Is Canadian Tire Putting Consumers at Risk and What You Can Do About It


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Is Canadian Tire Putting Consumers at Risk and What You Can Do About It

Every year Canadians purchase bicycles from Canadian Tire Stores. But exactly who is putting these bicycles together and exactly how safe are these bikes once they leave the store?


I purchased a 29" Phantom Super Cycle from the Elizabeth Avenue store in St. John's on May 21st of 2014. There were two bikes on the rack high above the store aisle and one of the sales staff took one down for me to purchase. I asked if it was ready to go and the clerk insisted that it had been assembled by their bike technician and it was ready to go. I took the bike and began to go towards the cash when I noticed that the handle bars and other features were not secure on the bike. So I asked the clerk to take down the second bike.

The clerk looked at it and assured me it was fine. I took the bike and noticed that the handle bars were slightly loose and didn't line up with the front wheel. So I asked the clerk to have it adjusted. He had the bike adjusted and returned the bike to me. I asked him if he was sure that everything was fine to which he replied that it was fine. I also asked him if there was a problem could I return the bike for a refund and the clerk told me if I returned it in a week or so and there was no wear or tear that I could do that.

I went to the front cash, paid for the bike and went home. My plan was to take it to a local bicycle tech and have it looked over in the next day or so. I talked to my local teach guy and made arrangements to drop over in a day or so. Meanwhile as some of you may know, the weather in St. John's as you may know has been terrible so I only rode it a few times from my home to the gym which by the way is about 5 minutes away. On my way home I noticed that the handle bars had come loose and as I reached my home the entire disc brake assembly started to make some noise. I brought the bike to my local tech to find that there was only one screw holding the brakes and there appeared to be no thread lock on the screw that was there. I had been extremely fortunate and could have had a major accident. The bike tech described the bike as crap and poorly assembled and I decided there that I would return the bike and have the money put back on my credit card.

As strange things happen, eBay got hacked as we all know and so I changed my account passwords, cancelled my credit card and ordered a new one. The credit card would take 4 days to arrive and so I decided to wait until it did thinking that Canadian Tire would take back the bike.

On, May 28th my credit card arrived and I walked the bike into Canadian Tire and requested a refund. I spoke to a guy name "xxxxx" and explained my story to which he informed me that Canadian Tire's Policy had now changed and that they didn't take back bikes but would repair it. They would only issue a refund if nothing could be done. I was stunned by the response and told him about my experience, how the bike had problems before it left the store, how I was told I could return it and so forth. The conversation went on as he tried to side on behalf of the store and how the clerk didn't have authority to say the bike could be returned etc. At the same time the young girl there was interjecting saying things like "Well, we probably could take it bake if it had just been a week or a gift....blah blah blah. (I later realized that I had only had the bike for a week as of that day).

The long of the story is that "xxxxx" said that only the manager could make the final decision. To which I asked to speak with the Manager. Eventually a female manager came out and it was obvious that she had very little time for me. She stated with an authoritative attitude saying " As I sated to xxxxx (other store manager) we don't take bikes back, that we would assess it and make a decision. It was obvious to me that the conversation was going nowhere even though I tried to explain how the bike was not put together properly, left the store unsafe and put me at risk and that regardless, I didn't feel safe or confident enough in their product.

At one point I asked her "Do you have a qualified technician assembling the bikes?" She would not answer the question and said "We're not required to have a certified technician". So I pushed harder and asked "Yes or No, do you have a certified person assembling the bikes". I even said that I would take a store credit rather than a refund and tried to work things out with her. Eventually she said, "I said all I'm saying". She then just walked away from me. In my opinion extremely unprofessional with no regard for my concerns.

I eventually left the store after getting some information about the owner and contact details. I made up my mind that in the event that I got no satisfaction that I would file a claim in Small Claims Court and so I went to the Provincial Court in Atlantic Place to get information on proceeding with a small claim. However, I decided before continuing that I would contact the owner of the store.

Contacting the Owner

That same afternoon I called the store owner and got a voice message. I left a message, explaining who I was, what had transpired and that I was going to file a claim but wanted to give him a chance to rectify the situation. My message was polite and left an opportunity for Canadian Tire to contact me. They didn't.

Around 5pm the same day I called the manager again, introduced myself and asked if he had received my message; to which he responded, "yes". I then said to him, "Just so I know we are on the same page could you please tell me what you know about my situation". He started to speak and it was obvious that he didn't have the full picture. I then told him to ensure that there were no misunderstanding could I have some contact information. I asked him for:

1) Name of the Corporation. He responded that it was his name and that I could look it up. In other words it felt like he wasn't giving me the information that I had requested.
2) Mailing Address - He told me that I could look that up too.
3) I asked him for an email address and he started to give me a hotmail address. I asked he for a proper Canadian Tire address but he would give me one.

He then went into a rant that "I had already threatened him". I immediately cut him off by saying "Wait a minute now.." I then informed him that I would begin to record our conversation. He immediately hung up.

Contacting Canadian Tire Head Office

I later called Canadian Tire Consumer Complaints and opened a case. I recorded the entire conversation (notified her and she agreed) which I will post later if needed.

Contacting Manager 6:10PM

I called the manager again to try and resolve the issue. I got a voice message again and left a message. I informed the voice message that I was recording the call and I left a very detailed message.


I will give Canadian Tire a few days to rectify this situation. After that, I will take them to small claims court. If you have problems with bikes from Canadian Tire I urge you to also take them to court and write letters to the media as well as your ombudsman.

This has been my experience and fortunately for me it did not end in tragedy which stresses me to the max thinking that I could have fallen off my bike on a busy street or ended in a disability or death.

A Closing Note

One might wonder why am I reacting so strongly about this? Why not suck it up and move on down the road? Well, oddly enough I am coming up on a June 6th anniversary at 3pm when my bike struck a pothole on Elizabeth Avenue in St. John's and wrote off my old bike and ended up in Emergency with a fairly beat up body and months of pain and physiotherapy all because the city didn't address ongoing pothole issues. Oddly enough it was the bike that I had damaged that I was replacing.