I buy quite a lot over the Internet, and I’m not overly concerned about purchasing items this way than if I was standing in the store, until it comes to items that require sizing. So it was with a lot of care I purchased a bike for my girlfriend for her Christmas.

There were a couple of requirements. It had to have front suspension so she could join me in Cross Country, had to have a comfortable saddle, decent Shimano components, rapid fire gears, and here’s the important part – a frame that didn’t look like a womans bike.

How hard could that be? Very it turned out, all because of that frame.

The first problem was just finding a cheap deal for a womans MTB in a male frame style. I more or less gave up on that and just looked for smaller bikes that would be the right size, male or female, and were on offer.

As soon as I did that, I found the offer from for a lovely Diamondback M10 Ladies Hardtail. It was ideal, and at a good price I couldn’t beat despite a good search.

So knowing the problems of sizing, I checked her inside leg measurement and phoned the company. The employee I talked to was very helpful, acknowledged I would get the bike delivered two days before Christmas and there wouldn’t be a problem swapping the bike for another size if it hadn’t been ridden and I paid for return.

Fair enough I though, no problems. I let him know the inside leg measurement and they recommended the small frame. Fine, now just to await delivery.

I worked from home that day and waited for the bike to arrive, it didn’t. However the following day, Boxing Day, I was called at work. “Just to let you know we are delivering your bike now”. Turns out that the bike wasn’t delivered the day before because of a road accident stopping the lorry from heading into Scotland. Fair enough, that was on the news, but what about informing the customer?

I asked for them to drop it in at the neighbours. “They refused delivery” was the answer. This stunned me and I questioned it, only to find out that they had rung the buzzer of my neighbour and asked for me by name, to which they said “Try his buzzer”. So they asked and the neighbour took receipt.

Now I realise this isn’t directly the fault of the bikes company, but they are who I took my contract with for purchase of the bike, and they are the ones responsible for hiring the delivery company. So for me, as a customer, they are responsible.

That night I assembled the bike in my darkened garage, and something struck me. It was the wrong frame, it was actually the ladies frame. So there was the Christmas surprise gone.

I immediately sent them an email, and by the time I’d started back at work there had still been no response. So I called and talked to another employee who was basically telling me they could do nothing, I’d bought the bike knowning the size, etc.

Wrong, I argued. The website shows the frame of a normal bike. He tried to tell me that the picture is the medium frame and I’d bought the small. Doesn’t matter, I told him, it does not make that clear on the page, it shows the proper frame without qualification. The discussion went on like that for some time, and eventually he asked for a photo of the frame to clarify.

I sent a photo with a written explanation of my grievance, and a few days later I was rewarded with the promise of replacement. We arranged a day and after five that day the courier arrived and we swapped the bike. The one we have now is the right one, the one from the website picture, and my girlfriend is now extremely happy with it – she just bought a helmet!

So, although the company hired a poor delivery company and was reluctant to replace the bike initially, they did turn out well in the end, plus their prices were excellent on this deal. The worrying thing is though, they haven’t changed anything on their website about the frame types.

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