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Author Topic: Goodbye Zero  (Read 426 times)

Patrick Truchon

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Goodbye Zero
« on: January 13, 2018, 09:34:50 AM »

It's been a while since I've been here so I thought I'd come by one last time to say goodbye.  My 2013 Zero DS died last year and it took me over a year to get over the anger.

The super short story is that half a year after I bought it, I started having lots of different issues:
  • Motor was loose.
  • Swingarm bearings had to be replaced
  • Controller died
  • Back wheel assembly had to be replaced
  • Motor had to be replaced
  • Charging cord melted and isolation fault errors started showing up
  • Power started cutting out.

Halfway through that list, I tried to contact Zero and didn't get an answer until the isolation fault errors six month later.  That's when they told me to take the bike back to the dealership (for the last time).  So on my way to the there, I experienced multiple power cut outs.  I ended up having to pull over and wait for two hours in the rain for a tow truck.

I tried to get Zero to take their lemon back and give me a credit towards a new bike but was finally told that "there is no trade assist program available from Zero at this time".  Finally, almost half a year later, I got a letter from my dealership saying that if I didn't authorize them to work on the bike, they'd start charging me a daily fee to store the bike.  I was so angry that I just signed the piece of shit over to them for nothing.

The longer version of the story is here.

Anyways, if you're thinking about buying a Zero, I would think twice.  It's not so much that their motorcycles are crap.  I'm sure most of them are just fine and I was just very unlucky.  But it's that when things do go south, they clearly don't stand behind their product.
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Owned:  2013 Zero DS (now dead)
Test rode:  2014 Zero S, SR, 2015 Zero FX, 2016 DSR and FXS
http://ptruchon.pagekite.me/

MostlyBonkers

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2018, 10:44:27 AM »

What I don't understand is how you ended up just handing the bike back to them.  You must have been livid.

Another question that springs to mind after reading your blog post is: Did you try picking up the phone and speaking to Aaron? He can be hard to get hold of, but you will probably end up speaking to one of his colleagues at least.

I have also experienced much of the frustration you've had with Zero's customer service.  It took them two months to replace my rear wheel when the bearings went for the second time in quick succession.  However, I did manage to get a satisfactory outcome. In a nutshell, Aaron extended my warranty by a year. I also had the use of a courtesy bike from the dealer for the duration.

I hate to say this, but the fundamental reason that so many people have had such a terrible experience with Zero's after sales care (or lack thereof), is that Aaron isn't very organised and can't even keep on top of his mailbox, let alone running his side of the business.  A case in point is how long it has taken him to set up the European distribution centre.  I'm told he's a nice guy if you get to know him, but he desperately needs to get his act together because it comes across the other way.  I've told him that too.
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heroto

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 11:20:27 AM »

The OP is a bit alarming to me as someone who plans to drop 20g on a 2018 in the very near future.
Maybe current production no longer leads to similar sad stories. Or maybe not.

Buyers of late model Zeros:

 Please, PLEASE share your reliability experience. Thanks.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 11:24:49 AM by heroto »
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NEW2elec

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 11:57:57 AM »

My 13 is doing good.  After I had my problems with the BMS and battery (same time) and Zero shipped it across country replaced the battery and shipped it back for free after it was out of warranty, I can't hate on them.
The dealer quagmire is an issue with most wanting repair money but not wanting to put in the time and hassle to do over the phone tech work.  Same with the guys at Zero not loving talking some guy through a problem he's never seen before.

Patrick I hate it all went so bad for you.  If the Tesla Roadster II specs are true batteries will be much better soon so don't give up all hope.

My opinion of the bike is still I love it more than any other toy I have ever owned, when it's working good.  But it's a scary nerve racking day when it does't work right, hasn't happened in the last year.
I'd tell anyone not to let this be your only way to get around.  Bigger issues take longer than gas issues do today.  Have a backup plan but enjoy it everyday you can.
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Richard230

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 09:09:30 PM »

I have had nothing but good experiences with Zero's customer service over the years.  But I haven't had an major problems since 2012. 

In 2012, I had two minor issues with my 2012 S.  One was a stalling problem caused by a defective throttle assembly and the other was the "glitch" recall.  In both cases, Zero sent a truck to my home, picked up my bike, took it back to the factory, performed repairs and returned my Zero back to me a few days later.  The 2012 S is owned by my daughter and is still running great, although the motor's encoder device failed, causing random stalling, but my son-in-law bought a new one from the motor manufacturer for $30, installed it himself and the bike has been running fine ever since.

My 2014 S had a defective power tank when it was first installed by my dealer.  A Zero technician drove to the shop, installed a new PT, took the old PT back to the factory and then installed the latest firmware, all of which took two hours and at no cost to me.  After that I never had another issue with the 2014 S, other than the battery pack is slowly loosing capacity. But my daughter still has that bike and it continues to run perfectly, also.  The bike never needed to be returned to the dealer for repairs or servicing. (That was a good thing too, as the shop went out of business a few years ago, which had nothing to do with their Zero franchise.)

So far this year I have contacted Zero customer service twice regarding minor issues, which had nothing to do with the 2018 S that I just bought. Both times have received a response just a few hours later. One issue was regarding getting their 2018 lineup approved for the CA EV rebate and the other contact was because about a missing part on a Zero accessory that I had purchased through my dealer. Both issues were corrected within a few days of my contacting Zero.

So far I have had nothing but good experiences with Zero's customer service.  :)  But of course, I am keeping my fingers crossed.   ;)
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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.

dukecola

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2018, 12:19:01 AM »

The OP is a bit alarming to me as someone who plans to drop 20g on a 2018 in the very near future.
Maybe current production no longer leads to similar sad stories. Or maybe not.

Buyers of late model Zeros:

 Please, PLEASE share your reliability experience. Thanks.
2016 SR, not one problem yet.
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Patrick Truchon

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2018, 02:21:34 AM »

What I don't understand is how you ended up just handing the bike back to them.  You must have been livid.

Yes, I was.  But also, I live about 2.5 hours away from the dealership, which includes a 45 minute ferry ride.  I couldn't imagine paying a tow truck for a 5 hour round trip + ferry fare to get that piece of $hit back home.  What would I do next, pay again to get it back to the dealership at some point?  Of course you can debate whether that was the right decision or not.  I'm still debating that myself.

To those thinking of buying a later model Zero: I'm sure the new bikes are much more reliable.  At the time, I was willing to take a credit for the dead 2013 DS and fork another $15k to get a new 2017 DSR but they weren't interested in keeping me as a customer.  The main reason I'm sharing this is not to argue that their bikes are crap.  Mine was, but it could be a one off.  The main reason I'm sharing this is just to give an example of how Zero deals with issues when things do go bad.  Knowing that now, I can't see myself dealing with a company like that, so that leaves me waiting for the competitors to become available in Canada...  Unless they somehow reach out to me and offer me a really sweat deal, very convincing reassurance that it was all a mistake, and a sincere apology (eh I'm Canadian, that matters ;)).  But I'm really not expecting anything like that to happen.

Anyways, you guys are a really supportive group.  I'll miss you and I'll miss my electric motorcycle for sure.  When it worked, it was a great bike.  I can't wait for there to be more options!  Until next time... 
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Owned:  2013 Zero DS (now dead)
Test rode:  2014 Zero S, SR, 2015 Zero FX, 2016 DSR and FXS
http://ptruchon.pagekite.me/

KrazyEd

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2018, 01:45:22 PM »

   I have owned 3 Zeros. A 2012 XU which was destroyed when I was run over by an SUV.
A somewhat modified 2013 FX(s). and a 2016 13 KW SR. I had a few issues with the XU
from the moment I went to pick it up after purchase. It was the last one sold by a local
dealer before they stopped carrying Zeros. The forks were replaced several times over the
first few months. Even though the dealership was no longer selling Zeros, they went out of
their way to see that everything was taken care of. After the fork issue was straightened out,
I had no other issues until a year or so later when it had to have the motor replaced.
By this time, I was dealing with Harlan at Hollywood Electrics, and the work was done in a
timely manner.
   The FX(s) has an S front end, S brakes, and the aftermarket shock. I purchased it second
hand and have had NO problems with it at all.
My 2016 SR was purchased one year old with 500 miles on it. It has had the on board
charger replaced four times. As mentioned in other posts I believe that the charger problem
is caused by low voltage going to the charger. I have also had to have the BMS (?) replaced.
All work on the 2016 has been done by Hollywood Electrics. Each time I needed work done,
I contacted them for a time to bring it in. The Longest I was ever without the SR was less than
a week. Their service department is closed on Sunday and the shop is closed on Monday.
The long wait ( probably 4 days ) was when the technician working on the bike became ill
and was not at work. When work was completed, they went out of their way to make
pick up as convenient as possible.  Any parts or accessories that I have ordered through
Hollywood have arrived within a few days, usually being drop shipped to me directly from
the factory. I believe that a lot of the problems that people have with the bike or dealership
has more to do with the dealer than Zero. Many dealerships seem to pick up the Zero Brand
as an add on. If the sales staff isn't passionate about electric motorcycles, it will show in their
support, just like in electric cars. I believe that having a good dealer is a major part of having
a positive experience. There is now a Zero dealership 7.5 miles from my house.  Given the
level of service that I receive from Hollywood, I will take it the 300 miles to them rather than
chance a bad experience locally.
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MostlyBonkers

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2018, 03:09:19 PM »

I'm finding this thread extremely interesting. Talking about Zero's customer support feels a bit like talking about mental health issues. It takes a bit of courage to start talking about it and you often find people have been tolerating things they shouldn't and suffering in silence.  It may not be the best analogy, but there are some parallels, I feel.

I'm absolutely gobsmacked by your story Patrick and I don't think it's over.  This is a clear case of the same poor communication that I and many others have experienced. KrazyEd makes a very good point.

For what it's worth, I learnt that when the dealer lets you down (even thought they're making a convincing argument that they're doing all they can), I had to take matters into my own hands.  By all means keep the dealer updated, but do what you can on your own.  I can see that you've certainly tried over a long period of time, Patrick. 

I really don't want to upset you, so please don't take this as anything but me trying to help.  The key thing I learnt was that Aaron was willing to make things right, given an opportunity to do so.  I think that's a valuable thing to know.

If you have the time and emotional energy, may I suggest writing a letter which documents your customer service history.  That should be easy as you've already got a lot of it written down.  Send an email directly to Aaron attaching the letter.  The following day, follow it up with a phone call. If you can't speak to Aaron, explain the situation to one of his colleagues.  Ask them to make sure Aaron reads the email you sent. If you don't get a response in a day or two, call them back and ask for an update.  Rinse and repeat until you get somewhere.

I how that helps and good luck if you decide to give it a go.
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ultratoad

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Re: Goodbye Zero
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2018, 11:52:04 PM »

Yep....  The squeaky wheel syndrome....  Beat them into submission....  I have won several vehicle related battles this way....  Tenacity prevails....  Especially when you are right !!!!
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