Paradise; Hmmmp, bah humbug, phoney, foney baloney and all that other stuff!
OK For starters we had a problem with one of our coaches headed to Orlando last Thursday!
It all started with a "fairly new" (to us anyway!) driver calling me in the AM telling me look her boss this bus keep shut'n down on me, and they be complaining it be get'n 'm wet inside leaking from the bottom of the hand baggage shelf!
OK so I know that Setra's run coolant thru the roof, so I tell him it's probably got a coolant line in the roof bad!
So I send him to Setra and drop it off at there and tell them to fix it!
They call me and tell me that it's 2 separate problems!
# 1 is that the roof a/c evaporator is plugged up from not being cleaned properly, (we only owned it since February!) and freezing up! And then once frozen the water has to go somwhere as it melts~
# 2 is a water hose from the water pump is leaking and needs replaced ASAP!
OK I tell them too fix it! Keep it until Monday use whatever it takes to fix it right! (I even authorized overtime if needed!) I didn't want to have it dripping on my customers, even if I could have fixed it cheaper and probably better at home!
Well then I paid a company there in Orlando $1,000 to do some shuttling of my customers while they had our bus! And $300 for a rental car so our driver would be able to get around!
So I talked to them Monday afternoon and they said it was done! And told that if it was possible it'd be better for the driver to pick it up early Tuesday AM instead of that night as it was closing time!
OK so I agreed and left it at that, and called the driver and told him to do it that way!
Well the driver did as told, picked it up Tuesday AM before thet opened! They had left it outside, keys in it, and no bill, but where he could get in it and go! (now how often does a place like a dealer do that with out the bill being paid up front?!?!?!)
Around 9:00 AM (central / 10:00 eastern) the service manager from there calls me and gives me the amount of the bill over the phone, and faxes me a copy of it. Well I'd been quoted around $1,500 +/- for it all up front. And they'd called once and told me that I needed an evaporator fan motor. ($160.00 + 1 extra hr labor) Well I told them that since they were in there to go ahead and replace it even though I had about 23-24 used ones at home! (from the parts I bought from Paul Hastings & our parts bus combined!)
SO I wasn't terribly upset when the bill was $1,700, as it was inline with the quote!
But 5 minutes after I gave them the credit card number and authorized it, the driver called me and told me "Look here boss I hate to be bothering you, but we ain't made it out of Orlando and this thing is leaking worse than it was before!"
Oh talk about being furious, I told him to turn around and take it back NOW!
Well I then called them and told them he was coming back! They said they "really could not understand why it was still leaking!"
I told them I couldn't either since the bottom statement on the bill read; (and I quote!)"Bus test driven and performs as it should now!"
I told them he'd be there in about 15-30 minutes, and they needed to figure out what the problem was and either fix it fast or find a way to get my people on the way! (AND FAST!)
Well about 45 minutes later the driver called and said "look here boss I ain't no mechanic, but these folks are talking some real cock & bull.... here!"
So I called and ask what was up, and sure enough I started getting a song and dance about when they test drove it was late in the afternoon (4:00-4:30) and that it had cooled off out side by then and that it wasn't condensating like that when they test drove it so they didn't know it was still leaking!
I told them I thought they were full of BS and now I knew why they wanted the driver pick it up early in the morning and take it to load and depart before the bill was presented! Because they knew it wasn't fixed, and they wanted him to get up the road to far to come back before it started leaking again for me to bring it back!
Well dad and I both started talking to them then because dad told me "son calm down, and we'll get more done!" I just handed him the phone and walked away while telling "here you deal with it then!"
As I was walking off I heard dad say "now Robin I'm gonna tell you what I asked Bryce to calm down, and the best he could do was to hand me the phone and walk away. And I see he's getting on his cell phone, and I know from the look in his eyes heads are fixing to roll! Now I strongly suggest ya'll find a way to get our people on the road and quick!"
Well he was right I was calling the Setra North American Headquarters in NC! And I started with a guy we have talked to many times before who once told dad "my job really isn't tech support (even though that was a part of his job), but really customer relations and it was his responsibility to make customers happy!"
First thing when he answered without telling him who I was I asked him if remembered telling us that?
Well he imeadiately knew who I was and said "Ah Bryce, I guess I'm fixing to eat those words huh?"
I told him 'well Jeff I hate it but yes!" So I told him what was up. And he promised me he'd make a call down to Orlando and see what was going on and call me back in less than 5 minutes!
Well I hung up and called our area field rep/technician. And left him a voicemail to call me.
Well then dad and I sat around figuring out what we thought we should do. And after a few minutes I called Robin back. I asked her what they were doing to get our people on the road? She responded with "that's not our problem!"
Whoops hold on, stop the presses! That was the final straw I totally lost it and went off on her! I told her that they needed to get my people on a bus headed north, and do it fast!
She said "we don't have anyway to do that the only demo/loaner bus we have is with another customer"
I told her I didn't care if they "put them on a brand new bus with no plate and plastic still on the seats, or hired someone else my people had already been inconvenienced enough. And I mean it my next call will be to our lawyer!"
Well dad took my phone from me as he handed me the business phone as Jeff had just called back.
So Jeff tells me what he found out and that they needed about 10 more hours to do the job right!
I told him "tell them they can have all week, but get my people on the road!"
He said "I am seeing what can be done."
Well I called NC HQ again and asked for the 3rd in command here in the US (we have spoken before too!). Just then my phone rings again so I handed dad the other phone. So dad leaves a very polite but to the point msg on his voicemail "Mr. Flynn this is Gene Gaston from KY Lakeside Travel, and it seems anytime we talk things aren't good. Well this time they are worse than ever. We have a bus load of our customers in your facility in Orlando, our bus was not fixed right and it's going nowhere until it is. And we're getting nowhere as to what your company is doing to get them on their way home to TN! I'd appreciate it if you'd call me back right away!"
Well it was Dennis (our field rep) on my phone and he heard every word dad said. He asked "did he just leave that msg. for who I thought I heard him say?" I said YES, he said "OK well I'm still trying to find out what all is going on and I'll call you back!"
Well it wasn't 5 minutes later that Robin called me back and was kinda huffy. But asked me "Bryce where can I tell MCA (the company we'd hired to shuttle our customers around while they had our coach!) that they need to go to meet up with one of your coaches and swap out?"
I told her Atlanta was half way for us, and that yes I had a bus here that mom & dad could go and meet the bus coming up in.
What I didn't tell her was that Robert was already sitting in a hotel room in East Ridge, TN (S. Chattanooga) where he'd been dropped off the evening before by another driver in route to spot as a relief driver. So mom & dad picked up Robert and the 3 of them went to the swap out point. When they were done swapping out. Mom & dad rode back to FL with the other companies driver. Talk about surprise, surprise, surprise (think Gomer Pyle) when Robin saw mom & dad walk in the next morning! (they were just down there last month so she knew them! LOL!)
She told dad "I didn't expect to see you here this morning!" Dad said "I know!" And smiled real pretty!
She asked well how long are you here for. Dad told her "for the duration!"
She said "I mean when do you need the bus back?" and dad told her "when it is done & done right, it's not scheduled out until the 26th & if it's not done then Bryce will lease one from ABC and charge to ya'll!"
Oh I wish I'd been there to see that!
Now to make matters worse early Friday AM one of the drivers called me and said "Bryce your going to hate me!"
I asked "uh Bill what are you talking about?"
He said "well I hate to tell you this but I just knocked out 2 windows in you new bus!"
Uh I was in shock, dumb founded, mortified, whatever ya wanna call it!
After a minute or so of silence (while I was trying to see if he and Robert were pulling a bad prank on me or not!) "he finally said are you there?"
I asked "your kidding right?"
He said "I really wish I was, it was totally my fault I swung out to swing wide and caught a tree limb on the passenger side while watching my tail swing in the driver side mirror! I stopped as soon as I heard it touch but it was too late! Man I really am sorry, nothing like this has ever happened to me and now it has and to one of your new buses too!"
I was still in shock, but asked him "well had bad is it, do I have to get another coach out there?" he told me no "that it ONLY
broke out the out side panel on the dual pane windows!"
Wow well that makes it OK! (opps a little sarcasm there)
SO I told him hey things happen at least it wasn't another vehicle or anyone hurt! It's only glass and can be replaced!
Well OK so now I'm really sorta depressed, I know that when yer in business (or anything else for that matter) there will be good days and bad days, but do the bad ones have to stack up like this?
Well I only thought I was depressed. Then I called Setra and told them I needed a price on replacing the 2nd and 3rd windows on the passenger/door side of one of my S417's. Well the guy in parts made my day when he told me "well the 2nd one is $5??.?? AND THE 3RD ONE IS $1,3??.??!
And now let me transfer you to service for the labor quote!"
OK so only $2,000 in parts, it hurts but I can deal with that I suppose! (opps there goes the advertising $ I was hoping to spend in the new magazine!)
So then the service manager gets back to me and gives me the total cost for parts and labor of about $8,000.00 +/-
Well there goes any hopes of profit this quarter between this and the other problem and normal expenses!
So Monday @ 8:00 AM I will be in Greensboro, NC with my tail & check book tucked between my legs!
(yes we could replace them ourselves cheaper, but we don't have time to get them delivered and in before the bus has to go out Weds. night for a Thursday trip from Nashville to Cleveland!)
Oh yeah and to top all this off the $11,000 rear end we put in my old 45'er back on Thanksgiving week end is howling again @ only 20,000 miles!
Ahhh ain't it nice to be in business!
We plan to head to Union City, TN & BKs on Monday.
The new engine is running good, but we do have a few minor oil leaks (of course, it IS a DD). Jack
Ah, Jack check your PM as I won't be back until Wednesday (or possibly until after the trial or how many ever yrs I get for going POSTAL! LOL!)