Thursday, December 28, 2006

5200 km: Birthday Party in the Bike Shop

My bike has had its first birthday and all in all it has been a positive experience, except for the fact that I could not have a birthday party for the bike because it was in the repair shop.

The most frustrating part of owning a Gomoto has been that I could not get reliable and quick service from the Gomoto dealer that sold the bike to me.

I just received my Gomoto back from this dealer, yesterday (27 December 2006) after they had it for a full month. Somebody had borrowed my motorbike in the second last week of November and when I got it back about 8 or 9 wheel spokes in the rear wheel was broken. The wheel was wobbling all over the place.

I asked the bike dealer to replace the spoke rim with a new solid rim, as I had found out that this is indeed possible. I phoned the dealer every day for a week to find out what the progress was with the replacement. From what I could piece together from his answers is that Gomoto did not have any solid wheel rims available and that the next shipment would only arrive in a month's time. (I was told this in November, but apparently they still have not arrived.) The dealer said that Gomoto would let him know the next day if they could provide me with a wheel from one of their new bikes, but nothing came from that. I then asked the dealer to please fix the spokes.

After being without a bike for one week I was beginning to become very agitated. They finally offered to give me one of their Gomotos on loan, and I really appreciated that. In fact, I just stopped calling them.

Then, yesterday, as I was climbing up Table Mountain with some family members I received a call from the Gomoto dealer to inform me that my bike is fixed. The cost was R150 and he asked if I could please urgently bring their motorbike back because they need it. I was in Cape Town until late in the afternoon, and I thought that I waited so long for them to fix my bike, that they would not mind to receive their bike the next day. At 17:05 I received a very agitated call from the dealer asking where his bike was. I decided not to argue and took the bike back and paid for mine.

When I had received the bike, it did not have a drop of petrol in it. I had to push it to the petrol station next door to fill it up. I returned it to them with a near full tank.

I immediately became even more frustrated when I could not start my bike. It's battery was flat. I had to kick-start it. And as I was driving home the second of my front indicators fell off.

It is probably too much to wish for, but in my dreams I imagine a Gomoto dealer who would actually have noticed that my indicators were broken while they were fixing the spokes and given me a call suggesting that they replace them or put something more durable on and provide me with a quote. I really get the impression that this dealer really don't care.

I asked him why it took so long to fix my bike. He explained that their mechanic had become sick and actually passed away. They needed to appoint a new mechanic. In the mean time his son was working for them and they could only get to the most important tasks.

I reckon that those are very special circumstances and probably requires me to be more sympathetic. And I really feel bad for them. But I still feel un-cared for as their customer, especially since this is not the first time that I've had long delays in having my bike fixed.

I asked the dealer if he would call me when new stock of the solid rimmed wheels arrive. He said that it would not happen before the middle and end of January and that I should rather call them closer to the time. Again his response makes me feel as though he is not really interested in giving me the service that I would like.

I know that this is my experience with a specific dealer. I am currently debating with myself if I should not find another dealer in a town nearby. It would be more inconvenient, but what can be worse than to be without one's bike for a month at a time (twice in one year!.)

In the mean time, I am trying to find a solution to my broken indicators. Francois suggested that I look at indicators on offer by motorward.

I have also e-mailed a few bike-shops in Cape Town to get quotes and solutions from them.

No comments: