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August 15, 2006

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We bought a treadmill (new) from Play It Again Sports in April. Free delivery & set up, 7 year parts and lifetime labor. All that free....can't beat that. I haven't had to deal with any repairs yet (knock on wood), but I would recommend them for buying both new and used equipment.

I was actually happy with what Sears did for us last year. About two years ago, we bought a Weider Crossbow exercise machine from them. This machine uses motors and a digital display to adjust the resistance. What a piece of junk! The weight adjustment piece broke on us three times, but Sears came out each time to fix it. After the third visit, we went to our Sears store, and they let us exchange it a year after our original purchase with a Bowflex Sport. They even matched the lowest internet price we found (about $150 less than advertised), and delivered it/picked up our old unit for free. We actually got a $100 refund for the whole deal, and a much better machine.

Just another data point....

Steve -- I think they used all of their good service on you!!! ;-)

Wish I had that type of response -- I would be glowing about them instead of crying about my service.

FMF: Your biggest issue here is that you paid $400 for an elliptical. The brands that Sears sells are just cheap -- plain and simple. If you are a bigger person, like me, or if you use it all the time, you just need a higher quality machine.

Look how much time you have wasted already dealing with them. If (and it is of course an if) you have extra money around, I would step up to the $1500-2000 range. Look for a used Precor or Octane (I have an Octane, and it is great).

Kris -- I know. I'm going to write a "you get what you pay for" post on this issue sometime soon. Our $2,000 treadmill we got six years ago looks and runs like new.

That said, we KNEW we would use a treadmill, and weren't sure about an elliptical. Besides, the $400 we spent included a three-year "anything" warranty, so, in theory, it should be guaranteed to run for three years -- with everything covered. Reality isn't so nice.

I don't know how much you weigh, but if you weigh more than a trivial amount, you'll want a real machine that costs $thousands. Anything else is basically meant to be something you use for a week until you get sick of it.

We searched for several months for a good elliptical and finally decided that a gym-type LifeFitness model was the only one that would hold up without shaking, groaning, or wierd hitches that felt cheap. It cost $3500, but it's had no problems with 5x per week, 1 hour each session, use by two people, one 180 and the other 220 lbs, for about 2 1/2 years.

I'm 500 pounds -- is that a problem? ;-)

I'm interested in:

"Anything else is basically meant to be something you use for a week until you get sick of it."

Then why do they sell them -- is it because people buy them and don't use them enough?

The dirty little secret in gym machines is that something like 90% of them are used for two or three months - at most - and never used again. They are classic "buy the thing because you're doing something for your health", but you don't use it for whatever reason.

My own feeling is the makers know this, so they make cheap machines for this market. It's sort of a modern version of the pre-Reformation Catholic idea of "indulgences".

But if you spend as much money on a gym machine as you would for a used car, you're gonna use it :)

Ha! I wish mine had worked well for at least 2 or 3 months!!! ;-)

I do like the "Elliptical War" title - it sounds like it should involve AK-47s, guys with beards and seriously bad breath, and Kofi Annan...

I already posted on one of the other threads about our poor service with the Freespirit Elliptical, but I wanted to ad another comment. While I do understand the "you get what you pay for" argument, that is not an excuse for poor customer service. Not to mention that even a cheap elliptical shouldn't crap out with regular use after 6-8 weeks (like ours). If an item comes with a warranty, it should be fixed efficiently and one should expect the item to work for a reasonable length of time after that...no matter what you paid for it in the first place. Frankly, if I could afford $1500-$2000 (or more) for a top quality home elliptical, of course I would buy one!!! Probably, we ALL would. But, those of us with a smaller budget should also be able to get a half assed decent product AND more importantly, we should expect good customer service regardless. To simply say "oh well, you got what you paid for" is an insult to the buyer/customer IMO. The insults should be saved for the manufacturer and the retailer when dealing with these poorly built machines!!!

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