7

My Ti frame developed a huge crack in the frame a week or so ago. A pain I thought bit it'll be covered by warranty...

The frame builder is now saying that it's crash damage.

I really really doubt it's crash damage.

I have fallen off this bike twice, once I went into the back of a slowing cyclist, the other my front wheel came out from under me and I slid along the ground. Both of these were nearly 2 years and around 10,000 miles ago.

What can I do? It's my word against theirs.

They said that scratches on the hoods mean that it's been crashed! Those scratches are 2 years old when the bike slid along the ground. Scratches on the frame are from when I leant it against my garage wall and it fell over. They can't use scratches to determine if it's crashed.

Absolutely fuming about this, I hope some of you guys can help.

I live in the UK for your information.

Some pictures:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • I'd guess your options are pretty dependent on where you live. – Batman Jun 27 '16 at 15:38
  • Normally a titanium frame will bend before it cracks due to a crash. Where is the crack located? Is it at a weld? Did they measure the frame alignment to see if it was bent at all? – Brian G Jun 27 '16 at 16:05
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    I'd be checking with your local Citizens Advise Bureau. This is heading into legal territory under "failure to honour warranty" – Criggie Jun 27 '16 at 20:07
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    How is this not just an extension/addendum to your last question with the same frame and same photos "frame broke what should I do" – Móż Jun 27 '16 at 22:52
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    This looks to me like a bad weld. It can be seen where the weld separated from the fork, that was stage one. After that happened, every bump that you hit torqued the fork back (clockwise in the upper photo, counterclockwise in the lower photo), that is stage two. Stage three is the frame failing under the torque. Looks like a manufacturing defect to me, the weld did not stick to the fork. Do note that a frontal collision would have torqued the joint the other way, and left far more evidence than 'scratches'. – dotancohen Jun 28 '16 at 12:32
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Despite what others have said, a warranty is a bona fide contract between the company and you. It's used in the selling of the product thus is covered by decent consumer protection law (in the UK anyway). This article from Which suggests a good process to follow.

Keep a record of the contact with the company, try to follow their warranty procedure. If you're sure that the warranty exclusion isn't valid (crash damage), then it'd be worth getting an independent opinion on whether or not the crack was crash damage. A good bike shop should be able to write something up for you. Then show that to the company.

If you end up in a deadlock with them, then contact the financial ombudsman. Another avenue to follow might be section 75 of the Consumer Credit act. "Don't forget that if you pay for anything with a credit card between the value of £100 and £30,000, your credit card company can be jointly responsible for any faults that develop. You can either claim for a refund using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act or, if you are looking to get the product repaired, you can claim for the cost of repairs."

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I'd highly recommend two courses of action.

First, take a couple deep breaths and then call back the manufacturer. Without too many details to cloud the issue, and without too much emotion, explain that you believe you have a frame crack that in your estimation is from a defective weld. Play nice, if they still refuse to warranty it, ask what they can/are willing to do. Perhaps they can repair the frame at a discounted price. Perhaps they can offer you a steep discount on a new frame. See if there is anything they are willing to do that you feel also feel would be fair (or more fair than just being SOL).

If that route doesn't work, play the social media card. Find their company profile on some site and post a review (again without a lot of details or emotion) explaining that you bought their product, you believe it failed due to defect and they were not willing to honor their warranty. Some companies forget that their information and reviews about them are out there for everyone to see and their poor behavior has consequences. It will perhaps either prompt them to better behavior, or at the very least warn their future customers what they are getting into.

All other things aside, I have a couple of Ti frames. One from a largish manufacturer that has been "crashed" a couple times and is still fine. The other I had from a much smaller manufacturer that developed a similar crack around the seat tube/top tube intersection from a badly brazed in seat tube sleeve. The frame was replaced outright and nearly without question. The replacement frame has lots of miles on it several "crashes" and is still fine. Both mine are winter rides; ice is slippery and crashes happen. Most titanium frames should be more robust than what I am seeing in the picture and hearing from your description. If you can't come to a agreeable resolution with your manufacturer, I'd suggest a bit of research into a more reputable company in the future. Good Luck!

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  • Thanks for that. They are offering in the region of a 30% discount on a crash replacement frame. I intend to wait for the report, try and resolve it amicably and then resort to other approaches if that fails. – Roaders Jun 27 '16 at 18:26
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    ...and what if the replacement frame cracks in some way ? At some point you have to stop feeding them money for sub-standard goods. I'd not patronise this brand or supplier ever again, based on the product failure and failure to honor warranty agreement. – Criggie Jun 28 '16 at 0:49
  • Yes, I hear what you're saying. I don't really want to trust my safety to another frame that might do the same. Would you try and refund the whole bike then saying it's not fit for purpose? – Roaders Jun 28 '16 at 13:01
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Nothing. If the manufacturer doesn't want to play ball, you're scuppered. There is no way you can prove your case one way or the other, so you're reliant on the goodwill of the manufacturer. In this case they appear to have no goodwill. Unfortunately your case shows that for the most part, warranties should be treated with a pinch of salt. Not much consolation for you, I know.

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    Completely untrue. Just because a company refuses to honour a warranty, does not mean you have no recourse. In the UK, the Sales of Goods Act provides protection against the sale of defective products. Simply accepting their initial refusal is what they might be counting on, but it does not mean the case is closed. If it was me I would get the frame independently assessed and if the advice given is that it was a faulty frame, I would then use that advise to get the decision overturned (or go to court in last resort). – zeFrenchy Jun 28 '16 at 10:27
  • @zeFrenchy we only have the Op's word that this frame was at all defective. That's the trouble. – PeteH Jun 28 '16 at 11:12
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    Agreed @PeteH ... hence some independent assessment is required. All I'm saying, is that initial refusal of warranty from a vendor is not at all 'game over'. – zeFrenchy Jun 28 '16 at 12:00
  • @zeFrenchy no, I'd very much go along with you there. What kind of manufacturer wants people left unhappy with their purchase? – PeteH Jun 28 '16 at 13:13

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