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Customer Satisfaction Report CSR ID Number: 1

Vehicle City Harley-Davidson2009 XL1200C Sportster new

2400 Austin Parkway
Flint, Michigan 48532
(810) 234-6646

Customer: Larry Augsbury, H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) member

Post Date: December 29, 2012

HEADING: Ever wonder what would happen if you left your bike with Vehicle City Harley-Davidson for service - or any other Harley-Davidson Dealership - and during a test ride by one of their employees it was involved in an accident in which the damage it suffered rendered it a total loss according to State law and insurance claims procedures?

Well, bookmark this report at "" on BizScoop to find out what happens.

ISSUE: In 2009, I bought the bike (pictured above) brand new off a showroom floor.2009 XL1200C Sportster totaled 12/12/12

OVERVIEW: Here's what I think should occur to make this right-- in order of preference:

  1. My wrecked bike should be restored with new original parts. But due to Michigan State law, I'm informed that this is not an option because:
    1. a) If the ratio of the cost of repairs-to-the predamaged cash value of the bike is 75% or more, the only title that the State of Michigan will issue a repaired bike is a salvage title; which will greatly diminish the resale value of the repaired bike.
    2. a) If the cost-to-value ratio is 91% or more, with one or more major component parts damaged, the only title that the State of Michigan will issue a repaired bike is a scrap title. Which isn't so bad if I never plan to sell or trade-in the bike at some point in the future.
      OK, so far...
    3. a) But then I'm informed that the State of Michigan will not register and issue license plates to a bike with a scrap title. My bike falls into the scrap title category.
    4. a) [1/2/13 update] According to the Michigan Secretary of State, a bike with a salvage title that has been certified as "rebuilt" by a salvage inspector can be registered in the State of Michigan; but a "rebuilt" bike with a scrap title can't be registered.
    5. a) [1/2/13 update] But my bike is still registered in New Mexico; where scrap titles aren't issued. So, if my bike is "rebuilt" and certified by a salvage inspector, it can be registered & licensed in Michigan.
  2. My wrecked bike, purchased new, should be replaced with another new XL1200 Custom Sportster with only the payoff proceeds from the insurance company, plus the same remaining installment payments paid to Vehicle City H-D instead of the bank-- but without any additional out-of-pocket costs to me related to the wrecking of my bike while in Vehicle City H-D's possession and care.
  3. b) I bought this bike brand new off a showroom floor because I wanted to ride a new bike, not a second-hand bike; and this hasn't changed.
  4. b) In this situation in which I find myself, I am not freely choosing to buy another motorcycle, and therefore am not prepared to pay for any taxes, transportation, handling, overhead, financing, and profit margin as required of most ordinary dealership bike-purchase transactions-- because I already paid for those costs once on my bike that I entrusted to their care for nominal service only; not for a trade-in.
  5. b) I took my bike to Vehicle City Harley-Davidson in good faith, to have a weak battery tested and replaced if necessary. I also ordered a trickle charger and a permanent lead to it installed on the battery. And since I had $300 worth of Harley Chrome Cash Certificates that would expire soon, I also had an oil change done, and any other minor routine maintenance performed - if necessary - to use up the balance of the certificates.
  6. b) I entrusted my bike with Vehicle City H-D. I believe Harley Davidson Motor Company and all H-D dealerships bear a fiduciary duty to honor the trust that loyal Harley owners demonstrate to the H-D brand every time they leave their bike in H-D's possession for service.
  7. b.) Harley-Davidson may have a variety of options available to the corporate world that their customers likely do not- such as:
    1. Business liability insurance to cover extraordinary circumstances like costs incurred to restore this bike regardless of State cost-to-value title stipulations, or replace this customer's wrecked bike, purchased new, with another new one-- at no additional cost to the owner beyond #2 above.
    2. H-D should make their "customer whole" (meaning to restore their customer to a bike ownership position - at least equal to, or better than, but not worse than - their original position before entrusting their bike to H-D for service). H-D could post those costs incurred to a marketing expense, or public relations expense budget line item, or even post the costs to the intangible asset account "customer goodwill" on their balance sheet - as a long-term investment - and amortize them over 20 years.
    3. H-D can utilize corporate tax strategies which can be utilized to take advantage of some of the options listed in #5.b.2 above to reduce income tax liabilities.
    4. I think that by H-D honoring their word and stepping-up to do right by their customer will preserve and increase Harley-Davidson's long-term market share through new and return sales from customer satisfaction conveyed through this Bizscoop web site and through social media - with more customer loyalty traction, which equates to increased H-D revenues - than short-term sexy advertising campaigns and sweepstakes will do. Only time will tell...

My hope on the late afternoon of 12/12/12 was that this event would have a happy ending and I could post a glowing report of customer satisfaction here on Bizscoop, on Facebook, at the entities in the "Links" list below, and to the HOG magazine, leaving me in as good a position, or better, than I was when I entrusted my bike in H-D's care. But if you've been around for a few decades you might agree that customer satisfaction is not what it used to be! That's why this web site was developed; and why this event-- and its outcome is being posted here for all Harley owners the world over to see; and also to share their experiences and opinions by clicking on the Bizscoop Post/Contact Form link and submitting the form. After all, if Harley-Davidson won't treat its loyal customers right-- who will!

OUTCOME: Here's the final vendor/customer resolution of this incident:

Customer Satisfaction Rating Factors:

Customer Satisfaction Rating: (On a scale of one to 10) 9

The factors listed above were all significantly important to me in whether I was made whole in this incident. I feel like I was treated fairly by Vehicle City, and will therefore not only continue to seek out their services in the future, but recommend them to anyone who reads this review.

A ranking of 9 is not in any way meant to reflect poorly on Vehicle City. In fact, it is the best ranking I could give without Vehicle City having given me a brand new XL1200 Custom Sportster off the showroom floor to replace my destroyed bike, in order to earn a perfect 10 out of 10 in Customer Satisfaction under these circumstances. Even with a brand new replacement bike, I would still have incurred about $2,000 in out-of-pocket cash expenses to pay off my bike rather than being able to do that in installments-- but, the new bike would have fairly satisfied me for that unforseen financial burden; and thus would have been ranked a perfect 10 in Customer Satisfaction.

Thank you General Manager, Karri McLean, and Service Manager, Shaun Cohen, for your professionalism and excellent Customer Service! Nevertheless, a little less drama (the bike accident) on my next visit will be greatly appreciated; by us all, I'm sure!

Lessons Learned:

  1. Be aware that a potential risk does exist that you may never ride your bike again-- every time you leave it in the possession of a H-D dealership for service. (This does not in any way imply fault or negligence on any H-D entity-- only the possibility of a chance accident beyond both H-D and their customer's control.)
  2. If any unforseen accident does occur, your potential financial loss, either, in unrecoverable loss of property value, or loss of the property itself, and/or direct out-of-pocket expense that may be far greater than you ever anticipated.
  3. If you want to mitigate the risk of #1, you can stipulate that you do not authorize a test ride which would prevent the opportunity of an accident which could damage or destroy your bike.
  4. Insurance coverage does not eliminate loss, it merely diminishes it to some degree across a wide spectrum dependent upon individual circumstances.
  5. Vehicle City Harley-Davidson did treat me right in my estimation; and I remain a happy and loyal Harley-Davidson bike owner. And, I am happy to share the details here if it can help any other Harley owners, or other consumers out there. But it was a process requiring time, effort, and money. Nevertheless, this outcome was vastly better than the last time an automobile I owned was destroyed in an accident caused by a party other than myself.

Vendor Comments: None submitted as of March 22, 2013.

Registered Visitor Comments: None submitted as of March 22, 2013.

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