This is long, but I’m really ticked off about it and want to share my story. I will always praise good business and customer service (Dave Page Cobbler and Sewing Specialties being two of them), but bad business is just that: bad. I won’t stand for it, and I don’t want others to be subjected to it as well.
This all started when I was getting ready to move from CA to NJ in 2009. My WCRM friends were kind enough to pool some funds and get me a gift certificate towards an RMC saddle (Rick Mayer Cycle, a maker of customer motorcycle seats) as a going away present – they’re so sweet! So Dan and I made an appointment with RMC, rode up to his shop and had a seat made. I figured that by bringing in the bike itself (my BMW 1150GS) I’d be sure to get a good fit. I wasn’t thrilled with the new seat on the ride home, but chalked that up to the seat needing to break in. Then just month later I moved to NJ where it was winter and I didn’t ride the GS for a long time and when I did, the seat was about equal to my old stock seat. For $319, I expected at least something to change. I guess technically it did: his seat design was perfect for allowing water to pool under my butt while riding in the rain.
I started communications with RMC early that next summer. I explained the delay and I got nothing but “don’t worry about it!” and “we’ll make it right!”. If you follow the communications below, you can see where numerous times I was assured that the time passing was not an issue and that if they couldn’t make it better, I could get a full refund.
Long, frustrating and stressful story later, I have most of my money back and a nice, comfy stock seat. But I had to fight for what I did manage to get. I did some research and found that while RMC can make a very good seat, if you have to go back for anything, or there is any deviation from the status quo, you’re screwed. As one ADVer put it, it’s like playing the lottery: you either get a perfect seat the first time and ride away happy, or you’re screwed.
I went through my emails and collated them into this little digest. Where applicable I put in notes on non-email events.
Date – (From) – Content
08-01-09 – Purchased seat from Rick Mayer. I rode the bike to his shop for an in-house appointment and fitting. Didn’t feel all that great on the ride back home, but chalked it up to it needing to break in.
08-28-09 – Moved to NJ. Not a lot of miles on the new seat; still not happy, but still not enough miles for “break in”
06-14-10 – Finally take long ride on BMW (600? miles). Not happy with the seat. Contact Rick Mayer, explain the situation. He has no problems with the time passed and suggests that I send it in for an adjustment. Delay in acting on this due to RM’s busy summer schedule and an upcoming trip of our own.
12-22-10 – Bike is down for repairs, proposed sending seat to RM for adjustment
01-04-11 – (Colleen) – Hi Rick – While living in SF in August of ’09 I rode in for a seat on my GS 1150. I’ve put 3,000 miles on the bike with the new seat and I have to say that I’m not happy with it. I am getting about the same mileage as the stock seat, even a little less, before I start to “feel it”. I now live near NYC – can you please tell me what my options are? Phone calls aren’t good for me – email is better. Thank you!
01-07-11 – (Tessa) – HI Colleen – I’m sorry to hear that! We are happy to perform an adjustment. Please send the seat to our office at your convenience along with the form on our website called “Request a Seat Adjustment” and a check for $25 to cover return shipping. We do adjustments all year round except for the months of July and December. We should have it in our shop about 10 days.
01-07-11 – (Colleen) – Thank you for your reply! Quick question before I send it in: how will Rick know what to adjust? I would have thought that with me sitting on the bike for him that he’d have all of the information that he needed. Or maybe he just replaces something? Either way, I’d like to be happy with it, since I’ve heard so many good things from other people. I’ll be sure to include the form when I send it in, which may be sometime this month or next. Thank you!
01-12-11 – (Tessa) – The form has a spot for you to describe what you don’t like and what you would like to have changed. You can also include any other information you feel might be pertinent, such as measurements or photographs.
02-06-11 – (Colleen) – Thank you for your reply. The seat is on its way (if it hasn’t already arrived). The bike is not at my residence, so I had the person working on it mail in the seat. Unfortunately, I can’t recall which address I gave you to mail the seat back to. When the adjustment is done, can you be sure to mail it to: (address removed). I expect I’ll hear from you when Rick starts on the seat, but I wanted to be sure that you had this information. Thank you!
02-08-11 – (Rick) – Please fax a change my order form (attached) for the address change, if it is different than where we originally shipped the saddle. E mail is not reliable for this sort of thing.
02-15-11 – (Tessa) – Dear Customer – This email is to let you know that we plan on shipping your seat tomorrow, Wednesday February 16, 2011. The work on your seat is approximately 90% complete. If something unforeseen should arise and your seat does not ship out tomorrow, it will go Friday of this week. At this point we expect to be shipping your seat via USPS as we have been having some problems using FedEx. Please be on the lookout for a shipping notification directly from either FedEx or USPS.
02-15-11 – (Colleen) – Hi Tessa – As I mentioned before, the seat needs to go to the following address: (address removed)
02-21-11 – (Rick) – Colleen – The subject line of your e mail still said shipment confirmation-that would typically end up in our spam folder. I may have never seen it, but you are correct-just because you hit “send” doesn’t mean necessarily the other party received it. The label has already been generated for the Verona address, is there no one there to receive it? We don’t do address change by e mail, so if in fact you need it to go to PA, please complete the attached and I will cancel the NJ label and generate another for the PA address.
02-21-11 – (Colleen) – Well, I’d written to you twice asking you to ship it to the following address, but apparently emails don’t get far from the computer there. Thanks anyway, and I’ll hope that the seat adjustment works…
02-27-11 – Seat shipped back to NJ
07-17-11 – Put on another 1,000 miles; seat still not comfortable
07-19-11 – (Colleen) – Hi Tessa. I was wondering what my options are now, as I’ve put over 1,000 miles on the readjusted seat and am still not content with how it feels. After 300 miles I can feel distinct pressure points, the same ones that I felt before. I realize that it has been a while since this last adjustment, but as I mentioned in a previous email, the bike has been down for repairs and this is the first time I’ve been really able to put some consecutive miles on it. I know that Rick said that he ran into trouble because of the heating element within the seat. Anyway, I’m not sure what to do next. I have a two week, multi-thousand ride coming up August 13th and I’d like to have something more comfortable for the ride. Do you have any suggestions?
07-20-11 – (Kaarin) – Hi Colleen – Sorry to hear that the seat still isn’t working for you. Rick is out of the shop until Aug. 2nd we would be happy to do another adjustment, just send the seat and specifically what is bothering you with an Adjustment Form and we will get it taken care of.
07-22-11 – (Colleen) – HI Kaarin – Thank you for your quick reply. I’m not really sure what I want to do at this point. I had filled out an Adjustment Form before and it apparently didn’t do the trick. Rick did mention (after the last adjustment) that the heated seat unit was the culprit in my discomfort and he tried to work around it. However, I was disappointed that he said that *after* he made the adjustments that he did. I could have made the decision while he had the seat there whether or not to keep the heater unit in order to get a more comfortable seat. Now I am faced with the prospect of paying for shipping (and another $25 to ship it back? That’s not clear at this point) on a gamble that the next fix will “work”. I am tempted to take Rick up on his offer of simply returning me to my stock seat and giving me a full refund. Quite honestly, the stock seat kept me going for well over 200 miles at a time, but since my friends gave me a certificate to Rick’s, I figure that I might as well be comfy for a couple more hundred miles. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Please let me know, in more detail, what my options are at this point. I will wait for Rick’s return if that is necessary to get a full response. Thank you again for your assistance!
07-23-11 – BMW MOA – spoke with Rick about the seat. “He’ll pay for me to ship it back, do an agreed-upon adjustment and then pay to send it back” Still a reassurance that the length of time this is taking is not a problem.
07-23-11 – (Rick) – Rick here, I am sorry the adjusted saddle is still not up to your expectations. My offer to refund what was paid and supply a replacement stock seat stands. If you decide to go that way, please do so at your earliest convenience. We are in Pennsylvania now and will be on the road for another week, returning Tuesday August 2 in the shop.
07-24-11 – (Colleen) – Hi Kaarin and Rick – Kaarin – I spoke with Rick while he was at the BMW rally in PA. We come to the conclusion that you will send me a shipping label for me to ship the seat back to you. Rick will then remove the heating element (I’d like it included on the return, mostly out of curiosity to see it) and make some small adjustment to the seat area. He also said that he can apply heat to the front “wings” and get them to lay flatter against the bike’s tank. I am not in a hurry for the label, as I will be leaving on a two week trip on August 13th and not returning until the 29th. Rick said that he would not have time to work on the seat and get it to me before my departure date, so I will plan on sending it back to you after my return.
01-02-12 – (Colleen) – Time is slipping away and I figure that now that the holidays are over, it might be a good time to re-visit my seat problems. Unfortunately, I waited too long and don’t recall precisely what Rick suggested when I saw him at the BMW rally in Bloomfield, PA last summer. I seem to recall him offering to do one more adjustment, with the removal of the heating element and include shipping both ways. It was either that, or the simple exchange of the current seat back to a stock seat. I’m torn, as I really want to make the custom seat work, but I’m concerned that if the adjustment doesn’t work I won’t know again until well into spring, and I’m not very keen on the way the current seat design pools water onto the seat. The stock seat doesn’t have the dish shape that the current custom seat does and sheds water much more easily. I’ll leave it at that for now and wait to hear back from you confirming what my options are.
01-13-12 – (Colleen) – Just making sure that you got my inquiry. I didn’t see anything on your website suggesting that you’re closed post-holiday, so hopefully you can get back to me with some information. I might slip in an LD order if I can get this taken care of in time!
01-31-12 – (Colleen) – Thanks for the email response to my voice mail. I’m guessing that your date stamp is off, as I just called you today. Perhaps EST and PST are further apart than we thought…I’m forwarding you the email I originally sent on the 2nd, which was tacked on to our previous correspondences. I’m not sure why it didn’t get through your email system this time, seeing as we had a bit of a conversation going at the time. Regardless, you should now have my questions/concerns and I look forward to hearing back from you.
01-31-12 – (Colleen) – *** ATTENTION *** Your e-mail is being returned to you because there was a pr…
02-02-12 – (Colleen) – Testing (again)
02-06-12 – (Colleen) – Testing again….
02-29-12 – (Colleen) – I’m still waiting ot hear back from Rick on the options for my GS1150’s seat adjustment or exchange. I know that come April I’m going to want to ride the bike again, so I’d like to get something going soon so that I’m ready. Thank you.
02-29-12 – (Rick) – Hi Colleen – I don’t have a stock 1150 seat any more or I would offer to trade you. If you would rather have a stock seat, why not post an ad and sell it with the buyer giving you a stock seat in exchange-you might make someone very happy to have the one you have.If you have a plan on how you would like yours modified, I am happy to do it, but I don’t know how I would change it further.
03-03-12 – (Colleen) – Hi Rick – Thanks for getting back to me. I appreciate the suggestion of selling my seat with an exchange for a stock seat, but I don’t see why someone would want to pay me for a custom seat (that isn’t custom to them) when they could just spend the same amount and having it done (correctly) by you. Since neither of us has any more adjustment suggestions, I propose that we just wait until you have a stock seat, at which time we can make the exchange and you can refund me the cost (as previously agreed). Please confirm that this is ok with you, at which point I’ll just wait until you let me know when you get a stock seat in.
05-25-12 – (Colleen) – Hi again Rick – You never responded to my prior email, so I can only hope that you eventually got it. I also hope that you have a stock seat on hand so that we can make the trade for my current seat. I’ll try to give you a call, but please let me know that you’ve gotten my message(s). Thank you!
05-25-12 – (Rick) – Hi Colleen – I don’t remember seeing the earlier e mail. -I still do not have any stock seats for an 1150 GS and I don’t anticipate getting any-if you would like to buy a used one, I will reimburse you up to $75-I paid between $50 and $75 for them back when they were the bike. I do see them on e bay, craigs list, and beemer boneyard quite often. Your dealer might have one also.
05-25-12 – (Colleen) – Hi Rick – Thank you for the reply. I will see what I can find on my own regarding a stock seat. In the meantime, I want to make sure that you’ll still honor what you said in an email dated 7/23/11: “My offer to refund what was paid and supply a replacement stock seat stands”, as you haven’t mentioned this in any emails between us since then. Please confirm this, and that you’ll pay for the return shipping of the custom seat to you, as you also previously agreed to. I too am sorry that this didn’t work out, but I’ll be happy once we have this settled. Thank you.
06-30-12 – (Colleen) – Rick – I wish that I had your ebay connections, Rick. The cheapest seat that I could find on ebay was $120, and there weren’t too many to chose from. That being said, I did manage to get a stock seat. Therefore, I’d like to go ahead and ship your custom seat back to you and I’ll continue to use the stock seat that I have. Please be sure to include the $75 reimbursement that you stated for my purchasing the stock seat. As I outlined in a previous email: “… In the meantime, I want to make sure that you’ll still honor what you said in an email dated 7/23/11: “My offer to refund what was paid and supply a replacement stock seat stands”, as you haven’t mentioned this in any emails between us since then. Please confirm this, and that you’ll pay for the return shipping of the custom seat to you, as you also previously agreed to. I will be waiting to hear back from you, hopefully with a shipping label so that we can complete this.
07-05-12 – (Rick) – “I will refund the purchase price, plus the $75 quoted on the stock seat reimbursement-In light of the time involved in this return, I don’t feel obligated to cover return shipping, you will have to ship the seat to me prepaid. I think this is far and above what should be expected.”
07-05-12 – (Colleen) – “Far and above”. If you say so, although you and everyone I’ve ever spoken with there have REPEATEDLY told me not to worry about the amount of time this was taking, and you originally said that you’d cover the return shipping. But I want this over and done with and will ship the seat back to you on my own dime. Please confirm how/when you will make the refund.
07-08-12 – (Colleen) – Please confirm how/when you will make the refund, and for how much in total.
07-10-12 – (Rick) – Whatever was paid Colleen-I don’t have a record of that payment back that far-just forward whatever documentation you have for refund of that amount in the manner originally paid.
07-17-12 – (Colleen) – I shipped the seat out to you today via Parcel Post. $28 with Del. Confirmation
07-25-12 – (Colleen) – I know that this is a busy time of year for you, but please at least acknowledge that you received the seat. Thank you.
07-25-12 – (Kaarin) – Hi Colleen – The shop has been empty for the past 2 weeks, I did just go through a stack of boxes and your seat has arrived, however it won’t be processed until they return next week.
07-25-12 – (Colleen) – Thanks Kaarin for letting me know.
08-23-12 – (Colleen) – Hi Kaarin – It’s been almost a month now. Any word on the seat return?
08-23-12 – (Rick) – Hi Colleen – In my last e mail, where the seat was acknowledged as arriving I requested some documentation on what was paid from you as my records do not go back that far. As soon as I get something back from you I can reference, I will issue a refund. I can’t issue a check without something to back it up.
08-23-12 – (Colleen) – Rick – If you look in the packaging you’ll find a photocopy of the receipt that you gave me. If you need me to send it (again), let me know.
08-23-12 – (Colleen) – Rick – Did you find the receipt?
08-24-12 (Rick) All packaging was recycled and I don’t see any scanned receipts in the computer-the only document I am finding is the $25 check from Jan 2011, can you send another copy in an e mail?
08-24-12 – (Colleen) – I didn’t send you documents via email because we’ve had so much trouble with email even without the addition of attachments. I am sending you two emails: one with a small .jpg file and a follow up with a larger .pdf file. Hopefully at least one of them will work for you.
08-24-12 – (Rick) – Got it colleen-I will be processing the refund next week to the card.
08-24-12 – (Colleen) – Which card, might I ask?
08-24-12 – (Rick) – The one used for the initial purchase is where it has to go
08-24-12 – (Colleen) – You might want to confirm the last four digits of that card, considering I have no idea which one was used and you have no paperwork showing what was charged. I know that I had a gift card for a good portion of the cost, and I *think* that I paid cash for the balance.
08-25-12 – (Rick) – I need a receipt or some form of payment record-Let me know when you come up with that-we have no record of monies paid and without something to back up a payment that long ago, I can’t generate a refund.
08-25-12 – (Colleen) – Rick – What I sent you is all that I was given when I left your shop, therefore it is the only receipt that I have. The fact that you don’t have anything in your files is surprising. Legally, you should be keeping your paperwork for 10 years (http://blog.mynewcompany.com/how-long-to-keep-business-records/). We both know that I paid for the seat, and the file that I forwarded you gives you the amount that I paid. I even took a picture of the new seat while I was in your shop (picture link). I don’t understand why you can’t issue me a check for the full refund. You’re the owner, you can make it happen. I am formally requesting that you send me a check for $319.
08-25-12 – (Rick) – Jeez colleen, really, this is really a mission for you isn’t it? I have 10 helmets on my shelf that I don’t wear anymore because I prefer the one I do wear-it would never occur to me to hound the vendor for a refund for the ones I don’t. I am not challenging that you paid Something for a seat I normally charge $269 for and I can generate a check anytime I want, but without an invoice or some record of payment, I might as well throw the money away-I just experienced an IRS audit, so I do have firsthand current knowledge of what I need and don’t need for paperwork. Do you even remember what you paid after the gift certificate? I have put your seat on e bay, and you can have whatever it generates. I did say that I would buy your stock seat for you, and that was $75, I think you said, so I will give you that $75 plus whatever this auction brings. Let’s not beat this issue to death-I am done with it, let’s both move on. (ebay link)
08-27-12 – (Rick) – You seat sold on e bay for $289. If you have a pay pal account I will transfer that $289 plus the $75 I promised for a total of $364. In looking over the notes, I have no doubt both the comfort complaint, and the water pooling complaint are a direct result of the aftermarket heater that was placed at your request. This is why I try to convince folks to not put them in their seats-but what do I know. I have no hard feelings btw-I do feel taken advantage of, but that goes with the territory.
08-27-12 – (Colleen) – Yes, I saw that the seat was indicated as “sold” this morning. You can PP the money to this address. Thank you.
08-28-12 – (Kaarin) – We did not retain the credit card information from your original order. I would like to refund you via PayPal. Do you have an email associated with a paypal account. If you do I will take care of it today.
08-28-12 – (Colleen) – I replied to Rick yesterday and said that he could use this address for a PP refund.
08-28-12 – (Paypal) – rick mayer sent you $354.00 USD
08-28-12 – (Colleen) – Not to quibble (even though I am), Rick said that the refund would be $75 plus whatever the seat sold for ($289), which comes to $364, not $354. Just thought I’d point out that your math is incorrect 🙂
08-28-12 – (Colleen) – I find it very interesting that you feel taken advantage of. If you read up on the “Rick Mayer” thread on ADV you just might learn something about your business. Personally, I think that you do a great job of making saddles, but there’s no way in hell that you should be allowed anywhere near the office. You obviously have no customer service skills and the overwhelming feeling (at least from part of the ADV community) is that you don’t fully understand how to best run a business. If you don’t get the seat right the first time, and the customer doesn’t get 100% of what they’re expecting, then it all falls apart when trying to make it right. As someone mentioned, it truly is a lottery when ordering from you.
As for the heater element, don’t you even dare put the blame on me for that. The heated seat came with the bike when I bought it, and you didn’t mention that it would cause me issues until after the first adjustment. In the initial sitting you had merely asked if I was interested in keeping it place. I was, and you worked around it.
You may not have any hard feelings, but I’m very sorry to have ever come to your shop. I’m only out $40 (it would have been only $30 but apparently Kaarin fat-fingered the PP refund; or that was just another ploy to keep more of my money?) so I can count myself fortunate.
The motorcycling community is small, Rick. I have friends who like your work, but I can honestly say that I’ll never recommend you to anyone.
“You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?”