Automotive Parts suppliers – Good staff are hard to find…

Anyone who’s ordered parts for their beloved car, truck or motorcycle will know its a hit and miss when it comes to good service.  How can it be ? you ask.  Shouldn’t people in retail regardless of what they’re selling all follow the philosophy of The customer is always right ? or at the very least be knowledgeable in what they’re selling ?  Or at least have the honesty to say “sorry sir, I don’t know, I’ll find someone that does”.  Is that to much to ask for ?

Over the past two days, I’ve had a nightmare of a time ordering something straight forward.  In fact two identical items, one for each side of the vehicle.

Following the task of removing the old parts, which I can only compare to a yoga class, cross training class and a CD of Kevin Bloody Wilson (click here), I thought the hard part was over.  Who was I joking !!


It turns out the replacement parts I purchased, and was promised were correct by the automotive parts salesman, excited to be selling to someone in person, and not over the phone, were in fact incorrect.  By this time, the vehicle was in parts, on jack stands and unable to be driven.  Just great !!!

Out of the shed comes the trust pushbike for the 30 minute ride back to the store.  Oh and did I mention it was a 30 degree (celsius) day.  I managed tail winds only one way, and head winds of tornado proportions the other.


Upon exchanging the incorrect parts for a refund, I was happily informed the parts I need are available in a sister store a 30 minute drive up the hi-way.  By this time it was 3:35pm on a Friday afternoon, and I needed to use the vehicle the following day.

Back on the bike to my brothers place (where the work was being done in his garage), to collect the hose keys for my place.  Again on the pushbike, and a 2.5km ride home to exchange the mountain bike for the motorbike.  I was exhausted and a little frustrated by now.   I had no idea !!!

The hi-ways in Melbourne are known as carparks at the best of times.  Partly due to the States Premier’s decision to spend $1.2 Billion to not build a freeway and tunnel desperately needed to ease congestions (political insanity of epic proportions), good on you Daniel Andrews !!!  So thankful for the change in “Motorcycle filtering” laws a 30 minute ride only took 50 minutes.


Pulling into the carpark of the automotive parts store, feeling hopeful that all corrections had been made, I strode up to the counter with the purpose of a big game hunter approaching his kill.  The replacement parts were already on the counter awaiting my collection.  Like an experienced shopper I opened the top box and inspected the parts.  I checked it against the old part I bought with me and made sure the important cir-clips were there.  All looked good.  After parting with $150, I jumped back on the bike and returned to the incomplete vehicle.

Happily preparing the new parts for insertion, I opened the second (unopened box) and low and behold, the cir-clips were missing.  In fact what were supposed to identical parts were far from it.   The dog cowered down on the veranda in response to the words that escaped my lips.  What happened to service ??  or being able to trust that a sealed box of goodies just purchased hadn’t been pilfered and expertly re-sealed by someone in the store, only to be sold to an unsuspecting customer, me.

The phone call went well.   Me – “Hi, I was just in your store and purchased two parts”…..

Johnny – “Oh yeah, I remember you”….

Me “Well the two parts are different, and one of the boxes is missing a bag of cir-clips”…..

Johnny  Well we don’t sell cir-clips separately, so theres nothing I can do”….  

 Are you freaking serious !!!??? restraining myself from saying what I was in fact thinking I calmly replied Me – ” Do you have another correct part I can exchange the incorrect one for ?”…..

Johnny – “There is one but its halfway across the country, so I’d say your sh#t out of luck”…. 

Yes, thats what he actually said.  Now any half descent, red blooded male would have pulled the attendant up for that comment.  Not me. I again calmly asked

Me – “Can I have a refund then for the incorrect part thats missing a bag of cir-clips ?”…. 

the response was Johnny – “If you’ve opened the bag, we can only offer a store credit.  You know we did give you a discount of 5% on the purchase ?”.  

Thats right, they did.  This was because the first parts I bought were wrong as well.

Me – Played by myself

Johnny – Played by the “staff member of the parts store that rhymes with Cursons” in Hoppers Crossing, in Melbourne’s West.

Later that evening, with help from my brother (Thanks Darryn), we fitted the one part that was correct with as much effort of a long distance runner competing in a weight lifting event.  The plans to use the vehicle over the weekend were put on hold as its now waiting on jack stands for another, more expensive replacement part to arrive.

Here’s the kicker.  The incorrect part is likely to be thrown out as it cannot be used on my vehicle.  The store refused a refund as the bag is opened (you can’t see the part through the bag, so opening it is required to actually check if its right or not) and its missing the vital cir-clips as well.

Here I am, Saturday afternoon.  The dog’s looking at me with his sad eye’s and I know what he’s thinking.  “You silly bugger !!! You should have just paid someone to do the work for you”.  He’s right, in a way.  I enjoy doing home mechanics, when your not busy being screwed by the so called “Parts Professionals”.  It would definitely have been easier to pay someone to have to deal with what I’ve just gone through, and probably cheaper to boot.  But when things go right, the sense of achievement far outweights the frustration.

I have to say there are many suppliers that I use that go over and beyond the call of duty when it comes to providing good service to their customers, but isn’t that what we’ve come to expect ?  In todays society we focus more on the negative experiences more than the positive.  We know what we don’t like, and are happy to share this with others.  If I can prevent someone else from having a similar negative experience  by sharing mine, then I’ve done my duty.

Thanks to the staffer of the store that rhymes with “Cursons” in Hoppers Crossing for teaching me the lesson to never use your store, and making me appreciate the other stores that have provided me unwavering support and service.  You know who you are.


Personal and store names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. 



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