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Warranty returns plague aftermarket industry


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The issue with part quality and returns is on every shop owner's mind these days. It doesn't matter if you buy from NAPA, CARQUEST, Advance or O'Reillys. Poor quality parts, comebacks and getting the wrong part hurts our bottom line. I don't know how many of you track your losses with regard to comebacks and returns, I do. And I can tell you, it is doing more damage to your profit margin than you may think.

 

I don't have the answer but I will bring up one fact. In the industry's effort to reduce prices, we have sent a lot of manufacturing business overseas. In order to maintain or reduce price, too often quality suffers. But who's is to blame? The part companies, the shop owner's who are seeking low prices, the consumer?

 

The truth is, the time for pointing blame is gone. We need to change our mindset, not chose parts by price, but by quality. We need to start sending a message to our suppliers that we want quality not just price. We also need to insure that we don't have internal issues. Are our techs properly trained and do we have an adequate quality control system in place. Our reputation and the safety of the motoring public depends on it.

 

Here is one other fact that you cannot deny: If you reduce comebacks, improve quality, sell quality parts at a reasonable margin, you WILL make more money, have happier customers and have a lot less stress.

 

Here's a link to an interesting article on part quality from Aftermarket Business World

 

http://www.searchautoparts.com/aftermarket-business/opinion-commentary-distribution/warranty-returns-plague-aftermarket-industry?cid=95879

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Joe, the link just takes me to my Google accounts. May just be my phone. What methods are you using to track the comebacks and warranty repairs. Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

 

I fixed the link. Sorry.

 

Because of the issues we are seeing, for the last few years we track everything. We created a spreadsheet and track the following:

  • Reason for comeback: Tech error or part failure, other
  • If tech error, what action is taken: More training, better operating procedures, better quality control system, better communications problem between advisor and tech
  • If part failure, document the following: Part supplier, brand, part number - Contact part rep ASAP and report
  • Document all information: Customer, vehicle, date of original job, original miles and miles when failure or comeback occurred
  • Calculate loss to shop: Towing? Rental? Labor loss, give back or goodwill to customer, other misc.costs
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Joe,

 

This is going to sound a bit harsh, but I don't know how else to say it. If you are buying parts from places like NAPA, CARQUEST, Advance or O'Reillys, then you have no right to complain about the problems they are causing you. You seem very knowledgeable about this business, so I find it very difficult to believe that you think that you can buy quality parts from these companies on a regular basis.

 

In one of your other posts you wrote:

 

We need to improve our image, hire the best people, adopt a culture of continuous training, speak to all customers as if they are best friends or family, inform them of needed future services, book the next service, sell preventive maintenance and deliver world-class customer service.

Most important; Create the customer experience so memorable, so enjoyable, so rewarding that when they leave your shop, they think to themselves…. “That was a great experience, I’m coming back.”

 

I would like to know how you do that when you use parts of questionable quality on a regular basis.

 

We purchase quality parts from reputable suppliers, and I can probably count on one hand how many problems we have this year with the parts we have installed.

 

Scott Folley

Edited by ScottSpec
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In our area we have no choice but these suppliers. We've got worldpac, but the shipping would easily move us to the most expensive shop in regards to parts. I refuse to support dealers who won't support us so Scott if you don't mind me asking - what options do we have?

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

 

 

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In our area we have no choice but these suppliers. We've got worldpac, but the shipping would easily move us to the most expensive shop in regards to parts. I refuse to support dealers who won't support us so Scott if you don't mind me asking - what options do we have?

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

 

My first suggestion would be to buy and sell quality parts. I just finished talking to a customer who continually tells me how we are good but expensive. I asked him what was cheaper a steak dinner at his favorite restaurant or McDonald's. His response was McDonald's sucks. Maybe the market you are in won't support selling quality parts. I can certainly understand that. Even we are having a harder time convincing customers of the value in quality parts lately, but I would never sell inferior parts and consider and or represent them as a quality part. Also would not be surprise when the car came back because one of those parts failed.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by the dealer won't support you. The dealer is a business like yours. They sell you parts. What else are you expecting from them? We deal with several dealers every day and for the most part get great service and quality parts.

 

I hope this response does not come off the wrong way, but I have spent 25 years installing quality parts and selling value. It frustrates me when shop owners, coaches, and advisers give advise about how we need to take care of customers and give them a great experience, only to find out they don't even care enough about the customer and their safety to use quality parts. Some of these same people talk about how we have to change the way the public perceives us. That we need to get them to see us for the professionals we are. How is that going to happen when so many shop owners don't even care about the quality of the parts they are using?

 

 

Scott

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Scott,

NAPA, O'Reilly's, Advanced etc do have quality parts available. Some of these companies I will not buy from because they advertise a low cost part to the DIYer's and put a perception in the mind of many consumers as to what a starter/alternator etc might cost. We are a NAPA Auto Care and sell mostly their first line products, we back them with a 3 year, 36000 mile warranty. We have very few comebacks or warranty claims. If you want to purchase second or third line products - then good luck with an extended warranty. Having said that - there are some components that we will only source from the OE manufacturer- either dealer or the company that makes it for the dealer.

We do need to demand better quality, but the parts manufacturers and part dealers will have to be able to make money selling those parts.

Russ

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Scott,

NAPA, O'Reilly's, Advanced etc do have quality parts available. Some of these companies I will not buy from because they advertise a low cost part to the DIYer's and put a perception in the mind of many consumers as to what a starter/alternator etc might cost. We are a NAPA Auto Care and sell mostly their first line products, we back them with a 3 year, 36000 mile warranty. We have very few comebacks or warranty claims. If you want to purchase second or third line products - then good luck with an extended warranty. Having said that - there are some components that we will only source from the OE manufacturer- either dealer or the company that makes it for the dealer.

We do need to demand better quality, but the parts manufacturers and part dealers will have to be able to make money selling those parts.

Russ

Russ,

 

I'm sure that these companies have some quality parts available. However, a lot of the parts are not. If a shop is buying from these suppliers on a regular basis, then they should not be surprised when it bites them in the butt.

 

It sounds like you sell NAPA's first line products with confidence. However, it looks like you have done this only after determining which parts meet your quality standard and which ones don't. But more importantly, I'll bet you have have a big NAPA sign outside your shop so customers know what they are getting. The part that frustrates me is when people pass these parts off as something they are not.

 

Scott

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Didn't come off the wrong way at all. We're selling the top of the line parts from these sources and in some cases we only use dealer parts as well. My point is the local dealers here leave quite a bit to be desired, poor service employees have little or no training. Warranty claims are a real pain and they stock very few parts. Most of what we need is out of stock with 2 or 3 day wait times. We do have 2 good dealers one is a 1 hour drive and the other is in town. My point about them not supporting us is more in regards to getting the right parts and offering similar services as advance which delivers.

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Didn't come off the wrong way at all. We're selling the top of the line parts from these sources and in some cases we only use dealer parts as well. My point is the local dealers here leave quite a bit to be desired, poor service employees have little or no training. Warranty claims are a real pain and they stock very few parts. Most of what we need is out of stock with 2 or 3 day wait times. We do have 2 good dealers one is a 1 hour drive and the other is in town. My point about them not supporting us is more in regards to getting the right parts and offering similar services as advance which delivers.

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

Thanks for the clarification on your dealer's service. When someone says the dealers don't support them, it usually means they expect something beyond good service from them. What I hear you saying now is you are tired of the very poor service you get from the dealer and I can see why you would not want to deal with them based on that. It sounds like your location creates a real challenge when it comes to purchasing parts. Not sure what can be done about that.

 

Scott

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Joe,

 

This is going to sound a bit harsh, but I don't know how else to say it. If you are buying parts from places like NAPA, CARQUEST, Advance or O'Reillys, then you have no right to complain about the problems they are causing you. You seem very knowledgeable about this business, so I find it very difficult to believe that you think that you can buy quality parts from these companies on a regular basis.

 

In one of your other posts you wrote:

 

We need to improve our image, hire the best people, adopt a culture of continuous training, speak to all customers as if they are best friends or family, inform them of needed future services, book the next service, sell preventive maintenance and deliver world-class customer service.

Most important; Create the customer experience so memorable, so enjoyable, so rewarding that when they leave your shop, they think to themselves…. “That was a great experience, I’m coming back.”

 

I would like to know how you do that when you use parts of questionable quality on a regular basis.

 

We purchase quality parts from reputable suppliers, and I can probably count on one hand how many problems we have this year with the parts we have installed.

 

Scott Folley

 

Thank you Scott for your honesty. The truth is we source out the best parts and if we see a trend failure, such as a particular brand that has a high failure rate, we will not buy that particular line. We deal with many different part suppliers because of that reason. We also will go to the dealer (reluctantly) for certain items. For example, on some cars we will only buy factory catalytic converters.

 

What I can tell you too, is that we are seeing an uptick with dealer defective parts too. We needed a transfer case for a Jeep, and we decided to go with the dealer unit. The first 2 units were defective right out of the box. The third was ok. So, I think that what ever is happening, is an issue industry wide. We purchased a PCM for a Dodge Van from the local dealer, and we went crazy trying to find out why the Van would not start. Defective PCM.

 

In regard to my culture, you are correct and I mean what I say. My people are my brand and we are known for our customer-friendly employees and how we treat our customers.

 

Thanks for the comments. That's the power of ASO and of networking on the forums.

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