This rant is about a week late.
The latest obstacle, hill, wall that I am currently beating my head against as Service Manager, is dealing with rentals. We hadn't done rentals in years due to the difficulty of turning a profit when the bikes were getting trashed. So going into things for a second round after about three years, we were sure we would have to charge people for damage that occurred while the bike was in their position.
I rented a bike to a college kid, who cried over the price of the rental, but signed his name and verbally confirmed that he understood that any damage that the bicycle sustained while he had it would be charged to him. He left. He was at least happy that he was going to be able to ride a bike instead of hang out in a hotel room for two days.
I had bad feelings about this kid from the beginning, I knew the bike was gonna get fucked, and not in that pleasant, pretending to make love kind of way...
So he came back after two days. Let me add before proceeding any further, that this bike had been rented only once before he took it, meaning it was as good as new. No scratches, no dents, no monkey business, just a perfectly running/looking bike. I walked out front (where our check-in stand is) to check the rental back in. I took one look at the bike and knew things were not going to be pleasant.
He said the bike had worked perfectly and he hadn't had any issues.
The seat was ripped and heavily worn on both sides, both cranks were rubbed completely down to silver. The fork lowers were rubbed down to gray underneath the nice, thick plastic coating. The right stanchion was scratched. The down tube, right in front of the shock had a scratch from one side to the next. The top tube had freckles and two chips that were to the metal. Should I continue?
In the moment, I knew two things. A) this bike was fucked. B) this shithead was going to fight every penny that I tried to charge him. I started out by pointing out everything on the frame and told him a price. Then proceeded to act shocked when I noticed the fork, again, and showed him the scratches and how bad the bike was. His dumb ass friend kept telling me how they had tried to make sure the bikes were secure in the trailer they were using for transport and they hadn't quite been prepared for the rough roads. What the fuck do I care?
I knew that if I tried to get a legitimate amount of cash for the damage he wasn't going to have it. I let him off easy. He fumed from the point of me checking the first scratch until he paid and left.
A word to the wise, when you sign a contract stating that you will pay for any damage that occurs while an object is in your possession don't put it in a trailer and then rally down dirt roads. Chances are you're gonna end up getting fucked.
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