So you’re planning a quick trip through the back roads of Western Colorado – just you and a few close friends. But as you’re preparing to leave, you do what any good rider does; you check your machine for wear so you can make any necessary repairs before heading out. Unfortunately, this time around you notice the rear tire is worn more than you had expected. It’s showing cords, which isn’t a good thing, especially if your “quick trip” might end up rolling more than a couple of hundred miles (which often happens on a journey through beautiful WC). After letting your buddies know you’re not going to make it due to a questionable back tire issue, you move on to the next step; securing a new tire a.s.a.p.! But where do you find a reputable online dealer? Good question.
When the topic turns to purchasing a high quality piece of equipment through the internet, many people’s faces turn the same – bright red with a furrowed brow. You know, the kind of face that clearly reveals disgust, outrage and agonizing frustration. Now please don’t get me wrong. There are without question many, many online service providers that not only operate legitimately, but with honest and integrity to boot, like www.tireexpress.com. And with that in mind BEWARE OF THE ONES THAT AREN’T! Obviously, the logical next question would be “how do I know which ones are, and which aren’t legitimate”? Yet another good question.
If you have ever tried to purchase something as “innocuous” as a rear tire for your Harley online, your experience might have been a relatively good one. You found the tire you wanted from your “tried & true” online resource – they took your information – told you when it would be sent out (and hence when it would arrive at your location) – sent you a confirmation/order number with a tracking code so you could confirm what they told you and your tire arrives on time, just when they told you it would. Sound familiar? Very good! Now for the bad news: not all online sites operate as professionally and conscientiously as vendors like www.tireexpress.com do.
All to often people tend to “try” other outlets due to lower prices, shipping costs etc… and wind up finding out the hard way what rule number one regarding “online purchasing” is about. For those who might not be familiar with it, here it is:
Rule #1: If you already have a “tried & true” source for the items you need for your bike – USE IT!!!
In other words “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”! There are far too many unscrupulous vendors online that will tell you what you want to hear (lie directly to you) just to get your business, while knowing fully that the item you are purchasing isn’t even in stock. In fact, they, themselves have to order it from another dealer just to be able to send it to you. Meanwhile, you wait, and you wait, and you wait, and you wait, and when you finally get tired of waiting, you contact them only be then be informed of this little detail by their customer service department.
Point in case: www.meancycles.com, or www.motorcycle-superstore.com. These are just two of the more commonly utilized online sites for riders looking to cash in on a good deal, only to discover they have become victims of the “sure we have it, and we’ll send it out today” syndrome. Now comes the headache. Not only are you waiting for something that isn’t even in their inventory, is hasn’t been sent out to you like you were told. Oh sure, you recieved a confirmation notice in your email, complete with your order number and expected date of arrival. But when that date comes and goes, and your tire still hasn’t gotten there, you contact the vendor and have to deal with lies, side-tracks and put-offs. If you’re lucky they may eventually fess up and tell you the item isn’t in stock and that they’re waiting for it to arrive from the manufacturer before they can send it to you.
Let’s takes a quick inventory shall we:
1) You purchased a tire from an “alledged” reputable online vendor.
2) You recieved your order confirmation number and expected date of delivery.
3) You’ve been waiting past to expected date of arrival and still have nothing to show for it.
4) You’re upset (and rightfully so).
5) You contact the vendor, who, only then tells you the truth about your purchase.
Now you have to make a decision – do you continue to wait, or do you cancel your order and go with another vendor? Well, let’s say you do the first – you continue to wait. You may be more patient than most. Afterall, what’s a few extra days (or weeks) relative to the few dollars you just saved doing business with people that are willing to tell you anything just to get your business. Sure, you may not get back on the road for as many as three, maybe even four weeks, but hey, you saved a whopping $10 in the process.
Your next door neighbor had the same issue and chose to do just the opposite – he cancelled the order and went with another vendor – one that he had purchased from before without trouble. He may have paid $10 more than you, but he recieved his tire within seven days and was back on the road to day the tire arrived. You, on the other hand, are still waiting for a tire theat was promised to you three weeks ago, and yet you have not even heard from the vendor you purchesd it from, and no, it still hasn’t arrived.
So now what? Are you going to continue to wait or will you cancel the order. If you cancel, then you need to make sure any charges you might have incurred going through this dealer are promptly refunded you. Check with your bank to make sure that if any money was taken from your account by them, that is immediately returned to you. If not, dispute the charges with your bank. Most will be only too happy to investigate any potential fraud on the part of an online vendor. This tends to send a sharp, if not painful message to vendors that operate this way.
Advice to all online purveyors of goods & services: Simply be up front with your prospective buyer if you don’t want to be “black-listed”. For instance, by telling them “yea, we can get the tire for you, but the only ones that are available are at the plant in North Carolina. I can place the order for you today, but it will takes a day or two for it to arrive at our warehouse, at which time we can send it out to you immediately”, you save both you and the buyer any “misunderstandings“. There’s an old saying…what was it? Oh yea, “Honesty is the best policy”. It may not be in Washington, but most of the American public still believe this is true. If you don’t believe me, ask the customer complaint departments of the two websites (mean cycles & motorcycle-superstore) that were mentioned before.
The bottom line: you just sacrificed a minimum of three weeks riding time just so you could save a lousy $10. So, the next question is this – “how much is your riding time worth to you”? if you break down the time you’ve spent waiting against the $10 bucks you’ve saved (even on a generous scale) it might look something like this….
Three weeks, or 21 days, divided by 10 equals… WHO CARES – YOU JUST LOST THREE WEEKS OR MORE OF YOUR PRECIOUS RIDING TIME WAITING FOR SOMETHING THAT STILL HASN’T EVEN LEFT THEIR WAREHOUSE YET! Your friends have given up on you riding with them because evey time they invite you along, you can’t go. Why? Because you’re still waiting for that rear tire you ordered nearly a month ago. Remember – the season is short, time is money when it comes to riding.
So, “what is the moral to this story“? Like it says in Rule #1: “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”. Use the vendor you’ve had good success with in the past in order to avoid the hassles and headaches of unscruptulous online “traps” like the one(s) that have just been cited. You WILL NOT save any money in relation to your “time off the road“. You may pay a little more on the outset, but your buyers satisfaction with be with you for many, many miles down the road, while the others are still waiting……………