I have said many times that we are all very fortunate to have vendors who continue to provide great support to our passion ….. DeTomaso cars. NOS, reproduction and new specialty parts that keep our cars road worthy and cosmetically beautiful. I really appreciate their efforts.
However they are still businesses with pluses and minuses. I will share 2 experiences just as FYIs. I will not name these vendors. But will say that they are both in California. It must be something to do with all of the earthquakes!
Vendor # 1 shows NOS parts on their site and sends used parts. When called about the used parts he cops an attitude and says just send them back. Would it have been better to just tell me when I ordered the parts that they were used?
Vendor #2 offers a used part which I was fine with. He ships a new part and adds $125 to my credit card. When I called the Vendor he just assumed I would not mind paying for a new part. Is it too much to ask for a phone call first?
My point of this mini rant is assume nothing. Ask specifically about the part new or used? NOS or reproduction? Ask the shipping cost. They will often act offended, but if you have ever paid more for the shipping than the cost of the part you understand. Tell them to call you before they substitute a part or the price quoted changes. This will also offend some, but too bad it is your money. And we may all be a little odd and a pain to deal with, but we are their customer!
Good advice, Jeff.
May I add another?
Ask the vendor if he actually has the part he is selling you. Now he may say something like "Sure, I can ship that out to you right away" but that sadly does not mean he actually has it, in his shop, ready to ship.
He may very well take your credit card information, run the charge and then start the process of actually obtaining the part. Surprise! Now he, and you, are at the mercy of someone else's supply situation. Your vendor may have honestly not anticipated a supply delay, but that is small consolation to you. And your money is paid.
Some of our vendors, especially in this economy, may be running things on the float. They need your money to buy the part they are then shipping to you. And if the rent comes due first, then your money may be gone and now what funds will he use to buy your part?
Perhaps if he does not have it in his possession, you should make another call to find a vendor who does have it - really have it.
And please bear in mind no one, our vendors included, ever bats 1000. If you ask around, none of our vendors will have 100% praise. You will come to have your favorites, and those you avoid. When telling your tales of joy and sadness, or when listening to another's, keep this in mind.
I dunno guys. I see these posts all the time on here.
I've owned my Pantera for 20+ years. I've bought just about every part that can be welded, bolted or glued on a DeTomaso (except body panels - so far!) from just about every vendor there is.
I have never really been surprised, disappointed or aggravated. It can't just be luck. I have paid some silly shipping costs, but not the vendors' fault.
I hear horror stories regularly about vendors that I find hard to believe. I'm not saying they aren't true, but starting on the right foot with a vendor, taking the time to clarify the details (even if it means a few more emails and jpgs to be sure) and setting your expectations is the difference between a good and bad experience.
And once you find a vendor that is great to deal with - stick with them! You don't really have to go shopping for every part. You may pay a few bucks more here and there, but in the end a quality relationship ensures good advice, quick returns, easy credits and a good running cat.
Just my two cents.
You have had better luck than many of us. When I hear similar stories from other owners it is not just me being a pain in the posterior.
I have owned this Pantera for 15 years. My experiences have always run hot and cold with vendors. I have tried to use all of the vendors at one time or another. Maybe that is my problem not just using a couple. But not all vendors stock the same parts.
I have never had any successes having my e-mails answered by a vendor. With the exception of Dennis Quella my calls are not returned. I always have to make follow up phone calls to the other vendors.
|"Racing is Life, anything before or after is just waiting" - Steve McQueen|
Also remember our vendors for the most part are more than just that, they are Pantera owners and club members, many who fell into the business because of a passion.....the same passion we all have.
Vendors will often unquestioningly spend hours on the phone discussing a particular problem, remedies etc. with a customer even if there is no sale at the end of it. I have come to the conclusion that although frustrating a small vendor slip up now and again is probably offset by the free advice I have received over the years.
No doubt being a vendor is a tough business. I try to do as much research from their websites as possible and on the forum before I go calling them up taking up their time. The only thing I can advise to some of the vendors is to have the closest and most thorough inventory of your parts online. Some of the websites are better than others, and I don't mean by flashy, I mean by search ability. Anyone who has been a business major in the last 10 years can tell you that a business' website is not supposed to be flashy where people get lost. The website needs to be simple and easy to navigate directing customers to what they need as fast as possible with the fewest clicks. That doesn't imply you need to throw everything on one page, it means to make it navigable. Some of the diagrams from the factory showing the parts on the websites are such low resolution, I can bearily identify the correct parts sometimes.
I also agree that you need to be clear about whether you want a NOS, repro, used part etc. There are a lot of parts flying around out there.
I wanted to post that there is one vendor who never fails to respond to any e-mails. His products are extremely well designed and fairly priced. And the best thing is that all of the products are designed so even the mechanically challenged can easily install them.
The vendor is Jon at Pantera Electronics.
I have actually imposed on him to help me sort out non Pantera (Jeep) electrical issues.
And no I am not a paid commercial announcement for Pantera Electronics!
Yeah, Jon at PE is awesome. A+
I for one and super thankful for all the vendors. Imagine if they weren't there! Even if you don't like em, at least they are helping create competition which results in better products at better prices.
I have my favorite vendors that I'll go to first, and I think that's great. They work hard for my business.
We used to have a '59 El Camino. Incredibly hard to get parts for. Only one or two vendors, and they didn't have nearly the number of parts that are available to us in the Pantera market. Made rebuilding that car a nightmare. In contrast, walking into a place like PIM is like a being kid in a candy store. We're so fortunate!
My story is brief but simple.
Several years ago I wanted to replace the black rubber muffler strap. One of our vendors right now lists them as $60.00 each.
I went to a local one man muffler shop and showed him what I needed. He handed me 4 and said don't worry about it. I gave him $20.00
Sorry, but some of these vendors are robbers and they have no conscience. Find other sources unless it is absolutely necessary.
My 2 cents ... i have purchased from 3 vendors ... each I purchase for a different reason .. the first I trust, the second for racing parts and the third for original parts ... all of which the technical knowledge comes with a price. I know this up front .. if I had 10 hours to research the part and shop it until I'm dead I could save a few bucks but time is money and I have very little during the course of the day.
But when necessary or I have a minute I purchase, fabricate or buy elsewhere a part that may not be DETOMASO ..
A saying that comes to mind " the educated consumer is our best customer". Do the research because the vendors may not have hours to spend on the phone .. this inflates the cost of doing business.
Just my opinion.
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