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Internet company bitten by internet - but blames growing pains

Canyon Bikes is under fire from frustrated customers on social media, some cancelling orders after delivery dates were pushed back – in one case to next April, eight months after the bike was ordered, and six after it was originally due to be delivered.

The German brand, which has a direct-to-consumer business model, says the move to a new factory coupled with teething problems following the implementation of a new IT system, are to blame. It insists it is clearing the backlog of orders.

But other issues raised by unhappy customers on Twitter include failure to respond to questions about delivery dates through multiple channels, plus incorrect or multiple billing.

Some have even bypassed UK customer service altogether, contacting CEO Roman Arnold directly in the hope of resolving problems.

He’d written to customers in November to explain the issues the company was encountering.

However, several Canyon customers have contacted road.cc in recent weeks to express their concerns about the service – or lack of it – they have received.

One, Jos (we’ve withheld full names) told us he’d ordered a bike in August, paid for it in September, and been promised delivery in October. He’s now been told to expect it in April.

Another, Phil, sent us a picture of the box containing a Canyon bike he received in late December, almost three weeks after he cancelled his order; a few days before it arrived, his card was charged the £1,699 cost, but he said that earlier, the company had tried to take £5,000 from his account.

Other customers contacted by road.cc include Guy, who bought a Canyon bike in February,  receiving it 11 days later, and who then decided to order another bike from the brand to use in the winter.

After ordering the Canyon Inflite 9.0s on 20 November, he was told it would ship 10 days later; the date was put back to 14 December, then 21 December, but no bike arrived.

He spoke to Canyon UK on 23rd December who said they would email Canyon Germany, promising a reply by 28th December.

“I’m still waiting for that reply,” he told us. He said he had twice tried calling Canyon, spending half an hour on hold each time without an answer, was unable to contact them via the chat function on their website, and received no reply to tweets.

“I then emailed a formal cancellation over and tweeted Canyon saying the same again,” he said. “I’ve had zero response to either.

“Bearing in mind the number of people I’ve spoken to who have cancelled and then had either money taken or bikes then actually sent to them I’m not overly hopeful of this cancellation taking effect,” he added.

A fourth customer, Elliott, said that when he was told the bike he had ordered in September wouldn’t ship until March, he emailed the company’s CEO to complain.

He accepted a discount on a past season’s bike, only to be told later it was no longer available.

“At this point I was furious as I hadn't gotten anywhere, it was absolutely ridiculous and having done some research I'm not the only one in this boat, a friend of mine had a similar experience and just gave up in the end and bought a different bike from a different manufacturer,” he said.

Having set his heart on a Canyon, he persevered, but says that despite the company offering him a 10 per cent discount, the paperwork he has received does not take that into account.

He has continued to pursue his order via the CEO and received a shipping order in mid-December, then another yesterday; he’s now wondering whether two bikes will turn up.

So, what’s gone wrong with a brand that many swear by for providing a lot of bike for a lot less money than much of the competition?

Well, it seems in part that Canyon is a victim of its own success.

A move to a new factory in Koblenz in October to meet rising global demand was accompanied by the rollout of a new IT system that proved to have some bugs in it that needed ironing out.

While in the planning stage it may have made sense to do both together, hindsight suggests that the company had not accounted for the potential disruption that would cause.

Canyon brand manager Frank Aldorf, who is based at its head office in Germany, told us that those changes were accompanied by a surge in demand, partly as a result of the success of riders from teams it sponsors, such as Katusha.

Migration of orders from customers who had ordered before the IT system changed caused problems too due to incompatibility issues, while customer service representatives would check the database to confirm a despatch date one day, only for it to be pushed back the next.   

Meanwhile, customer services in the UK at least were becoming overwhelmed, with 1,000 emails and 600 contacts through its website chat function each day.

A reduced staff over the Christmas and New Year period didn’t help the situation at a time when angry purchasers were using their own downtime from work to chase the company.

He admitted that the company’s recent performance had not matched the expectations customers have of it, and told us it is working round the clock to remedy the situation; of 15,000 orders outstanding at the start of October, some 2,000 remained unfulfilled by mid-December, although that is still around one in seven customers who remain disgruntled.

"From our standpoint, all the compelling reasons why a customer would choose a Canyon have in no way changed,” he insisted.

“Canyon continues to stand for the highest quality possible and for excellence in product design, in order to provide the very best riding experience. Here our demands from ourselves are no less than those of our customers.”

Nick Allen, UK market manager for Canyon, told us: “We are aware of the teething issues and subsequent delays and take them incredibly seriously and I can assure you that both myself and the team here in the UK are working extremely hard to ensure we give the best level of customer service we possibly can to ensure the levels of outstanding customer service we expect.”

The reality of doing business these days, however, is that consumers can now vent their frustration about poor customer service – or, their perception of it – on social media.

So brands – and especially internet pure-players with a direct-to-consumer model – need to reassure potential and existing customers that they are delivering on their promises.

If you’re thinking about buying a Canyon bike and your research takes you to the company’s Twitter page right now, you may think twice given other people’s recent experience; some have said as much on internet forums.

As Guy said says: “In the space of six months Canyon have managed to turn me from a fan (the Ultimate is a superb bike) into a very unhappy now ex-customer.

“The lack of communication from anyone senior at Canyon addressing this up front and explaining what is going on is an object lesson in how to not deal with your customers.

“Yes they’re great value and superb bikes, but the low prices are no longer worth the grief involved with actually getting a bike from them.”

Canyon have promised that they are committed to turning rectifying the problems.

Aldorf said: "The current situation is simply the unfortunate consequence of truly astronomical growth. Canyon’s brief history and staggering product demand is unparalleled in the bicycling industry.

“And, as we have struggled to accommodate this astonishing growth, we have fallen short of providing an equally positive consumer experience.

“We are confident, however, that all our recent investments and changes will enable us to achieve customer service on par with our products, and that we will be able to put these growing pains behind us in the next one to two months.”

Customers waiting on orders will be looking to the company to fulfil that promise.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

64 comments

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Gasman Jim [208 posts] 1 year ago
14 likes

As an embattled NHS doctor (thanks to Jeremy Hunt and his obsession with running the NHS down ready for privatisation) I'm delighted to see that infact the private sector is hardly the beacon of efficiency he would have us believe. At least in this case it's just a few late bicycles and not someone's life that's at stake.

Rant over. 

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emil [38 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

Another SAP victim.

 

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KoenM [92 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Had a problem with their bike delivery to, my mountainbike came a month later than originally planned. But what I hate the most that unlike other brands, ROSE, u don't have an account on the website where u can track the progress, no with Canyon u have to e-mail them to ask for updates. My Rose roadbike was also late but because I knew everything that happend with it I was never worried, I knew they where still working on it! 
My brother has the same problem with Canyon to, after a few e-mails he finally got told that his payment didn't go through, he never got an e-mail from them either! Ow and  his order was only a Shimano Action Cam, not even a bike!

So Canyon if u are reading this (and u should) take a look at other brands like Rose and make a place where people can track their orders (like 99% of every online store!). 

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Philthy [4 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

After reading similar reviews online a few months ago, I decided against ordering from Canyon despite really liking the look (and price) of their bikes. I went for UK based Ribble instead, and couldn't fault them. Bike even got delivered before the promised delivery date!

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velo-nh [130 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
Gasman Jim wrote:

I'm delighted to see that infact the private sector is hardly the beacon of efficiency he would have us believe.

 

One company.  People have many other manufacturers they can buy from that aren't having issues like this.  When government replaces private industry, people have no choice.

 

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vbvb [621 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes
Gasman Jim wrote:

private sector is hardly the beacon of efficiency he would have us believe. At least in this case it's just a few late bicycles and not someone's life that's at stake.

My politics are left of Corbyn and healthcare structure is a very interesting topic - lots of great reading comparing our uk model with the Swedes, French, German etc - but I'm not sure the nhs IT contracting history has been much more successful than Canyon's! 

Also, what's this mad crazy talk about bikes not being more important than life & death?

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shmooster [24 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
emil wrote:

Another SAP victim.

 

 

http://news.sap.com/canyon-bicycles-innovation-wheels/

 

I like the "What we do we do really well" quote. That might come back to haunt him.

 

Wonder how much is down to the factory and how much down to implementing the new software.

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Milkfloat [55 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes

I am one of the Canyon victims.  I ordered back in mid August with a promised delivery date of September. For months I either heard nothing or got generic emails fobbing me off.  Nobody was willing to tell me anything or give me a realistic date.  Even contacting the CEO got me nowhere. When it got to the stage of the latest delivery date being pushed to March, some 7 months after ordering I tried to cancel, that was just as much fun as the previous months.

I totally understand that things can go wrong, but it is how a company reacts that defines it.  In Canyon's case they knew they had serious issues back in September, yet in all this time they have continued to take new orders, run promotions and advertise heavily.  This is just getting them deeper in a hole and misleading many thousands of more people.

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Leodis [427 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

I had always loved the look of Canyon bikes but the UK Canyon Tax and the slow process of having issues fixed (I have a Rose and it has been a painful returning for warrenty fixes).  

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Gstar [23 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

I placed an order in September, delivery was due in October, by December I was still waiting despite numerous assurances that the bike had been built and was awaiting despatch. I finally got a message telling me that my order had been 'lost' and I would need to reorder with another 3 month led time. I then ordered another model which is currently overdue, despite showing as 'in stock' on the website and I'm still waiting. I have been a fan of the brand (3 canyons in the lock up) and have had great after sales service in the past from Canyon Uk but recently the wheels seem to have come off.

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Glen C [53 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

I had an unexplained failure of the fork steerer on my Canyon Inflite that resulted in a broken wrist for me. It went back to Canyon in September and they agreed to replace the fork, stem and handlebars. It was due to be sent back in mid-December but that has been move back a month. It is now due next week - fingers crossed.

My experience of the U.K. service Centre hasn't been great, they seem to have no influence over the factory and so cannot provide a by resolution.  I've agreed with them that this is only a couple of hours work, and even asked that my bike is returned with the parts so that I can arrange fitting, but to no effect.

So i've been without my 'Winter' bike for most of the Winter!

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steviemarco [236 posts] 1 year ago
8 likes

LBS everytime for me I'm afraid, even though Canyon bikes look rather nice, after sales is very important after all.

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Richard1982 [78 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

"I am one of the Canyon victims."

 

 You're bike has been a bit delayed, 'victim' is a bit harsh :-P
 Look on the brightside, at least the delay is now when the weather isn't great, rather than during the summer  1

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KiwiMike [1324 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
steviemarco wrote:

LBS everytime for me I'm afraid, even though Canyon bikes look rather nice, after sales is very important after all.

 

Noting a friend had a Felt purchased through her LBS, which when it suffered a frame failure were so utterly feckless she ended up dealing with Felt direct. Who were likewise feckless.

Just because it's a local shop is zero guarantee of quality. I've had amazing customer service dealing direct with the likes of SKS in Germany. People are people.

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700c [1171 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
KiwiMike wrote:
steviemarco wrote:

LBS everytime for me I'm afraid, even though Canyon bikes look rather nice, after sales is very important after all.

 

Noting a friend had a Felt purchased through her LBS, which when it suffered a frame failure were so utterly feckless she ended up dealing with Felt direct. Who were likewise feckless.

Just because it's a local shop is zero guarantee of quality. I've had amazing customer service dealing direct with the likes of SKS in Germany. People are people.

Except you wouldn't get this particular problem when buying from an LBS. Yes manufacturing delays can affect any business but the poor customer service in this case is compounded by having no physical contact with the retailer. 

It's unfortunate for those affected but you do have to accept risks are greater when  buying from an internet-only retailer based abroad

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schlepcycling [84 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Their response is typical big business bullsh*t 'we're a victim of our own success', cobblers.  This is all down to bad planning regarding their factory move and new IT system.  Inefficient or ineffective testing of this new system, did they not think to test what happens when they migrate existing orders from the old to the new system before releasing the new system live.  As someone who works on IT system implementations the whole project management, testing/QA team, implementation and support teams associated with this new system should be sacked and if they got in an external company to do it then they shouldn't pay them.

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Bobbinogs [254 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

Thing is, there have been comments on every bike forum on the tinternet for the last year crying out the woeful order fulfilment and sales contact/service with Canyon.  I think many customers have turned a blind eye to this because a) the bikes are well respected and b) they offer good vfm.  However, I don't think anyone who has placed an order in the last 6 months can honestly say that, whilst they may have hoped for a good experience, they were not expecting something worse than that.

 

Don't get me wrong, I do sympathise with anyone who has had a shoddy service (and yes, I have had an LBS that was pretty crap too) and there is nothing more frustrating that not being able to contact someone to chase an order.  The problem with Canyon seems to be that you can't reach them easily and, when you do, you don't get an accurate update.  So its a double whammy best solved by not buying their bikes until they have got things sorted.

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tourdelound [169 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

Although I personaly don't have anything Canyon, I do, when internet shopping, have a general check of reviews of the company I intend to purchase from. I've just been on Trust Pilot and Canyon have roughly 50/50 split on good and bad reviews. I should add that lots of the reviews aren't in English, but the star rating gives a good idea of what people think. With a rating of 4.7 out of 10 I don't think I'd be buying from this company. I'd be looking for at least 9/10.

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dassie [129 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Gasman Jim wrote:

As an embattled NHS doctor (thanks to Jeremy Hunt and his obsession with running the NHS down ready for privatisation) I'm delighted to see that infact the private sector is hardly the beacon of efficiency he would have us believe. At least in this case it's just a few late bicycles and not someone's life that's at stake.

Rant over. 

This bike order delay issue appears to be a classic company 'victims of our own success', but yes, having to wait longer for the latest,  expensive bike is verging on a 'first world problem' really... 

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DrJDog [432 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

I think most of it must be to do with the new factory and production. I was dithering over a new Ultimate CF SLX frameset in October, when the delivery times were stated for, if I remember correctly, January. By the time I'd sort of made up my mind, the framesets had been removed from sale completely. Now they are back on, but with delivery times ranging from April-June. No matter how bad their new order system it's not going to cause those sorts of delays. 

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CasperCCC [56 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

It's not new. I bought a Canyon about a year and a half ago. Delivery dates constantly slipped, and the customer service was terrible - barely any communication, no explaination or apology, no updates unless you actively chased them. And even when they did give you a revised delivery date, that'd slip.

 

I got the bike in the end, and it was a really nice bike, but there are lots of really nice bikes out there nowadays. I definitely wouldn't buy from Canyon again.

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iso2000 [82 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Test rode and ordered a Trek on Tuesday at the LBS. Going back next week for a free bike fit and collection enlightened (I hope). 

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Rapha Nadal [672 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Quite glad I didn't order one of their aluminium frames now!

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phil72 [3 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

UPDATE

I'm the Phil in the article above. I emailed Roman Arnold direct on Monday of this week. I received a reply within 24hrs from his secretary who was extremely apologetic. My refund was activated yesterday (still to show on my statement), a UPS driver collected the bike from me at 3pm.

Still a real shame it had to be this way. I hope the customers that are still waiting, get their bikes soon, and Canyon get their act together. 

Would I buy from Canyon again? The pull of their bikes is strong, but I'm waiting to see how generous Mr Arnold is with the discount code he's surely going to be emailing me, right Roman?

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ironmancole [355 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Shame for the customers and the company, it'll get sorted and hopefully they'll learn from it!

Will take the opportunity to praise Specialized and Trek when I've had problems in the past. Always looked after me hence being a repeat customer.

Agree definitely though, it's not about the problem, it's about how the company sorts it out, makes all the difference.

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700c [1171 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

Exactly. Its important to factor in customer service/ reputation/ warranty terms etc when making a buying decision, and not just product quality or initial cost

That's why I went with Giant rather than Canyon when recently getting a new bike. Ok I Ordered over the internet, but from a real UK bike shop & authorised retailer, an in-stock item which arrived in three days. 40% off as a 2015 model and lifetime warranty!  3

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mylesrants [390 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I ordered mine last year.

It came on the week promised and it is lovely.

 

 

just saying.

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Dr. Ko [206 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Well, to be fair in 2012 my Colnago C 59 took three months to arrive. Placed an order with a local dealer. In 2006 my BMC SLC 01 took more than six months, I ordered by the time it had won the TDF, by the time of arrival it no longer hadindecision

The Lotus was another story, as I got it offered from Condor, so it was in stock.

SAP: I know of at least one company who had to postpone the roll-out by a month to avoid severe trouble.

But also I need to agree with most of you about the lack of communication. noThese days it has become a kind of standard to receive tracking info with your order, sometimes even with predict service up to the hour. If I place an order for an article say a jersey to feature it in the blog and it arrives late, it might miss the photo shoot and is no longer of any use to me.

>>Ironic mode on:

Stop it. Most car drivers have to wait at least six months or more for their car of their dreams. You cyclist are still like small children and Freddy Mercury "I want it all, I want it all" and I want it right now. Many famous cyclist actually had to save their pennies to buy their beloved first bike!

Ironic mode off<<

 

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riderstuart [1 post] 1 year ago
1 like

Ordered a Canyon in March and it arrived exactly 9 days after pressing "confirm".

However, I had an issue with the frame side chainset bolt, which somehowcame loose  and, whilst peddling, hit the underside of the bottom bracket/chainstay causing minor frame damage. To their credit, Canyon said they would replace the frameset.  I dropped the bike off at Canyon UK in September - just before the warehouse move and IT shift - resulting in a wait of 3 and a half months until the replacement frame was delivered.

like others, it was very difficult a) getting hold of someone at canyon uk and b) getting any sort of confirmation on dates once  I did get through.  the whole expericence was very frustrating and I would think twice about ordering again.

thankfully the bike is now under a nice warm duvet until the spring!!

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Gweeds [32 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes

I'm the Guy in the article.

I did finally receive a response from Canyon yesterday. Actually two.

The first was confirming the cancellation:

'We have cancelled this order. You will receive a full confirmation within the next 24 hours.'

That was it. No apology, nothing.

About 3 hours later Canyon UK tweeted me to say if I went onto chat they could update me (here's an idea - how about you call your customer rather than expecting them do so all the time). An update on the order that was now confirmed as cancelled.

Not impressive.

In the meantime I was at my LBS test-riding a disc Defy. 3 hours later I was back there to collect it, steerer cut down, cables all cut down, saddle and cassette changed and the RideSense all set up for me.

Actually impressive.

I love my Ultimate to bits, but Canyon have shot the fox here.

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