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Author Topic: Do you all think that this is needful?  (Read 3978 times)
John316
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« on: May 04, 2009, 05:38:02 AM »

I am thinking that we need a bus “watchdog.” A watchdog is a place where people post good experiences and bad experiences with companies. I just say this because we all need to know what good shops and dealers are out there, and what bad places are out there. Unfortunately I have found that some of the bus “guys” are a bit corrupt. Of course, I am not talking about the typical bus knut. I am talking about the Sam Walkers, and the Easters of the bus industry.

I think that we should have Mike (hightechredneck), and or Jack Conrad moderate (if they didn't want to, I would be willing to help on that portion, but I really don't care). The board would also need a good search feature. If people have a good or bad experience with somebody (like a mechanic or company), they would then post their experience, and it would not turn into a discussion. If it was a bad review of the company, then the company would then have the opportunity to make one response with what happened, and the readers would then be able to decide for themselves.

Yes, some bus companies would be hurt, but that would be only the ones that we would waste our hard earned money on. We would also know about the good people, like the Don Fairchild's or Luke at US Coach type of people in the bus world. We would all know that Nick Bademan sells AC's, and whatever else he sells, and that he also installs them. We would all know that Jim Shepard sells general RV safety systems, and that he has good customer service, or whatever.

For example, we had a very reputable company raise the roof of our bus, put new windows in, paint it, and put a new E front end on it. We were very disappointed with the company, and they did a terrible job (and our brand new windows are leaking, we have to pull the whole drip rail off of the bus and try to seal it again).

I just think that it would help a lot of us to determine where to go with our buses.

I could have a website with the watchdog on it, but it would be best here.

The people that would be scared of a watch dog, and would not want it, will be the people that do bad work and don't want their bad work to come to light.

What about it?

God bless,

John

PS feel free to PM me if you all want.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 05:21:08 AM by John316 » Logged

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John316
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 05:16:33 AM »

Anybody? Is this needful?

God bless,

John
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 05:20:18 AM »

John,
I don't disagree with he concept, an Angie's List for us, but this board is sponsored by an enterprise that lives on advertising.  There might be a conflict there.
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 06:17:10 AM »

Well I don't think its necessary or even moderately useful.  The problem with the concept is that people don't appreciate good businesses but they are quick to criticize a business when something doesn't go their way.  Note that I didn't say they were necessarily quick to criticize a "bad" business but rather one that disagreed with them. 

Long term readers of boards like this will come to know the good ones and learn which ones to avoid.   There ain't no shortcuts, IMHO.

The way it works in practice is - somebody has trouble (me, for example), they post their troubles, somebody else makes a reccomendation.  IOW, it works the way it is so it doesn't need fixing.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2009, 06:28:28 AM »

Sometimes a "bad" business is not necessarily bad but simply did not live up the the expectations of the customer. And at times, customers expectations can be very unrealistic.  Jack
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2009, 07:30:18 AM »

I wasn't talking about not just living up to expectations. For example, we took our bus to a very reputable place (I think most everybody on this board would say that they do good work.) and had them raise the roof, put new windows in, paint it, and put a new E front on it. Also we wanted them to frame out the air conditioners with 1.5 steel tubing, which they charged us a pretty penny for. They did the work on our bus. When they finally sent us pictures after the bus was painted, it was painted the wrong color, and the back windows weren't placed where we had them in the plans (we gave them a paper copy of the plans, and where the windows went).

Things went pretty well when we picked the bus up. Then we drove through our first rainstorm. Our "new" bus leaked like a sieve. I am not talking about a little drip. It was a mess!!! Then when we were ready to foam the inside, we stripped the aluminum sheeting off of the ceiling (the stuff that was there when it was a Peter Pan). Low and behold we saw their job on framing out the AC's. They POP RIVETED PIECES, (yes PIECES) of steel tubing to the aluminum, to support the AC's.

I won't go into all of the other problems, that we fixed. We could have done a better job (even though we don't know what we are doing, as much).

That is why I think that we need something to find out about other businesses. It needs to be accurate experiences, and that is why it needs to be moderated. I wouldn't want anybody else to get that kind of bad work (I am not talking about not living up to expectations).

So, that is my thoughts.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 07:49:12 AM »

I don't doubt that the intention is laudable, but specifically setting aside a place where people are invited to criticise and complain about other people would surely be a very bad idea.

Jeremy
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 07:58:47 AM »

I would have to agree! I think almost all of us have had an "experience" at one time or another and felt like we got taken for a ride but if you think about it, who is REALLY at fault? We are! Its our money and simply put, you wouldn't eat a steak if it wasn't cooked to your liking. You send it back. If you like it, you eat and THEN pay for it. Did you inspect the work BEFORE you paid your money? You stated that from pictures, things were not to your liking. That in itsrlf would have me inspect further!
I bought my bus at Easters. Did I get a bad deal? Not at all! I got exactly what "I" dealt for. Was I expecting more? Probably, only because I felt I was spending a lot of money and he could have did some extras. Was he obligated? Not one bit! He did what we ageed on before hand! I guess its sort of like ordering that huge 20oz steak and knowing from the price your going to get this huge baked potato only to find a very small one in its place! The public has a way to assume to often!
Does this or any BB need a place to dis companies? I don't think so because in any business, word of mouth travels faster than even the internet!

Ace
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 08:06:28 AM »

Sounds like the idea won't fly. But.

Jeremy, again you missed my point. It would be very beneficial for people to share real life experiences. It would save some bus knuts lots of $$$. "Watchdogs" are not a place set aside for bashing. It is a place where people share GOOD and bad experiences. I just wouldn't want any of my bus knut friends to waste their money. I have warned people about our experience with Sam Walker, and I have been watching to see if anybody says that they will be taking their bus to the place that did our roof raise. I wouldn't want them to get bad work, like we got.

Ace, thanks for your thoughts. I understand what you are saying.

But, that is fine if you all don't want it. Now I just have to decide if I want to set a website up to do that. We will see.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 08:09:40 AM »

If you can't ensure a calm, rational, & balanced discussion from both sides, it will merely be a bitching hole full of venom, spite & hate.

It is often difficult to moderate a rational discussion, I'd imagine it'd be impossible to moderate an emotionally charged discussion, especially when some feel directly victimized.


ace brings up a good point, we need to be carefull when we make deals.
Sharing our experiences will only be helpfull if we educate others what to look for, simply running someone into the ground opens the door for another to take their place.


I've seen;
- outrageous expectations from some people who seem to have nothing to do but bash anyone unfortunate enough to have crossed paths with them.
- hack jobs that are indefensible.
- people that say one thing while meaning something else (both intentional & non intentional).
- idiots with good intentions.

Recently on the other board someone was upset over the charge for fixing their bus.
Lots chimed in to bash the shop (some even offered to visit harm on the shop Shocked) for what they too thought was an excessive bill.
However, what I saw was a shop that responded in a timely manner after hours & did a through job to ensure the problem was fixed (not just a simple bandaid for the obvious) & charged reasonable rates for the time spent.

Seems there is often a difference in perspective . . .  The internet is often one sided & you aren't likely to hear much from the shop since they are usually working trying to earn a living rather than playing on the internet - so many different discussion forums out there . . . .
Kinda hard to form an accurate conclusion when you only hear one side of the story. . .


BTW;
Never argue with a fool, people can't tell the difference.
Don't argue with an idiot, they drag you down to their level & beat you with experience.

There is nothing more dangerous than an idiot with ambition.  Shocked
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 08:19:19 AM »

Jeremy, again you missed my point. It would be very beneficial for people to share real life experiences. It would save some bus knuts lots of $$$. "Watchdogs" are not a place set aside for bashing. It is a place where people share GOOD and bad experiences. I just wouldn't want any of my bus knut friends to waste their money. I have warned people about our experience with Sam Walker, and I have been watching to see if anybody says that they will be taking their bus to the place that did our roof raise. I wouldn't want them to get bad work, like we got.

I didn't miss your point - I understand your point, it's just that I don't think it would work in practice. As others have said, despite the best intentions and the best moderation I suspect such an area would quickly degenerate into venue for mud-slinging. I'd love to be proved wrong though

Jeremy
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 08:27:35 AM »

My two cents,

FMCA has a steady stream of kudos they print in their letters section.  I like reading them.  They are generally very uplifting.  The writer generally writes, I was here and I received care that was up and beyond.  I would support that theme.  It also might be a source of revenue for the MAK.  A thread like that would point out organizations that need to advertise on this forum.

John, as an ex-small-business owner, I hope you contacted the company that caused your pain.  I always wanted to know how my employees were treating my customers.  Generally a company that has a good reputation has management that cares about your experience.

Good travels

Mike

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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2009, 08:41:25 AM »

Thanks for the great comments. First off, if I do make a watchdog, it would not be a head bashing place. I would allow people to make one post (I would edit out the emotion if necessary) and then the business could make one response (if they want).

I think that the letters of recommendations would be a huge part of it. My goal would be to point out the good businesses. 

Jeremy, first off, I didn't mean any harm. I have appreciated this discussion. Thank you for your insights. I understand that it would be difficult to moderate, but I have seen it work and be very beneficial (I am not saying that I can do it, but I might try).

Kyle, thanks for the post. You had some good thoughts. I also am not talking about shop rates. When we have our bus worked on at our local DD guys, they charge 130 an hour. We have had them do major work, and not been upset that they charge what they said they would. We do ask them to fix mistakes though, which they always do. The internet is very one sided, and that is why I would like to have a place where the companies can respond.

Mike (loosenut), great post. I like your idea, if I do make a watchdog (I am not saying I will) I will have the kudos letters be a major part of it. The company that did the bad work, knew about it. We have talked extensively with them. They are a pretty small shop, and the owners were very involved. We only worked with the owners, and they did a lot of the work. Both owners were there everyday with the men, and yes, they heard about our problems.

Thanks again. I have appreciated this thread.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 10:04:28 AM »

Another excellent resource would be the local Better Business Bureau
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2009, 10:19:47 AM »

Thanks kyle. That is a good idea.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2009, 10:31:10 AM »

It's not specifically buses, but just what you are looking for.

http://rvservicereviews.com/
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2009, 01:16:57 PM »

Len,

That is exactly what I am talking about. The format isn't real great, and it could be a whole lot more user friendly, but it is what I am talking about.

Thanks.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2009, 05:26:57 PM »

John316
   I do agree with you that it would be nice to have some place to get input on how good or bad a shop is. Maybe not so much an individuals experience but a rating system for a shop where all that have used that shop could rate them similar to eBay.  Another idea maybe to just post what details to have in writing. Certain shops that may or  maynot do as implied. Myself being new to the bus conversion i would really like to know if a shop gets a reputation of installing window that leak.  This way I may use the shop if the good rating is high but check the window for leaks before I payed.  No I am not great at putting my thoughts into words but I try  lol.
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2009, 05:53:30 PM »



Isn't the rule of this board no badmouthing

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=26.0



Now if your are seriously thinking about using someone you seems can ask for experience from the board before you go.  It would just be a thread.
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2009, 06:37:39 AM »

After giving a lot of thought to John's idea and the replies, I can't support a business complaint section.  What I would be supportive of would be a place for members with at least a "Full Member" status to post praise of a shop or supplier.  No negatives allowed for the reasons pointed out so far.  (the reason for the "Full Member" requirement would be to help avoid unscrupulous operators from posting their own praise).

I realize that falls short of the idea of warning people about bad operators.  But as has been pointed out it can be a real minefield and every business will have mistakes.  (granted yours sounds like a real bad one)  But if a business receives a lot of praise (like U.S. Coach typically does), then that says something too about your chances of a good experience with them.

Based on what you related, that wouldn't have helped your situation since you indicated they were a reputable company.  But I would have to say that sounds like a strange anomaly that sounds like it must have contributing factors.  And as I said, every company makes mistakes, including complete fubars.  In your case, what did they say or agree to do about it when you complained?  Their response to a complaint says more about their business ethics.
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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2009, 06:52:15 AM »

Mike,

Thanks for the response. I understand your position on this. Makes sense to me. I understand your point about only accepting praise, but I think that bad experiences would also be a key factor. I am still thinking about whether I launch this on my own, but I have not decided.

And, yes, we did talk with the company, and we got nowhere. They admit, somewhat, that they might have made some mistakes, but otherwise they are closed with discussions. We finally let it drop, decided to cut our losses, and fix everything ourselves (we live about 800 miles from the). I am not so much concerned about getting our "losses" covered, as making sure somebody else doesn't get damaged.

I am not into the head bashing stuff, that is on the net so often. That is why I haven't mentioned the name of the company...

Thanks for the replies. It has been a good topic.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2009, 07:41:24 AM »

Redneck, I agree( for what its worth). Don't tell me where the bad shops are, I'm not looking for them. Tell me where the good ones are. I'm lucky that I can do all of my maintenance, but realize some can't.
Big John
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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2009, 09:13:16 AM »

...What I would be supportive of would be a place for members with at least a "Full Member" status to post praise of a shop or supplier.  No negatives allowed for the reasons pointed out so far.  (the reason for the "Full Member" requirement would be to help avoid unscrupulous operators from posting their own praise).



As a newbie I agree with the full member requirement and not because self serving business owners might miss lead us but because many newbies are newbies because we don't know all that much.  As an example, I paid $1,500.00 for a complete fluid change and inspection.  I was underwhelmed with the information from the inspection but was the price fair for what I received?  I don't know.  Any complaint or praise would be unjust concerning my experience.  So the full member requirement also might ease everybody's concerns about unjust criticism.

Mike
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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2009, 09:15:42 PM »

Hmmm. At 1st I thought this was another Bashing theard and like others in the archives of this board and others and thought, No real good will come of it. BUT THEN, some real wisdon and intelligence have been shared among men. I, for one, hope that this great discussion does not fade off into the abyss. Gary is wise and we should start here. I think alot of good will come from a "Kudo" category. We will all have an opportunity share and let it evolve into a helpful Bus tool. All the Best, M&C
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« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2009, 11:29:46 PM »

John,

I thought you had a GREAT idea.  I guess the problem is in execution and "angles" that I hadn't considered.

Still, I applaud you concern for my welfare and that of others.  The woods are full of creeps and bandits out there.  Flagging them makes the good guys stand out even more....and that's a good thing both ways.

We had a serious "go round" on this board about a business called "WALKER COACH".  That bird even did prison time over his shady dealings.  I remember there were more than a few that thought the board comments were uncalled for and even unjust.  Then he got sent up the river.  There were numerous people that got on the forum and asked for input about Walker as they were about to drop their bus off for extensive work.  Well they got lucky and many people told them to check the archives for "walker Coach" and others suggested that they be contacted off line.  Every time that happened I breathed a sigh of relief.....for the Knut that escaped financial shredding.

Then there was the D repair shop near an airport around Phoenix(as I recall).  That must have been an awesome outfit cause the advice to one Knut was :  "I don't care if you engine is out of the bus and in pieces.  get a front loader and scrape up your parts and get your bus on a hook and drag it out of there.  Cannot be worse than what you will face if you let them finish and then rape you for a job so poor you will not make 1000 miles"....loose quote here on my part but close in tone and msg.

I believe that the board considers it an abuse to "bad mouth" any business on the board.  MANY, me included, are on record as saying that to accurately relate how you were robbed and the circumstance is simply relating history.  Such as:" they estimated 3 days in writing and I got my bus back in three weeks and only half the work specified was done and they charged twice what the estimate called for for the entire job. Nightmare!".  Got the estimate?  Got the bill?  Got dates? .....history!

This whole thing can be a can of worms and I am not sure I know how it should be done.  I am one of those radical conservatives that believes in transparency and keeping it all in the open and on the record.  How about a board where you list the company that you have done bus with and then anyone considering that shop can contact you for some "history'  good and bad.  Sound fair?  Consider the source and ask how many are in that boat and share that opinion.  I really think we need to put on our thinking caps and figure a way that Knuts can share their history/grief/extraordinarily good experiences.  HOW'BOUT IT GUYS?

John316, I thank you for picking up this ball and carrying it the distance you have.  Great Esprit De Corps.  Semper Fi!

And right back at ya on that God Bless thing,

John, ever the follower


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« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2009, 04:06:26 AM »

It's easy, have a star rating system. 5 being the best and 0 being the worst. Only allow comments to be 100 letters or so, box would be headlined, Work Performed.

5 stars - best in customer service, satisfaction of completed job

4 stars - better customer service, satisfaction of completed job

3 stars - good customer service, satisfaction of completed job less than expected

2 stars - poor customer service, satisfaction of completed job much less than expected

1 star - lousy customer service, not satisfied with expectations of job performed

0 stars - not recommended

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