The other day this guy came into the shop in need of an air filter and a battery. He said he had purchased his scooter from a used car dealership down the street, and within a few days the battery had failed and he had also discovered that there was no air filter. The dealer had told him to come to our store to get one.
No problem right? Wrong. We don't service gray-market brands. I politely explained to him that the reason for this policy is that the companies involved in manufacturing and importing those scooters do not have proper product liability insurance, nor parts and warranty support. Quite simply, if the scooter spontaneously combusts, we don't want to be named in any lawsuit.
"I'm sorry, but you will have to take it to the place where you bought it for any parts or repairs," I said.
The guy was a little ticked off, but not at me. He was mad at the place he bought it from. They had told him that we would take care of any problem he had, and that we had parts in stock for his machine. This is not the case. While he was on his way to yell at the used car dealer he bought the scooter from, I decided to call them on the phone. Here's how it went:
"Hello, __Auto Sales"
"Hello, this is Dave calling from The Scooter Lounge. You just sent someone up here for an air filter and I . . ."
"We've never sent anyone up there. We handle all our own parts and repairs."
"Thats funny because I get calls almost every day from people asking us to work on your scooters"
"No you don't because we never send anyone up to you guys."
"Well then I don't know how to explain all the calls we get, but that's beside the point. You would remember this guy. He's a big guy with tattoos and piercings. You sent him up here for an air filter and a battery."
"Oh, maybe G.T. sent him."
"Yeah. We sent him because we don't stock those parts."
"Well I was just calling to let you know that we don't support gray market scooters. So don't send your customers here for parts or service."
"You wouldn't even sell them an air filter?"
"You act as if it's wrong of me not to stock an air filter for your customer. But YOU don't stock an air filter for YOUR customer."
"Well I just figured you would have it."
"If you drive a Ford do you expect the Chevy dealer to have your parts?"
"No, but I expect another Ford dealer to have them."
I began to stammer a reply, but I was so baffled by her level of ignorance I didn't know where to begin.
Just then, a male voice came on the line and said, "Conversation Over!" and the line went dead. It was apparent the boss had been listening the whole time, but was too much of a wuss to actually talk to me, so he let me politely talk his secretary into a corner. Her implication that the Junk they sell is the same as what we sell betrays the common belief that all scooters are created equal. I don't think there are very many people around who would say the same about cars, but for some reason there are a lot of idiots when it comes to scooters.
Here's the deal folks: If you wouldn't buy a car made by company you had never heard of, if you would think twice before buying that car if the price were half as much as a comparable Honda or Toyota, If a red flag would go up if the car were being sold by a florist or a beauty parlor, then the same rules should apply to a motorcycle or scooter. We are talking about Motor Vehicles. Be smart, Be safe. Don't get behind the wheel or handlebars of a dangerous machine.