Horrible Motorcycle Shop Experience
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Thread: Horrible Motorcycle Shop Experience

  1. #1
    Junior Member Fester's Avatar
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    Horrible Motorcycle Shop Experience

    Note: I have two bikes, my TW and a Kawasaki Concours. This is in regards to my Concours.

    Sorry if this is lengthy, but there is a great deal of detail in this experience, some of which I will omit for expediency. So, I have a ride to Reno coming up (722 miles) and I needed to have a new front tire mounted. I have the equipment to do it, but I'm back to work after my first retirement and I don't currently have the time for things such as this. I took my 2004 C-10 to a shop in Olympia, WA to have the tire mounted. The owner would not set an appointment time and I couldn't leave the bike overnight, he said, because there were two race cars in his shop. I arrived at his shop and he told me he just put a freshly arrived bike on the lift and mine would be done in about three hours, after which he would call me. So, I walked around Olympia for almost three hours and he called and said my bike was done. When I got there he told me HE DROPPED MY BIKE! He said it wasn't his fault, my handlebars were loose and they swiveled when he tried to put it on the center-stand. The only damage so far that I notice is the ripped boot on the left-side mirror and my choke lever isn't operating as smoothly as it did prior. Full disclosure: I have Heli-Bars on my bike that were professionally mounted by a local Kawasaki shop. Because these bars are much higher than stock, getting the bike on the center-stand is more difficult. I have done it, though, several times without problem. I believe this guy, 6' 4" and 300 lbs, jerked hard on the left side bar, causing it to swivel as it's not intended for that kind of force. This caused the bars to turn and he lost grip and balance. He said he is not responsible for any damage as it wasn't his fault. To top it off, he informed me that it took him longer than he though it would, so he said he felt it fair to charge me more for labor than originally quoted. He was going to give me a break, though, and charge me for an additional 45 minutes... not a full hour as he typically would. So, it amounted to an additional $72. When i inspected my bike, while still at the shop, I couldn't help but notice the large amount of greasy smears on my tank and front fender. Ultimately i expressed my dissatisfaction with this experience, which he tried to justify at every step; for example, the grease smears he said were cause by the bike falling over which was not his fault. He asked me if i would walk away happy if he reimbursed me for the $72 and expressed concern that I would say bad things about his business. My silence cannot be bought for $72, so I told him that even if he reimbursed me for that amount I would not be happy with the experience. I told him to charge me what he thought was appropriate: Ultimately he did, in fact, charge me the extra $72. For context, my bike, though old, is/was in pristine condition. I don't ride it in the rain, it's garage kept, washed frequently and waxed after every wash... yeah, I'm that guy; my daughter say I'm CDO... that's OCD in alphabetical order hahaha.

    I have two questions. First, would I have any legal liability for authoring an honest but scathing Yelp review? And second, are there things I should get inspected as a result of his drop? I'm certain that all of the left side wires and cables were torqued as a result of the bars turning inward so violently. Again, sorry for the length of this post and thank you for the opportunity to vent. Oh, one last thought. The drop was on the left side. Why did it not merely land on the side/kick-stand? I'm guessing he didn't have it in the down position as it should be when lifting onto the center stand.

    Les

  2. #2
    Senior Member ZXtasy's Avatar
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    Bummer dude... This is why I do all my own work...can't trust the "professionals". I used to live in Oly, Lacey actually. Also have a C-14, are you on the COG forum? Have 2 friends with stock C-10s and they complain how hard it is to get them on the center stand. I used to work in bike shops and if we hurt a customers bike, we fixed it to their satisfaction, sometime out of our own pockets. Those times are past. I think you have a fair reason to give a bad review, but ten what comes around goes around. Maybe give them a chance again to make it right and let them know that through social media a bad review can go a lot farther. I applaud you for not using the business name in this post, so maybe you just live and learn.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Fester's Avatar
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    Thanks, ZXtasy. I am inclined to agree with you, other than the suggestion to give the shop another chance.
    jtomelliott49 likes this.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member TW_in_BC's Avatar
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    If you do a Google search of the business...there is often a "Google review" that you can do.
    When I had a recent experience like yours with one of our local businesses...I wrote a (lengthy) e-mail to the person who responded to all the Google reviews and told him of my experience with their business.
    His response was swift and satisfactory....they refunded ALL of my money, not just the portion I was asking for.
    Yeah, social-media can be a pain...but at times it can be a powerful ally when you've been wronged.
    jtomelliott49 and Darth like this.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member Darth's Avatar
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    Whatever it is...do something!
    You've taken the first step, keep going.

    Was El Dumbo the Owner? General Manager, Service Manager, Mechanic, Helper, Go-Fer...?
    You want to find someone in authority...who has a boss.
    Somebody who can make the right things happen, somebody who doesn't want to get his boss involved.
    Somebody who does not want to lose a customer and his money.
    Unless it's a *very* small shop, it would be unusual to see an owner changing tires!

    I was GM/partner of a Kawasaki/Polaris dealership. The very last thing I ever wanted was a pissed-off customer who had been screwed-over by the Service Dept., and treated badly on top of that. "Service" is a big deal to bikers, "bad service" is a very personal, emotional deal. They have hurt your baby!
    If it had been my shop, I would have inspected your bike with you, profusely apologized (if it's as you claimed), refunded all charges (except parts), had your bike washed & detailed, offered you a loaner while all that was happening, promise a 10% discount on the next service and bought your lunch. Really. A "customer for life" is a valuable thing and sometimes only comes with difficulty and/or expense.
    It is usually worth it!

    The top guy will either do the right thing, or not. If he does...great. Make him a friend and promise him repeat business, and that you will recommend the shop to others. Mean it & do it.

    If he does not do the right thing...
    If it is a franchised dealership, the owner does have a boss, of sorts. Usually a Regional or District Sales Manager. He can't order things to happen, but he can "highly encourage" it! A lost, pissed-off customer is money out of his pocket...maybe even a lot.
    Judging from your description, I doubt it is a franchised shop.
    But often times, there is a "silent partner" or money guy that you won't know about. If that is your only remaining option and you are *really* serious about redress, you may have to play detective a bit to find the other guy. Make him make the final decision. He will probably just want it all go away which would likely be in your favor.

    I'm really curious about one thing...the two race cars in the shop!
    Can you describe them a bit? Beat-up, muddy old dirt oval-track cars? Clean, straight, professional dirt track cars? Off road cars? Rally cars? Dragsters? Sport cars? Any ATVs or dirt bikes around?
    Was it your impression that the cars were a sideline, or the motorcycles a sideline?
    Anything else leading you to think motorcycles are not the main business?
    If that's the case, they may not care if you or your buddies ever come back...and you are probably screwed!

    Keep us posted...and good luck!
    jtomelliott49 likes this.
    "Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death."
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    and wad up my bike somethin' awful...
    Still, I rise!
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    This is why NOBODY and I mean NOBODY touches my bike, PERIOD.

    You have the equipment but not the time. Then you walk around waiting for 3 hours. I don't want to be picky but it's kind of your own fault. Chalk it up as a lesson learned and move on. Sure bad mouth the crap out of the shop at every chance you get. For Christ sake you let him charge you more for messing up your bike??
    2017 XR650l
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  8. #7
    Senior Member TWBigBlake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fester View Post
    Note: I have two bikes, my TW and a Kawasaki Concours. This is in regards to my Concours...
    Bro I’m sorry, shops up in this area can be super sheisty... I got taken for 1800 by Magic’s custom cycles in Spanaway when they “worked on” my KZ 550, just gotta do research and if you can talk to people (on Yelp or google) to make sure the shop is reputable. I found one in Tacoma, the only place it take my bikes. (Before mobbin me for calling them out, I’m doing The public a service recommending they avoid this shop).

    But you roll the dice here in WA, some businesses have this mindset that the customer is at their mercy once they get the car or motorcycle. It’s a real shame.
    jtomelliott49 likes this.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Ski Pro 3's Avatar
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    The LAST thing I'd do is ever let anyone at that shop touch any bike of mine ever again. PERIOD! Who the hell in their right mind gives 'second' chances? I'd go to his shop, start shoving over bikes say, 'opps! not my fault!'. If fearful of retaliation, give $10 to some homeless guys to go in and knock bikes over. Oh hell, I'd come up with a dozen ways to teach that ass a lesson. Then I'd have a beer, calm down and move on, having learned my lesson the hard way; That it WAS my fault; my fault for trusting this limp dick with my bike not to drop it. Guys like that NEVER take responsibility for their own actions and nothing is going to teach them anything.
    Posting feedback and reviews as many times and under as many aliases as you can would be understandable.
    jtstdub, jtomelliott49 and Darth like this.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member reddave's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, I find that in today's day and age, good service cannot be paid for. Time and time again when I have sought "professional" assistance all I end up with is regret. I find that if I don't do it myself - it just doesn't get done right.
    1987 Yamaha TW200

  11. #10
    Junior Member madiz27's Avatar
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    Fellow PNW’er here. Not looking to hi-jack the thread, but can anyone suggest a mechanic worth paying to look over my new to me TW w/ ~16,000 miles. Picked it up about 6 months ago, starts and runs well, but I’m not the most mechanically inclined and would like to get it looked over.
    The Bike sounds noisier (more metallic sounding exhaust) than TWKid or TilDeatDualusport. Thanks, MD
    jtomelliott49 likes this.

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