Manufacturers, dealers and salesmen make all the difference when purchasing new or used equipment. I have personally had a mix of both good and bad experiences. I would like to share a difficult lesson I recently learned through a bad experience with a trailer manufacturer.
I ordered and purchased my trailer from Kraftsman, Inc in East Ramseur, NC in August 2014. Within 1 week of receiving the trailer the coating which had been recommended by my salesman and son of the owner, Matt Kaufman began to peal off of the trailer deck. I contacted Kenny from Kraftsman who was responsible for all warranty issues via email complete with pictures. He assured me they would re-coat the deck. I began making arrangements with Kenny to get the trailer to Kraftsman for the repairs. That same week I was contacted by the Army National Guard and notified that I was being deployed with a very short notice. I contacted Kenny and explained my delima. He told me not to worry that Kraftsman would make the repairs when I returned from deployment. He then thanked me for serving and wished me a safe deployment. During my deployment I maintained contact with Kenny and Matt. Here is a portion of an email I sent to Kenny and Matt.
“My deployment will be ending this fall and I expect to be home by Thanksgiving. I wanted to reach out and try to schedule a time period to do the warranty removal and re-coating of the top side of the trailer before I put it back on the road. Sometime between the last of Nov. and the first week in Dec. would be a good target period for me. Since guard pay hasn't been enough to make the equipment payments it is paramount for me to start working again ASAP and keep working. So if you could at all help with this I would greatly appreciate it.”
Kenny replied with the following
First of all I want to thank you for your service to your country. I am thankful and honored to know you. We are blessed to have men like you willing to do what is needed for our safety at home. Secondly That would be a good time to do something for you. Keep in touch with me as to when exactly you will be home and we will plan on it. Let me know when the article comes out, I would like to read it. Keep in touch and we will get this worked out. Thanks again
Kenny Brown, Manager
10051 US Hwy 64
East Ramseur, NC 27316
Upon my return I contacted Kraftsman to schedule the warranty work. I was informed Kenny is no longer with Kraftsman. Namen, who has replaced Kenny at Kraftsman took my call. He told me he would get with the owner of Kraftsman, Paul Kaufman and call me back. When Namen called me back he explained that Paul decided that Kraftsman will not repair the trailer. Through Namen, I attempted several more times to encourage Kraftsman to honor their 5 year warranty. To date they have refused.
When manufacturers, dealers and salesmen do not stand behind their product, honor their warranty or follow through with their word it is a complete lack of ethics, principles, integrity and honesty. Unfortunately customers have very little recourse except to share their experience with others. In doing so the manufacturer's reputation is damaged and they will loose business. While this doesn't help the buyer, it does help to prevent others from becoming victims of bad manufacturers, dealers or salesmen.
The lesson I learned with manufacturers, dealers and salesmen is that no matter how ethical or honest the manufacturer, dealer or salesman may seem you won't know the truth until after you make the purchase. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. For myself, and what I recommend to others who have fallen victim to bad manufacturers, dealers or salesmen, simply move on. It is best to make the repairs out of pocket so you can get back to servicing your customers and generating revenue. In doing so you place yourself back on track to success.