Welcome to: James Russell Publishing
Your Rights - Warranty Repairs & Motorcycle - Helmets
Send this letter to the dealer who gives you a hard time.
This article will focus on motorcycle helmets as an example. Links in article are live links to the agency.
Have you ever walked into a dealership with a broken item to have repaired under warranty only to be asked by the parts or sales department employee, "Did you buy the helmet here?" and if you say you bought it on the Internet or some other motorcycle business you were then told, "You need to take the helmet back to the dealer you bought it from."
I bet you have heard this story before and it is illegal as hell too for an authorized dealer to even tell you this as they are obstructing a consumer from obtaining warranty repair and violating warranty law.
"Let me tell you a little story..."
I had some serious arguments with a Reno, NV dealer who sold HJC helmets, Michael's Power Sports in November 2013 and again on January 2014. When my first HJC helmet broke I read my most current warranty agreement (which you will find on the HJC Website). When you read the warranty agreement, which is a binding and legal contract, it will give you specific instructions on how to obtain warranty repair. In my case, the instructions were very clear, "take the item to your nearest HJC Authorized Dealership." That should have been the end of it, but I got into heated arguments with two supervisory employees on different days. Let me explain the events.
When I brought the helmet into the ABC dealership (I won't expose this dealership, at this time, to give them a break) the parts manager balked and other employees said the helmet was "trashed" and that HJC would not warranty it. They told me because I did not buy the helmet from them their HJC rep would likely reject the warranty claim. I was told I should send the helmet back to where I bought it. I told them the helmet is not trashed (it has not even a scratch on the paint, just some dried bug guts that wash right off). I was being "frustrated" by this dealership's employees and they were clearly retaliating against a consumer for buying a product from another HJC dealer, which is illegal and violates warranty law and HJC warranty agreements. Dealer employees have no legal right to create excuses to not perform or cause to have performed warranty repairs on HJC helmets they are authorized to sell.
HJC has a specific procedure for consumers to return helmets for warranty return and it is clear and concise for the consumer to return the helmet to the most convenient location of the consumer's choosing being the closest authorized dealer, meaning any authorized dealer.
This dealership argued with me of how unfair it is for me to buy the helmet elsewhere and expect them to handle returns for warranty repair, and how they lose money, etc. Just telling a consumer this is violating the law. Just take a look at consumer protection law and warranty law, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your State Attorney General's office and you will see the motorcycle dealer who is reluctant and argues with consumers to escape warranty promises by HJC can get them sued by the Federal Government, State Government, the Consumer and HJC for violation of laws and contract agreement. If the dealer wishes to continue to their stubbornness, then file a written complaint to all three agencies and hire a civil attorney to sue the dealership for inappropriate business practices and breech of warranty contract. The dealer has no lawful right to interfere with the warranty promises and contract made between the consumer and HJC and between the dealer and HJC's rights and obligations to fulfill warranty law.
Eventually, after much embarrassment and disrespect launched upon this customer, the dealer agreed to take the helmet and send it to the HJC rep for his decision on the matter. The rep, I assume, sent the helmet to HJC and they repaired it. I picked up the repaired helmet at the dealership and I mentioned my other brand new HJC helmet was also broken.
About two weeks later, I bring the new HJC helmet with a broken chin bar locking side plate and the parts manager went berserk, "Another one. "We fixed the first one on good will, but now not two helmets." This time I came prepared with a printed copy of the HJC Website instructions to return the helmet to an authorized dealer, but they did not want to hear it and only complained that it cost the dealer money to handle these returns, etc. This is not the consumer's beef or problem, it is a dealership and HJC problem if they are not getting reimbursed for warranty claims. But this dealer insisted and yelled and disrespected this consumer with public embarrassment which could have gotten them sued for that too. I was dealing with legal illiterates who violate law thinking they are in the right.
Eventually, after threatening to contact the Attorney General's office and even after the parts manager stupididly said, "Go ahead and complain" they did accept the helmet. But when I asked for the receipt for that $300 he refused to give me one. I told him it is unlawful for a business to not issue a receipt to customers and I want my receipt. If the helmet gets lost or misplaced it is for my protection. The parts manager went into rage mode, yelling at me because I wanted a receipt. He gave many excuses and I told him to hand write one on company letterhead and that will do just fine. Again, more embarrassment for this customer by irresponsible and arrogant employees who do not understand business law or customer service.
I then spoke to the sales manager to get the owner's involved to resolve. The sales manager tells me the owners will not want to help me and he gets into augment mode and this creates more embarrassment for the customer. After about 15 minutes I educated him of the warranty and contract law and told him to go the Attorney General's Website and learn the law.
At that time the parts manager listens in and finally says, "I will take care of it. We will fix the helmet, but be assured I am going to investigate this with HJC on this specific case." I told him to go ahead they will tell you the same thing I am telling you. You must take the helmet for warranty repair as an authorized dealer that you are. Even those warning statements to a consumer are illegal as they are meant to derail a consumer's warranty claim.
However, I was subjected to public embarrassment by loud verbal scolding's by the both the parts and sales managers and repeatedly told I should not be bringing my HJC helmet for warranty repair to their dealership or any HJC dealership where I did not buy the helmet and I should take it back only to the dealer I bought the helmet from. These employees were making up their own policies in violation of Nevada Revised Statute law and FTC Consumer Protection Law. The big fuss was essentially retaliation against the consumer for not buying the helmet from Michael's Power Sports.
This dealership even went so far as to dispute with me that they were not the nearest dealership so I should have taken the helmet to some other dealer. How ridiculous this insanity became trying to talk reason to illegal illiterates. Even rank & file employees jumped in to condemn me for bring my helmet to this dealership making me feel cornered and outgunned which was unprofessional conduct. More embarrassment for me. These employees have no right to yell, scold, challenge, obstruct and embarrass a customer who is following the law and trying to obtain warranty service as directed by HJC in regards to returning the helmet for warranty service.
On January 03, 2014 the store employees scolded me telling me they fixed my first helmet under "good will" and they should not have to take my second broken HJC helmet. The told me they lose money, it cost them money to fix my helmet. I told them that is not a consumer's problem it is a dealer and HJC problem to obtain reimbursement for expenses to perform warranty repair. I also told them HJC distributors can supply parts for the helmet so they could easily call the HJC and their distributors to obtain warranty parts and that would incur no shipping fees. Both managers informed me that was not true, but I saw it on the HJC Website for the customer to request the dealership order repair parts from the distributor. So, this dealership has internal problems and takes it out on me, the HJC customer, giving me a hard time and I mean a very, very, exhaustive and verbally combative hard time. This is unlawful business activity at its highest state to induce reluctance for consumers to use the dealership for HJC Helmet warranty service.
This dealership is hostile and will become verbally abusive if you dare bring your HJC Helmet to them for warranty repair and they will frustrate you to no end to intimidate you to give up and walk away relieving them from their lawful responsibility to accept helmet returns for warranty repair as HJC clearly directs them to do. It is willful and intentional negligence to install barriers of any sort to prevent a consumer from obtaining warranty repair under the warranty agreement. It is especially grievous when the dealer is an Authorized HJC Dealership. The dealer is violating consumer and business law (inappropriate business practices) to frustrate a consumer to prevent a warranty claim and fail to perform the warranty instructions HJC supplies to the consumer. I followed the procedure and was subjected to repeated and lengthy abuse by Michael's Power Sports retaliating against me for not buying the helmet from them of which this issue came up over and over again by the dealership managers how unfair it is to buy the helmet on-line Internet or another physical dealership, but bring the helmet to them for warranty repairs. I told these managers if I bought a new Suzuki motorcycle from them, I could take it to a Texas dealership for warranty repair and that warranty law is the same for helmets and they have zero legal right to deny warranty service to any HJC helmet customer regardless of where they bought that helmet. Even HJC, the manufacturer, agrees and tells consumers to take the helmet to any dealer of they choosing (implied by taking it to your closest HJC dealer for warranty repair, is clearly implied).
"All's Well That Ends Well, So They Say..."
In the end, a uneasy truce was made that both managers agreed to service my HJC helmet for warranty repair, but the damage was done. The dealership is in need of "customer service" training for managers along with "legal training" concerning warranty law and rank & file employees are not to gang-up on a customer to give their two-cent opinion (which also is legally illiterate and false and misleading advice and instruction) to a customer. In no case do managers reserve the right to argue loudly and scold a member of the public with intent to embarrass that member of the public and frustrate that member to punish the member from purchasing a product from another dealership of the same brand product. These managers' conduct was so outrageous and unprofessional that they actually believe it is permissible to offend a customer with rude behavior and crude mannerism to create a public embarrassment scene. They inflicted emotional distress and physical stress as I had to keep defending my rights from their constant arguments to take my helmet elsewhere for warranty repair. This is no way to treat any customer and is inexcusable conduct.
On January 03, 2014 the parts manager "exploded" in a rage when I brought my second, brand new, HJC helmet in for warranty repair and he "screamed" at me when I asked him to give me a receipt for the helmet. He even refused to give me a receipt until I demanded it and told him is it unlawful to do business with the public an not give written receipts. He gave me an undated hand-written receipt I had to date myself at the top of the page. Point is, this manager "explodes" with abusive authority upon customers. He did it to me and felt is was "okay" to behave in such a crude and disrespectful and, in a unlawful manner to not give customers' receipts. This same employee threatened to have me investigated by HJC in regards to this case.
"Trust is Destroyed"
A customer that is verbally challenged and abused is uncalled for and is gross negligence. This dealership's unprofessionalism is so severe how can I ever trust this dealership to be kind to me if I bought a new vehicle from them and would they "fight me tooth and nail" for warranty work? Can they be trusted? I can not trust unprofessional and people who are verbally combative. Yes, I was verbally combative too (no foul language) but only after the managers and employees kept pressing me ratcheting up their rejection of my warranty claim. They even chose to ignore HJC's written instructions I gave to them that I was to take to helmet to a HJC Authorized Dealership. The law says I can take it to any dealership if HJC gives such instruction to do so to the consumer, which they did, in writing, on their Website. It will take years before I can regain trust in this dealership, if at all. Much damage has been done to insult and belittle me by managers who should have known better, but they treated me with gross disrespect in a highly public manner. Customers were in the store, gawking at me and us managers and employees hashing it out over helmet warranty repair. Absolutely ridiculous and lawless behavior by store managers and employees.
"Fair Warning to the Dealership"
As a result of all this abuse and retaliation on a HJC helmet customer, a member of the public, I just can't find myself wanting to do business with Michael's Power Sports in Reno, NV to buy motorcycle #21. I buy and ride a lot of motorcycles. They upset the wrong customer, a customer who is a buyer even in recessions. I was going to buy a Suzuki 650 until the sales manager opened fire on me with his unlawful reasoning's why I should not take my helmet to his store for warranty repairs. I was contemplating buying a Star brand motorcycle, now both deals are out of the question. I did not even want to buy face shields for my HJC helmets. I'll stay with Harley-Davidson motorcycles where I am treated as a respectable gentlemen and a friend. Who gives Michael's employees the authority to abuse and violate consumer law? The owners whom also need to train and educate their employees in regards to behavior and consumer law. I should sue Michaels Power Sports for their unlawful and uncivil conduct towards me, and I still may just do so, but I will wait and see if they "do it again" another day in the future. In the mean time, HJC Corporate is going to be notified of their dealership wrongful treatment of customers.
These belligerent, legally ignorant, out of control loose-cannon employees unknowingly abused a successful publisher with a huge Website including a motorcycle Website. Due to their brilliant behavior and stellar conduct they get a nice write-up article (herein) as their reward. Since truth is my defense, I have no fear of legal retribution by Michael's Power Sports owners. I will defeat them if they try to silence me in a court of law civil suit for their intentional infliction of distress and unlawful activities. They would be wise to use this published article to turn their business around or it will certainly get more abusive to customers. I don't want to buy anything from them anymore. How many other consumers have likewise been mistreated? This is a business that could go out of business based on its cruel and unusual business philosophy to retaliate against consumers who enter their store. It happened to me on more than one occasion with loud yelling, scolding, arguing, etc., by managers and lesser rank employees. I was given mean condemning and scolding looks by these employees to ridicule me along with verbal abuse. This behavior is uncalled for and is gross negligent with willful intent to deceive and punish this consumer.
"HJC Is Liable To Fix Their Grossly Flawed Warranty and Repair Procedures"
I was going to let this event slide, but after I came home I realized the horrible grief this dealership did to me from their unlawful activities and motives of retaliation HJC needs to know about this problem. Not once, but twice I was abused by this dealership's employees. It is a wide-spread problem as I have heard this "detour tactic" before over the years that if you did not buy the product from the dealer you can't return the product for warranty work, you must return it to the original dealer who sold the product (helmet) to you.
I am now legally challenging HJC for permitting this horrific violation of consumer law to infiltrate their authorized dealerships and for HJC Licensed Distributors failing to provide warranty repair and routine out of warranty repair parts, violating HJC's policies thereby forcing consumers to buy brand new helmets instead of repairing them. HJC's Website is clear on the policies for consumers to obtain repair parts and warranty service, but both can not easily be performed, or not at all.
If HJC ignores this complaint, I will then file formal complaints with the FTC, Attorney General's Office and maybe even the Better Business Bureau for good measure.
"My Advice To the Consumer"
If you have likewise been abused by a Authorized HJC helmet dealer send this letter to HJC Corporate Office of the President (or to the helmet company regarding your brand of helmet). If a authorized dealership refuses to take your helmet for warranty repairs, and if that manufacturer specifically told you, in writing, to take the helmet to a authorized dealer and, you are given reluctance of any measure, send this complaint (edit it, of course to suit your need) to the agencies I have listed in this article.
It is time these rogue dealers stop violating the laws of the land and stop giving customers a bad time. When I told the sales manager and parts manager that I almost bought a new motorcycle from the dealer, but they did not really care. They simply did not understand basic business law and marketing. For refusing to take customer's helmets they alienate customers who would otherwise be turned into a buying customer. Businesses spend a lot of money to attract cust6omers, but this business turns them away and mistreats them all while violating consumer laws. A perfect storm of idiots in action? I would never mistreat my customers and successful businesses never do argue and insult or embarrass or refuse customer's requests when the customer is right regarding warranty repairs. It is no wonder this dealership is not making the sales they could be. They should welcome and use the HJC warranty to meet, greet and gain new customers.
Do not take no for an answer. If the manufacturer tells you to return the helmet (or other product) to a local authorized dealer and the dealer gives you a hard time? Print this letter and send it to the dealership owner and a copy to HJC (or product mfg.) and if you get ignored, send your complaint to the Attorney General's Office in your state's Consumer Protection Dept., and contact the FTC.