I bought a nautilus. got hustled. i got a better workout putting the thing together than i did using it. I'll go the TOTAL GYM route from now on. beware!
Nautilus Group Sales Corp.
16400 SE Nautilus Dr
Vancouver WA 98683
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, customerservice@TreadClimber.com
Re: Customer No. XXXXX
Invoice No. XXXXXX
To Whom It May Concern,
Greetings; my name is Hxxx WXXXXX, the frustrated and disenchanted owner of a perpetually broken BowFlex TC5000 that’s less than 10 months old. And now, after enduring ten months of faulty machine construction, stunningly poor assembly instructions and endless repair issues, I am requesting a full and immediate refund.
On March 30, 2007 I ordered a Bowflex TC5000 thru BowFlex.com. When it arrived in mid-April, I cleared out a flat surface in my home and began putting it together. After thoroughly reviewing the assembly guide and laying out the enclosed tools and parts, I discovered three major problems:
1) THE TOOLS PROVIDED WERE STUNNINGLY INADEQUATE FOR ASSEMBLY.
• I needed at least two larger allen’s wrenches (hex keys) than the one included in the kit in order to finish the assembly.
• The enclosed the Philips head screwdriver was of such poor quality and workmanship that simply screwing in the flathead screws in the base as directed actually ground the tip of the screwdriver into a pencil-shape. In short, the screwdriver tip disintegrated.
• Next, the flat wrench was of such poor quality and workmanship that simply tightening the hex bolts bent the wrench beyond use.
[A $3,000 piece of machinery should either come with all tools needed to assemble it or a clear outline as to which tools are needed. This Fisher-Price caliber of tools sent is an insult not only to the BowFlex brand itself but to consumers who buy it.]
2) POORLY WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS.
Overall, the instructions are so poorly written that by simply following them as written, assembly is a chore. For example: Even with two people, connecting the electrical cable from the console to the cable that’s run up from the base (see figure 8-2, 8-3) is a balancing act due to the fact that the base’s cable is barely long enough to come up thru the base. (More To Come.)
3) FLAWED CRAFTSMANSHIP.
Numerous parts of the TC5000 are poorly designed, the least of which are motor, which broke down after less than 5 months of use by me, a 6ft 1-inch 270lb man. Secondly, the treadle belts are of poor craft—mine began to fray and unravel within the first 3-months of use. Simply walking on the TC5000 as intended caused the belts to fray and unravel. Thirdly, the hydraulic pumps are shoddy: they offer the exact same resistance pressure whether they’re set on Level 1 or Level 12. Not to mention, and the plastic rear drive covers are so warped out of line, that they don’t line up with all three screw holes; consequently you have to fiddle with them in order to line them up.
Despite these inadequacies in May 2007, I was still able to complete assembly and use my TC5000.
By late September 2007, only 5 months later—never going beyond on level 5—my TC’s left treadle belt began to literally fray at the edges and unravel under my feet; so much so that some of the loose the strands were getting caught in the drive wheel. After picking the threads out of the motor, I continued use until late September—that’s when the TC5000’s motor began to slowdown, spinning at noticeably slower revolutions per minute than when first purchased.
I called Nautilus to complain. The customer service rep told me it was quite easy and simple to replace the treadle belts themselves and the motor. They promptly put in an order for replacement treadle belts, instructions and a motor.
Upon arrival in Mid-October 2007, I discovered that I hadn’t been sent the actual motor, but rather a replacement circuit board that controls the motor. I called back and was told that the problem was in the circuit board and not the motor and that I should replace them.
I took the TC500 apart and began to replace the treadle belts according the included instructions. The attached instructions were so convoluted and incomplete that it was literally impossible to follow. In fact I don’t believe the treadle belts can be replaces without completely dismantling the entire treadle platform. The belt doesn’t slide or on—the treadles appear to have been assembled under and in between the treadle belts.
After calling Nautilus a few days later and explaining my issues to customer service, they agreed to send out a replacement treadle platform.
Upon receiving the replacement treadles at the end of December 2007, I began to once again, for the third time now—reassemble my TC5000. After finishing, I turned it on: the motor ran, the belts spun, but once you stood on the treadles, the TC5000 slowly ground to a complete halt.
At this point, I checked every part of the TC5000 to make sure that it had in fact been assembled properly; I reread the instruction manual and noticed on page 16, Steps 4-3 thru 4-4 it clearly states, “Using (1) 3/16 hex key completely remove motor shipping bolt, see figure 4-3…”
So I turned over the machine base on its side and noticed one large silver domed hex-headed bolt sticking out. Upon realizing that I needed to remove this bolt, I took the hex key and began unscrewing it. Because I have large hands the only way to completely remove the bolt is to disassemble the entire machine just to be able to unscrew it.
After removing the shipping bolt, I reassembled the machine. It still didn’t work. So I called Nautilus again. This time I was told that the shipping bolt was actually the tension bolt and needed to be reinstalled. When I pointed out that there was no shipping bolt on my unit upon delivery, the Nautilus rep, it was explained to me that the shipping bolt was possibly “sheered off” during delivery; he said this was a reoccurring problem in shipping TC.
The problem was there was no shipping bolt in my machine; the only bolt in my TC5000’s base was the tension bolt. The pictures and language in the manual does nothing to explain the difference between the shipping and tension bolts. In fact, the manual states, “removing the shipping bolt will create spring-loaded tension to drive belt and make it tight.” (Page 16) The picture 4-3, forces the consumer to conclude that the “shipping bolt” and the “tension bolt” are the same thing. And again, because there was only one bolt in my unit I had no choice but to remove it.
Upon reassembling the TC5000 I realized yet another problem: The tension bolt is so poorly installed that there’s no way to tighten the tension bolt with the drive belt attached. Because the tension belt is dome-shaped and there’s no such thing as a “dome-shaped” wrench (socket wrench or otherwise), the only way to loosen the bolt is to dismantle the machine down to the base. It’s the only way to get enough room to get at the nut holding the bolt.
Unfortunately, once you loosen the tension bolt and reassemble the machine, there’s not sufficient tension between the treadle wheel and the motor wheel to pull the drive belt and make the machine work. So you have to tighten it, which is impossible given the design flaws.
Now that I have completely reassembled my TC5000 for the fourth time in less than 3 months, it’s still not working properly. No tension, no moving treadles, no workout. I’ve had enough of this!
Whether it’s the result of an abnormally flawed unit or simply overall flaws in the TC5000’s product design, I refuse to waste anymore more time and energy with a workout machine clearly incapable of working properly with nothing to help but exceptionally poorly written instructions.
Because my TC5000 unit contained flawed parts, flawed tools, and inaccurate instructions; and because these issues are the sole fault of BOWFLEX and NAUTILUS, I am demanding my money back.According to the Bowflex warranty, if the Bowflex unit can’t be fix, is still under warranty and the consumer has remained within the parameters of use then the consumer is entitled to a full refund.
Well, I have lived up to my end of the deal. My TC5000 was used by one person in a non-commercial, residential environment weighing 270lb—30lbs under the 300lb limit; I never ran or jumped on it—only walked; I have done everything within reason to maintain and care for my unit responsibly. Yet because I was sent faulty equipment, poor instructions there’s no way it can be fixed. Furthermore the unit is still well within the warranty.
Therefore, I am demanding a refund in full. No $2,500 product should breakdown in less than 6 months of use.
Now, I will happily return all parts, tools and machinery if Nautilus provides me with shipping materials for delivery. (The TC5000 is a 200lb machine that came in odd shaped, cumbersome boxes in addition to the extra treadles—there’s no way I can afford to seek out boxes or to ship this from my house on my own.)
Please issue me a refund check in the amount shown in the attached invoice.