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Questionable Business Practices? (Honda)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles Topics:  Honda, Northwest Honda

Questionable Business Practices? (Honda)

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 24, 2008


Three weeks ago I needed to replace a small cosmetic part for my motorcycle, after it fell off as I rolled to a stop on a local street. Luckily, it fell off just as I stopped. I heard it, stopped and picked it up. Ordered a new part; it came in two days later and I picked it up, paid for it and installed it.

Two weeks later its matching part on the other side fell off. Now, what are the odds that two similar pieces would encounter the same stress failure and fall off? The second time, I was in traffic on a road with a sloping gravel shoulder and I had to keep going.

I ordered the second replacement part and put it on when it came in. Only then did I realize that I didn't have a bolt and "collar" (thick shim or spacer), because I hadn't stopped to pick up the second part when it fell off. (You'd think I was riding a Harley, not a Honda!)

OK, so why am I writing this?

Each of the other parts, which were shiny metal and molded to fit, cost $12.25; that's $24.50 for parts.

Yesterday I ordered the bolt and collar and expected to pay $1.00-2.00. Imagine my surprise when I picked them up and was told that the cost would be $11.03! For one bolt less than 1" long and one thick spacer. Outrageous! I asked for the phone number for Honda's Customer Service but got side-tracked and left without it.

It gets better. Stick with me. When I called later, the parts kid at Honda Northwest wouldn't give me the phone number for Customer Service and asked why I was upset. After all, the computer showed the price. Easy for him to say.

I came up with the phone number by first calling the Honda Rider's Club of America and then called Honda Customer Service, when a very polite, friendly, and professional young woman named Heather offered to help me.

I told her that my invoice showed a nice discount off the List Price, and then she surprised me by telling me that the MSRP was much lower than the List Price. Oh, really?

What pricing shows on the invoice from Honda Northwest?
.................BOLT...........COLLAR
LIST.......$17.56.............$7.82
NET........$ 6.69.............$3.62

Honda's MSRP for the bolt?... $7.60! (not $17.56)
Honda's MSRP for the collar? $3.69 (not $7.82)

Will I deal with Honda Northwest again? No way! Why would there be such a discrepancy between Honda's MSRP and the dealer's List Price? Computer error? Or questionable business practices, maybe?

So, while I still feel stung by the $11.03 for a buck's real worth of a bolt and collar, maybe I got off cheaply by finding out how they do business, before I gave them the bike for an expensive repair job.

My motorcycle repair shop of choice is Randy's Cycles in Huntley, where I have been treated fairly for more than seven years.



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