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Discussion Starter #1
Your moderating team would like to clarify the rule against "Vendor Bashing". Here are our proposed guidelines:

Required:
  • should be a simple statement of facts (photos are useful)
  • must include attempts to allow vendor to rectify the problem
  • must show vendor's response
Not allowed:
  • complaints prior to attempted resolution with the vendor
  • insults
  • slander/libel,
Example 1) I bought a reproduction widget from Quido's Alfa Parts. It took 4 weeks to arrive and the mounting bracket does not fit the original Alfa combabulator. (see attached photo comparing original widget & repro part) I called and spoke to Quido his self. He refused to replace the defective part or allow me to return it for a refund. I would advise others to avoid buying these widgets from Quido.

Decision - not vendor bashing.

Example B) I bought a thingamabob "on sale" from Midnight Auto Supply. It could have fit in a small envelope but they sent it to me in a box and charged me $10 shipping. These robbers tricked me by offering it "on sale" and raped me with their outrageous shipping fees. Anybody who buys anything from these creeps is a fool.

Decision - vendor bashing. No report of any attempts to contact the vendor, buyer agreed to the shipping fee before purchase, insults galore, etc.

The issue is now open for discussion.
 

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This topic appeared out of the blue in a recent set of thoughts offered by papajam. 'Nuf said on that . . . I saw a Thread veer into this area recently and tend to show sinister motive beyond product facts in a recent thread. I highlighted the need for better definition here. I assume it is like "personal attacks" but on vendors. Frequently sarcasm is min-interpreted as attacks.

I think this proposal goes way to far in the vendors favor, especially on clearly substandard products or performance. You run a red light you get a hickey. Your tailight is out and wed get a talk/warning. There is a fair amount of crap being passed off as merchandise that should not. I do not have time time to babysit them. This rule sounds like kindergarten to me, "Now Jimmy, be nice to the bullies until after they hit you . . . . and then make sure they get a chance to tell you why they creamed you . . . " Sure there are close calls, but there are obvious crap calls too. Just state the facts and let the audience decide for themselves. It's called "accountability". M y time and money is as valuable as theirs.

Now, how would this "hypothetical" sound:

I bought a gizmo from Superalfa advertized for my model. Ready to install. They did not fit for several reasons and there were other quality problems. I spent hours trying. I submitted my issues in detail to the vendor with pictures. They responded quickly saying they had not seen this problem before on my model (???) and offered a 10% credit on FUTURE purchases. I ended taking it to an expert to install so I would not damage the items and it cost me Z more. I would not recommend buying this item form this vendor (and others if they get it form the same supplier) until they correct the product deficiencies, or anticipate significant additional costs." This is factual and beyond the call of duty to me, but I recently did it.

I do not find this vendor's proposed solution acceptable as it requires me to buy more at retail to "recover" my extra costs, and I do not plan on dickering over the obvious with theoretically intelligent adult vendors. At most, they will get one chanced to get it "right" with me on a close call. No BS allowed. None on obvious crap. Mufflers/exhausts that never fit are endemic. It is a common joke. Is it really that hard?? How many chances do I get to pay? How many chances do they get to man up? This "fix it" game frequently becomes a chess match: check, check, check . . .. This happened awhile back on a small item and I got to pay shipping both ways. The buyer always looses.

Who cooked this new line of Political Correctness up anyway and why? What is a vendor? Is it a supplier to a vendor? A manufacturer/vendor who sells directly? Or anybody who sells anything? Is commenting on the business model, MO or tools (websites, etc.) a problem?

Have fun. Glad it's you and not me.
 

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Alfanuts: I think this proposal goes way to far in the vendors favor, especially on clearly substandard products or performance.

I agree. When I get crap from a vendor, unless it's a really high priced item, I can't be bothered to have a series of conversations about how to "fix it" (it's crap - they shouldn't have sold it in the first place). I usually vote with my feet and stop using the vendor or exercise extreme caution next time. Being required to exhaust some sort of mediation process before posting and telling others that the vendor sells crap in sheep's clothing isn't a great policy in my view. I think people can usually tell the difference between unreasonable rants and legitimate problems encountered. I for one appreciate reading all points of view. (If anything, try to encourage more vendor praise when warranted. I think people have a tendency to post loudly when things go wrong; not so much when it's right.) Just my due lire.
 

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I guess I don't get the contractions of a corporate sponsor in this arena. I don't see that it was a problem, but a service, but it's getting cloudy now. A good example was Caribou (can I say that?) and then we had a dishonorable FL dealer. Is it worth bringing attention to a non issue? Stir the Pot?

So, if I pay for a top and it doesn't get shipped for a year or two, how much detail do I need again? Do I need to send proof, with more detail than Obama's, to the corporate sponsor before posting? Will Holder approve it?
 

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Eric,

It's tough to post the vendor's response if they don't respond or return e-mail, telephone calls etc.

I suspect this is a result of the most recent non-elegant posting by a non-American native picking on a long-time vendor, who has been problematic at times, but does come through with prompting from his local friends who push his buttons, when they are made aware that there is a problem. While it's not the business model I would pick, it appears to work for him and buyer's need to understand that.

Anyone who reads the bb regularly can pretty much tell a "real" vendor dispute from someone that wants payback because he feels he wasn't treated as he thinks he should have been no matter what the circumstances.

The buyer must share some responsibility in doing due diligence as far as research before placing an order. There are so many tools available for anyone that is concerned about getting taken by an unscrupulous vendor.
 

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Required:
  • must include attempts to allow vendor to rectify the problem
  • must show vendor's response
So, writing about a vendor who's a crook and for that reason alone doesn't respond automatically makes it vendor bashing?


Not allowed:
  • slander/libel,
What is libel (written) or slander (spoken) is for courts to decide. I am of the opinion that any statements should be left unchanged, so that the proof for suing is not removed.
 

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Out of the office!
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There is a right way and a wrong way to do most anything in life.

If you buy something that doesn't fit well and install it, without contacting the vendor for some support or to work out a solution, who is the bad guy?

If you buy something that doesn't work out and return it, there's nothing wrong with reporting that you bought something that didn't work out. But, you have to state that the vendor took the product back and gave you a refund.

If you contact the vendor and don't get a reply, you post that as the vendor's response. If you elect to contact the vendor, do so by phone and then follow up with an email that documents the conversation.

These guidelines are not skewed in favor of the vendor, they are skewed in favor of fairness.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's tough to post the vendor's response if they don't respond or return e-mail, telephone calls etc.
So, writing about a vendor who's a crook and for that reason alone doesn't respond automatically makes it vendor bashing?
But not responding to emails/phone calls does show attempts to contact the vendor. It would not be considered vendor bashing (assuming you allow a reasonable amount of time to allow for replies due to time zone differences/etc)


Now, how would this "hypothetical" sound:

I bought a gizmo from Superalfa advertized for my model. Ready to install. They did not fit for several reasons and there were other quality problems. I spent hours trying. I submitted my issues in detail to the vendor with pictures. They responded quickly saying they had not seen this problem before on my model (???) and offered a 10% credit on FUTURE purchases. I ended taking it to an expert to install so I would not damage the items and it cost me Z more. I would not recommend buying this item form this vendor (and others if they get it form the same supplier) until they correct the product deficiencies, or anticipate significant additional costs." This is factual and beyond the call of duty to me, but I recently did it.

I do not find this vendor's proposed solution acceptable as it requires me to buy more at retail to "recover" my extra costs, and I do not plan on dickering over the obvious with theoretically intelligent adult vendors. At most, they will get one chanced to get it "right" with me on a close call.
Assuming you posted something on the BB along those lines I would not consider that vendor bashing.

When I get crap from a vendor, unless it's a really high priced item, I can't be bothered to have a series of conversations about how to "fix it" (it's crap - they shouldn't have sold it in the first place). I usually vote with my feet and stop using the vendor or exercise extreme caution next time. Being required to exhaust some sort of mediation process before posting and telling others that the vendor sells crap in sheep's clothing isn't a great policy in my view.
We're not suggesting you have to 'exhaust some sort of mediation process' before posting. If you've purchased an item that does not meet its advertised properties I think it is fair to give the vendor a chance to rectify the issue (one call/email). If they reply 'tough cookies' then by all means tell us that. That is not vendor bashing.
 

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We are fundamentally talking about a dispute or difference of fact/opinion, here on a vendor/supplier item or service. With a vendor item there are potentially all of: technical (fit, quality, etc.), commercial issues (cost, shipping time, rework, return cost), and implied reputational aspects.

Now, imagine a solely technical dispute/difference of opinion between board members on an issue. Say, the controversy of sump guards, or Spica vs. carbs, to keep it simple. Applying this new set of rules "universally" to all board members would dictate that you contact the person with whom you disagree first and attempt to reach a consensus. Rather than just saying that sump guards or Spica sucks for some reason(s) or not. But, beyond just technical aspects, there are reputation impacts here between members. Tempers can/usually flare (cold air intakes and K&N filters) and the peeing contest begins anew (and ad nauseum liked a dead horse is beat).

I am asserting that vendors are given extra and undue protection herein. This whole new PC approach is actually cutting off and down legitimate debate and discourse as folks are becoming afraid to cross a fine and invisible line. Why the special protection with some form of mediation for vendors required first? I assume they are intelligent adults and know what they are selling and how. I appreciate their good products and service, and will call them out on their crap. And I digress, but compared to a host of other non-auto and auto part mail order vendors, I find ALL Alfa parts suppliers (domestic worse than foreign) a large notch below in product quality and general service. They are no Amazon, or Rutlands, Crutchfield, Advance, etc., and I for one, feel they need to know this. Collectively they get my larger orders wrong at least 50% of the time in quality or quantity. I can cite a host of details. Do we want to curtail discourse on this? Apparently some do. You sell me a pile of steaming crap and I really do not want to talk about it endlessly. Accountability.

The vagaries of this new "rule" (Note: not in the rules posted at the "bottom of the page" frequently referred to by moderators) will have a chilling effect on criticism of vendors in general and specifically of moderators perceived personal favorite vendor(s). I have been there. Yes, the bias is clear here trust me, it is the 800 pound gorilla in the room on this topic.

Again, I do not support the so-called mediation process rule. It is optional and encouraged for close calls. Free and open communication (the power of the pen/press) is the only tool that members have to communicate clearly crap products or service, to warn other members of the risk, and equalize the inherent imbalanced playing field silence begets.

Bruce

PS: where is the appropriate forum for these criticism issues? A new "vendor performance" folder?? Otherwise it is buried all over like squirrel nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We are fundamentally talking about a dispute or difference of fact/opinion, here on a vendor/supplier item or service.

Now, imagine a solely technical dispute/difference of opinion between board members on an issue.
In your second case both parties are BB members - thus each gets equal opportunity to state their opnion. Most vendors are not also BB members (although it seems like that'd be a Good Idea).

I am asserting that vendors are given extra and undue protection herein. This whole new PC approach is actually cutting off and down legitimate debate and discourse as folks are becoming afraid to cross a fine and invisible line.
And we (speaking as a moderator) assert that vendors are merely being given equal say. And, more to the point of this thread, we do not want it to be an 'invisible line'. That is why we asked for your input. And we're listening.

Why the special protection with some form of mediation for vendors required first?
How else can I say it - we're trying to be fair to everybody. Not squash legitimate reports of good or bad parts & service. You do not have to meet any requirement for "mediation" - just give the vendor a chance to tell their side of the story &/or right a wrong.


Again, I do not support the so-called mediation process rule. It is optional and encouraged for close calls. Free and open communication (the power of the pen/press) is the only tool that members have to communicate clearly crap products or service, to warn other members of the risk, and equalize the inherent imbalanced playing field silence begets.
Repeating - there is no requirement for a mediation process* - just be reasonable & contact the vendor and tell us how they either made the problem right or did not. Or how you tried to contact the vendor without success. Then all the intelligent readers of your product/vendor report can decide for themselves if they wish to do business with that vendor.


...where is the appropriate forum for these criticism issues? A new "vendor performance" folder?? Otherwise it is buried all over like squirrel nuts.
We're discussing that, too.

...trust me, it is the 800 pound gorilla in the room
And here I thought it was an elephant in the room. I swear I could smell the peanuts on his breath... :D

* I started to write meadiation process - maybe that's a good idea!
 

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There is a right way and a wrong way to do most anything in life.

If you buy something that doesn't fit well and install it, without contacting the vendor for some support or to work out a solution, who is the bad guy?
Hi Brian, thanks for the thoughtful reply. You are right, there is a right way to treat people, and customers, and a wrong way. It is a two-way street is all I'm saying. Which came first is the question. If it is the first item he sent out that had the problem and he didn't know about it, that is poor enough. One would think they have some rudimentary QC on their products. If it is the even the 1st one that he sent out, let alone a 2nd or more, while knowing it had a problem, shame on him and him alone. I cannot believe that in my "hypothetical" above, after selling this item for years, that mine was the "first one". Sure. It will always be the "first time they heard". And now I have to have a long discussion and beg for fair treatment and not pay return shipping to Europe or have it fettled by a professional at similar cost . . .

If you buy something that doesn't work out and return it, there's nothing wrong with reporting that you bought something that didn't work out. But, you have to state that the vendor took the product back and gave you a refund.
Might depend on the issue and who paid shipping on the item both ways when it was someone else's mistake. I've gotten to do this several times also, pay shipping both ways.[/QUOTE]

If you contact the vendor and don't get a reply, you post that as the vendor's response. If you elect to contact the vendor, do so by phone and then follow up with an email that documents the conversation.
Now my head is spinning. Make sure and get all this detail in the rules/regulations so we can comply. Perhaps a big logic chart would help (as in the Federal government) and could simply replace our good judgement. ;)

These guidelines are not skewed in favor of the vendor, they are skewed in favor of fairness.
Oh but the really are skewed Brian as proposed. If I could wait and pay until after the item was received and I could deduct in and out postage or rework for a clearly deficient item, THAT would be fair. This goes back to "what is right" above. Some of these deficiencies are well-known by mechanics; twice lately I've heard, "Oh, they never fit right, you always need to rework them." The examples of poor product and service are too frequent and the buyer always seems to come out on the wrong end of the stick. Ensuring we do not talk about this for fear of going off the reservation will only propagate it.

It sounds like you guys have it all figured out anyway as written, and this courtesy post was probably just that. Please point out to me where this is in the "rules below". And why it is really necessary. Can't a gentle reminder as with personal attacks get an errant miscreant back on track for the rare times this happens? Once again, I am glad you guys have this job and not me, but then again, I just may not if we keep creating strawmen to make rules about and assert control.
 

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With what I've read on this thread so far with the mediation rules proposed, I believe, you're going to end up with:
  • Bbers who are not clear on where the line is and will be afraid to post all the details of what actually happened for fear of getting "trapped" in the vendor bashing category
  • End up with a sparing match similar to the two long-time banned members who argued over suing each other and the bb
  • More banned members who the moderators feel have crossed the line on "vendor bashing"
Personally, from what I've seen with the current moderation efforts, they are attempting to play the "Big Brother" as described in 1984. At the time the book was written, no one believed we would be living in the current society that we live in today. When the bb was started, I never dreamed that moderation would come to a directionless committee effort. I'm sure I need not remind you of the animal designed by committee efforts...
 

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I can agree that even the possibility of posting some of the vendors ludicrous situations and even more ludicrous replies, besides creating lots of amusement here, might scare them more into doing it right. But the way the moderators seem to think, we probably just didn't try to be fair hard enough. And need to try more or again. No rule says vendors cannot monitor the board and many do. I frankly cannot imagine one that would not unless they are completely indifferent to their clientele. But this was the whole purpose of putting a caution note together in the first place. The power of the pen. Since I have little tolernace for vendors who send out known crap, I'd just as soon have the ability to shoot first and ask questions later and not get dragged out into a long debate. It's their reputation but it's my money (well what's left after . . .).

Don't get me wrong, I buy a lot of stuff from all over with 4-6 Alfas needing work and some resto/refresh. Even the ones who foul up more than occasionally. I appreciate very much that they do a job and scrape by a living (some good ones for some). Probably a couple thousand in the last 6 months. But the reject rate is near 50% on larger orders and I can detail situations without names. And it is getting worse to my mind. If I was just buying 115 oil filters it might be different. I discussed this with one prominent mid-west vendor honcho over dinner and beers recently. Shrug. I am getting tired of holding my ankles on quantity and quality, postage and re-work issues. So as Brian recently said, I am tired and plan to fight back by portraying this every time it happens now, as well as the success stories.
 

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Richard Jemison
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More "Guidelines"??

Why would you even suggest this? We need less guidelines not anorther edition!

You "monitors" forget we are still in the USA!
 

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As Richard said, all this is doing is making things more difficult to deal with.

Example: Can I say I don't like Allstate, Geico, Farmers or Progressive insurance, (and I don't, they all suck) or do I need to check and see if they pay this bb as a "vendor"? It might be simply because I object that they donate to Ocommunist, not that they provide a bad product. Maybe they eat meat and I am a vegan. It is still a valid opinion (see the first amendment to the constitution) if they are taking down the country, or the industry, or my sister.

Seems to me that moderators need to moderate by taking each difficulty on its own merits and taking it to a private discussion to decide if it is a problem or not, or simply delete the more egregious. Shirts and ties are making this as dumb as government. How hard do you want to make this?
 

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Seems to me that moderators need to moderate by taking each difficulty on its own merits and taking it to a private discussion to decide if it is a problem or not, or simply delete the more egregious.
here here!! No "prior restraint" Let people talk, and just delete the catfights, wacko duels and [email protected] about how shipping from Norway should have been faster than 3 days. No apologies, no explanations, just delete them. And let the vendors defend themselves. After all, they started it by being in business in the first place.
 

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Oh, good grief. Another pissin' contest . . .?? :001_rolleyes: I gotta tell 'ya guys---all this moderatin' stuff is getting tiresome. Whole textbooks have been written about the kind of bad management techniques you seem determined to re-invent and then impose on the hapless Alfabb.

Cheryl is absolutely right. Your rules on "vendor bashing" (whatever that is) will only serve to make posters relucant to make any comments about vendors at all.

Do you really want to create that kind of sterile homeostasis where everyone is so focused on self-censorship that nothing of interest gets said? Do you really think the Alfabb should be more like the AROC? So far, you're doing a great job of pushing us in that direction. Please stop.

Addendum: I mean no offense guys but micromanaging is as seductive to managers as it is deadly to an organization.
 
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