As previously mentioned, I have had mildly stressful year or so. Dead mother, broken ankle, moving house, emergency gallbladder surgery, homeschooling whilst working from home full time during the pandemic – the usual.
The last few weeks have been particularly trying though. Getting a new bathroom fitted. Blocked pipes in the village leading to overflowing sewage in our garden.
A street-wide maggot infestation. Our dog being diagnosed with cancer and having to have a sizeable chunk cut out of him.
Poor Benny. Fortunately, the test results were as good as we could have hoped for with cancer – spindle cell, which doesn’t tend to metastasise, and doesn’t need chemo, just surgery. The downside was that, to get clear margins, the area removed was huuuuge. He had a drain sticking out of him for about five days, and carried on bleeding for a few days more. We had to keep him calm and as inactive as possible, so Mr Toast and I ended up taking it in turns sleeping on a camping mattress in the living room with Benny. That way Benny wouldn’t be tempted to tackle the stairs (or the bed), and we’d also save our carpets (downstairs is laminate, huzzah!).
Benny eventually stopped bleeding from the drain, so naturally, he popped a stitch on the same day. Instead of leaking from his drain site on his belly, he was leaking from his side. It’s rather disconcerting having a dog with a hole in his side (and also to have a living room covered in bloody towels and puppy pads…). Fortunately he’s now well on his way to recovery – all healed up, and no longer on mind-altering drugs – but it was an upsetting and tiring time (have you ever tried to sleep with a bleeding dog smashing into your face with his cone of shame?).
On top of all this, I had Rutland Cycling refusing my refund request. I believed that I was entitled to one under the Consumer Rights Act (as I’d already had the bike repaired at an authorised Giant dealer). They believed that they had the right to attempt a second repair themselves, as they didn’t do the first one. We argued. I called Giant, they said that I was probably entitled to a refund. I called the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, they said that I was probably entitled to a refund. The good people of the Singletrack forum said that I was entitled to a refund.
Unfortunately, I had so much going on with the bleeding cancerous dog, bathroom refurbishment shenanigans and assorted maggoty sewage horror that I reluctantly accepted that I was probably going to end up with the bike back. It probably wouldn’t be that bad – hopefully any issues would be 100% fixed with the new parts this time, and there was a lot I loved about that bike. So I waited.
As our half-term trip to Dalby fast approached, it became apparent that my Intrigue wasn’t going to be joining me. Rutland had had my bike four over four weeks, with no word for the last two, despite repeatedly promising to keep me updated. I once again asked for a refund, this time under the section of the Consumer Rights Act that dictates that any repair has to be done ‘in a reasonable time’, and ‘without inconvenience to the consumer’. I didn’t think that being without a bike for four weeks was reasonable, and as I went on yet another mountain biking trip without a full susser, I was feeling fairly fucking inconvenienced.
Unsurprisingly, Rutland disagreed. They said that “standard warranties to take between 4 to 6 weeks” and “4 weeks for a warranty claim to be processed isn’t unusual or considered as an unreasonable timeframe”. Which would be fine if it was an older bike claiming on a warranty, rather than a 4 month old bike covered by the Consumer Rights Act (which is completely separate from warranties).
I continued to document my woes on the Singletrack forum. And, as is oft the way with STW, I got really good advice. Some people suggested credit card chargebacks – which didn’t apply in my situation, as I’d bought it on my debit card. But one chap responded that you can also do it on debit card purchases… so I gave it a go. For good measure, I also posted a ranting Battle Karen thread on Twitter.
Long story short, Barclays forced a refund to my account, which Rutland finally seemed to have accepted and apologised to me on Twitter, and STW continues to be full of heroes.
Now, what bike to go for next…