Customer Service 101
I was always under the impression that Harley-Davidson Dealerships prided themselves on top notch customer service. You know, when you buy a new Harley, you get a “Welcome to the Family” welcome pack. Family? Well, not exactly, at least not with my experiences recently with a prominent Southern Colorado Harley-Davidson Dealership. The same dealership boasts in their email blast I received a few days after my experience that they were one of the top rated in the country. Really? Then, my only question is, Why?
Before, During and After the Sale
My experiences were never great to begin with. I made them work for the sale, was not in a position to buy any “extras”, you know chrome, parts, add-ons, extended warranties and the like. So yes, they got the bare minimum MSRP from from and not a dime more other than the standard dealership add-on costs. To the sales guys, they did their work, made the sale and were good about it. That was the only positive thing so far.
Now, I like to give the benefit of the doubt to everyone. So I continued to go there, buying the parts and supplies necessary to perform the service on the bike. Of course, I never had them perform the service – not when I can save anywhere from one to several hundred dollars and do it myself. My family is full of bikers, gear heads and certified mechanics. Good enough for me. I guess maybe not for them. Never were that friendly when I went to buy the oil and filters and what not. Maybe I just don’t go there enough or spend enough money?
The Last Straw
I needed a new set of tires. 12,300+ miles on the original set of H-D Dunlops was WAY more than most get out of a set of tires. Yes, they were very worn, and I was fully prepared to pay to get new ones. The H-D web site listed the front tire at $119 and the rear tire at $165. Sure I could have gone over to J&P Cycles or some other place and saved about $50 on the tires, but I figured the dealership had them, could put them on and balance them all in one package deal.
I called up and scheduled the appointment, it was for a Tuesday morning. Was given a rough estimate of $460 for the whole deal. I say rough so I account for about $50 above that just to be safe. I drove to the dealership and got there just after 9:00 AM when the service tech said to be. I went into the service department, and proceeded to watch 3 guys go past me several times without even an acknowledgment that I was standing at the counter. I could hear some jokes being told in the office behind the counter and other conversation. There was no “bell” or other device to indicate that “Hey, I am out here waiting.”
Finally, after about 15 minutes of shuffling, trying to be seen, knocking on the counter, coughing, clearing my throat and trying to get noticed, one of the techs sees me, for the second or third time, and tells the guy in the office, “Oh shit, there’s a guy out here.” We finally discussed what was going to be done, and I was told I would receive a call when it was ready to be picked up. At 5PM I finally called to find out what was going on. 8 hours is more than enough for two tires – and I was told, “Yeah, it’s ready.”
The Final Bill
A guy from work drove me up to the dealership since it was on his way home. He hung around just to be sure I was good to go. When I got there, again I waited for a few minutes, no big deal this time. The service tech/sales guy (not sure which he was) takes me up front to enter in the service bill and complete the transaction. He told me it was $574. OUCH! That is a far cry from $460. So I asked to see the work order and/or itemized invoice. That’s when I seen that there were charges for two tubes, two rim bands and a few other small items. I asked, “Why did you put a tube and rim band on the back wheel?” and continued to state, “It’s a solid rim, so it doesn’t need those.”
He asked me if I was sure, because he had inspected the bike and pulled the parts himself. I told him to go back and look at the bike. See a spoked rim needs the rim band, which helps prevent the spokes from rubbing the tube, and the tube is needed because the tire doesn’t seal with the spokes in the middle of it. Fairly simple, right? Not rocket science.
A few minutes later he comes back, shaking his head, “Sure enough, I guess we didn’t use those. I thought for sure we did, I pulled it all myself and though for sure I pulled that for that bike. May have been a different one we did.”
All total, it came to $517, $57 more than I was estimated, which I can live with. But I wonder, if some newbie Harley rider who didn’t know their bike would have had this done, would they have even questioned it? Sure it may have been an honest mistake on the service department. However, after waiting and the morning fiasco, not getting called back, and then being over charged and charged for parts that were not even used, really makes me wonder.