Shopping for scooters or motorcycles in Tampa, FL? Then choose carefully so you do not get robbed like I did. I too was looking for an economical mode of transportation to help me save a little gas money in this rough economy. I settled for a purchase at Tampa Cycle Exchange at 14540 N Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL. 33613. Big Mistake!!!
If you are thinking about going to the Tampa Cycle Exchange in Tampa, Florida to buy a scooter or motorcycle then think again. On June 07, 2011 I walked into the Tampa Cycle Exchange and purchased a VIP scooter for a total of $1219.88. I was excited about my new purchase until just after I signed all of the paperwork. That was when the sales person told me that there was a 50% chance that I would be bringing the scooter in for repairs within the month. Really? In only one month? Why was I not told this before I bought my scooter?
I decided to quiz the service staff in hopes that sales rep was crazy and was told that there was actually only a one in three chance I would be back that month. What a relief. Only a one in three chance that the VIP scooter I purchased would have to come back to the Tampa Cycle Exchange for repairs within the month. So, fingers crossed, I accepted the keys and left the shop.
As I nervously left the Florida Ave. Cycle Exchange on my new VIP scooter, I looked down at the speedometer. It was not working. I immediately returned to the Cycle Exchange with my concern. Since the shop was about to close, I was told to bring my scooter by the next day and they would take a look at it. Since I work for a living, I was not able to return for a couple of days. When I did bring it back the broken speedometer was swapped out and I was free to go. Unfortunately, it still did not work and so I returned immediately. After two more attempts, and half my day wasted, I was able to leave with a functioning speedometer.
Good, I got my 1 month visit out of the way and now everything will be fine. I wish. Six days later I was riding my scooter around Tampa to take care of some errands. I parked to go inside and when I came back out the scooter would not start. After several failed attempts to start the scooter I decided to push it home. It was just under three miles. No big deal. I needed the exercise. By the time I got home with my scooter the Tampa Cycle Exchange was closed.
I called them the next day to take advantage of their “pick up service” and was told that the guy that does the pick up had his truck in the shop, but, if I could get my scooter to the Cycle Exchange, I would be a priority since I was a customer and my scooter was a recent purchase. Later that day dropped $50.00 and rented a U-haul to drive my scooter across Tampa to the Cycle Exchange for the repair. I was told to call back in a couple of days and my VIP scooter would be ready. That was June 15, 2011.
When I did call a couple of days later I was told to call back later. When I called back later I was told to call back later. It was always a story about a different part was needed or the proper tool was not available. After repeated calls to the Cycle Exchange – 813-264-2777 – I could not be given an answer as to when my scooter would be finished. The only thing I was given was repeated thanks for my patience. After the first week or so I decided to venture back up North Florida Avenue to the Cycle Exchange in hopes I could get some answers. I asked about the return policy and was told that after I drove off the lot my scooter decreased in value to about $600.00. With enough of the stone walling I asked for the name and contact information for the owner of the N Florida Ave location and the manager could not remember the owners name. To satisfy my curiosity I was given the name and phone number for their other shop in Pinellas Park, Florida.
When I called their Pinellas Park shop on June 24th I spoke to a service manager who got into contact with the Tampa Cycle Exchange to help solve the problem. He called me back a short time later (the only call back I have received to this point) and said that the scooter would be fixed within 24 hours. That 24 hours quickly came and went without my VIP scooter or a call.
When I called June 29th, I was told that someone had been working on the moped all day but it was not yet finished and, of course, thanked for my patience.
On July 1st I went back to Cycle Exchange for an update. I was told that the engine needed to be replaced and that my moped was now finished but I needed to return in a couple of hours. Apparently it was taken to their other shop in Pinellas Park, Florida for the repair and was going to be dropped off around closing time.
When I returned in a couple of hours it was being rolled off the truck with most of the body panels without screws and flapping around. One of the shop hands took the scooter into the shop and promptly screwed things together leaving numerous loose screws and panels in the completion. What can you expect, it was closing time after all.
Before leaving I asked the manager what he thought the chances would be that I would have to return to Cycle Exchange with my scooter for more repairs within the next 30 days. Without hesitation he laughed and said 1-in-3.
So, now I have my VIP scooter back. The first question you have is most likely, “how is it running?’ My moped, complete with new engine, tops out at 28 miles per hour when it once went over 40! I intended to put up with the slow scooter and address the issue when I took it in for its first tune up but it did not last that long.
On August 12th, I went out to start the scooter and it would not turn over! After several failed attempts I called Cycle Exchange – 813-264-2777 – about the problem. “No problem,” I was told “Go ahead and bring it in, we’ll take a look at it.” I asked about the pick-up service that they have since I did not want to spend over $60.00 to rent another U-Haul to bring it in yet again. I was told that they would come to my house and pick up the scooter and take it back to their shop on Florida Avenue… for $20.00.
I was told that the scooter would get looked at and I should receive an update or a fixed scooter by Monday. When I called Cycle Exchange on Monday August 22nd I was told that no one had even gotten to take a look at it since they were very busy but I would get a call when they knew more.
On Tuesday August 23rd I received a phone call from a mechanic at Cycle Exchange. My scooter had a gummed up carburetor but it was now fixed and I could pick it up at any time. Oh, and one more thing, bring $90.00 to cover the cost of the carburetor.
I pulled out my warranty and, just as I had suspected, the carburetor was covered for 90 days. I got to the shop, warranty in hand and finally got to speak to the man in charge. Ronnie, the elusive branch manager was present and more than willing to speak to me.
Ronnie explained to me that the carburetor was not covered in the warranty because I had not used 93 octane gasoline. When I pointed to the warranty, and explained that it made no mention of 93 octane, I was told that he was sorry that none of the employees had made that known to me but I was on the hook for the $90.00 carburetor. I was really very disappointed to see that an otherwise competent and professional individual was endorsing such poor service and an inferior product.
Only after telling Ronnie about this website did he instruct his employee to give me his employee discount on my bill. He even through in a bottle of carb cleaner for good measure.
Unfortunately, a bottle of carb cleaner does not provide me with enough confidence to navigate outside of walking, or should I say pushing distance, of my home. Having agreed to disagree, I paid my bill and left Cycle Exchange hoping that I would make it home without the scooter breaking down yet again.
So, if you are as patient as me, I would suggest that you grab your cash or credit card and head over to Cycle Exchange on 14540 N Florida Ave. in Tampa, FL. and buy yourself a scooter or motorcycle today.
To be continued…
I encourage anyone with a similar experience to leave their feedback or contact the owner of Cycle Exchange directly. His name is Ronnie Pownall and he can be reached at 727.244.1151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.