Article > Opinion

Picked Pockets!


Read this month's letters to the editor.

If there ever was a time for something to be done about “warranties” and “installer labor claims,” it’s now! I suggested years ago that aftermarket manufacturers fund a national test lab whose decision (on warranties and labor claims) would be final. It’s never happened and the problem is getting worse. We’re getting our pockets picked!

Walter McLaughlin
President & CEO
McLaughlin Automotive Stores
Providence, RI

Mitch: Give Them a Hug!
I have been an avid reader of your magazine for years. Some of the stuff Mitch Schneider writes about is very antagonistic from a counterman’s prospective — you know, all of the incessant whining about how his parts store is somehow screwing him.

But in a recent column, he openly admits that techs —good techs — are quirky, if not nutty — was dead-bang on (Hello, is Anybody Home, March). They are like idiot-savants sometimes, focusing only, and I do mean only, on the problem before them. They forget all of the times we take stuff back that we shouldn’t, the times we came in after hours to get them parts, the times we reduced the price on an item because they misquoted a job (or gave us the wrong information), the times they blame the ‘part’ instead of the repair or diagnosis, the times they pit all the parts stores against each other in a bidding war, or the times we order every possible option for every possible thing that the tech thinks may be wrong with the car. All of these things are forgotten whenever we ‘slip-up,’ or otherwise don’t live up to the expectations of the moment. What Mitch forgets to mention in his single-minded rant is that we, the parts stores, don’t forget all of the stuff customers like Mitch put us through. Because we can never tell a prima-donna tech that he’s wrong or make him or her believe us, we must resort to other tactics to get our message across.

I am not saying that it’s acceptable to not deliver a part because you are closing, but with some customers, I understand the rationale behind the decision. Right or wrong, I understand.
Mitch probably tells all of his parts suppliers that they are “first call.” Mitch, we are not as dumb as you think we are, but at times we need you to meet us half-way. Realize that we are people, maybe not as nutty, but just as stressed out, just like you. Quit your whining, and go give your “first call” parts store owner a hug. Tell him how much you love and appreciate him and maybe you will get your 4:59 p.m. delivery. You may find out the owner of the “first call” store is nuttier than a fruit cake. You’ll have a great conversation, I’m sure.

Mark Smith
Wholesale Auto Parts
Summersville, WV

Some Good News
I thought Editor Brian Cruickshank’s June column And Now for Some Good News was well stated.
I’ve been developing aftermarket alternators, starters and components for more than 30 years and let me tell you, the manufacturer’s ability to duplicate OE is astounding compared to just five years ago. While the technology of the parts has increased, so has the ability to accurately replicate them.

When I compare true defective return rates due to manufacturer error in 1980 vs. 2006, it’s unbelievable. We now make parts so good (as good as OE today) that aftermarket replicators are often accused of counterfeiting.

What hasn’t kept pace is the end user’s ability to trouble shoot, repair and properly handle this new technology.

Dan Poremba

  Previous Comments
avatar   Dave Elliott   star   10/27/2009   5:06 PM

Mark, you said it exactly right. I like the ones that threaten to "take their business somewhere else" if we don't do such and such, then tell us how they are never going to buy from brand az again and later that week we follow brand az's truck to their shop. Boy, never sure came quickly. Have you ever warrantied someone else's part out of good will and trying to buy business? then the customer sends a labor claim to you for that part? You got about a lot of gall there Officer Obie, to do that one. I take as good care of my customers as humanly possible only to be chastised for some minor error like a fourth grader. If I knew how to do anything else, I probably would, but after 31 years, it's tough to get a different job. But it probably wouldn't be too tough to get a better paying one.

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