Is it safe to keep ordering from Wiggle and Chain Reaction?

With reports of Wiggle getting gutted, we explore whether it's still a good idea to order cycling products from them

Clock15:35, Friday 23rd February 2024
Wiggle CRC entered administration on Friday

© Wiggle CRC

This article is over a month old and is now out of date.

For some, ordering from retail giants Wiggle or Chain Reaction Cycles has felt a little risky since parent company Wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles entered administration on October 2023.

Now, with staff members stating that the company has been gutted of almost all its staff in preparation to sell the business, ordering from Wiggle seems even more uncertain.

Here, we've put together a guide on where this leaves consumers.

What is happening at Wiggle CRC?

Wiggle CRC entered administration in October. Disappointing sales following the pandemic left the retailer with a dramatically over-supplied inventory, and when parent company SIGNA Holding terminated funding, many knew Wiggle CRC would be in trouble.

Now, four months since the business went into administration, it seems the end is nigh. According to CyclingNews, sources within Wiggle CRC say that, "once the warehouse is clear, it's game over. Wiggle and CR [Chain Reaction Cycles. ed. Will Jones] will cease. The brands have been bought, but IP only — no staff or stock."

With no official word, the reports of Wiggle's demise come exclusively from ex-employees, some of whom have taken to LinkedIn to share the news.

An anonymous source from within the business told Cycling Weekly that whilst most of the staff have been laid off, "not everyone" has been laid off quite yet. According to the source, "A few are staying to help sell off the remaining stock."

With a skeleton staff remaining, new orders made through Wiggle CRC will be processed and distributed. However, it seems unlikely that the company will have the same level of resources for returns, and customer support that it would have had when operating normally.

Are Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles still trading?

Yes, Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles are still trading. Stock is limited, and for many products only certain sizes are available. However, you can order through Wiggle as normal.

When we inquired about the status of warranties and returns, customer service told us that Wiggle was expecting to close down in four to five weeks.

They said that returns will be accepted within 28 days, and that the team are prioritising fulfilling orders as swiftly as possible.

They also said that products will not come with a warranty, apart from the one offered by the manufacturer.

However, a statement on the website, presumably now outdated, says: "All orders made with Wiggle will continue to be delivered as usual, and our standard terms and conditions still apply for item returns and warranty claims."

The same statement is present on the Chain Reaction website.

Are Wiggle and Chain Reaction still accepting returns?

Yes, both Wiggle and Chain Reaction are accepting returns, according to email correspondence and to the statement on their website.

However, given the limited staff numbers, it is unknown how quickly these returns will be processed, or indeed whether the company will still be operating by the time the returns period is completed.

Will warranties still apply? Is my purchase protected?

A statement on Wiggle's website says warranties will still apply, but a customer service recieved by GCN on Saturday 24 February states:

"There will be no warranty on items, apart from the one offered by the manufacturers in some cases as we will not be there to assist customers."

Wiggle's normal warranty policy provides a refund for faulty orders within 30 days of purchase. Beyond those 30 days, Wiggle offers either to repair products, or to refund them onto an eGift card.

In November 2023, Halfords announced that they would support customers of Wiggle CRC by honouring warranties. So far, Halfords have not specified how customers should go about lodging a claim.

Leaving Halfords' offer to one side, if Wiggle goes into liquidation and you need a warranty, you can register a claim as a creditor, although you will be very low down on the list of creditors, likely behind banks and suppliers.

A far better option is to pay for any Wiggle CRC purchases with a credit card. If the items you buy are each individually worth more than £100, and in the future you find they are not up to the quality you expected, you will be able to submit a Section 75 claim with your bank, which, if approved, will refund you.

If you paid with a debit card, or if you paid with a credit card and your Section 75 claim was rejected, you can request a ‘chargeback’, in which the bank will refund you after you provide supporting evidence. However, since most bank staff aren’t aware of this scheme, to get a chargeback you would likely need to speak with your bank manager.

Finally, it’s often possible to claim a refund for a warranty issue if you paid through a Buy Now Pay Later provider.

Should I avoid big-ticket purchases from Wiggle and Chain Reaction?

Loads of bikes and expensive items are being sold at clearance-rate discounts. However, it can seem risky spending lots of money with the company in turmoil.

Thankfully, if you pay for your items with either a credit card, a debit card, or some ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ providers, you will be protected by your bank. It might take a bit of hassle, but if you make a large purchase and it never arrives, or you aren’t happy with the quality of the product following Wiggle’s liquidation, you can apply to recover the money. We’ve explained how that works in the section above.

What happens if I've already placed an order with Wiggle or Chain Reaction?

If you have already placed an order with Wiggle, the order will be delivered as normal.

Should I wait to buy from Wiggle and Chain Reaction until the situation improves?

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the situation at Wiggle will improve, so if you want to order anything from them, now is the time. They have some great deals available and limited stock, so if you wait, the item you have your eye on might no longer be available.

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