My unpleasant experience Print E-mail
News - Briewe
Thursday, 17 November 2011 07:32
Untitled Document

Kevin Mukheibir from Mooikloof Estate writes:
At the end of last summer I was noticing that my ride-on lawnmower was losing power after long usage. I recently approached Lawnmower Legends (Moreleta Park) and asked if they could assess and quote for a repair. They were very glad to take on the job and the mower was picked up on 5 September. 

Lawnmower Legends contacted me about a week later and explained that the engine needs to be opened for further investigation, but they had a good idea what the problem was. A maximum/capped amount was quoted and agreed on and I instructed them to go ahead. I was satisfied with the process so far and was quite impressed that they had figured it out. I am, however, very sad to say that the process from then onwards went slightly pear-shaped.

Weeks went by with no feedback and every time I called, it was some other problem or part that was needed, and every time I gave them the go-ahead to carry out certain fixes. This went on for six weeks, eventually with me calling almost every day to get a working mower back, as my lawn at this stage resembled a bushveld.

After applying some pressure, my mower was back, apparently fixed and tested thoroughly, as I was told. The repair cost was just under R3 000, which I settled before they delivered. I was very keen to try the mower out and I headed for the lawn. The mower lasted five minutes before it cut out, refusing to start again. If you recall my original problem was power loss, not an engine that cuts out or does not start.

While trying to push the mower back to storage, I noticed that the back wheels were locking up, even while in neutral. This was never a problem before. These mowers come with a safety mechanism on start-up. If you are not seated and the brake is not on, the engine should not even turn over. This was also disabled, as I could crank the machine while standing next to it.

When the mower was delivered, the driver explained to my wife that the brake pedal gets stuck and that it needs to be pulled back with your foot to release, another problem that was never there before.

To sum up, I sent my mower in for one problem and got it back with four new problems. I called Lawnmower Legends and explained my dissatisfaction and new problems. To my surprise, I was told that they have decided not to work on my mower anymore and that they do not have the time or the manpower to recollect my machine and repair to the original state. I was told that the best they could do was to try and help me in two weeks time when some new personnel start at the business.

Being quite irritated by now, I requested a refund. He refused and suggested I bring him a quote from another service agent and then we could discuss it. 

I did not get an opportunity to test the original power loss problem as the engine does not even start.

Letter shortened - Ed

Jakes Stadler from Lawnmower Legends answers:
We thank you for the opportunity to respond to the letter from Mr Mukheibir. It is ironic to note that Mr Mukheibir noticed a problem on his machine at the end of last summer, yet he chose to only address it in the early spring. Mother Nature determines demand in our business to be highly seasonal and this phenomenon adds to the complexity thereof. 

The (rather old) machine was not purchased from us, nor was it (ever) maintained or worked on by us. Initially and without us having seen the machine, Mr Mukheibir was adamant that only his 'power-loss' complaint should be attended to. He was not prepared to entertain suggestions of any other work that might become necessary, such as a proper service. 

When we first contacted him for authorisation to open the engine, it was because it was extremely difficult to even start the engine, let alone assess a loss of power. Later on, he did admit to having had knowledge of this one additional problem at least. 

We suspected a malfunctioning valve decompressing device and were proven right. This is often a result of poor maintenance standards. These symptoms were aggravated by a worn-out starter motor and other parts that were in turn putting an overload on the electrical system, causing further damage. 

Our recommendations to consider a new machine - in view of its overall poor and worn-out condition - were waived. In the interest of your readers, you are invited to publish a photograph of the machine in question - to illustrate the ill state of its sieve-like, welded-up cutting deck and chassis. 

We then attempted to best respect given budget constraints. This has cost us dearly in wasted time and effort. We therefore made a decision that we would not work on the machine again. Therefore also our open invite to Mr Mukheibir to consult with other industry players - in an effort to prove to himself that we were not dishonourable. 

A lot more money would have been necessary to turn that machine into a reliable workhorse. It must be noted that Mr Mukheibir also declined a quotation to repair his roller blade lawnmower, fitted with a long-discontinued engine, which (only) came to R800. 

Mr Mukheibir claims that he is 'out of pocket' with some R3 000: It must be noted that our invoice of R2 840 included a battery (on his request) of R625. This leaves just R2 215 for the other work, parts, fuel, collection and delivery of his machine. 

The battery price should give Mr Mukheibir and your readers a golden opportunity to directly compare our price (for a sealed, maintenance-free unit) to prices generally available in the market - to test our integrity. They might be pleasantly surprised!

I trust that Mr Mukheibir will find a suitable service provider to his satisfaction and approval elsewhere and remain willing to discuss quotations addressing our initial order and mandate.

Thank you for an outstanding publication through which we have thankfully gained a number of loyal supporters as well.

Letter shortened. - Ed

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