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The experience I've been having with Harley has been a slow boil for the past several months and is quickly coming to end. This might be an interesting read, it might not be. Either way I'm hoping it helps me work things out by writing it.

Back in late 2008 things were looking grim. The economy was tanking, people were losing their jobs left and right. Truly a grim time. I was fortunate enough to have a little extra money and I always wanted a Harley so off to the dealership I went. I figure I'd spend my money locally, buy american, etc. Do the right thing was my motivation.

Things were great. Dealer was nice, bike was great. I ended up buying alot of accessories for the bike--a 2009 DX. I think I own virtually every oem accessory for it, actually. I bought all the best gear--all FXRG. Helmet, jacket, pants, everything.

On April 17th of this year I was in an accident. I was wearing all of my FXRG gear and it saved me. I'm walking with a limp but I still have my leg--things could be worse.

My injuries are not are not what this post is about. It's about what's transpired with my motorcycle damage. Around $8000 bucks worth and counting.

The dealer had the bike a couple days after the accident. It was a mess. The bike was hit on the left side and went down on the left side, sliding with my leg under it for quite a distance.

I was in no hurry to have the bike damage resolved. I wouldn't be riding for some time so repairing or replacing the bike wasn't a priority. Maybe it should have been looking back on things.

You see, the shop talked the insurance company into repairing the bike. There was internal engine damage, frame damage and alot of cosmetic damage. The bike was locked in gear and wouldn't shift.

When I finally picked up the bike over three months later it wasn't right. It blew smoke badly when you start it up, the front fork was bent and the rear pulley was damaged and after the bike got warm the belt made musical-quality noise. The amazing thing about it is the shop obtusely denied the front fork was bent, then claimed that it wasn't THAT bent and that they actually fixed it. Things got so bad that I to resort to driving down the road taking iphone pictures of the tank/stem/fork area then add lines using photoshop to demonstrate how badly the fork was misaligned. After being presented with photographic evidence they fixed the problem. The picture and story about why I had to take it is still a riot at the local hang out--the picture might very well find its way onto hanging on the wall of the bar so many people ask me about it.

At the same time the complaints about the smoking-on-startup took the same tack: The shop said it wasn't (this despite my garage filling up with smoke when I started the bike to drive it there.)

So that was a little over a week to get the new rear pulley and the front fork fixed.

A few days later I'm on the ground looking at the repaired damage. The first thing I noticed is all the mud from the accident is still on the bike--just not on the visible parts. Laying on the ground looking up you can see it everywhere. That's when I see the next problems.

The horn cover is damaged, but that's not a bid deal--the big deal is the front torque strut is visibly bent and mounted upside down. Mind you the engine was removed from the bike AND the frame rail where the mount attached was replaced. So at some point the mechanic had that visibly bent torque rod in his hand and re-installed it on the machine anyway. Of course there's more belt noise than ever. The bike is also still smoking on startup and now using copious amounts of oil and 'sticking' in gear when you try to downshift.

So that took over a week to get the torque link replaced and a new horn cover.

Through all of this the bike is using oil and randomly smoking at startup. The current rate is 1 quart every 671 miles. I've been writing down the mileage and emailing the dealership with the mileage each time I have to add 1/2 a quart to the bike.

FINALLY they email me asking me to please drop off the bike so they can look at the oil consumption problem. My bike had somwhere over 7000 miles on it and wasn't using oil before the accident, then after the accident it's gulping it down. All maintenance records, all receipts, 100% of the work done by the dealership themselves.

This is the unbelieveable part of the whole story.

Friday afternoon I receive a call from a manager at the dealer asking me to come down to discuss the problem. I speak to the guy running the service department--he tells me the problem is fixed but he absolutely won't tell me what they did despite asking him. So I call back the manager (whom is one of the rudest people on the phone I've ever dealt with) to let her know I would be coming down there and then I take one more stab at asking what they did and I got my answer:

Nothing.

There's no problem. There's nothing wrong. The bike isn't using oil. No repairs, no adjustments, zero action taken.

So I'm done with it. My attorney is handling it. (Yes, I actually have one.) I've zero trust left in the dealer after the fork and motor mount issues. I don't even feel good about selling the bike to anyone because I don't trust the work they've done.

That's how my involvement with Harley Davidson as a manufacturer and dealer ends. They want your money, not your satisfaction and loyalty. I doubt I'll be seeing my bike for several months as the whole issue is tied up in litigation and from there it's getting sold along with everything harley related I own.

I feel like a real sucker. (The name of the dealership is Crete Harley Davidson in Illinois. I don't recommend doing business with them.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4

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Any idea if the insurance company that is paying the bill has given the dealership a bad time? Was the collision your fault or that of someone else and if someone else's fault which insurance is paying?
I'v never understood anyone being paid properly doing crap work, that is unacceptable. I'm just wondering if the dealer was being hosed by an uncooperative insurance company and in disgust just threw your bike together. Neither is right, both reflect badly on the dealer and by rights they should tell you if they are having trouble being paid, but I could better understand the second scenario.
 

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K.I.A. '07 AW
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I feel your pain, but you can't blame HD corp for this dealership being jag-offs.
you and or your attorney need to send HD corp an email or six as well. With the damage you listed above, your bike should have been totalled out. Is you insurance company involved with helping you get this resolved?
 

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You should also contact your insurance and let them rattle the dealership, even if they are not handling the claim. The other avenue to persue is the Better Business Bureau of your state. They will try and work out a resolution.

They want to be a headache well give them a good one.
 

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You should also contact your insurance and let them rattle the dealership, even if they are not handling the claim. The other avenue to persue is the Better Business Bureau of your state. They will try and work out a resolution.

They want to be a headache well give them a good one.
Not too sure the Better Business Bureau will do much for you, but your state probably has a Bureau of Automotive Repair that can do something about complaints. I would also be tempted to contact the state insurance commissioner, unless he or she is an industry poodle.
 

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I feel your pain, but you can't blame HD corp for this dealership being jag-offs.
you and or your attorney need to send HD corp an email or six as well. With the damage you listed above, your bike should have been totalled out. Is you insurance company involved with helping you get this resolved?
:them:

The whole issue of warranty satisfaction is up to the dealer(s), it sucks that there is not a real standard among the dealers (MoCo's fault there) and it sucks you ran into a greedy idiot. That dealer wanted the money from the repairs instead of qualifying a "total" hence he would not have made the money. Call corporate.
 

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I'm glad to hear you are actually going forward with the incredible ass-pain involved in getting an attorney. It really sucks for you, but in the end the long legal road is the only way you're going to get results, and hopefully make things better for others to follow. It seems thats the only way you can affect change in an industry these days :-( Good on you, and best of luck!
 

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Given that there is still accident related damage to the bike that still need s to be repaired, is it possible to just classify the bike as totaled and start again?


Phatass
 

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A cool calm but firm letter (recorded delivery) to insurance company and Harley, copy to dealer (post 3 days after letters to ins and Harley).
Keep it all in writing. Get an independent report on you bike from another neutral dealer. Make sure its a CSI type of inspection, sent copy's with your letters. Take photos too.
BBB is a membership type company, want to join? Then pay a fee.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Any idea if the insurance company that is paying the bill has given the dealership a bad time? Was the collision your fault or that of someone else and if someone else's fault which insurance is paying?
I'v never understood anyone being paid properly doing crap work, that is unacceptable. I'm just wondering if the dealer was being hosed by an uncooperative insurance company and in disgust just threw your bike together. Neither is right, both reflect badly on the dealer and by rights they should tell you if they are having trouble being paid, but I could better understand the second scenario.
The insurance company is GEICO.

This is a collision claim--I was in an accident that wasn't my fault with an uninsured driver. Since the other party has no money to pay for the damage I had to use my own insurance to get things taken care of.

I think the bike was repaired and should never have been. The dealer gets no work if the bike is totalled out so they decided to repair it. We've reached that point in the repair where the dealership blew it and has to tell GEICO there's alot more damage to pay for. So much more that it would have been much, much cheaper for the insurance company to total out the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I feel your pain, but you can't blame HD corp for this dealership being jag-offs.
you and or your attorney need to send HD corp an email or six as well. With the damage you listed above, your bike should have been totalled out. Is you insurance company involved with helping you get this resolved?
Any particular email address? I thought we were going to have to go the snail mail route because I can't find any corporate contact email addresses.
 

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Buy American!
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You're right to blame Geico.
You're right to blame the dealership.
You're right to sue the uninsured driver for the deductible and any other expenses that were his/her fault.
You're right to get an attorney.

You're right to expect to be made whole. That includes replacement of any clothing, ie. boots, helmet, jeans, shirt, jacket, etc...

You're wrong to blame the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
 

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Shit, and I thought some of our dealerships were bad!!
 

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K.I.A. '07 AW
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you might not believe this, but he MOCO is on Facebook and ACTIVELY review all the posts. I would send them a PM on Facebook and maybe post a brief blurb about your experience with said dealer.
 

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Not too sure the Better Business Bureau will do much for you, but your state probably has a Bureau of Automotive Repair that can do something about complaints. I would also be tempted to contact the state insurance commissioner, unless he or she is an industry poodle.
Looking Crete HD up on BBB shows 1 complaint in the last 2 years, a repair issue. It shows it as resolved but if you really read thru it, the customer actually walked away. Also Crete is not BBB affilated business.

If more people would use the resources that are available to us, dealers that use less then above board practices would slowly go away.

Going thru BBB also gets to the rest of the resources you are looking for, such as Insurance boards and automotive safety industry. Gieco is usually very up to speed, I am shocked it was not totalled and so was an adjuster friend of mine just from what you described here.

http://www.bbb.org/chicago/business-reviews/motorcycles-dealers/harley-davidson-of-crete-in-crete-il-12006185
 

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I find it "Odd" how Far Harley Distances themselves from their Dealerships and rarely holds them accountable to for anything other than making sure they dont sell any competing merchandise and how the Gear and Clothing is set up. Customers dont go to WI, KC, PA etc... to buy their bikes, they go to the local dealership so to most the Dealership is the Face of Harley Davidson..
But than again how many times have we heard /Seen some one complaining to all hell about HD. /Dealers while wearing all HD stuff?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I find it "Odd" how Far Harley Distances themselves from their Dealerships and rarely holds them accountable to for anything other than making sure they dont sell any competing merchandise and how the Gear and Clothing is set up. Customers dont go to WI, KC, PA etc... to buy their bikes, they go to the local dealership so to most the Dealership is the Face of Harley Davidson..
But than again how many times have we heard /Seen some one complaining to all hell about HD. /Dealers while wearing all HD stuff?
Funny you should mention that. I had trouble finding something to wear this morning. I am, or rather was, that guy that rarely wore something on the weekend besides jeans, boots, and a Harley dealer shirt. There's no way in hell I'm handing out free advertisement for this place (or Harley) anymore. It was a rare weekend that I didn't spend fifty on something from that place.
 
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