Do bike manufacturers have the right to privacy when resolving problems?


Active Member
I am starting to have misgivings about us slapping the manufacturers publicly in the face when these problems pop up. I know if I had a issue with my Motiv Shadow, I would email or call Motiv and speak to Cameron or another employee. Only if that problem was not addressed properly would I think about posting it here. Motiv and I have a trusting relationship to maintain... I would first exhaust all of the normal channels provided by Motiv to try and fix these issues/defects. After a reasonable amount of time, if I have not been satisfied, only then would I "air" the problems at this forum. If the problems are fixed, then report that here too. Thereby, any repetitive structural or systemic manufacturing problem related to a particular bike will be duly publicized and yet if that problem is only a one time instance that too will be known with minimal damage to their reputation.

If I was the owner/representative of an electric bike company or shop, and one of my customers had a problem with his/her bike. I'd probably be pissed off if they started the whole conversation right here in the forum... Hey! Lookie here everyone: Calvin! What gives with the bike you sold me? That trashy battery is dead! Gimme another one. Let's go! Hop to it! ... I can't think of a better way to drive the manufacturer or bike shop owner away from this very public forum.

You know I am exaggerating of course, but you all get the idea. I or you should use the established chain of command first, then the back channel if we must. When there is no response then become like an Edward Snowden. Anyway, that's my take on this.
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I caught your other post and am glad you took the time to highlight it with a new thread. I did have the bottom bracket torque sensor problem on my Currie E3 Dash, and didn't post anything about it until I had finished the troubleshooting and repair process with Currie's tech support and local bike shop. Neither performed flawlessly (but neither did I), and both stood behind the product and their reputations and stuck with me until I was totally satisfied. To this day I highly recommend both. Great work by Shawn at Currie and Motostrano in Redwood City CA.

I learned from others' experience and as a result had the option of hanging back. If there'd been no prior history however, I'd have been very tempted to 'break trail' and see what I could learn about the problem, the model e-bike, and the manufacturer. If I'd already felt wronged or dissed when I found the Brands > IZIP forum, my approach would likely have been more heated.

I think the best thing a manufacturer or national distributor could do to serve their customers and dealers would be to publicize brand-agnostic forums that they frequent and respect. Brand sponsored forums or Facebook pages are a logical place to start, and hopefully they all have at least that... and their customers presumably should start there.

Likewise for bike shops. They could have a social media handout or pamphlet they give every shopper or buyer of the top on-line communities for their region, brand, type of riding, etc. And of course the shop should have a on-line presence to continue that relationship they started in the shop.

I think that finding the appropriate community to air grievances or ask for help is quite difficult! As I was shopping before I bought my Dash back in April I put almost equal weight on finding an e-community as on finding an e-bike. I figured the bike would as much computer or software as a bike, and just as with those I'd put a priority on finding community for feedback and support. In fact I advise and make purchasing decisions at work regularly, and I DO NOT buy equipment or software that is not backed up by a vibrant user community (preferably 3rd party, not manufacturer sponsored).

So one contribution I might make to the forums at one point might be the other forums I frequent...
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If a particular bike model has problems, then it should be posted.
It helps future buyers know the truth about the problems with the bike. Also, it might help others who have the same problems, because as the issues are discussed and resolved for one owner, there are other owners who are being helped.
And when the bike manufacturer shows they care about the bike's problems publicly, I think it does them a lot of good.
Take Currie for example.
How many times have we heard people say what outstanding customer service they get from Larry and Chawn. And I agree! Currie has probably one of the best customer service teams I've seen in a long time.
Would I buy another Currie bike?
Absolutely, because even though they have had some problems and they have been aired publicly, they have resolved those problems in the best way possible with first class customer support.
I was not going to mention anyone by name, but now there it is. Don't you and I think that other companies have their share of manufacturing snafus? You bet they do. Ninety percent of the parts that make up these bikes are made in China. The assemblers here in the U.S. have only limited control in all of that. So they get the tail end of the quality control process... i.e. customer complaints. For a company rep to stand up in this forum and deal with what we have to dish out is impressive. This is where literally, "the rubber meets the road".
I think we can also admire the manufacturers' willingness to sell a product to a public that's practically guaranteed to underestimate its sophistication and overestimate its maturity. As you said @calvin, some problems will almost certainly occur. In a way it seems to me, that they really should keep the prices high until they're sure they have a virtually 'idiot proof' product.
There's a two edged sword.....If you're new to Ebikes, you could possibly be scared off by reading about all these problems and how difficult it is to resolve them, or if they are repetitive... OTOH Ebikes are relatively expensive and the consumer should be able to hear from another customer about all the positives and negatives.

Secondly, every bike has problems and we can judge how well the company stands behind their product by reading about it on these types of forums..

Amazon is famous for this kind of feedback, and this website is a much better extension of those types of reviews.

IMO Court's website will only improve the general quality of ebikes and service by its transparency.
Please bear with me for a short story. I am currently in possession of a defective bike. I have discussed the issue with the manufacturer and expressed to them what I would like to happen in order to resolve the issue. They have agreed to my request and I believe that we mutually feel that the resolution will be fair. This resolution requires a certain amount of time to handle and for the sake of owning a quality piece of equipment for years to come, I am happy to wait. The manufacturer has allowed me to enjoy the product "as-is" for the time being and I am doing just that. This is good for them because people are asking me about it everywhere I go in town. At the same time, this is good for me because I have a functioning set of wheels. I consider this bike to be a demo or a rental for now. I am assuming that my situation will be resolved by this time next month. If they follow through with the next move, I will give it thirty days after that and post a message describing my experience for all to see, including a general report about the product. Court has already done a complete one on it so it will only be testimonial from a new owners perspective. Only time will tell if this will be a positive, negative or neutral post but I can say that I am optimistic and would be happy to post a positive comment for them with minimal emphasis on the "snafu." Stay tuned!

To answer the question directly, no a manufacturer does not have a "right to privacy" when it comes to products. They are not selling apple pies off of their window sills to the neighbors. They are selling a costly product and depending on what state you live in, you could be paying tax on your purchase. If you order a steak at Applebee's, you are allowed to say aloud that it either was done to your liking or it was burnt to a crisp. Let's be real though. If you go online and complain about how bad your steak was at Applebee's, their restaurants will still be full tomorrow and plenty of people will be ordering a steak for $7.99. When it comes to the e-bikes that we are talking about here, we are talking about many manufacturers that no one has ever heard of before selling products that cost some people quarter, a half, or almost all of a paycheck. They are small and selling a costly product. The company that I am currently doing business with is so small that I have communicated with both the vice-president and the founder of the company, including a personal phone call. One bad review, whether it is fact-based, opinion-based, or both, can cost a small business or company thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. If we do the math, a thousand dollars is a low price for an e-bike. If I write a bad review in their category on this website, ten people might read it and say to themselves that it suddenly isn't worth the risk to go with this bike over another one. That is a ten thousand dollar loss directly related to your review. But what if your review is legit, you say? Fine, good point. It's a lousy bike and you want to make sure that those ten readers don't buy the bike. That is fair too. My own personal opinion is that you ask yourself if you gave that company every opportunity to resolve the situation. Did they work with you? Or did they do what many companies do, which is break down communication and hope that you will just go away and deal with your unfortunate purchase. Ask yourself if you would be happy to know that they were reading your review. Keep in mind that they are allowed to log in here too and they can post a reply to your comments. There is a phenomenon in society when it comes to reviews and feedback. No one is louder than someone who isn't satisfied with something. I will admit with no shame that when I am not satisfied, I tend to raise my voice a bit too. But I know that when I say that Applebee's cooks lousy steaks, there are a thousand people that would say that they would go back to Applebee's for a steak. Perhaps this is an issue of stands but so bit it. That is the way it is. I think it is fair to report to your peers your experience with a bike, so long as you do it with some form of fairness and be sure to use their own claims as a basis for your grievance or compliment. You can find a description of every bike on a company website. If they report their bike to weight 50 lbs, go to the gym and pick up two 25'ers if you aren't sure what that means, as opposed to going online and complaining how heavy your bike is. If they say that the max speed is 20mph and you are an average-sized person that is only able to get 15mph out of it, then you have a legitimate grievance. At this point, you have the 1st Amendment right to say what you want but please give the manufacture a chance to resolve the problem first. Most people here would like to see the evolving of the e-bike movement. This would make it easier to obtain e-bikes in the future, create more places to get them serviced, and bring costs down. Let's do what we can to contribute to the cause!
Another two cents.............The purpose of forums is to ferret out problems with new technology and to make the community of purchasers aware of issues. As a long time manufacturer I neither wanted nor asked for any privacy on a product problem. An man made product (including humans) can have problems, manufacturing defects, or substandard engineering. The smart manufacturer trolls the community for any negative issues and, if they want to build loyalty, turns problems into opportunities by acknowledging legitimate issues, providing immediate customer support and relief, and most importantly, correcting any operational deficiencies that caused the problem. Now, every once in a while a consumer will trash a vendor inappropriately. What is important to forum users is a pattern of consistent behavior. Let me give you an example. I buy stuff from Amazon and always look at the consumer reviews to determine the ratio of highly rated to lowly rated. If a product has a 100 reviews and 90% of them are 5 star, then it is wise to ignore the 10%. Further example, I bought a Light and Motion TAZ 1200 light for my new bike (being built today). I read review after review that the mounting system was inferior and cheap for such an expensive light. I then compared the number of folks who thought the mount was perfectly fine with those who thought it was crap. The ratio was overwhelmingly in favor of a positive rating. I then called the company and they indicated that, "if its Tuesday and you want to return the light because the cafeteria is serving tomato soup, feel free to do so. We stand behind our product 100% period. I then asked the rep what happens if the strap breaks from repeated doffing (on/off) and he said just gimme a call and I will send you a bunch of straps.

I purchased the product with 100% confidence............

Every product or service takes it chance with an online review. Smart companies respond quickly to take care of customers and it is those companies who will succeed.

As a side note, I have always asked my management teams to train customer service reps to understand that if a customer has a problem, there IS a problem. When customer service understands this, they render better support.
Good customer service is a big deal. One of several reasons that people talk about Currie all of the time because they answer their phone and have a guy sitting there waiting for you to start a chat. Now, I don't know if Currie is going to send you a box of straps on tomato soup day but the fact that they always have someone available would sort of mean to me that they are willing to get things done for a customer. A cheap company wouldn't use a human resource to answer the photo or chat box all day long to tell customers that they are SOL. I also agree with you that every manufacturer should be reading through comments like crazy. The development guys might have thought that they made the right choice with those sporty fenders but only in the forum will you find out that everyone else hates them. That guy Steve that answers your phones might tell the funniest jokes at happy hour but your customers might not think he is even remotely pleasing. You can find that information here too. What is really good about EBR is that everyone that cares about e-bikes is here, at least once if not every day. The manufacturers should be here too. In essence, it is free research for them provided by Court. If someone decides to call a spade a spade and drops your name, that is your chance to respond by proving them wrong or improving your product!

By the way @86 and still kicking , if it was tomato soup day in the cafeteria, there would probably also be toasted cheese sandwiches to dip into it and therefore, I would be far too satisfied with life to complain about my bike. This is my former first-grade self talking.
Up to a point.

I think its only fair to give them a chance to put things right.

If it goes well, publicly praise them. If it doesn't, then say so. This feedback educates other would be ebike buyers. As mentioned earlier by another poster, Amazon is a good role model.