Code of Ethics for selling forklifts on the internet

Should there be a code of ethics when selling forklifts on the internet? What information should sellers volunteer / provide? What questions should buyers ask?
Thanks to "edward t" and "bbforks" for starting this thought process in a previous discussion thread. Please give us your thoughts.
  • Admin
  • Posted 4 Dec 2013 10:52
  • Modified 4 Dec 2013 14:04 by administrator
  • Discussion started by Admin
  • Queensland, Australia
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Showing items 16 - 30 of 34 results.
BB Forks, I certainly respect your opinion! I was just pointing out that within my experience over the last (15) years, one cannot fix stupid. It just cannot be done. Think of it like this, a reasonable person would not go to Macys for clothing and expect to pay Walmart pricing.

Just last week, I was with a customer who thought our service rates were just way to expensive, I work with a rather large dealership. I asked the customer compared to who and what? My rate was $115.000 per hour. The customer explained that he was using an independent for $75.00 per hour. So I asked if this independent had on-site liability insurance, workmens compensation insurance etc. The customer said no, he also explained he knew and understood he was taking the risk! I then asked the customer, if he knew that if someone was hurt on his property from the independent s company, that he would be held liable, he understood the risks he was taking. Now please keep in mind that this was no hole in the wall company, this company has over 100 employees. How do you fix that, you dont. In a very nice way, I told the customer good luck, please call me if I can help, and have a nice day.

This past Friday I was with another mid-size company that has around (12) units, only buys used. The customer asked for a quote on a good late model 6k unit, so I quoted a late model unit with 2300 hours out of our rental fleet for $16,500.00 with a 90 day full warranty. The customer then explained to me that my price was too expensive. The customer also explained to me that he found one on the internet local, for $10,500.00 delivered plus sales tax that was 10 years old, new paint, new tires, 8900 hours, and with no warranty at all. The customer then asked me to sell him my unit for the same price with the warranty and we had a deal. As much as I tried to explain the difference between the two, he did not care. I then asked what were the other dealers quoting, he then explained that we were all around the same area on price. I asked the customer if he knew how much an engine was, if he knew how much a transmission was, he told me no, never thought of it. Again, you cannot fix stupid.

As far as the word recondition, here is the term, to make like new or brought back to like new specifications. This is why I never ever use the word reconditioned.

Yes, everyone is always trying to save a buck or two, but some people just want something for nothing. Those people are meant to buy from the bottom feeders of the business and deserve what they get. With or without some standard or code of ethics, this will always be the case. That is what makes a free market great.

Better Business Bureau
CarFax Reports
Ripoff Reports

The list goes on. One can point out all the questions in the world, again there are some who still want something for nothing.

Yet it still happens, STUPID
  • Posted 17 Feb 2014 15:51
  • Reply by salesmaster
  • Arizona, United States
Salesmaster- I have to take issue with your post. As professionals, it's our job to educate laypeople about our industry. As an example- the term "Reconditioned"- what an example of a misleading term. To the customer it sounds like the unit has been rebuilt. An inexperienced buyer at a large company, the owner of a carpet store, etc can be easily mislead with this nomenclature.

You speak of bottom feeders- everyone wants a deal. Can you blame someone for trying to save a buck- we all do it. End users don't understand our business- if they did they'd be in our business. Do you understand the intricacies of why one carpet is more expensive than another? Probably not- you rely on the salesman to educate you in the world of carpet. And- if you buy carpet on-line & get screwed, you have no one to blame but yourself. But, if the carpet was misrepresented as being something it isn't, shame on who sold it to you. This is my point.

If a end user wants to purchase a unit & has unrealistic expectations of the deal & some unscrupulous dealer takes advantage of that, it gives the entire industry a bad name. Having an industry standard with a code of ethics which an end user could use as a bench mark to measure his "deal" with would be beneficial for all. End users would understand that buying from a local source really is their best choice.

As for the on-line dealer, I doubt that they would risk a lawsuit in misrepresenting a unit if they were asked specific questions which they'd have to answer in the buying process. My experience has been that end users don't know what questions to ask, nor do they understand the importance of such questions- after all- a lift is a lift- isn't it?
  • Posted 14 Feb 2014 12:16
  • Modified 14 Feb 2014 12:22 by poster
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
A few remarks from me, basing upon my personal experience.

There are two main types of the customers in online transactions:
- "the refurbishers", who want to get the truck to resell it.
- the endusers, who wants to buy the truck and work with it.

The first want to buy possibly cheapest truck, make the repairs, paintings etc. and sell it as "nearly new"
They don't need the warranty. They need the exact specification, a RELIABLE and possibly detailed technical info about the condition of the truck, the REAL workinghours, etc to enable them to presume the refurbishment costs and the possible margin. Other words, they need the information which sometimes definitely exceeds the endusers requirements.

The enduser, from the other hand, expects the basic (but exact) specification, information about the overall condition of the truck, warranty conditions (the longer, the better), service avalability, location and costs, many nice pictures, the price (I personally hate the tabs "call to get the price" very often visible on the dealers pages), delivery time, informations about the attached documentation (operators manual, certificates, spare parts catalogue etc.).
Very good impression makes the "references" page, where the letters with the positive opinions from the previous customers are visible.
Of course, for the endusers, the "quality levels" markings can be used, like 3,4, or 5 stars or "basic", "premium", "awesome" ;-) but they must be clearly and with all the details defined on dealers page.

To be frank - I don't believe in international or national codes of ethics in sales, because very often the people have different recognition of the ethics in bussiness.
At end of the day, what really counts is the the dealers reliability, clear information and simple honesty of the dealer.
On our (average in size) market in Poland, the information about cheating suppliers is spread very quickly.
  • Posted 11 Feb 2014 23:38
  • Reply by Karait
  • Poland
I know your deepest secret fear...
I really believe those buyers on the internet think that they have an innate shopping ability and even when they get ripped off they are afraid to admit it. We had a customer who bought a "reconditioned" truck on the internet that left a trail of ATF everywhere they drove it. They called the supplier to no avail so they just parked the truck for a couple of years and then finally decided to pay us to rip the transmission apart and fix the leak.
These are the same people that demand a demo for a week or too from their local dealer or better yet want to "rent" it for a month to see if they like it but then they trust every word the guy tells them that's 1000 miles away.
  • Posted 11 Feb 2014 22:33
  • Reply by duodeluxe
  • United States
During my (15) years in the business I have seen some very slime ball deals in the used equipment business via the internet. This has only become worse over the years with all of the e-commerce marketing and machinery websites.

Back in 2003 when I was a (PSSR), I met a guy who was looking for a forklift; I referred him to my new truck salesman. The guy wanted something for nothing. As I recall he only wanted to spend $6,000.00 on a 5,000 lb. cushion tired warehouse unit. He found one over the internet, for $5,000.00 delivered to Phoenix, AZ. The guy calls me to tell me it will not hold a charge, I send my battery company out to his location, bad battery too many bad cells, 48 volt, back then the battery was $5500.00 He cried like a baby. He bought a unit with a very, very nice paint job, only to have a bad battery with (No warranty implied)

When I look at some kind of code of ethics, or policy of ethics, I think to myself (give me a break) really people, lets look at this for a moment.
A very wise man in Las Vegas, NV told me once that several people talk about customer service, Honesty, Integrity, and Empathy, but its a whole different story, when the rubber money hits the pavement running.

I have been in this business (15) years, I do not know it all, nor claim to! What I know for a fact is that 60% of the used equipment only dealers within North America are in fact shady. Fact #2 is that 75% of the equipment that is wholesaled off a (Dealers) yard is total junk!!!!! Beyond repair, bent overhead guards, cracked frames, bent mast, excessive mast wear, smoking engine, jacked up steer axle, cracked block, slipping transmission, etc. The list goes on. There is a reason dealers wholesale off junk units, its a lost cause. Again, not all units are a total loss, I know I have had to get rid of some really nice units to clean up the rental fleet or aged inventory. But that happens once in a pink moon.

But then what does one do with this underserved market of something for nothing people???? I mean lets really look at this for a moment!!! A new 5,000 lb. Pneumatic tired, LPG, name brand forklift depending on brand is around $34,000 +/- ok. So one with common since, would think a great used unit from an OEM Dealer would cost around $18,500.00 +/-
This is where all the bottom feeders come in at $9500.00 for a unit thats (5) years of age with 9000+ hours on it, but wait, it has new tires and new paint and decals. Ohhhhhh, and its reconditioned!!!!! Mr. Customer. Really????

I love having those conversations with people as a commissioned salesman; first off, I do not want that type of stupid business. If someone does not really understand what the word (RECONDITIONED MEANS) then they truly deserve what they get. I just go about my marry way and find me some smart business to capitalize on.

My point would be that, at the end of the day, some people are meant for one another. The guy who wants something for nothing and the used equipment hack that puts new tires and paint and tells the guy its (RECONDITIONED)
I personally know a few used equipment bottom feeders who have been sued in court for using the word (RECONDITIONED) on an invoice!!!!!

  • Posted 11 Feb 2014 16:25
  • Modified 15 Feb 2016 16:02 by poster
  • Reply by salesmaster
  • Arizona, United States
As a straight commission sales person you are not going to survive the long term without treating the customer with honesty and respect even tho the trend today with the large users is to buy every thing using deceit to drive the price down to where the loser ends up with the order. And then they want consignment parts, free surveys, extended warranties and extended payment terms and we in the industry line up like fools to get these kinds of orders to give our Manufacturers bragging rights.
  • Posted 18 Dec 2013 03:05
  • Reply by gatorman
  • Pennsylvania, United States
salesmen have a code of ethics?
chuckle chuckle
kidding guys

code of ethics varies from one to another in sales people depending on how desperate they are to sell thier products.
I think reputation would drive this code of ethics or visa versa
but yes... a list of rules to follow would probably be a plus as long as the sales managers enforce them ;o)

have a happy holiday!
  • Posted 18 Dec 2013 02:09
  • Reply by swoop223
  • North Carolina, United States
You've been swooped!
The question isn't whether an end user should get free help- but whether he/she should be allowed to be taken advantage of because of their ignorance of our industry. I frankly get tired of apologizing for the actions of others in the forklift business.
  • Posted 18 Dec 2013 00:02
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
How many threads on this web site have been started by an end user who has bought a truck at an auction or private sale that has had issues and is looking for free trouble shooting. I'm not saying that we shouldn't help them at all but they know that they can call a dealer and get it fixed pretty quickly and efficiently. Aren't we enabling them to do just what we don't think that they should do?
  • Posted 16 Dec 2013 22:38
  • Reply by duodeluxe
  • United States
Maybe that answer could be part of a "standard checklist" somehow. We all know a 5 year old warehouse machine lease return with 8000 hours maintained as promised by a dealership should have plenty of life left. Add loading trucks up a ramp- now the tranny should have a shortened life. A one " bump at the bottom of the ramp and mast mounting bushings and steer axle thrust bearings are probably affected. Did the customer change tires at the agreed time?? The front of the bottom of the mast might show you this, and as we know running tires beyond a service limit will beat a truck to death.
  • Posted 14 Dec 2013 01:54
  • Reply by Forkliftt
  • Louisiana, United States
steve at forkliftt dot com
Not to seem even weirder than I already do, but this is sort of what I am talking about as far as defining what we mean, how could it be "good used" if "it had to be rebuilt"?
Maybe we confuse "good" and "well" here, where it was "well used" but not really "good used"?
  • Posted 14 Dec 2013 01:06
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
Exactly. Everybody has a different opinion. I just bought a good, used steer axle for a customer which had to be rebuilt. One of the king pin bearings was split and sticking half out and the king pin wobbled back and forth a half an inch. But the good new is that my supplier greased all of the fittings including the one at the bad bearing. When I called they said that it was sold as good used and if I wanted a rebuilt one I should have been more specific.
I am torn on whether we should educate internet shoppers, afterall I would say that the buyer is just as "selfish" as the seller. A good paint job really sells well but they don't notice that the left hand outer fender is missing or the control valve handles are totally misaligned or worse yet it was a foundry or paper recycling truck with "only" 2468 hours!
The ad doesn't spell it out but do you see those two long rods with with knobs sticking out of the floorboard. That means it's a standard transmission truck. Is that what you really wanted.

Because I'm familiar with the industry, as an end user, the last thing that I would buy on the internet is a used forklift truck but a lot of buyers are much better shoppers and a lot smarter than I am.
  • Posted 13 Dec 2013 22:45
  • Reply by duodeluxe
  • United States
Hello Sonialuo...
I agree that, while there is close connection between the "code of ethics" and a series of not too complicated questions for forklift end-user/possible purchasers, it maybe better to split into separate (and overlapping) conversations.
I also agree that anyone could -say- they follow any code of ethics, [Kind of like how I insist that no employee use the phrase "to tell you the truth", since that phrase indicates there are times when -truth- is not being told] in the USA {at least, and most likely any place that wants to have integrity in their marketplace}, if you advertise you do something, and then fall to live up to that advertising, there can be serious repercussions.
As I see it, the series of questions should be more important than the "code of ethics", (and important to keep brief and simple), as the answers should tell more about about the ethics than asking someone if they are honest, since everyone would -claim- to be honest.
I also agree with forklifter that part and parcel to either, [and inclusion by reference in both is a 'must'] that some clearly defined terms to reduce ambiguity in sales would be a good starting place.
what is "rental ready". what is "safe and serviceable", what is "retail ready", and how they differ. I think an open source/ creative commons type license, usable by everyone for free universal outline for a used truck condition report should be pretty easy as the start point.
  • Posted 13 Dec 2013 08:34
  • Modified 13 Dec 2013 08:43 by poster
  • Reply by edward_t
  • South Carolina, United States
"it's not rocket surgery"
  • Posted 12 Dec 2013 17:26
  • Reply by sonialuo
  • beijing, China
Good points BB. I think those of us in the industry would love to hear from some end users. Good experiences and bad. And what would you like to see from our side- to give you a predictable and affordable buying experience? I take a lot of digital pictures during our rebuilds. Would this be valuable to a potential buyer to confirm the work stated had been done? What are your warranty expectations? Obviously, the more warranty, the more risk on our side. So presumably a higher purchase cost. Would a 50/50 warranty be sufficient if it helped lower the purchase cost??
  • Posted 12 Dec 2013 12:09
  • Reply by Forkliftt
  • Louisiana, United States
steve at forkliftt dot com

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