Borgs & Lawn Mowers

The nail gun question made me think about presenting my situation here and asking y'all whether the compensation was appropriate.
Not WW, but your opinions are appreciated.
Bought a lawn mower last May. Recondition Honda that listed for $529, now 300. No frame for the grass catcher bag, but didn't care as I mulch.
Used it 3 times last year (we had a drought, so this is not an exaggeration). Immediately, it had problems - the drive wheels had a grinding noise and it ran unevenly ("pulses").
(Short version) - it's been in for repair 2x (once last year, once this). Last repair made the pulsing worse than before. Took it back and asked for a replacement. Willing to split the difference (now it's 500, so I'm shooting for 400) in cost, because of my having to haul it back and forth several times and their lack of truthfulness in the "reconditioned" moniker.
Now, I should state that my experience with reconditioned tools is that they go back to the factory (etc.), the broken stuff is fixed, and the tool gets a once over to make sure nothing else is problematic. Better than new.
Apparently HD feels that slapping a little orange paint to indicate floor models/recons is sufficient "reconditioning". Mower had gas in it when I got it the first time.
In the end, they just couldn't bring themselves to give me the new one for $400 (20% off) , but $425 (15%). BTW, they were willing to give 10% without a manager's ok required. $25 isn't a big deal, but less so for them. Mainly a matter of principal.
So, my question (finally!). Am I being anal here over $25, or should they have been more accommodating due to the fact that they cost me over 3 hours time, a few additional trips (gas ain't cheap any more), and lied about the "reconditioned"?
Thanx Renata
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Suggest you make an itemized list about what all that this has cost you for time and money. Sounds about a dozens things you can list. Hand it to the manager and ask him point blank if he really thinks you've been treated fairly? And don't forget to point out that you're not just asking for money back, you're still prepared to do business with HD. I'm willing to bet he will be a little more accommodating.
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That sounds like a plan to me. Some of these managers are so used to hysterical screaming over nothing that they have developed a pretty thick skin to be able to deal with their unhappy customers.
I have found that for the most part if I give some of these guys the opportunity to do the right thing, they will. And the actual store manager of an HD has some pretty wide latitude to do different things for you.
But... to be sure I would take a minute an contact their customer service group and get the ball rolliing to keep a record of your efforts. Then when you talk to the manager, let him/her know you have called CS, and that they asked you to call back to let them know the results of the conversation you were going to have with them.
HD's policy is that they sell their recons as new, with a new warranty. The product may have blemishes and be missing a part or two, but that doesn't affect the warranty.
On the other hand, sometimes I have time to screw with stuff like this, and sometimes I don't, so I guess it depends on where this falls in your busy day.
Robert
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I have had a Honda mower since May 1987, and paid almost $500 for it. It is the least expensive mower that I have ever owned. It still starts on the first pull, is on its second spark plug and second air filter. I change the oil once every year and the oil still looks new after a year of mowing. My dad bought a Honda in 1989 and in 2005 he traded it in of a new Honda with all the bells and whistles. He actually got $200 trade in on his old 15 year old model. HONDA is NOT the mower that it was 15-20 years ago. His new mower has been in to the shop under warranty and out of warranty probably 4 times for the same problem. It is on it's 3rd carburetor. The dealer has indicated that the gasoline needs to be completely run out of the tank every time we use it because it only gets use 3 or 4 times a month. This was not a problem on the older models. According to the dealer, mowers have to pass California emissions. Honda sells the same mower to rest of the country as it does to CA, so they are finicky.
If I were you I'd try to get all of my money back and buy another brand, this from a person that probably will die before his Honda does, I'm 53. AND I would strongly recommend biting the bullet and buying from a lawnmower dealer, they know what the hell is going on, I think.
Snip

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Unfortunately, the word reconditioned has a new meaning now.

I don't think you're being unreasonable. I'd take the mower back and deal with the Store Manager. He has the authority to do anything he wants in a dealing like this. These guys take a lot of crap from unreasonable customers every day so you may have to prove yourself a bit, in making him believe you're not just another crank. These guys are really interested in keeping good customers happy and coming back. Sometimes the hardest part of the battle is establishing yourself as a good customer and not another one of those cranks.
--

-Mike-
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On Mon, 19 May 2008 18:33:01 -0400, "Mike Marlow"

And it's amazing how far respect, calm, and persuasive facts can go.
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"B A R R Y" wrote

You left off "persistence" ... I've never known SWMBO to raise her voice, and she always has a smile on her face whilst she talks to a "manager", but they somehow clearly get the impression that she will not leave until she gets what she wants.
The "Mother of all exchanges": Without even knowing what a modem was, she once got a full exchange for a three year old modem, that had been hit by lightening the week before.
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RIGHT!
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You have no idea. Today I took my truck back to Sears. About ten days ago I had them replace the rear wheel axle seal, and everything was fine.
While rolling up on Saturday, I noticed a large puddle of oil on the street under the truck. The same wheel was leaking oil again.
I took it back to Sears that day. Set up a time, and I came over first thing Monday morning. After the truck had been there for a couple of hours. Could I come back for a few minutes?
I went back over and they told me I needed a new axle as the seal let go, the bearings overheated and the scored the axle badly. I had a long talk with the manager, and we discussed what an "inspection" entailed; we talked about what missing something like a bad bearing could do.
I asked him if he thought I should get red in the face, throw a fit, and demand things. No, he didn't want that. I told him that once fingers were pointed, things were said, and monetary responsibilities were assessed things could get really out of hand really quick. He agreed. So what to do? Settle this with an ugly fight, or just fix it and work it out? I told him I had my digital camera and was ready to document everything I saw in the shop including the condition of the bearings, the scoring of the axle, and certainly the fact that by his records I only put about 275 miles on the truck before the seal broke out.
In the end, they replaced the brake pads (again, they were soaked with oil - again), the replaced the wheel bearings, the seals, and since there was a lot of gray area about the line of responsibility, they replaced the axle itself as well. Then they told me they would also replace the wheel bearings and seal on the other rear axle as well, and the main seal on the differential.
All at no charge. Not a penny. I paid for the first time, and they didn't even try to get me for putting new bearings and a seal on the axle that didn't need it.
When I left, we shook hands and I told him how much I appreciated his honesty and his sincerity at maintaining good customer relations. Not to mention his good judgment but his generosity. I honestly didn't expect for them to pay for everything.
His response? He appreciated the fact that I didn't yell and scream at him, call him names or threaten him. He told me it was nice to deal with a customer like ME!
When I was leaving, he said, "hope to see you soon!". We both laughed.
Robert
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Update.
But first - THANX to ALL for some very good ideas! I will be following thru.
I mowed the grass yesterday after work. Kept noticing the right rear wheel had a real hard getting a grip on the ground (doing a lot of spinning). Had a real hard time mowing the hill (main reason for purchase - minorly wicked hill). Really, really hard time.
Noticed that back wheels only had 1 spring. Called Honda to see if they'd changed the design since the price was $30 less than last year. No, they told me.
Finally realized, the brand new, not recon, not floor model, out of box, unused *&#@^!!&%!!! MOWER WAS BROKEN!
Hauled it back to HD (again imposing on neighbor to help (weighs 100#)). Without much ado (after I told her drive was broken), the gal behind the service desk, who'd handled the previous transaction, simply said, go get another.
Have another, but based on Leon's comment, may reconsider the whole thing and look for another. BTW, my favorite dealer/service place that mainly deals with commercial folks, sells Hondas. Commercial models only though.
Thanx again Renata
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The better Hondas are OHV "Over head valve", NOT the newer OHC, Over head Cam design. IIRC the commercial mowers have the OHV engines. My 21 year old Honda has the OHV engine. This may not mean squat with the carb problems though. I'd talk to the dealer about concerns and see how their experience has been. My dealer that is heavy into Honda and Snapper has indicated less "Gasohol" problems with the Briggs and Stratton engines.
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