This NordicTrack treadmill is giving her plenty of exercise — in futility

Angela Wise decides to begin 2018 with a commitment to a consistent exercise plan. So she orders a brand-new NordicTrack treadmill. But when she receives an inoperable piece of equipment, her enthusiasm turns to frustration — and then anger. Can we help get Wise back on the right track?

QuestionNordicTrack sent her a broken treadmill

At the end of December, I ordered a treadmill from the NordicTrack website. I also paid for the “White Glove” delivery and assembly. On the day of delivery, the guys put it together and then left. They never got the treadmill working. I asked them what to do next, and they said NordicTrack would send someone to replace the wires in the control board. These delivery guys told me that this had happened before.

I tried calling NordicTrack for several hours. I was placed on hold for an extended time. So then I gave the chat feature a try, and I reached someone. He offered me that I could pay an additional $179 for them to send someone out to diagnose the treadmill. But I could try to troubleshoot on my own for free. WHAT?

Then I went to Facebook. Finally, I reached someone there. This person wanted me to take apart the treadmill myself, and they could walk me through diagnosing it. I fear I would be opening myself to liability if I disassemble anything.

I want NordicTrack to send someone to fix it or swap it out. Or just come get it and refund my money! Aren’t those fair options? Angela Wise, Salem, Mass.

NordicTrack sent her a broken treadmillAnswer

Wow! NordicTrack handled your case improperly from start to finish. We’ll get to that finish line in a moment, but first, let’s go over how it all began.

Like many Americans, you decided to start the new year with an improved exercise regimen. You thought having a NordicTrack treadmill in your home would help facilitate this goal. So you ordered the exercise equipment and even paid the additional $300 to have the White Glove delivery service.

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Having just purchased my own new NordicTrack treadmill with the White Glove (full assembly) service, I’m familiar with how the program is supposed to work. You pay the fee and a delivery service brings the heavy equipment into your home in pieces. And then they assemble it in your desired location.

Your delivery guys did that, but then things took a vast deviation from the norm.

An inoperable NordicTrack treadmill

The White Glove delivery men put the pieces together, plugged the treadmill in, turned it on and — voilà! Nothing happened.

No matter what the men tried, they couldn’t get it to operate. They speculated that it might be faulty wiring, but they really didn’t know.

At that moment, the delivery men should have taken the inoperable NordicTrack treadmill away. No one should pay top dollar for a brand-new piece of equipment that arrives broken. But your delivery men bade you adieu and left.

Earlier that morning you had been hoping to be running on your brand-new treadmill by late afternoon. Instead, you were left staring at the cumbersome and useless apparatus taking up a lot of space in your living room. What a disappointment.

But you were still hopeful that NordicTrack would quickly correct the problem. You tried multiple channels to reach someone at the company who could offer a reasonable solution.

NordicTrack offers a “solution”

I read through your lengthy paper trail, and with each passing page, I could sense your frustration growing. The solutions that NordicTrack offered you were not what anyone would consider customer-friendly. In fact, one representative told you that for a $179 fee the company could send someone out to fix the machine.

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I shared your stunned reaction to this offer. Why would any consumer agree to pay additional fees to fix a product delivered DOA? Certainly not you.

After repeated attempts to get NordicTrack to correct the problem, you contacted our advocacy team. You hoped we would see the absurdity in the “help” that NordicTrack offered.

I did.

NordicTrack tries again

I reached out to ICON Health & Fitness, which is the parent company of NordicTrack, and explained your dilemma. Our executive contact promised to have a customer service manager fix this problem.

You then received notification that NordicTrack would send you a replacement wire. The company believed that this would correct the problem. Once you received the wire, NordicTrack would send a repairman to install it at no cost to you.

This resolution did not sit entirely well with you, but you agreed to it. You told me that if this fixed the problem, you would be satisfied.

Two weeks later I checked in with you again, imagining that you must now be happily enjoying your new treadmill.

You weren’t.

Still waiting

It turns out that the wire was on backorder with no projected date of delivery. Now you wanted to cancel the entire transaction and have NordicTrack take the inert treadmill back from where it came. I agreed that you had given the company more than enough chances to correct this fiasco.

I went back to NordicTrack and discussed your growing frustration and your desire to void the entire purchase. The company agreed to reverse the charges and come and get the treadmill. At this point, you were just relieved.

NordicTrack throws another wrench in the planBut NordicTrack had one more wrench to throw in this debacle. They sent you a notice that you would receive a refund and that you could dispose of the treadmill any way you wanted. It would not be sending anyone back to retrieve it.

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This treadmill weighs over 500 pounds and is an unwieldy piece of exercise equipment. The idea that NordicTrack would burden you with the disposal of the useless item was egregious but just par for the course with your case.

The final wordIs this NordicTrack treadmill is heading to the garbage can

While you were deciding what to do next, you suddenly received the wire that the company said would fix the treadmill. You called NordicTrack one last time and asked them to please take the giant annoyance out of your house. You also let them know that you had received the wire. The representative offered that if you could break up the treadmill and put it outside, she could arrange curbside pickup. Otherwise, you were free to do what you wanted with the treadmill.

With that, you decided that you will get some friends to try to install the wire and see if it is possible to get the treadmill to work. If they can’t, these (strong) friends will break the thing apart for you and dispose of it.

NordicTrack’s response to your plea for help is puzzling. You gave the company every opportunity to make this situation right. You only asked for what you ordered — a working NordicTrack treadmill. The company should have stood behind its product by immediately taking away the dud and delivering a usable treadmill. Instead, they have lost a customer forever. NordicTrack should have done better.

Now that Wise has received a refund, is this a fair resolution?

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Michelle Couch-Friedman

Michelle is the executive director of Elliott.org. She is a consumer advocate, SEO-lady, writer and licensed clinical social worker who spends as much time as possible exploring the world with her family. Contact her at Michelle Friedman Read more of Michelle's articles here.

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