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Author Topic: Serious issues & unacceptable customer service - why some won't buy Zero again  (Read 5584 times)

ZeroLover

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Hi ! Although we all love these bikes when they work, and minor issues seem to be managed quite ok, some of us had catastrophic customer experiences with some models. After months of struggling with Zero, some of us end up with choosing between legal action (straighforward, and garanteed especially for defects known by Zero), or giving the bike away at scrap value.
The purpose of this topic is :
   - to make sure these issues are known, and give our poor fellows more chances of ending their pain
   - to ensure Zero allows more ressources to solve complex customer issues - if Zero know people will make it known/sue/be an issue whenever they're stuck with bikes with defects, they'll probably make sure things are solved correctly
   - to share ideas regarding actions

This post come after exchanging several mails with Zero Customer service regarding issues encountered by users - with no result as of today.

I really hope some day we can delete this topic. But today it is still highly needed !
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 08:41:40 PM by ZeroLover »
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ZeroLover

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As of today, here is a first list of users with serious & unsolved cases. Please add yours if any !
If a US lawyer ready to work for a % of torts reads this forum, you're welcomed !

**Jacob

Hello I am a 2011 DS zero owner in Vancouver Canada.

I received a recall notice that said the parts would be in the dealer by mid August.

I am still waiting...

My impression is that it is an incompetent zoo in their parts dept. have several bad experiences with Zero parts.

**Trevor

My 2011 Zero XU worked great for a year (bought new in Sept 2012), almost 4,000 mile commuting to work. Then it started intermittently shutting down (presumably throttle disable due to error). It happened mostly on startup but a couple times while riding.

Here's where it gets pathetic. The bike was still under warranty and I took it back to the dealer. They seemed to have no electronic diagnostic ability whatsoever, at least for this model. It took over a week for them to see the error occur and when it happened they were unprepared to diagnose the problem, so they had to send to Zero for instructions. They could not (or would not put in the effort) to reproduce the problem. So my bike sat in their shop for over a month. Finally after some tense conversations with them they managed to reproduce the error and now apparently had learned from Zero that the motor controller had to be replaced. Then they said it would take a week to get the part from Zero. The dealer complained that Zero was difficult to work with - slow to respond to help requests and slow to deliver parts.

So, over a month in the shop with no offer of a loaner bike or rental car. Both the dealer and Zero are to blame here, but mostly Zero for not paying as much attention to service, and their reputation, as they should.

I don't think Zero knows how badly they've screwed up. Literally dozens of people who thought my bike was really cool have noticed I'm not riding it. Way to go Zero.

My advice to Zero: Don't call yourself Zero unless you intend to be excellent. Your brand can very quickly become a joke.

 
**Tim
"I just got an update as well on 2012 DS(2700 miles)due to the "glitch." It was perfect for about a week and then got progressively worse over this second week. Possibly correlated to ambient temp. 1. this week has been warming up. 2. bike has sat in the sun after the worst problem I've had. That worst problem being starting off for my ride home at the end of the day. It will move backwards or hardly move when i roll the throttle. I have recently noticed I can "break through" if i manually roll the bike forward and roll the throttle somewhat hard. Seems a little dangerous. Im not sure if i could have done that before the update. As of now the only difference is i dont have to restart with the key when it cuts off."

10/13/2013
" I am not giving up on Zero. Despite my dealership that is playing catch-up, they and especially the eastern zero tech have been responsive. I am still riding and just dealing with it until I hear back about the next course of action. Trying to be patient and trusting.

Some other notes of interest:

My zero was a demo so may have been a somewhat earlier build (Edit: #123, I assume it is consecutive out of the factory?)

the update, done sometime in early September, did negate the need to restart with the key while moving. It does seem that it will cut off at higher speeds now"

** Bryan
I currently have my Zero S in the shop and I have been having lackluster service.  The problem is I am losing throttle while going down the road, not very fun, and from what I have read a lot of other people have this same issue.  First the technician told me that it is probably the contactor because that was the error code I was getting.  He told me to open the battery pack myself, not something our owner’s manual suggests to do.  He retracted that statement two days later and told me to take it to my local dealer.  After one week of having it at the dealer thaey said they could not get the bike to produce the same problem.  The dealer said that the ZERO rep told them if they were to change anything it would be the controller.  I was not too happy with that because it is a 800 dollar part and I am out of warranty.  They said there was nothing else they could do.

 
 I called Zero directly and asked if they had any history on the problem I am having and a new guy told me that it is more than likely the MBB.  I told this to the dealer and now they are trying to get a hold of the same guy at Zero I talked to so everyone is on the same page, but I still have not heard back.

 
 It has now been two and a half weeks since I took the bike to the dealership, and 4 weeks since I started dealing with Zero on this problem.

** Vincent

Hi !

I really love Zero bikes, but I had a very unpleasant experience with the XU 2012 I bought. A few months afetr purchase, the "glitch" appeared to the point that the bike began stopping while driving in the traffic. Then I gave it back to the dealership. They kindly offered me a replacement with a 2013 XU (after 3+ months) and both dealer & importer were very nice, but since I need a bike that can be driven with a 125 cc licence (i wanted to give the XU to my mother, and the Learning school refused her, so she needs a bike you can drive with a 125cc permit), which is not the case of the 2013 XU, i'm still waiting for a solution. In the meantime I bought a 2013 S, which look to have a new bug when turning the key on - for which i'm still waiting for a solution from my dealer.

I'm ok to have issues with a new bike, but considered the price I paid (20 k$) i'd really expect quick & reassuring solutions : now i'v put 32.000 $ in two zero bikes and one is broken and no mire in my possession since 6 months, and the other has a new bug for which no excuse or solution has been proposed so far ! And when you see how depressed is the second hand market (basically, second hand price is zero because nobody buys a used Zero), I think Zero's plan should allocate more resources to fix issues and ensure first clients keep the "e-rider" smile on their face !
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 08:44:43 PM by ZeroLover »
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Richard230

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My first-month production 2012 Zero has been a lot more reliable than either of my current BMW motorcycles during the past 7500 miles.  It has never left me stranded and the only glitch that I have had is an occasional morning throttle failure that requires an additional boot-up.  I have had a turn signal relay fail, which was immediately replaced by my dealer with a part off of a bike on the showroom floor.  The "glitch" fix re-programming and a throttle modification was performed at the factory and they picked up my bike at my home and returned it to me fixed both times within a few days.  The stop light recall was performed by my dealer in an hour and the caliper bolts recall were also fixed by my dealer, but it took them a couple of weeks to discover that the replacement bolts that they said Zero hadn't sent were actually on a shelf in their repair shop and had never been entered into their parts computer. 

I think that many of the customer relation issues that people have had were with their retail dealers who are not experienced with the brand or technology.  Perhaps Zero needs to improve their dealer training, service education and customer service followup at the dealer level. So far, my Zero has been a lot more reliable than any of the 7 BMW motorcycles that I have owned during the past 25 years.  However, I will admit that BMW dealers all provide excellent customer service and most provide loaners if your bike needs servicing.
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

ZeroLover

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Hi Richard !

Probably, some of the bikes are reliable and minor issues are managed ok. The issue is that when things go really wrong, customers are left alone and no process seems available at Zero to ensure radical solutions (cash back, quick exchange with a new bike,...).

The issue is : is buying a Zero is like a reverse lottery which can end up with a 5 % chance of having 20 k$ lost for something you wont be able to resell. It is a real issue, which should be addressed by Zero. Hence the whole user communauty should support effort to ensure these "catastrophic cases" are not left with a fair, quick & reassuring answer !
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 08:46:43 PM by ZeroLover »
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mehve

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Hi Richard !

Probably, some of the bike are reliable. The issue is that when is goes wrong, customers are left alone and no process seems available at Zero to ensure radical solutions (cash back, quick exchange with a new bike,...) when it goes horrbly wrong.

The issue is : is buying a Zero is like a reverse lottery which can end up with 20 k$ lost for something you wont be able to resell, it is a real issue. Hence the whole user communauty should support effort to ensure these "catastrophic cases" are not left with a fair, quick & reassuring answer !

 ZeroLover,

Richard speaks to this exact point by offering suggestions on how the situation can be improved. But the tone of your note is implying you are demanding a lawsuit for the customers you are quoting and not at all interested in positive feedback. The situation you are describing (purchase of completely faulty vehicle) falls under the Lemon Law -- which exists at the government level. Dissatisfied and mistreated customers should invoke it. But a lot the issues for dissatisfied customers like what you described falls under the dealership's responsibility.

I imagine that if Zero sells directly to customers like Tesla does, the resolution you seek (refunds, replacements, loaners, etc.) would fall squarely on Zero's shoulders instead of the dealership. Unfortunately, I don't think the dealerships read these forums. :( So I'm not sure how you mean to achieve your goal here.

If ever I have a problem with my iPhone, I can take it back to the Apple Store and get it looked at. It is not uncommon for the device to get replaced entirely if any number of software or hardware issues come up, and I can walk away happy.  It would be awesome if Zero can be in the same situation as Apple.

+m
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Rides a 2013 Zero S 11.4

ZeroLover

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Mehve,

All the users concerned by the cases I mentioned spent times and times talking to their dealers. Unfortunately, dealers have no possibility to fix boards, batteries or even do simple fixes on the bike. And Zero look very inflexible/rigid in the way they allow them to provide solutions that really work. In at least two cases, it is the dealers themselves, worried that Zero did not react, that suggested lawsuits so that Zero-level defects (which often imply replacement of the bike or significant parts of it) are fixed.

You mentioned Apple : they understood that if you build something that can be serviced, then you need a "few questions asked replacement policy". I'm happy that your zero is not one that does not work or that randomly stops while in the traffic (XU model had LOTS of serious issues). But many did, and the fact that they are not treated well is an issue everybody should be concerned with - you'll never have a second hand market for these bikes if major issues means that you have to throw the bike... Also, it seems that people living close to the factory are much better treated than others : probably Zero should pay extra attention to remote clients... Or stop selling abroad !

And yes, Richard's propositions seem fair to improve Zero's service in the long term. But my concern is more helping the poor quys now stuck with broken bikes, no solution for months and 10-20.000 less on their account. Nothing can explain this situation ! You're right we should not be talking about lawsuits. But unfortunately it seems that there is no way to go from talks to real world solutions...

V

 
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 08:48:03 PM by ZeroLover »
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Justin Andrews

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I had stunningly good customer service when my Zero S glitched.
The day after it happened the rep personally drove out and re-calibrated the bike.
After a couple more glitches he determined that it was the motor, and started the process of getting a new one sent out.
During this period he lent me a cable so I could keep the motor calibrated myself.
When it came time to take the bike away for repair I was lent a 2013 DS to ride while mine was in the shop.


Long story short. Zero have the best customer service I've encountered in 24 years of motorcycling.
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Zero 2015 SR (+PT);
Yamaha Diversion 900

BSDThw

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I don't see a lot of response here so it is always hard at a forum to find out if there is a collection of some people with a problem and hundreds are fine or vice versa.

Being in Europe I can't see Zero “don't react to issues”! All problems I had have been resolved. It even looks like the European Center has a good stock of spare parts. (2012+ I don't know how it is with bikes before) I know that 2012 a service guy has visited the dealers to repair there bikes where they can't do it or train them. When I spoke to my dealer two weeks ago he told me he saw the 2014 bikes when they had a training. So I believe Zero tries to have a good service.
The main problem I see there are little dealer making a “full” business with Zero bikes (like eq Harlan). If I see the 2013 bikes have arrived when session was over what costumer like to buy. So it will be a secondary business and they can't spend 100% of work for it.
 
Asking Zero direct per e-Mail I had different experience. Some questions has been answered soon others I never good a response.

 The Dealership will be a very local situation – I am happy with my dealer (they are experts in electronic) but I believe if it is a traditional motorcycle dealer he may has more problems.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 04:40:35 PM by BSDThw »
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Air Drag Sucks - 2012 Zero DS ZF9 - 2013 Zero FX ZF5.7

ZeroLover

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I looks like:
   - minor issues (changing a part, solving a minor glitch) are ok
   - major issues (implying moving the bike, or replacing it) are not managed
   - some US customers had very bad experiences, as well as European one (3 months without any news, then some bogus discussions

So there is still a worrying issue : if you're not lucky and happen to be in a place, or with an serious issue, you might end up with a new bike you bought a few month ago, nobody answering and no solution. I gave Zero the mails of all the person concerned by these serious issues, and absolutely nothing happened.

This is simply not acceptable. I understand some had better experiences for minor issue - great for them. But it does not change the situation for the one that were unlucky. You can solve the most common and minor issue, and let some of your customers - if it is 5 % - with no answer and no solution.

And this is why many customer wont buy from this company unless - as we all expect - they radically and quickly change the way they manage major issues.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 08:03:05 PM by ZeroLover »
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Richard230

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I think what ZeroLover is describing is true of just about every auto and motorcycle manufacturer to one extent or another.  Some are better than others, but some of the owners of all motor vehicles for the past 110 years have had major issues and poor resolutions to their mechanical problems. No brand is completely exempt from this issue.  I guess it depends upon the percentage of these problems and how they are resolved that can define the company and I have no idea how that can be determined, especially over a short period of time. 
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Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

vchampain

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I had and still have an awfull experience with an Xu
It was stopping unexpectingly in the traffic - imagine how dangerous it can be
 I brought it back to dealership in june. No news for 3 months. They proposed me an exhange with a 2013 bike - but unfortunately i cant use it because a licence is needed.

After 6 months, i still have no solution. The bike worked for 3 months only.

So even if minor issues were well managed (some small fixes needed in the first weeks), i confirm that severe issues are not managed - probably because managing them is more expensive than reprpgramming a board.
I am now in a situation where suing for a refund - easy and sure because the case is crystal clear - appear the only solution. I am happy for the guys that only encountered minor issues, and would love being in your position
..

I know at least two other users who scrapped their bike for similar reasons. They're back to ice and probably dont come here anymore...


.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 09:22:41 PM by vchampain »
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ZeroLover

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Agree !

My purpose is not trying to figure if zero is better or worst, but to help fellows having their cases solved !

My feeling, though, is that since it is a new market (meaning - new risks, no second hand market, few shops able to service), they should pay more attention to this so that new buyer can be sure that if it goes bad, they're not left alone. Unfortunately, it is not the case today !

 I had issues with ICE bikes, but I had much more available options (finding parts, selling the bike, finding a new dealer...)
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nicktulloh

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They proposed me an exhange with a 2013 bike - but unfortunately i cant use it because a licence is needed.


So get a license! Good grief, if this doesn't qualify as a solution, I don't know what does.

While I really feel for the people who have had issues and had no or an unsat resolution,  I also feel for the dealers who have taken on this new technology and have to deal with customers for whom a new bike isn't enough.

The iPhone analogy is really funny. I went through three iPhones and I don't know how many hours of phone time with Apple pointing the finger at AT&T and them pointing the finger back. Eventually Apple fessed up to an endemic hardware issue and gave me a 4th phone. When it went TU I went to android and have been happy since.

Anyone who buys a Zero should understand that they are, for all practical purposes, first adopters, with all the implicit risk that entails. A lot of people won't buy a new model year of 'x' vehicle. This is new technology, not just a new model year.

Has Zero been remiss in responding to some issues? Without a doubt. I hope that improves.

Meanwhile - if anyone has an issue with their Zero in New England and I can help - get in touch. I live in the seacoast area of NH and have a couple of trucks and will drive within reason for gas money alone. The local dealer (only one east of NJ) is only 15 minutes away.

That said, everyone on this board should be a member of the AMA and they have towing coverage.

Also, I don't believe that most states lemon laws apply to bikes.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 11:53:27 PM by nicktulloh »
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ZeroLover

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Sure managing Zero or being a dealer is not easy. But I think life and business should be built around principles : your deliver what you promise, you do not sell a broken product and if your product is faulty, you make your best efforts to fix it or you get significant penalties !

I've seen nowhere in Zero's advertising that their bikes are only for an elite ready to fix their bike themselves, or pay problems out of the pocket. To the contrary, I read "hassle free" "no service needed" "high quality". Promising the impossible then explaining that you can't deliver is just not an acceptable way of doing business...







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NoiseBoy

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ZeroLover; are you pursuing a case action here?  I notice in your other topic you say 'please contact us'.  Is 'us' a firm?

Maybe there is a divide between US and EU experience here but I have been very impressed with the level of service I have received.  Admittedly parts do seem to take a long time, if it comes from Holland usually about a week but when my bike arrived with a damaged swinging arm, they had to send a new one from the US and that took a month (which isn't unusual).  Given that my dealer is an engineering firm and could have fixed it themselves I was quite impressed that Zero sent a new and expensive part to make sure it was perfect.

From what I hear from my dealer there are some difficulties with things taking longer than they should when dealing with Zero but I hear exactly the same thing from a friend who works in a multi-franchise dealership working with Suzuki, Ducati, KTM and HD etc.  The only experience i've had with parts where they came down in less than a week was Honda.  The difference with the Zero is that I've had it for over a year now and so far I have never had to make alternative arrangements to get to work in the morning, or had to get a tow to the dealer.  I have had issues like funny noises where I have been able to confidently ride into the dealer and jump on a loaner whilst it is fixed.  This hasn't been the case with any other of the 6 bikes I have owned.

I used to wake up in the morning and if it was cold I would go out to the bike literally praying that the thing would start.  I don't with the zero so as far as I'm concerned they are reliable except for small issues which is exactly what you should expect on something cutting edge. I could spend all day telling you stories about poor service from ICE dealers.
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