Buying the right forklift and not a lemon

Local News
- 19 May 2011 ( #514 )
4 min read
Have you ever bought a forklift from a dealer and ended up paying over half the purchase price in repairs not long after you bought it? Christine Cranney investigates.

Here is a real-life scenario reported to Forkliftaction.com News recently.

An Australian company bought a used forklift for $18,000 and after the next six months, it broke down on five different occasions, resulting in over $10,000 in repairs. Not only will the vendor not do anything about the problems despite a two-year service agreement, the dealer sold a forklift that did not suit the buyer's application.

David Hoover, president of Ohio, US-based Forklift Training Systems and one of Forkliftaction.com News' Safety First columnists, says many dealers do a good job of evaluating the customer's requirements and most take pride in selling decent equipment. "As in everything though, some people have no ethics and will sell junk to make money. I saw a dealer sell a truck years ago that blew the engine before having run through one tank of LPG and then tried to walk away from it."

However, Hoover says he has also seen customers who don't know what they really want, don't properly inform the dealer and, therefore, end up buying the wrong forklift.

"Dealers also need to be sure their rental units and used trucks are up to speed from a safety and compliance standpoint. Failure to do so could land them in hot water and hurt someone badly," he adds.

David Ellison, CEO of the UK Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA), comments that association members would not sell forklifts that are knowingly faulty or not suited to the application.

"We have a strict Code of Practice that requires our members to ensure that trucks they sell are appropriate for the task," he says.

Failure to comply with the FLTA's Code of Practice could lead to disciplinary action, including expulsion from the trade association. Ellison says the FLTA receives the occasional complaint, which is then investigated, but "most come down to misunderstandings" and are resolved through mediation.

"We have not had to expel a company in the past 10 years. We check for compliance before a company is granted membership. Less than 50% of companies that apply for membership are accepted," Ellison says.

However, Ellison says the FLTA has been concerned for some time about the proliferation of online-only sales companies that, by their very nature, are not in a position to visit the customer to check their needs. "Of course, their overheads are minimal and so they can undercut dealers who have proper service and other facilities."

"I think I should also comment on the service agreement. A service agreement is not a warranty and under a simple service agreement we would not expect to replace components.

"The situation is different with a 'Full Maintenance' agreement, but even then the user will be charged for consumables, such as forks or tyres, or repairs resulting from operator negligence."

Scott Swakow, vice president of sales for Illinois, US-based Scott Lift Truck thinks that sales representatives "too often" gather insufficient information to make a proper forklift recommendation.

"This sometimes happens because sales reps are cutting corners by not visiting prospects in person due to high transportation costs or just not asking the right questions.

"With proper information, the right equipment should always be sold. On the buyer's side of the equation, the customer will sometimes cut corners because the right equipment for the application exceeds the desired spending limit."

Swakow says he tries to encourage his sales representatives to "always visit" customers or prospects. "The relationship is always enhanced with personal visits."

Chicago-based attorney Gary Leydig says disputes like these would generally be governed in the US by the warranty, performance and remedies provisions in Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

"Many states have 'lemon laws' for automobiles or other motor vehicles. They are typically intended only for the protection of consumers who have purchased automobiles or motor vehicles. However, as with many statutes, it is possible these terms are defined so broadly as to pull within their reach the purchase of a forklift," he explains.

Leydig says while the first place to look is the contract or purchase order covering the particular sale, typically the "small print", which will likely cover the issue of defective remedies, it is worth also examining the statute in the state where the truck was sold or is being used.
KION commits to labour standards worldwide
KION commits to labour standards worldwide 15 May 2014 - Wiesbaden, Germany - 1 min read
Airtrax investor first to buy Sidewinder
Airtrax investor first to buy Sidewinder 14 Apr 2005 - HAMMONTON, NJ, United States - 1 min read
Meclift buys back small forklifts
Meclift buys back small forklifts 10 Feb 2005 - KANGASALA, Finland - 1 min read
Previously about:
COVID-19 impact: UK News Story - 26 Mar 2020 - United Kingdom - 3 min read
AITT and FLTA form alliance News Story - 1 Aug 2019 - Hugglescote, United Kingdom - 2 min read
Movers & shakers News Story - 21 Feb 2019 - 2 min read
Fleet Team acquires Forklift Training Systems News Story - 11 Apr 2024 - Independence, OH, United States - <1 min read
SLOW DOWN! Keep operators safer with leading alert radar system Advertisement - 7 May 2015 - 1 min read
Crown shows secret, withholds details News Story - 7 Aug 2009 - New Bremen, OH, United States - 2 min read
Jungheinrich’s new dealers confident of product News Story - 1 Nov 2007 - ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL and MONTGOMERY, IL, United States - 2 min read
Movers & Shakers News Story - 20 Jan 2005 - 1 min read
Do you have materials handling news? Submit your news here

Showcased in the Virtual Expo

Seeking Ambitious Dealers Globally. Your chance to join a leading heavy machinery brand. Exclusive territories await!

Exclusive Territories Available. Join SOCMA's leading innovation in heavy machinery. 

Partner for success. Enjoy comprehensive support and impressive profit potential.

Contact us now - +86 153 050 495 72 - www.socma-forklift.com 

Words of support …

I know I can count on them. They give valuable suggestions on the campaign planning, and to publish content is as easy as abc, as they take care of the material layout and check links. This is a great support.

Annalisa Castellini, Marketing Manager - Bolzoni S.p.A.

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Konecranes Liftace F16-600C, 2023, 16T Heavy Forklift Truck.
Hyster H46-33 IH, 2010, Diesel Reach Stacker.
SMV 4535 TB5, 2014, Diesel Reach Stacker.
Kalmar DCG 160-12, 2021, 4 wheel counterbalanced forklift >10T.
SMV 42-1200C, 2020, 4 wheel counterbalanced forklift roro >10T.

KEEP ON MOVING!

T: +31 20 497 4101 | Web | Email | Shopfront 

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Konecranes Liftace F16-600C, 2023, 16T Heavy Forklift Truck.
Hyster H46-33 IH, 2010, Diesel Reach Stacker.
SMV 4535 TB5, 2014, Diesel Reach Stacker.
Kalmar DCG 160-12, 2021, 4 wheel counterbalanced forklift >10T.
SMV 42-1200C, 2020, 4 wheel counterbalanced forklift roro >10T.

KEEP ON MOVING!

T: +31 20 497 4101 | Web | Email | Shopfront