NordicTrack Customer Service Experience

Last updated: April 21, 2009

On November 27, 2008 I ordered the AudioStrider 990 from NordicTrack.com. On December 5th it was delivered to our home. On December 26, 2008 it was assembled. On the first trial use, there was a loud clanking noise made once for each forward revolution. Note that this began the first time we tried it after assembly. All of the screws were re-checked for tightness. The clanking is emanating from the pedal disc enclosure, and the resultant vibration is felt by the left foot. It does not seem to clank if one goes extremely slow, but any forward pace whatsoever can cause the loud clanking noise. It does not clank if pedaled with backward revolutions.

The product is defective, and the Limited Warranty shipped with the product states that the product is warranted to be free of all defects. The Limited Warranty states that the warranty is for one year after purchase. It is clearly within one year. The Limited Warranty states that labor is covered for one year.

The Limited Warranty states that they will ship to us "without charge" any replacement parts required for its repair.

On December 26th we filed a customer service request for a warranty repair. On January 2nd we received the following response from NordicTrack Customer Care:

"Thank you for your email. It sounds like there is a problem with the bearings. We can set up parts and service but there is a $5.99 handling fee to ship the replacement parts and a $45.00 trip charge to have a tech come out and fix the machine. If you decide that you want to arrange for the repair visit, you can contact our customer service dept by calling 1-800-999-3756 or through email. Payment must be received before your order is set up.

If you purchase an extended warranty we will waive all fees.

1 Yr warranty $69.95
2 Yr warranty $99.95
3 Yr warranty $119.95

We have a sale going on right now for the 4 Yr warranty, it is the same cost as the 3 Yr warranty $119.95. Please let us know if you would like to order this.

Thank You
Angie
Online Customer Care"

There was NOTHING mentioned in the Limited Warranty about a trip charge for the labor. Why should I pay a trip charge to fix a product that was defective out of the box? It is an attempt at being deceptive about it not being a labor charge. How can they access a handling charge for shipping a part? The warranty explicitly states that any part is shipped "without charge".

I responded to NordicTrack Customer Service on January 2nd with this response:

According to our Autostrider 990 User Manual, "The entire NordicTrack elliptical exerciser is warranted to be free of all defects in material and workmanship." and "ICON Health & Fitness warrants the product for one year after the date of purchase. Labor is covered for one year."

We have had it less than two weeks. No payment for labor is required. The product is not free from defects.

Additionally, your warranty states "We will ship to you, without charge, any replacement part or component ..." so we will also not be paying any shipping charge. Ship the part and arrange for the tech at no cost to us.

How did NordicTrack Customer Care respond to that email? ..... They did not.

I contacted them again on January 6th and January 9th. They never responded to either support request.

Having heard nothing back by January 12th, I opened an dispute for the purchase with American Express, as that is how I paid for the defective product. They contacted me a couple of days later to get all of the details on the problem and said that they would contact NordicTrack directly on the matter. The American Express representative said that it could take 6-8 weeks to resolve the issue, but that they would stay on it for me.

While out of the country in late February and early March, a letter was received from American Express indicating that the dispute was resolved and NordicTrack should be contacted at 800-999-3756 to get the unit repaired.

On March 9th at 10:50am, I called the above number. I waited on hold for 15 minutes for a customer service representative and was then automatically transferred into an automated callback system in which I left our home telephone number.

At 8:50pm that evening, a NordicTrack customer service representative returned the call. Here is how that conversation went:

NordicTrack: "Hello, Mr. Baulch. Can you tell me what is wrong with your AudioStrider 990 system?"

Mr. Baulch: "Do you mean that with my four support requests and with the conversations that American Express had with you on my behalf that you don't already know what is wrong with my AudioStrider?"

NordicTrack: (She reads the previously reported symptoms to me from her computer display.) "Is that correct?"

Mr. Baulch: "Yes, it is."

NordicTrack: "I will have to put you on hold while I research the issue."

Mr. Baulch (thinking): "Gee, don't you think the research should have already been done, before she placed the return phone call to me?"

Four minutes pass.

NordicTrack: "We can fix your unit, but you will have to pay a trip charge."

Mr. Baulch: "No, I have no interest in paying a trip charge. Either you can fix it without a trip charge, or you can just have someone pick up the unit and return it to you."

NordicTrack: "Let me see if I can do something about the trip charge. I will have to put you on hold again."

Three minutes pass.

NordicTrack: "Mr. Baulch, I can waive half the trip charge."

Mr. Baulch: "No, you can waive 100% of the trip charge, or I'll have American Express reverse your credit, and you can pick up the machine at your convenience."

NordicTrack: "I'm sorry but you cannot return the system, because it has now been over thirty days since you purchased it."

Mr. Baulch: "It's only been over thirty days, because you have been dragging your feet for three months. This all started back in December within the 30 day period."

NordicTrack: "Let me speak with my manager again."

Three minutes pass.

NordicTrack: "Mr. Baulch, I can waive the trip charge, but you should know that this is a courtesy and not something we routinely do. I want to ship some bearings to you in case that is the problem."

Mr. Baulch: "No one diagnosed the problem, and I don't think it is the bearings."

NordicTrack: "I know, but then the service technician will have the bearings if that's the problem. Otherwise, he'll just order the parts that he needs. I need to put you on hold again."

NordicTrack: "Mr. Baulch, you will be contacted by Northcoast Fitness in three to five business days to set up an appointment. The parts that I'm sending you should arrive in five to ten business days."

Mr. Baulch: "Thank you. Can you tell me your name?"

NordicTrack: "I'm Sarah. Operator # 97. Can I help you with anything else?"

Mr. Baulch: "No thanks."

On March 11th I was contacted by Northcoast Fitness (440-232-9707) and was told to make an appointment directly with their field representative, Jeff Boyer, at 740-652-9418 after we receive the parts from NordicTrack in the mail.

On March 12th we receive the bearings in the mail from ICON Health & Fitness and call Jeff Boyer at 1:30pm. There was no answer, so I left a message to arrange an appointment.

On March 13th at 9:00am Jeff Boyer called back to schedule the appointment. The first opening was March 19th at 9:00am and he would be sending Kenny to repair our machine.

On March 19th Kenny came to our home. When he inspected the AudioStrider, he said that the problem was definitely not the bearings. He said that it was a problem with the axle, and that he would have to order a new crank axle, two ring retainers, and some washers to fix the problem.

ICON Health & Fitness ships us the requested parts in two separate shipments the next week, and I call Jeff Boyer to arrange for Kenny to return and repair the machine. The return appointment is scheduled for April 8th.

On April 8th another service technician visits our home. He diagnoses the problem and says that it has nothing to do with the axle. He says that our problem is VERY common with the AudioStrider, because the pedal arm is designed to fit easily over the crank bushing sleeve and, too often, it is manufactured with too much play and causes the loud clank as the arm shifts back and forth against the sleeve. He then pulls out a pair of vice grips to adjust the sleeve. After more than a dozen attempts, he finally is able to get the arm tight enough to eliminate the loud clanking noise. He tells me that it was the worst fit he had ever seen.

It took from December 2008 to April 2009, but NordicTrack finally made good on their warranty, fixing it at no cost to us!

MY ADVICE: Pay with American Express to be assured you have a "satisfaction guarantee" and stand your ground with NordicTrack if they try to charge you to fix your machine under warranty.

SIDE NOTE: On April 9th I received an email from NordicTrack FitnessClub asking me to Write a Review on the AudioStrider 990. I did so that same day and received an email of thanks for submitting the product review and providing a link to verify my email address. I did so, and the NordicTrack web site said that my review "will be published shortly." Now 12 days later, it has not. I'm not surprised! No wonder their web page can maintain a product rating of 4.1 out of 5!!!

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