Figured I would throw this out there as a thank you, and a recommendation. Not so much with my local shop, but... Its long, sorry! Cliffs at the bottom...
I needed (relative, of course...) a new AM bike, and was trying to stay within a budget. I also wanted a pretty specific feature set, and geometry setup. After carefully considering options, including availability, I decided to buy a Specialized Pitch pro, and throw on some upgrades.
So I sauntered into my local Spec shop, and told them what I wanted. They pull up their fancy computer system showing all bikes available from Spec, and tell my they are sold out of the Med. Pro. They offered the Pitch Comp or Enduro comp at a discount, but I was pretty bummed, and left to think about options.
The next day I called shops from Plano down to Austin, no one had a Pitch in stock.
I jump on MTBR to read, and remember that The Path has these as rentals, so I decide to call them to see if they had a new one on the floor, or could sell me a rental bike. I end up speaking with Karl, who tells me they have one in stock, but could not sell it to me. He suggests they may be able to sell/transfer it to my local shop, who in turn could sell it to me, keeping in line with the dealer agreements of no mail or phone orders.
I get of work, and charge back into the shop, giving them the name, address, bike shop name, etc. to get this going. I ask if I need to put in a deposit, they tell me "no, we can see you are serious about the bike, we will get it ordered". This was on a Wednesday. I call back on a Friday to see if they have a delivery date, I am told that they passed the info to the GM of the shop (local chain, has 4 locations) and he would order. So I call back the following Tuesday, and am directed to talk to him. So I call him up, he tells me he has contacted them, and I need to leave a deposit for the order. I tell him its cool, and get off work and hit the shop, leaving a deposit of more than 50% of the total price (not just the bike price). I am told they will order it the next day, and I will have it in "4-5 days". I call bike on Thursday to get a date so I can leave work early to get a ride in. I am told "no shipping estimate, should be another day or two. Friday I call the "GM", who was supposed to have placed the order, and am told again "4-5 days from now". I am starting to get a little peeved, but lets be honest, it has only been 3 days since I dropped off the cash. I have a ride planned after work on Thursday of the following week, so there is time. I call up on Tuesday (1 week after the deposit) and am told again, 4-5 days. I am getting a little pissed, but Memorial day weekend is coming, so as long as I get it before then, Ill get a ride in.
I call back on Friday, and I am told "probably Tuesday of next week". I am a bit pissed at this point, as we are looking at 10 days. Oh well, I can ride the Chromag some more, no biggie... Come Tuesday of the next week, I call yet again. The original salesman tells me he has not heard anything from the GM, and will call and let me know the next morning. On Wednesday, he still has not heard, so I talk to my wife, and decide to go back and ask for a large % of my money back. They only require 20% down for special orders, so I decide I will get a $1000 back from my deposit, and keep my cash while I am waiting. At this point I am considering asking for all of it back as a refund, and telling them if they ever get it to go ahead and call me, Ill come buy it then...
Before I get there, I call up Karl at The Path to ask if the story I am getting locally matches up on his end. A lady answers and tells me he is with a customer, and asks my name, and I agree to hold. About 10 seconds later, he is on the phone. He confirms they paid for the bike, and tells me they shipped it the week before. He lets me know he will look up the tracking number when he get some time, and I have a bit more info to go to the store with.
He also tells me that they GM took 6 days to pay for the bike after the arrangements were in place. I am REALLY PISSED at this point.
As I get to the shop I check my email before I go inside, and Karl had already emailed me with the info, and said the bike was delivered that day. So I go in, and the shop still does not have any record of my bike. I tell them it arrived that day, and they go check again, and "apparently it did arrive...". Picked it up the next day, enjoying the heck out fo the bike.
Anywho, long story short - Karl and The Path were great to work with, a pleasure to communicate with. I really appreciate the extra effort to get a guy half way across the US the bike he wanted. If I lived closer, I would no doubt have a new bike shop getting every bit of my business.
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