Tricks and Snakes

Freight and Prep are two of the more interesting aspects of the powersports industry. Unlike automobiles, there is no national law requiring dealers to post list prices or disclose other fees on the bikes they sell. Some dealers charge freight, delivery, set up, assembly and for the fluids that came in the bike from the factory. At the Lazy K, and most dealerships in the area, we try to charge Freight and Prep, the totally arbitrary and made up figure it allegedly costs to ship the bike from wherever it came from and the $200 it costs us for our $7 an hour technician to put the wheels on, start it, rev the motor to the rev limiter a few times before the oil circulates, and wheelie in the parking lot if it is a neat new model he's never abused before. Sometimes we get freight and prep, sometimes the customer is smart. Mondo's favorite line for people who balk at paying freight and prep is that they can pick it up in a box in Yokohama and save the money.

Our major competitor, Skank Powersports, discounts their bikes to dealer cost, then uses Freight and Prep to get as much as $4000 over manufacturer's suggested retail price. Skank advertises these low prices, but of course doesn't disclose the freight and prep charges in their ads. We are not sure if this is legal, and apparently neither are they.

Friar Tuck and Mondo decided to have a little fun with the snakes at Skank.

First, Mondo called Skank Powersports and got hold of Nubbin, a new salesperson. He asked about the advertised price, then asked if there were any other fees. Nubbin said there were freight and prep fees, but he wasn't sure how much they were. They try not to disclose these fees over the phone, prefering to surprise you when you get home and your wife reads all the papers you signed. trying to figure out why you own $12,500 for the $7999 motorcycle you bought for $6849. Mondo asked why these fees weren't mentioned in the ad, and said he thought they had to disclose them. Nubbin said he didn't know about that.

Friar Tuck called Nubbin about an hour later and claimed to be from the District Attorney's office. He asked Nubbin if he had a vehicle salesperson's license. They never do. Then he told Nubbin he was calling because he'd received a complaint that Skank Powersports was charging additional fees without mentioning them in their ads. Friar Tuck asked Nubbin if he had personally charged these fees to any customers. Nubbin's voice started to break, and he wasn't sure if he had or not. Then Friar Tuck told Nubbin he was sending in a team of undercover operatives on Saturday, the busiest day of the week, to investigate. Then Friar Tuck asked Nubbiin if he would mind wearing a wire. He told Nubbin this might help him with the judge. At the end of the conversation, Friar Tuck thanked Nubbin for his cooperation and asked him to keep the conversation confidential.

The next week, and throughout the selling season, all the ads for Skank Powersports clearly stated that there were no freight or prep charges on their vehicles. They still advertise the same whore out pricing, so we assume they lost a whole bunch of money.

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