Can you trust Customer reviews – ProBikeKit Case Study

ProBikeKit is an established online retailer from Cumbria in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1998 it became part of The Hut group, a unite that owns and operates a number of online brands and boasts a yearly growth rate of 15%. You can read more on the ownership in The Telegraph article on The Hut acquisition of ProBikeKit.

As a consumer it can be difficult to judge an online bike shop. Are the reliable and trustworthy. Are they good value and will you be looked after as a valued customer?

On Smart Cyclists, the shops included for comparison are all establish and of good reputation although this doesn’t mean all customers will have a good shopping experience all of the time.

By way of example, the online reputation of ProBikeKit has been briefly researched with interesting results.

Usually when searching using Google, ProBikeKit will have an advertisement, and it is interesting to note the 4.2 / 5 star ranking. What is the advertiser ranking? Google uses their party review websites, their Google Trusted Store program, info from an independent ratings company (StellaService – for the USA only) and ratings from google customer surveys to produce the advertiser ranking. Advertisers can choose whether or not this is displayed.

ProBikeKit Product Review

What is interesting is that on the first page of results, there is a 3/10 rating based on 56 reviews from a service called Reseller Ratings. That doesn’t look good at all. The quoted  first review begins with “US Customers Beware!!!!” [link]

probikeKit Independent Review

Continuing there are reviews from a more familiar name, Trustpilot. They split between the UK and the USA and it is interesting to note that while UK customers (with 1,137 reviews) rank the shop 9.2 from 10, the US (or international) customers with 221 review rank the retailer at only 7.2 from 10.

Probikekit trustpilot review

ProBikeKit Own Review

Basic analysis suggests that the UK customers are happier and for overseas (or US) customers, there are more problems. This is useful info although it doesn’t mean that one in four customers are disappointed, the ranking calculates 4/5 and 3/5 ratings.

Clicking through to the reviews is enlighting and the most recent reviews are eye opening.

1/5 – Make sure they have the product they are trying to sell you before you purchase!

1/5 – Terrible Customer Service, Fraudulent Business Activities, Avoid.

2/5 – Look Elsewhere

2/5 – “Free shipping” is a farce. Disappointed.

Ouch. Four recent negative reviews before the first positive one. Lets look at the UK website for a bit of a balance.

5/5 – Quick service for reasonably priced products

1/5 – Didn’t work

5/5 – Good, speedy service

5/5 – Excellent service and brilliant communication in relation to delivery

The UK reviews are also more recent and appear to confirm that UK customers are getting better service.

Lets have a look at other sources of reviews. A service called gives ProBikeKit a 97% ranking and clicking through presents a slighty more comprehensive and interative format with the service and products split. The 92% is inline with the UK Trustpilot 9.2/10 ranking. The time period selection is a plus – but looking through the reviews shows that the last review was in June,  before that it was March and then 75 reviews in February this year. This is unusual, perhaps ProBikeKit were recommending that customer post reviews on the service and then stopped.

ProBikeKit Customer Review


Beyond standard search results for “probikekit” – looking specifically for review sites suggests that is the most popular. It however has a single (positive review). The sample size is too small and can be ignored.

ProBikeKit Customer Review


The power of customer reviews

For small businesses, a negative review can be a disaster – for big business it is a game of numbers and a retailer can attempt to manipulate and influence…. or just do good business and value every customer.

Customers threaten business with bad review – usually after disappointment. In the US where suing people appears to be a way of life, companies have attempted to sue customers for negative review. Techdirt have an interesting example of this: Online Retailer Says If You Give It A Negative Review It Can Fine You $3,500.

Forums also are useful for judging the reputation of a retailer though take time to review the as the content is not standardised.

However customer reviews can be polarised, not necessarily presenting a balance, rather just the extremes. That said, in most cases the inpendent review can provide enough information to understand whether the retailer keeps customers such as yourself happy.

Be aware that when there are no reviews for a shop that it can mean that the retailer is very new, but it can mean they are very small and not doing much business or are ‘too new’ and more care should be taken to review their creditials. Here are some basic tips: When the price of that new bike too good to be true?

17 thoughts to “Can you trust Customer reviews – ProBikeKit Case Study”

  1. Thanks for the report. I have not had great service from Probikekit which could have been down to communications issues rather than poor service but was wondering what others experience was. I am UK based,

  2. I ordered a shimano ultegra carbon pedals 6800 on jan 18,2015 , as of now I havent received it yet. First they told me Im gonna received it on or before feb 5. then I emailed them again told them I didnt received it yet, and they told me it normally takes a month. so on feb 18 I emailed them again, and told me it will take 60 days. I told them just give me a refund. I think the’re just giving me a round a round. What will i do now?

      1. You need to now get your bank / Credit Card provider to reverse the payment. Depending on where you are based and your banks policy, you may have some costs (fees) but should get most back.

        If you turn to other online review sites – this will help others to weigh up the risk of buying from ProBikeKit.

        Also, if you have the patience – you can try social media such as facebook and twitter. Sometimes these can actually work as they are publicly visible communication channels – on the companies social media sites so they can be compelled to take notice.

  3. While ProBikeKit seems to be ok for UK customers, I have recently heard from an increasing number of unhappy customers who are outside of the UK such as the United States and Australia. Looks like they are also have problems with certain items and keeping customers hanging.

    ProBikeKit have a 3 – 10 day delivery time for international orders however also have the following on their website with regard to complaints and when customers can report “Rest of the World, please allow 30 days from dispatch before reporting an item as missing.”

    For interest, PBK’s most viewed Help FAQs with 38180 views is “What do I do if I have not received”.

    So what can you do if they forget that ‘customer service’ includes the words ‘customer’ and ‘service’? If you have paid by paypal or credit card, you can request a reversal (chargeback).

  4. Been a month since I ordered a 105 crankset and never received my order. In not going to play the tag game with this company. I’m going straight to my credit card company for my money back. I’m in canada and ordered from Wiggle with no problems. Not a good experience with PBK.


  6. Be aware that there are many Chinese companies with websites that pretend to be overseas in US or Europe and have mostly fake items. Even amazon is now rife with fake items including brand name products. Look up cnbc article on this (and there many more). So you may think you are getting an item from US but it is actually a fake being shipped from China.

  7. I ordered from
    (1) Shimano Ultegra 6800 11 Speed Groupset – Grey – 172.5mm-11/23-34/50 BSA – Box-Cycling Groupsets
    (1) Shimano 105 PD-5800 SPD-SL Pedals – Carbon-Bicycle Pedals & Cleats

    I had to cancel my order. They wanted me to verify my address in USA.
    I sent them my electric bill in pdf format. They couldn’t open the file.
    I sent the same file in JPG format. Again they couldn’t open the file.
    I investigated reviews on the internet and found out they are a bait and switch company by reputation.

    Don’t waste your time with this company.
    You buy one thing, and they will send you something completely different.
    Save your time and money and go elsewhere.

  8. Ignoring customers and making it hard is the easy approach and it can come from unmotivated staff as well as a policy to make it harder for customers as there is an assumption that a lot will give up. For the short term it is frustrating for customers and in the long term it impacts the company who develop a poor reputation.

    I suggest giving them a trust pilot rating and if you have the energy, twitter and facebook comments. Unfortunately some companies only react when customers turn to external services such as these as the information can’t easy be ignored or deleted.

  9. To start, I waited weeks before writing this review so that ProBikeKits had time to not only respond, but to try and make it right. Well, neither thing happened.
    I placed an order on Black Friday Weekend (end of November) for some Christmas gifts. The estimated delivery was “ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 16TH.” I placed the order thinking there’s plenty of time, even if it’s shipping from the UK and it’s a few days late, that’s still in time for Christmas.
    On December 18th, it hadn’t shown up yet, and there was no tracking number, so I thought I would call customer service. Come to find out: THERE’S NO U.S. CUSTOMER SERVICE PHONE. YOU HAVE TO MAKE AN INTERNATIONAL CALL TO TALK TO A LIVE PERSON. So, I sent an email that morning, but also decided to make a call to get some answers/updates with my shipment.
    I was on hold for 5-10 minutes (again International Call time), and the representative said:
    “I see your shipment, it left 2 different warehouses on December 4th and 5th. We won’t investigate or research this order until January 4th, which is one month from the shipping date. I also see the approximate arrival time, and I apologize, but the good news is that it is on it’s way and will most likely show up in the next 48 hours.”
    I about LOST MY MIND, but there wasn’t anything I could do but wait; so I did.
    On December 23rd, I sent ANOTHER email expressing my dissatisfaction and worry about getting these gifts in time. Still no response and I wasn’t about to make another international call.
    The shipments finally arrived on December 27th and 29th.
    THEY SENT THE WRONG SIZES AND THE WRONG COLORS. I ordered Mediums and they sent Extra Smalls.. seriously?
    I sent one last email and waited until now, January 5th, for a response or instruction with what my options are for return/exchange/refund. STILL NO EMAIL RESPONSE, except for the automated ones saying, “Thank you for contacting us, we’ll respond within 24 hours.” Bull%$#&. Also, miraculously, I received at least 6 advertising emails from them throughout this whole period.. hmmm.
    This was BY FAR my worst experience with an online order. I NEVER have these issues with any domestic company. I am a very understanding person and will work with you if you make an effort to work with me too. But there was NO negotiation, NO SERVICE, NO OPTIONS, AND THEY DON’T GIVE A &$%#. At this point, there’s really nothing they can do to make this right. So, I will be posting this on every review site that I can find.
    Thank you.

  10. I ordered a jersey advertised as Women’s. When it arrived it was a Men’s & did not fit. Probikekit refused to pay postage to return it. Postage was $36.00. So I get some money back- less then half or I keep a jersey that doesn’t fit. This company is horrible. I would never recommend them to anyone.

  11. These people are terrible. Before I placed my order it said “usually ships within 24 hours”, right after I place the order a new message says “estimated to ship within 6 to 9 business days”, so I immediately hit CANCEL. It says that the order can not be canceled (why have a cancel button?), so I write to customer service so that they can cancel my order. 30 minutes later I get an email that says that the order has shipped, this is suspicious considering I placed the order at 2 am on a Monday UK time. The next day customer support writes back that they cant cancel because it has shipped, yeah right!!!… 20 later the order HAS NOT ARRIVED, even though they are past the estimated delivery date. I call customer support again and they answer that I need to give it more time. Then I call again and ask for a supervisor, they say he or she is busy and that I will get a call back, they never called.
    I have already called my bank and I am declining the payment. NEVER ORDER FROM THESE PEOPLE, go to Ebay or Amazon and you can get the same price from a reliable company.

    1. When you order – this first goes to ‘picking / packing’ and technically orders can be modified or cancelled at this stage but companies don’t like to do it and may not provide the option. So it usually hasn’t shipped / been dispatched and the easiest option for companies is to say it can’t be done.

      Some companies are fast and can ship within 24 hours. The customer rights in the country where the retailer is, usually lets you know what your rights are.

      But there is an easier process. Pay by credit card and then get them to cancel the transaction. This may cost you a fee and the retailer may follow up and potentially hassle you… but if you simultaneously inform them that you will cancel the credit card payment then this is enough information for them to decide whether to actually proceed and cancel the order or to make it a mess.

      The crux of the problem is a poor ordering system that gives you crucial information after. Smart retailers like amazon provide this information (at least a fairly reliable estimate) on a product overview page before even putting an item in the cart. Latest … prior to committing, delivery dates should be shown.

  12. is an NZ front for a large online sales company in the UK, The Hut Group. It is NOT a New Zealand company and if you do a bit of web searching you will see hundreds of complaints across the world about their practices.

    Like a lot of other people, I believed I was ordering something from a local supplier. They promised to charge my card one day before the item shipped and that delivery would be 4-10 days. It was the start of December and I needed the item as a Christmas present so that was fine.

    My card was charged and then a day later I got an email to say delivery would be delayed and they didn’t know why. I replied saying please cancel it if it would not be in time for Christmas. A week later I’d still heard nothing so I asked them to cancel and I went and bought one locally. A day after that they told me it had shipped.

    Having read all the complaints online (now! I wish I’d looked first!) I have no great expectation of successfully getting a refund. If they were honourable they would refund me now rather than me going into Christmas $400 out of pocket, but they just keep saying they will do it 30 days after they receive the watch back from me. Yep, stuck with courier costs back to Europe for an item that was mis-represented as being local.

    Some people have apparently had results from emailing the Hut Group CEO. His name is Matthew Moulding, email Matthew.Moulding at

    Being that we are far away in NZ and that the company hides behind recorded messages and automatic email responses I guess my only option will be to sell the item on Trade Me when it finally arrives and tell everyone I can that is not what they pretend to be and not honourable.

    And it’s a reminder, in a time when we get lulled into a false sense of security by the good international online retailers – there are still dodgy ones out there and it’s prudent to do some web searching before giving them credit card details!!

  13. DANGER! These guys are dishonest and scammers! I sent my faulty Garmin back to be fixed … they lost it for a month, they couldn’t even tell me what was going on for another 2 months and never got back to me. When I finally managed to escalate the complaint and get a refund, despite me telling them not to refund on the purchased card as it was cancelled, they claimed they had … I showed that by their own time/date stamp, I notified them prior to the refund being issued they denied it and refused to process a refund to a valid account, then when I provide a bank letter stating there was no way the money came through and it would have bounced back to them and they would need to take it up with their bank they again refused to give me my rightful refund of over $300!! Never use probikekit!

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