Just gonna cry! - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Just gonna cry!

Ok, I just went out to do a final wetsand and buff of my tank and fenders so that I could put this project to bed and go ride when I made a horrible discovery. The powdercoaters [email protected]^&ing BENT the right side fender bracket. Not just bent it, broke it off AND REWELDED it back on at the WRONG ANGLE. Then coated OVER it all without telling me!

On top of it, they did a horrible job with the weld! The front part has a bead on top of it and around it, but it's not touching the frame tube or anything. I just want to cry. I was planning on riding this thing tomorrow too.

Can anyone recommend a good scotch? I need to get drunk. Fast.

I'll try to post some pictures soon.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 04:37 PM
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I would need more than a Scotch! I hope you had before pictures to prove it was them! I'd be visiting the court house and filling a claim in small claims court. Seeing their names on the front page or in the news is not good for business! Hopefully they will fix it right!

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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I have some before shots with the fender on prior and during teardown when everything was in stock colors and all. I took it to them the day I finished tearing it down so it was fine then.

I originally had it coated almost a year ago and it sat for most of the winter wrapped up in their foam packing since it was too cold to work on it in the garage. There's no way it happened since I picked it up because the powder coating over the bracket and welds is pristine. So no chance that I dropped it or there would be scratches and etc. on the powder coat. Since I never caught it there's probably not a whole lot I can do about it. But I'm going to call the motorsports manager tomorrow and see what he says about it.

I'm gonna call them though since they (Aesthetic Finishers) are a well known for doing chopper and hot rods. They even have a video of them on ESPN at a Mothers Car show on their website. If they had just called me about it, it wouldn't have been a big deal to take the fender up to them (40 minutes away) so that it could be tacked in place correctly. Even if they offer to re-coat it for free after it's fixed, it means I have to completely re-tear it down and buy new neck and swingarm bearings at a minimum.

It was only a $300 job, but after you figure in all of my work on it since then....ugh. About the only thing I can do is to file complaints with BBB (what a joke) or whatever town business council there is. To them I'm just a local yocal small fry.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 05:48 PM
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Sounds like you are on the right track in talking to the manager. If that doesn't get the desired result (they have the repair and repaint done to your satisfaction at no cost), I would suggest the following: 1. As soon as possible, write down who you spoke to, the time and day, and what was said. If talking on the phone, take notes during the discussion and keep them; they can be used as evidence later. If you have trouble reading your handwriting, type the notes ASAP. Hold onto the notes until the matter is settled. If you live in a state that allows taping conversations without both parties consent (do a google search), go to Radio Shack and get a small adapter for your phone that will let you tape the conversation. If you speak face to face, put a tape recorder in your pocket and see if it will record satisfactorily before you meet. Again, Radio Shack sells small mikes that may improve recording quality. 2. Find the name and address of the highest person in their organization and write them a CERTIFIED letter telling them what the shop did, that you spoke to the manager and what he/she said, that you have before and after pictures, what you would like them to do to make you whole, and that if you don't hear from them within two weeks after receipt of the letter you will file suit in small claims court and report them to the BBB. While it has nothing directly to do with what they did, you may wish to mention that their inadequate repair and coverup has denied you the use and enjoyment of your motorcycle, and the longer the repairs take, the less you will be able to ride it this year. The certified letter can be used to demonstrate to the court that you attempted to resolve the matter without legal action but were unsuccessful. 3. Follow through with small claims court and the BBB. Most courts require a filing fee, but if you prevail, the other party has to pay your filing fee if you win (and it sounds like you've got a very good case). Have at least two copies of the notes, pictures, letter, etc. when you go to file the claim. One for the court, and one for the court to send to the defendant. It would be helpful and might save you $ if you got them notarized as true copies of the originals before you file. Call the court and find out what, if anything, they charge to make certified copies and if they will accept notarized copies as evidence. Around here, banks notarize things for their customers for free. You want to hang onto the originals so they don't get lost.

If nothing else, the letter will get their attention. If they call after getting the letter and want to compromise (have you pay for fixing part of their screw up), again, take notes or tape the conversation, and be prepared in advance as to what your response will be. Personally, I think they need to do it at no cost to you, but that's for you to decide. Be polite in all your communication with them, and don't take the attitude that you are a small fish in the pond. Let them know you just want reasonable treatment, nothing more and certainly nothing less.

Good luck.

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 06:20 PM
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Relax, be polite, but take it back and make them fix it properly or pay you to have it done.

You don't need a fender to ride you know.............


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 07:29 PM
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In Maryland you can complain to the State Attorney General. I did when Sears wouldn't honor a rebate on my washer and dryer. I got my rebate and a formal apology from Sears when the Attorney General's office wrote a letter to Sears. Worth a shot.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 09:20 AM
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 01:07 PM
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Taking care of this with the manager is probably going to eat into your time somewhat, but it's your best chance of getting this handled quickly. Bottom line is that the shop broke something, lied to you, and did an inadequate fix.

If they *can* do an adequate fix, and offer you at least a partial refund for your trouble/time, that's probably a fair solution.

So if I were you, I'd consider just going down there and politely but firmly making this the manager's problem (which it is). Then present a solution to him that he can do - fix, repaint, knock off X% from the bill for your time dealing with his worker's bull****.

On the other hand, litigating this will eat into your time and require a lot more work on your part. That said, you may want to consider documenting everything and putting it in a folder for easy access in case you need it later. Write things down so you don't forget them. Dates, times, who you spoke with and what they said. Testimony is good. Testimony backed by documentation is much better. Send stuff via certified mail.

I'm not sure what a court in your jurisdiction would do with recorded conversations. It may even be an offense to record a conversation without telling the other party. You should get some local advice on that if you're thinking about doing it.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Well I called the manager and had to leave a message. When he called me back he seemed upset that I would even think that they had done something like that. From what I understand he is really the only "motorsports" guy there. He told me that no one there re-welded anything and that he didn't know what to say other that he can't do or say anything until he can see it. Which brings me to the crux of the problem...Aesthetic Finishers is over 40 minutes away, is only open during the day, and the bike is almost complete minus seat and rear fender.

I would have to take time off of work (this was done while not working), borrow my fathers truck, rent a trailer, just to take it up to him to see the issue. By that time I'm looking at missing work (not possible), borrowing a truck and trailer ($$$ gas/rental), and still not have it fixed. Even if they offered to fix it, I would still have to completely disassemble the bike (again), remove the neck, swingarm bearings and order new ones and then go through the whole process of rebuilding the thing. Again. I can't rid the bike as it is because there is no way of keeping the seat on without the handrails and passenger backrest portion.

Final Result: I'm going to write a long informational letter to the president/owner of the company and explain what happened and include photos. I will also inform him that anytime anyone at any of the performance clinics or bike shows I attend asks me about powdercoating, I will show them the photos and recommend against them, despite their reputation. If they had simply notified me, I could have taken the fender to them and made sure that it was straightened out. Then it would not have been a big deal. This isn't a showbike, so if it's not perfect, oh well. It simply just isn't worth the time, effort, money, or stress of dealing with them. Now if the entire frame were jacked, then yeah I would be playing hardball.

I'm going to find a decent welder and have it fixed in the next day or two. I'll look into either painting that small area (since you won't ever see it) or seeing if I can't improvise a way to repair the powder coat using Harbor Freight powder. If I can I'll make a How-To post on it.

BTW: The Balvenie 21 seems to be the best bang for the buck in Scotch's. Sooo smooth.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiron View Post

BTW: The Balvenie 21 seems to be the best bang for the buck in Scotch's. Sooo smooth.
...and a little smoky at the same time. Touche.

Sorry things didn't go as planned but it looks like you're taking the correct path. Ya never know what can happen with the letter either. CEO's really worry about a company's rep and the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Good luck brother...

Last edited by LibertyPilot; 04-28-2009 at 10:31 AM.
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