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Halfords Cycle2Work and Dolan

Just sharing my recent experiences with you... make of it what you will.

About 8 weeks ago I ordered a Dolan Mythos through the Halfords Cycle2Work scheme. Happy me, a full carbon/Ultegra bike with HMG picking up the tax and VAT bill - £35 a month for 18 months.

I got quoted 1-2 weeks delivery, which became nearly 4 weeks. I kept on phoning Halfords (looong time on hold each time) and Dolan (we'll call you back - they didn't). Then I got sent the wrong bike, which I didn't realise until I got it home and put it all together (wanted to put it together myself instead of having Halfords do it). So I phoned Halfords (30 mins on hold) to tell them. They said to take it back so I did, then I called them back to say i'd done that. 30 mins on hold.

Then Dolan said delivery in 1st week of September, after I'd called them a couple of times because Dolan appear to have a rule that they never, EVER, EVER return calls. Predictably, the bike failed to show, and Dolan said another week, mybe, but they were all going to the Eurobike show. That turned into another week, then finally they gave me a delivery date (yesterday!) and told me they would call to confirm.

Guess what?! Nothing. So I called them again, and they said, "Eh, alright, calm down, calm down, eh eh eh. We sent stacks of bikes out yesterday, but not yours. Sorry, our kid. Eh, we'll send it Monday then. Alright. Eh! de do doh, don't dee doh..." etc etc. (btw, I'm allowed to take the piss out of scousers 'cos I am one, albeit reformed).

So, fed up and angry, I decided to call halfords to say "Give me back my £1000, I'm going to buy something else". Guess what? After two calls, featuring 30 mins on hold for the first and a COLOSSAL 48 mins on hold for the second, I didn't get to speak to anybody.

No money, no bike, no real faith that I'm actually going to see it anytime next week and nobody I can complain to. Not happy. [:@] Actually I can do something, because I'm going to send this whole thing to my HR team and tell them not to use Halfords in future.

Such a bloody shame. I had a quick go on the [wrong] bike they originally sent me and it's a beauty. What I can't tell from a quick go is if they pay the same shoddy attention to quality control as they pay to customer service. I guess I'll find out if they ever deliver it and I can see if it falls to bits in the first 100 miles.

It would be unfair to say "Avoid" to everybody, just bear my experiences in mind if you are thinking of dealing with either company. As they say, your mileage may vary.

Rant over. Thanks for listening.


  • the Halfords near me are full of spotty teenagers making a few quid and the only thing they care about is when their next break is.

    Dont think they should sell bikes.
  • oh that it sounds a bit crap mate, i think it does help to show though that the LBS is the way to go to ensure you get a personal service. I think its pretty much the same with any big company, the problem is they are so big they don't care about upsetting a few people as they have millions more other customers!

    The exception to this rule, and they are by no means a large company like halfords (but they arent my LBS) is wiggle. I don't think I have ever come across a company that ticks every box in regards to customer satisfaction. I order a few things off them last week, not only did I get a 5% discount for being a gold member, I got a further 10% when I got the order over £50, I ordered it at 4.00pm on thursday, and it arrived at 10am on friday! I also had a problem with my bike computer, they gave me my money back no problem, I also have spoken to their customer service a few times and they were excellent.

    I just wish they stocked a greater range of bikes!
  • GGGG Posts: 82
    Hi Bopo,

    Im really sorry to read your story. Proves my fears that Halfords(Bikehut, whatever) is no good unless you want to by a £70 bike that you dont mind leaving in St Marys all day.

    I would say try and get your money back! I brought a Dolan Mythos from Dave Harding (DHC in Woolston) and I highly reccomend him and his business. (Propbably should mention that I ride with DHC, although this is not a sales message). He seems to shift a lot of Dolan frames, and im shure would build you a great bike.


  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Sorry to hear about your problems Bopomofo, I know you have been resesarching the bike and Cycle2 Work scheme for some time and it is crushing when all that hard work is let down by someone who basically just can't be bothered.

    We hear constantly about economy collapse etc and you would think that companies would be fighting for every last penny, however as has been observed inexperienced staff on minimum wage have little incentive to pull their finger out. The senior 'management' of these companies think by trimming a few bob off the salary bill and paying minimum wage it looks good on the balance sheet (too many bloody accountants). Result is here you are virtually begging them to take your business and nil response. Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
  • I'm in agreement with everybody. Zacnici, you've hit the nail on the head there with the attitudes of pretty much any big company, Halfords (Halfarsed? Halfrauds?) included. I have to remember though that Halfords are only responsible for the admin (how hard can it be?) and it is Dolan who have utterly failed to deliver.

    I was just thinking today, I bet they have some contractual thing where they have to deliver the bike within 3 or 4 weeks, so they sent me out any old shite just to hit their target. Again, I'll bet returns don't count. Maybe I'm cynical.

    I'm going to tell the HR team that next time around they should use a different provider for cycle-to-work, there's one of them that is basically a voucher scheme which works in any independent store, i.e. your LBS. That sounds perfect!

    GG - Unfortunately I have to go with Dolan direct, via Halfords, as Halfords are the provider of our cycle 2 work scheme. I'd love to buy one from my LBS, but hey... on the cycle 2 work scheme it is tax and vat free, so the Mythos is costing me about £550 instead of £1000. As you haven't complained about the bike then fingers crossed it is OK.... Can you PM me and tell me how reliable it has been , any quality probs etc? It might stop me cancelling the order.

    TommiTri: Agree 100%. How good are wiggle? Every time I order from them I get a discount, another discount, then I select economy free delivery and it turns up the next day. OK, so I live in Southampton (nearly) and Wiggle-central is in Pompey, so we're pretty close, but they're still great! Occasionally I find cheaper stuff on other sites, but usually it is wiggle all the way. What a brilliant example of how an on-line delivery company should conduct their business. And they have a tri section, so double love.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    I must say about Wiggle that everything I have had from them has been spot on, delivery rapid, communication and updates on delivery excellent and when I ordered my Tria dleivered it on the day I wanted. As for the discounts they are a very welcome added bonus.

    The only drawback is support. Trying to get hold of them with a support issue is by email only and whilst they do reply eventually at times you just need someone to say 'oh right you just need to do this'. When I got my Tria I needed a quick answer to which I don't think I actually got a reply but figured it out myself eventually. Then again it is a relatively small price to pay for the prices they offer and realistically anyone buying from their website pretty much knows what they are doing anyway (except of course me who is learning as I go along).

    Hope you get sorted out sooner rather than later - I think we all know what it's like waiting for our new shiny bit of kit that we have deliberated over for ages.
  • GGGG Posts: 82
    Hey Bopo,

    I have had my alloy mythos for about a year and I have had no problems with it, in fact its been ideal.

  • [:)]ive said on this forum a couple of times halfords have been trouble i for one would never buy a bike from them.. why would anyone... leave them well alone .. buy a bike from a proper bike shop ,... not a company like halfords who sell them and forget you...
  • Halfords vs your local bike shop. A common argument amoungst many.

    I'll give you my example in Chippenham

    Opening hours

    Halfords - till 7:30 most days

    LBS - shut by 5:00. I work till 5:30 so that not much good.


    Halfords - Not much but can order most bits

    LBS - Sod all and won't order anything

    Other LBS - Is it for a folding bike? No, then sod off.


    Halfords - Not bad for what it is. Some bit are pretty good.

    LBS - You've got to be kidding me!?


    Halfords - Don't care much but actually know what they are doing.

    LBS - Don't know and don't care.

    For me, it's online every time. Evans, Wiggle, or Chainreaction mostly.
  • Know what you mean, belly, but on this occasion I have no choice on dealing with Halfords. They're the provider of our Cycle2Work scheme. The alternative I suppose would be to buy the bike full price elsewhere, in which case I'd be paying the Tax and VAT on it.... no choice, really.

    To be honest, Halford's only problem here has been poor communications. Dolan have had poor communications, delivered the wrong thing, then stalled on correcting the problem.

    If the bike didn't look like such a bargain I'd have gone elsewhere a long time ago. I'm encouraged by GG's comments that the alloy Mythos is a good'un. Hope the carbon frame holds together better than their supply chain.

  • I'm gutted for you Bopo. I know how much research you put in before choosing that bike. Get your HR on the case and see if they can put some pressure on Halfords.

    I'm going to save this thread and show it to the guy from Halfords when he comes to our work next Feb promoting his cycle to work scheme that my employer has an arrangement with. I hope he squirms when i show the general feeling on this site is that Halfords are a shambles!

    On a different note I have been on holiday for a couple of weeks too so not had chance to respond to your last email. Thanks again for all the advice!!
  • TTX PROTTX PRO Posts: 225
    I know,that sucks,Dolan are very good bikes for the money,Try wiggle or evenscycles.YOUR GARENTEED to get a decent bike.
  • [toPh][toPh] Posts: 244
    TTX PRO wrote:

    I know,that sucks,Dolan are very good bikes for the money,Try wiggle or evenscycles.YOUR GARENTEED to get a decent bike.

    Unfortunately this isn't normally as easy as it sounds. Most companies will only deal with one bike shop for the scheme.

    I looked into this today through my company, they too deal with Halfords. Not too bad I thought as I only want a £400-500 Giant, nothing too fancy. However my work want to tie me in for 36months!!

    Although it would only mean £8-9 coming out of my salary each month which wouldn't even be noticed I really don't wanna still be paying for it in 3 years! There probably wouldn't be one original component left on it.
  • Hi fellas. For what it's worth (and it sounds too late for you Bopo - you'l forget all about the hassle when it turns up and you knock some valuable mins off that PB) try getting your HR guys to use Cyclescheme if they ever do change their set up. Most LBS's can be found via them, the only downside is that they don't do Wiggle, Evans of Halfords - but they do Winstanley's. The only other downside is that they charge a 10% fee to the retailer. This prevents several shops being able to offer the end of season discounts on the scheme - in fact with my new purchase, Winstanelys offered sale price £899 pus 10% for cyclescheme, while LBS said cyclescheme only @ RRP - £1250!!. I don't see why everyone bags Halfords. They are the only scheme / company that will order in bikes they don't stock (from anywhere almost) and that gives you a massive selection over any other scheme provider. And as for serice, I tried 6 LBS's in London who all had spotty teenagers who didn't give a $hit, or they rode BMX and were trying to give me sizing advice for a road bike. You know it's really hard finding someone decent whether its a chain of a LBS. IMHO, do your research, test ride heaps and you don't need any 'expert' advice, other than your own - of course.

  • The downside of the Halfords approach is that even though they will order just about anything in for you on Cycle2Work, they will ALWAYS charge RRP for it, so you can't pick up last year's model for a bargain price like on CycleScheme or others.

    Also, Halfords rarely answer their phones, so you're a bit stuck when ordering or chasing progress.

    Yes, I'll be pointing the HR people at CycleScheme next time, or at least seeing if we can get some guaranteed level of service from Halfords. Also, they need to publicise the fact that they will order a bike from anywhere a bit better, as most people in the office have dismissed the scheme, saying "But I don't want a bike from Halfords".

    In other news, the Dolan arrived last night. I'm still annoyed about the whole thing, but my... she is utterly beautiful. Can't wait to have a play at the weekend - but only if the weather is dry: My old bike has just been reclassified as a winter hack. :-D

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