Please take back my NordicTrack!

TreadMill1

Valerie Skiles orders a NordicTrack machine but then finds out she’ll have to pay extra for assembly. What should she do?

Question: I’m scared. I researched different treadmills and decided on NordicTrack because I felt that, given their good reputation, I would be protected. I called them for more information.

The salesman was a bit cocky, but I wrote down all the information about the machine I was interested in. I was actually excited about this decision. I was surprised how quickly and easy the purchase was made — for 18 months at no interest. He approved me right away on the phone.

I asked more questions about delivery and setup, which were important because there is only me and the machine weighs 300 pounds. He said it would be shipped and delivered to my door in two weeks. He never mentioned assembly or cost. The final cost, before tax was $1,899 with “free” delivery.

Within a few hours, I got an email from NordicTrack saying I could get $100 off the $249 “delivery and assembly” charge, and if I wanted the machine assembled, I needed to let them know 72 hours in advance of shipping. I also got an email shortly after from PayPal stating that the cost of my loan was $2,118. It turns out that when I bought the machine, I had applied for a loan through PayPal.

I called back the salesman who sold me the machine and he said not to pay any attention to PayPal’s message because it would come off of the cost when the loan was processed. I asked about the $100 and he didn’t seem to know anything about it. He was snippy and a bit disrespectful, especially when I asked him about assembling the machine. He had not mentioned to me that there was any assembly required.

First, he said there wasn’t a lot of assembly, then told me that there were “only” four parts to the setup, and it would take about 1½ hours. I told him I had no way of getting this 300-pound machine into my house and putting it together myself.

He told me I needed to call customer service, since he was in sales. I asked for a phone number and he said he would transfer me, but I was caught in a loop and after 20 minutes, no one had answered. I called the 800 number back and after another 20 minutes of waiting, no one had answered. Then, an email came saying the NordicTrack Treadmill had been shipped and would be arriving soon.

I phoned NordicTrack this morning and after 15 minutes or so, a lady answered saying she was in customer service. She was borderline rude. I told her I needed to schedule to have the machine brought into my house and assembled. She said they could not guarantee the person sent to assemble the machine would know how to assemble it correctly.
Now, I am really concerned. I went to their website to look for the manual for assembling the machine and I even watched a YouTube video. It is not an easy procedure.

Please, I need your help before something tragic happens and I am stuck with a 300-pound machine standing outside my front door, that I can’t use, and for which I’ll owe $2,118. — Valerie Skiles, Idabel, Okla.

Answer: Don’t be scared. NordicTrack should have disclosed all of your costs upfront, including any delivery fees, the cost of your loan, and assembly charges. Those should have been given to you before you authorized the purchase, of course.

I tried to reverse-engineer your order on the NordicTrack website, and after an initial price quote (minus taxes and shipping charges) it did the math for me, adding all required fees and taxes. That’s what the salesman should have done with you, telling you the “all in” price before you hung up.

But that wasn’t really the problem. After some back and forth with you, I concluded that you were suffering from buyer’s remorse. Yes, NordicTrack wasn’t as upfront as it should have been. And yes, the company representatives you spoke with could have been nicer. But I suspect that even if you’d been offered an interest-free loan and this machine had assembled itself in your living room, you would still have had misgivings about this purchase.

Fortunately for you, NordicTrack has a pretty generous 30-day return policy. After we reviewed your options, you decided you would be better off without a treadmill. You canceled your order and were not charged the $2,118.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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  • Altosk

    Best place to buy a treadmill: Craigslist. Normally I don’t advocate for that site, but if you’re buying exercise equipment, a lot of people are just trying to get rid of the stuff at ridiculously cheap prices.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    True but there are good reasons for that. They are heavy, cumbersome machines that are a pain to move. Much easier to have somebody come by and get it rather than try to lug it down to the Salvation Army or someplace. They are also rather notorious for breaking, which would make a used one a terrible choice for the person in this letter who is already terrified that a brand new one may have problems.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Nice job holding this person’s hand through this process despite them not being totally upfront with you, Christopher. I frequently feel for you because it must be awfully hard to advocate for people only telling you part of the story and trying to hide things.

  • Pat

    When I bought my treadmill from Sole, the delivery options were very clear. Free delivery would require me to get it off the truck and bring it into my house. It was $100 to have the trucking firm get it off the truck and into my home (worth every cent). There was an additional fee to have someone come to my home to put it together (it was not that hard to do it myself, but can understand if someone would want someone to assemble it).

  • Joe Farrell

    If they gave you a loan and did not disclose you were getting secured equipment financing you can simply void the transaction – no harm no foul. You might need to push them a little because the twoenty-somethings working in the sales office is probably clueless about the credit laws. . .

  • Barthel

    There are dozens of exercise machines on the market. Whether or not they are of any benefit is questionable. Almost anything you buy requires assembly. This lady should have realized this. Gone are the days of complete customer service.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    For 2100 dollars, if she lives near a city, she could join a gym for 6 or 7 years. While a drop less convenient than at home, she might meet fun and interesting people (I do).

  • KarlaKatz

    Amen! The action of getting out and going to a gym is part of my daily regimen; even that small effort is metabolic.

  • The Original Joe S

    For $1,899, HIRE SOMEONE to do the exercise for you! :-)

  • The Original Joe S

    Why should she have realized this?

  • taxed2themax

    While we can’t hear the initial discussion to gauge what this cockiness is or isn’t, I think the larger issue is that it sounds like all the relevant facts weren’t disclosed.. and that’s not good…. however…. I also have some misgivings, in that I wonder, if, perhaps, some of this “cocky” and “borderline rude” wasn’t somehow designed to cover the OP’s actual issue — buyers remorse.. Again, I didn’t hear the call.. I don’t think anyone outside of the OP has.. so I can’t say for fact.. but given how this story ended- and how Chris summarized it, it does leave me to wonder if perhaps, these issues, like perceived rudness and cockniess, weren’t used as a pretext for buyer’s remorse.. that said, I do think that if the sale wasn’t well defined in terms of what’s included and what’s not, then that’s something Nordic needs to address.