Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dealer Question on Repaired Scooters Not being picked up!

Dear Scooter Maven!

I appreciate your efforts to continually educate and inform dealers of best
practices. The culture of learning from each other and sharing information
to continually improve our industry is something that very few seem to
understand. I commend you on that.

Since you do visit alot of dealers across the country, I wanted to ask a
question. The question relates to a scooter shop's policy on repaired
scooters not being picked up. We have a limited shop area- total showroom
and service/parts are about 2100 sq ft. We have a 5 day policy in place. If
a scooter in for repair is not picked up within 5 days of completion, there
is a storage fee of $10/day. Sounds kind of steep but I don't want the
money, I want the bike out of here. Sometimes I do collect several days
worth, and sometimes the customer says "you can have it" Again, not my
intended result. Too many people say "you can have it" and next thing you
know, word spreads and nobody brings there scoot for service/repair.

Then there is the issue of abandoned service bikes. When customers disappear
or phone gets disconnected, and I don't hear from them for weeks/months, I
consider it abandoned, fix it up with some parts from MRP (ahem) and sell
it. I have time and money invested into these scooters in for repair, we
gave a quote, customer authorized the work, we repair it. Now I am entitled
to get paid. We did what we said we were going to do. I give them 30 days
after the repair is complete before I call it ours. The 5 day policy as well
as the 30 day abandonment policy is disclosed when the bike is dropped off
for service. It is on the repair order that they sign upon leaving the
scooter at our shop. It is also posted in the showroom in plain view.

I guess I'm looking for feedback from what other dealers do at their shops.
I have to get them out but don't want to be known as the "guy that will keep your bike" Any ideas you or others have would greatly be appreciated. Thanks for your time and I'll see you at the show. You are the man when it comes to knowing about parts for our scooters.



That's actually a great question.

My advice is you check what the law is in the state. You have them fill out a form that is compliant for your state law ( have it checked by an attorney ) When giving an estimate it should also be on the estimate.

In addition to the notice, you give them a copy of your policy and you have them initial it. IN BIG BOLD LETTERS.

You say exactly what you just wrote in your question. "YO WE LOVE OUR CUSTOMERS AND THAT MEANS YOU! We want your business for the next 10,000 years we want to be the best scooter shop in the world, but WE DO NOT WANT YOUR BIKE! NOW INITIAL HERE AGAIN JUST IN CASE.

We want to pay ourselves and pay our bills so PLEASE Come pick up your scooter on time, we are not joking too many people think we are a free parking lot, we are not. IF YOU DON'T PICK IT UP ON TIME WE WILL APPLY THE FULL LAW ON YOU AND YOUR BIKE. Not trying to be mean, but we have people who leave bikes here for 5 months and we have limited space and rent costs money.

The main reason is they cannot say you didn't inform them, they will also understand the situation better. I'm sure your state requires a notice on the wall. Also, you want them to get the message. It might not be worth it on an old scooter. You spend $200 filling, then $300 in repairs, and then you have all this time invested in getting the title and the time you wasted trying to get paid for a scooter you have to sell for $700. Now if its an expensive scooter you might come out winning, but that client will be upset. More than likely he will show up and say "hey what happened to the bike I left here 2 years ago, you guys are scum!" You have to kindly respond explain to him "I am not here to be loved by everyone, I am here to stay in business."

We called you, we wrote you, we sent psychic messages, we contacted your mom, and yet you failed to show up!" you get the picture. You cannot please everyone, but you give them an option. My policy is meet them half way. Look you owe us $300 in storage fees, I'm not going to be a jerk but I do have to charge you the minimum $100, I really want my $300 for the repairs. So let's settle for $400 and everyone wins. Had you come in a month I would have forgiven it, but now it's been three so we have to charge you.

Worse case scenario: Apply for a mechanics lean, if necessary then you apply for free title.
You have to make sure there is no UCC-1 on the unit some states allow that on financed vehicles. So if its a new Yamaha then GE money or someone else might hold primary title in which case it could be an issue from what I have seen by the time the financial companies reply to the requests in Florida mechanics generally get the title. They go after the consumer for the debt and you got a good bike still being financed.

The most extreme measure I ever saw was a wall with pictures of bikes impounded with the sign: Dont be one us! It shows all the abandoned vehicles that they applied for title on.

DATES, NAMES, AND CLIENT! Dropped off Jan 2010, failed to pay by April 2010, sold at auction June 2010, Owner showed up looking for it July 2010. You have to present it in a way that they understand you gave the people every chance. I have seen a wall of shame of pictures of people who shoplifted in a motorcycle shop. The owner takes a Polaroid picture and puts it by the wall and it reads "DO NOT LET THESE PEOPLE IN THEY ARE SHOPLIFTERS" I don't know how legal that is, or how the ACLU would react, but you know what they deserve it so the Scooter Maven doesn't really care. Its harsh but it makes people think twice. He also has pictures of the people being arrested who refused to have their shoplifting Polaroids mugs taken but he's more than draconian. Still it works so who can complain when it works?

I hope this helps, it really comes down to communication and people being decent about the store and your limited space. If they don't care after you try, send them texts etc... then not much else you can do.

Thanks for the kind words Mike.

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