I am one who tends to take considerable time before making some purchases. Preferring to spend the time doing research to determine what solution is best for the need I have at hand. With the intent or hope being that I will be more satisfied with the purchase in the long run.
Sometimes it turns out to be a colossal waste of time. But other times like now, it saves significant frustration, heartache, and money.
We recently decided to enter the world of home treadmill ownership. With two little ones at home and two full time jobs for us adults. The opportunities to go to the gym to get regular exercise decrease dramatically (and of course our excuses become equally easier to make).
I nearly pulled the trigger two times on deals that were in front of me. Deals where I could have shaved off about 30-40% from the total investment. But I went with my gut and continued to investigate and am so glad I did. After less than 2 weeks of ownership we have had to request our first service call.
Now to some, it may be a negative to be logging our first service call. And indeed, it is to some degree. But there is a huge positive in this in that we have already discovered our first issue, submitted a service request, had a technician dispatched to our home to diagnose the problem who now has parts on the way for the repair. And confirmed the level of customer service we expected to receive is being met.
From everything I have read this may not have been the case if we had bought from some other manufacturers whose higher end models were in the same price range as our purchase. In fact, I did observe during my research that many brands that were carried by big chain department and fitness stores had a significant amount of “bad press” when it came to the service department. Affiliate and review sites rated the equipment itself very well from a function and features perspective, and always mentioned the warranties. But they rarely discussed how well the treadmills held up over time, and what the actual service experience was like.
Considering my difficulties in determining if there was good support for my purchase. I thought some others may find benefit to my research approach and thought to mention it here. My intent isn’t to draw negative attention to these companies as I do not have firsthand experience with them. I am more interested in assisting in providing the tools for others to do their own research and come to their own conclusions based on their own appetites for risk vs. cost are.
My initial searches of the company names followed by “complaints” or “service” Didn’t prove as fruitful as I had hoped. So I dug deeper. I found that a number of them would have a parent company or that their model was also branded as something else that I could search.
When I started searching those companies with the same “complaints” and “service” modifiers it was a different story. Lots more useful information was available to draw from in order to paint that picture of what the service reality might be. What I found couldn’t be deemed inclusive by any means, but for the three vendors I had initially been considering it was enough to turn me away from my purchase with them entirely.
Ultimately between the above and doing plenty of review at the runnersworld forums. I was able to determine a mfg. and model that fit my service and feature set expectations pretty well. And thankfully it looks like my trust in the company may be well founded (I’ll provide an update on that in a future post).