open email. And thank you for looking into the concerns that I raised.

    Please understand that I am a big fan of Specialized. I would never go to the trouble of jumping through all the hoops that I do in order to do business with Specialized if that were not the case, nor would I resort to raising the matter in this fashion.

    Thank you again for your efforts in trying to square these issues away. I would very much like to hear your feedback after the matter is given your full consideration. Please feel free to PM me if you desire.

    Best regards,
    SFC C
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  4. #4
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    Now that was some good service, ---I hope it all works out for our service men,------
    Gotta love that Specialized is doing something trying to correct a problem.
    I was a lone service man myself once apon a time , and mail could sure be a problem .

    Good going Sean for helping Sgt. Clifrickson

  5. #5
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    Hopefully you can start ordering things smoothly and without any problems soon.

  6. #6
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    As a veteran of the Marine Corps, this thread has made my day.

  7. #7
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    Wow sorry to hear this and it
    Quote Originally Posted by kelstr
    Now that was some good service, ---I hope it all works out for our service men,------
    Gotta love that Specialized is doing something trying to correct a problem.
    I was a lone service man myself once apon a time , and mail could sure be a problem .

    Good going Sean for helping Sgt. Clifrickson
    How so? For the life of the company, they have not supported troops that are putting their life on the line for us and then, after 8 years and after someone complains, a specialized person writes that they will try to do something. I not would say that is "some good service." Good service would be to have made this happen long before now and would have had a person comment here that they WILL change these policies AND send this guy a new bike, period. Specialized would not be if not for the troops of today or troops from years ago.

    I'm just sayin

  8. #8
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    Specialized is very active in supporting many causes including our troops. You can read about our advocacy by visiting here: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...enuItemId=8736
    Visit my profile for Links to:

    Performance Guarantee, Service, Setup, E150 Maintenance....

  9. #9
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    Guess I'll hold off awhile ordering some of those fine 110 Shoes and paying shipping twice to see if this plays out in our/my favor.

    I second sending SFC Clifrickson a bike or at least a set of Roval wheels

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSWeb
    it was due to us being limited exclusively to UPS as the carrier for web orders.
    Quote Originally Posted by stickybuns
    Wow sorry to hear this and it


    How so? For the life of the company, they have not supported troops that are putting their life on the line for us and then, after 8 years and after someone complains, a specialized person writes that they will try to do something. I not would say that is "some good service." Good service would be to have made this happen long before now and would have had a person comment here that they WILL change these policies AND send this guy a new bike, period. Specialized would not be if not for the troops of today or troops from years ago.

    I'm just sayin
    I take it you don't like UPS either?

    Apparently this really lit your fire, being your very first post and all.

  11. #11
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    This is an issue that should be quickly resolved. I ran into this repeatedly during my two tours in Korea in the late 90s (though then it might have been catalog based mail order..). I think REI made life easy for us though...

    Take care of these guys! (And cool to see that Spec replies quickly here - nice to have this line of communication open)

  12. #12
    MTB B'dos
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    subscirbed, as I'm curious to see how this plays out.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=mtb143]This is an open letter to Specialized. It is from me as an individual, and I make no representation to speak for any other person, organization, or government entity.

    Dear Specialized:.....


    Nicely done. I hope Specialized comes through with something to support you guys and gals very well and very quickly. I also will keep an eye on this thread to see how it goes. Thanks to everyone in our armed services and you all deserve the best.
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  14. #14
    dog lover-not in that way
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    Thanks Sergeant First Class Clifrickson for your service. I hope big S makes some changes to their online store for you guys.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biking Brazilian
    I take it you don't like UPS either?
    Hmmm, well gee. I suppose they couldn't use another service since there is a law against them using USPS or something. You almost a logical post.

    Apparently this really lit your fire, being your very first post and all.
    Why yes it did fellow patriot. Thanks for noticing.

  16. #16
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    Subscribed...I also want to hear the results of this.

  17. #17
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    Just curious to see what happens.
    Oh and a THANK YOU to the troops!
    :-)
    Pedal Dammit!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by stickybuns
    Hmmm, well gee. I suppose they couldn't use another service since there is a law against them using USPS or something. You almost a logical post.
    Why yes it did fellow patriot. Thanks for noticing.
    All fun and jokes aside, I'm still trying to reconcile this statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by stickybuns
    For the life of the company, they have not supported troops that are putting their life on the line for us...
    If that argument held any water at all, why would they be doing something abou it now? If that was a corporate stance, wouldn't the rebuttal be, "Sorry, we don't support the troops"?

    Throwing out blanket statements like hand grenades (ooops) doesn't accomplish much, private.

  19. #19
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    Good Luck and THANK YOU for my freedom. I really do appreciate it.

  20. #20
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    Hi,

    Just letting the group know that this is officially "on the radar" at Specialized. Shipping doesn't appear to be a problem. It's taking some time to sort out potential issues with billing.

    It's a priority. We're working on it. Stay tuned.

    --Sean

  21. #21
    Church of the Wheel
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    Sean - Thank you for keeping us up on this, and thanks again to you and everyone at Specialized for taking the issue to heart. It's appreciated.

    To everyone else who has contributed here - My sincerest and humblest thanks for your interest in this issue, for your kinds words, and for your support of American Servicemembers at home and abroad. I can't tell you how heartwarming it is when someone says "Thank you for your service". It's one of those things that I've found ranks with my brothers and sisters in arms right up there with getting to spend Christmas at home with the family. Good stuff. Thank you.

    -SFC C
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  22. #22
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    SFC C. and Specialized

    Ooooooooooooo-raaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  23. #23
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    So, Specialized - Any update for us?
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  24. #24
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    Dear Sgt. Clifrickson,

    Thanks for your service!

  25. #25
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    We are actively working on it. Not sure about ETA just yet, but it shouldn't be long. This is fully on-the-radar and won't fall off until resolved.

  26. #26
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    It would be nice if AAFES became a Specialized dealer at overseas locations.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blade-Runner
    It would be nice if AAFES became a Specialized dealer at overseas locations.
    Agreed, that would be a good thing. Knowing AAFES though, it would still be really hit or miss as to whether they would have exactly what you're looking for. And they don't really allow for special ordering things, which means it's back to mail order direct from Specialized if you want something in particular.
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  28. #28
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    Ya being able to special order would be a key part.
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  29. #29
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    Hi, Specialized. Just checking in to see how this issue is coming along.
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  30. #30
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    Mail it to me, I'll make sure you get your bike man! I'm serious. I have no problem shipping it to you

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by shift96
    Mail it to me, I'll make sure you get your bike man! I'm serious. I have no problem shipping it to you
    Dude, that is a most generous offer, and I offer my sincerest gratitude. I'm looking for a long term (permanent) fix here for all the servicemen and servicewomen though, so we can all get our inner bike geeks rolling with excellent US biking wares from the big red S.

    Don't worry about me, I'm doing okay. Just want to get the webstore squared away for the future.

    All the best,
    SFC C
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb143
    Dude, that is a most generous offer, and I offer my sincerest gratitude. I'm looking for a long term (permanent) fix here for all the servicemen and servicewomen though, so we can all get our inner bike geeks rolling with excellent US biking wares from the big red S.

    Don't worry about me, I'm doing okay. Just want to get the webstore squared away for the future.

    All the best,
    SFC C
    That is the least I could do. I think I speak for everyone here when I say how much I appreciate the sacrifices the servicemen and servicewomen are making for us. If it turns out you need something shipped to you PM me and I have no prob doing that. Good luck with this issue and stay safe.

  33. #33
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    This is a problem that should have taken less than 30 days to correct.

  34. #34
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    Yeah, I agree with you 100%.

    But, like many other things, what seemed so simple when I first tried tackling this issue is proving to be more complex. In addition to paperwork with FedEx and USPS, there are programming changes required to the checkout process on our website.

    I won't give up until it's resolved.

    --Sean

  35. #35
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    Easy solution........larry@mtnhighcyclery.com drop him an e-mail with what you need/want and he'll gladly post it anywhere in the world, AND, at fantastic prices. Why support a company who doesn't support you? SpecialED isn't the only company out there who makes stuff, loads of other companies who make good, solid, reliable stuff so you don't much need to worry about warranties

    Quote Originally Posted by mtb143
    Dude, that is a most generous offer, and I offer my sincerest gratitude. I'm looking for a long term (permanent) fix here for all the servicemen and servicewomen though, so we can all get our inner bike geeks rolling with excellent US biking wares from the big red S.

    Don't worry about me, I'm doing okay. Just want to get the webstore squared away for the future.

    All the best,
    SFC C
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  36. #36
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    Specialized rocks!

    I just wanted to express my gratitude to Specialized, and pass word to the MTB community, that Specialized has squared away the military address APO/FPO issue. I have the proof in my hands that they sorted out all the details and now have a functioning capability to sell direct to overseas military types.

    I know it's only a tiny part of your market, so I can only hope that the quantity of sales makes it worth the effort that you put into setting this up. Just know that it's appreciated.

    On a side note, the Specialized Command Post is a masterpiece. I've been riding a Joplin for a year, and after riding the Command Post for two days, I am now a complete convert. See, this is a fine example of why we need to be able to buy direct from Big Red S. And now we can! Again, thank you!

    Best regards,
    SFC C
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  37. #37
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    This is awesome!

    Way to go Specialized!
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  38. #38
    fliernh
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    I was hoping to see this outcome. Good job Specialized. Often these things are not as simple as we think. Thanks for taking care of members of our military
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  39. #39
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    Hey Specialized,


    I'm in the USAF and just wanted to say thank you for making these changes to offer better service to military members. Its very much appreciated. I also completely understand why it was not able to be implemented so quickly. Its easy to get hotheaded and wonder why someone can't just say "DO IT" and then its done. Everything has a process. When there isn't a process, one must be created. This takes time and collaboration.

    thanks again!

  40. #40
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    ordered some new shoes, hope they show up soon, the other ones exploded as I was just riding along.....

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