Last week, for the fourth time, the exhaust was blowing on the scooter. Realising that because the after-market third-party budget-made-in-a-sweatshop part never actually fitted correctly, I decided the best way to deal with it was to contact the main dealer for Yamaha for a guaranteed fitting exhaust. I phoned the dealer first, and asked what parts they have in stock. They let me know of 4, a budget £50 one. A sports exhaust for about £90. A supremo sports exhaust for £170 and a genuine Yamaha original for £230. I took down the old exhaust, I showed the pleb on the counter photos of where the exhaust doesn't fit, and when I asked if we can compare them, he informs me they have none in stock. I ask about my telephone call yesterday, and he just feigns ignorance saying he doesn't have any in stock and I shouldn't have been told otherwise. We selected a cheap and cheerful exhaust to try. I asked them if they'd mind checking the new part when it came in if I left the old one behind, to make sure that it would fit by doing a diagram to show where the old one didn't fit correctly and the guy didn't see a problem with this. I then paid for the new exhaust I wouldn't get for a week, but we can all understand some less then scrupulous people order parts and then refuse to pay for them.
Yesterday, I get a call. I expect it'll be along the lines of "We have your new exhaust and we've checked it against the old one and we're confident it'll fit. It's here for you to collect when you're ready." Instead, unbelievably, I get a call along the lines of "we've done bugger all for the past week because people have been off ill. Now, when we look at your order, the part is twice the price, it will take another week to get here, and there's still no guarantee it'll fit. We can't order the part at all until you make up the difference, but this can be done over the telephone." In disbelief, I say I'll call them back. I phone back and ask to speak to someone in authority, and I end up speaking to (apparently) the owner's son. Now this should get me somewhere. I tell him what's happened, how disappointed I am in his staff, and bewildered at how this monumental screw up could lose him a customer. He asks for details, and I promise him I'll phone back today. So this morning I phone him back. He says the part is the only one listed, and it IS nearly twice the price. He again reassures me that whilst it should be the right one, it might not be. And yes, he can't get it for another week. Incensed, I can feel my blood pressure boiling. I bite my lip, tell him what I think of his operation (as politely as possible), and that I will be back to collect the old exhaust and the money in the next couple of days.
I go out for an hour, and when I return revigorated and ready for the world to throw anything at me, the second number I try is a company I've been trying to phone all day. I have either been getting engaged tones, or no answer. I finally get a voice on the other end of the line, and he gives me the number for the direct line for Rob, the main man for spares. I phone with pessimism, explain what has happened, and immediately he replies "Oh yeah, that old problem. No, the Yamaha exhaust doesn't fit the MBK correctly. It breaks the existing exhaust, where the bolt should be, causing it to fail to get correct back pressure. Of course I can get you a new genuine part. It'll take a couple of days, but it'll be here by Monday. I did some checking, and I can get you it with a small discount and VAT included for £110. Oh no, I don't need the money up front, I've got your phone number and your name, so we can take it on trust. Look forward to seeing you on Monday, I'll have the kettle on..."
So there you have it. Whatever happened to customer service? Don't ask JT's in Swansea, they haven't a clue. Go to Bob Wilding's in Merthyr Tydfil, they know all about it.
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