How warranties really work

Last but not least, one of the most common support questions, if not the most common, is with regards to the bike’s warranty. What is a warranty? What is covered? More importantly, what is not covered, and why?!

To be frank, and brutally honest, warranties are always handled on a case by case basis (hence, why they are referred to as “Warranty Cases”, and so it is nearly impossible to create rules by which the manufacturers, and our shop, make determinations of eligibility.

It is important to note, that most manufacturers will avoid paying out free replacement parts, unless they are parts that are so cheap that they won’t be missed or affect the bottom line of the company if given away for free. Our shop is not a manufacturer, but rather a dealer, and typically dealers only service the claim, and don’t determine eligibility.

Despite this, there are plenty of times when our shop is forced into a position where we must make the determination to put our own funds on the table, and pay for a replacement out of pocket, or else begin a battle with the manufacturer to cover the cost, or put the cost back on the customer. Of course, we prefer to not put the cost back on the customer, because without customers, our shop is nothing.

The point is, we will help whenever we can, even if it is difficult–or impossible–to satisfy all parties (the client, the manufacturer, and our shop).

Of course, the client comes first, but we also must take care of our own finances so that we can continue to operate, and maintain good relations with our partners, so in this way all of these finer points must be considered when handling complicated claims with thousands of dollars on the line. Keeping this in mind, we will pursue solutions on behalf of our clients, even if the manufacturer has considered the warranty void.

These are rough guidelines to help you understand what processing a warranty claim entails. It’s important to keep in mind that not all warranty claims are the same. From one manufacturer to the next, there may be big differences between the scope of what is covered and under what terms something might be covered.

Warranty eligibility is typically determined based on product defects, and comparing the intended use of a product against the actual, applied way the product is being used.

For example, wheels, brakes, chains, and parts of a similar consumable nature are not typically covered under warranty because they often fail early due to use or misuse, and are not something that is usually considered specifically a “defect” in the eyes of the manufacturer.

Furthermore, some warranty guidelines put forth from the manufacturer exclude the use of any type of aftermarket component, even something as simple as a brake pad made by any brand other than the brand that manufactures the brake. In other cases, the simple use of a suspension seatpost can void the warranty on your frame, since it adds more stress to the frame. In other cases, adding a speed dongle (illegal speed tuning device) will void the warranty on your motor–and also will cause everything to wear out faster.

Another big caveat to every warranty policy is that it never covers accidents, or damage resulting from when a bike is dropped, misused, unused (like a bike sitting in a backyard for 3 months), or parts that stop working because they are caked in dirt or road salt, or heavily used (for our purposes, heavily used means about 10,000 miles.)

Another important note, warranties can almost never be claimed for bikes used for commercial purposes, such as bike shares, or deliveries, etc.

In another example, with the case of the Brose-brand eBike motors, we see that the warranty coverage is so limited that it maybe shouldn’t even be called a warranty at all. Brose’s warranty coverage starts at the product’s manufacture date, whereas most other brands consider the warranty period beginning with either the date of purchase or the date of the customer receiving the new bike. As mentioned above, there could be a one- or two-year difference in how the warranty period is defined.

While many warranty policies as printed by the manufacturer are incredibly strict and create headaches for our shop and consumers alike, at the end of the day, the best advice Propel can give you for getting the most out of your warranty policy is to pay attention, do lots of research when buying and getting used to your new bike, and if a bike shop staff person recommends against something, take their word seriously. It is likely intended to protect you from breaching the terms of your bike’s warranty policy.

Here are a handful of tips to keep in mind before submitting a warranty:

Before submitting or requesting to submit a claim, keep in mind that warranty eligibility is based on product defects, not product problems due to wear.

Not all components that fail, fail due to defects. Many times a component will fail due to misuse, abuse, overuse or poor assembly. These are not eligible for warranty coverage.

Anything that pushes the applied use of the bike outside of the bike’s original intended use parameters is considered misuse and is not eligible for warranty coverage unless defined by an extenuating circumstance such as improper or false advertising, lack of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts availability, and other extenuating circumstances that may arise.

How the warranty claim process works:

Every warranty claim consists of a process that begins with our shop’s associates and mechanics investigating the issue reported by the customer. After we have collected all pertinent data needed to submit a complete claim, then we continue to investigate the reported issue with the help of the manufacturer.

Once the manufacturer reviews and discusses the case with us, at this point, our shop may be eligible to be reimbursed for the parts and labor involved to repair the specific issue.

Keep in mind that without completing the claim, there is no assurance that the claim will be approved or Propel will be reimbursed for parts and services rendered to the customer during the warranty process. Proof of purchase, serial number and other details regarding the owner of the bike and the bike itself are needed to complete a claim.

Updated on December 29, 2022

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