Taken for a ride as Evans Cycles fails to deliver for NHS workers

I am a junior doctor and have been working throughout the pandemic. In June, when Evans Cycles was offering a 20% discount for NHS workers, I ordered a £716 bike to get to work. I was given an estimated delivery date of 22 July but that came and went. There has been no responses to phone calls or emails.

When I visited the store I was told I would have to wait until November, at least. I asked to cancel the order but the store assistant stated that a redevelopment of the ordering system prevented them issuing a refund.

On another store visit I was told that refunds have to be manually issued by head office, which stores can only contact by email. They say that since the emails are not getting a response they can’t reimburse me.

PS, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset

Evans’s website boasts three core values, among them quality customer service and “getting it right”. The 99-year-old business was saved from administration by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, formerly Sports Direct, in 2018, and the parent company has been endeavouring to polish its reputation with community giveaways such as the NHS discount that tempted you.

What it hasn’t invested in, seemingly, is customer service to cope with lockdown demand for pedalling. The review website Trustpilot rates it “poor” and the experiences of many reviewers match yours – expensive bikes ordered in June and not a peep since. Nothing on the website suggests delays, however.

The customer service number has been disabled and the only means of contact is a web form which, judging by the reviews, vanishes into an abyss.

I’m sorry to say that the silence extends to the press office, which has ignored all my attempts to query your order. Its behaviour is particularly reprehensible when it abandons the NHS workers it wooed.

If you paid by credit card you should invoke Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act that holds the card issuer jointly liable for breach of contract, or the chargeback scheme operated by banks if it was a debit card. PayPal has its own protections for buyers who don’t get what they paid for.

Anyone else who fancies taking to the saddle should try to seek an independent shop where they can collect the bike in person.