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Kawasaki - warranty question.

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by nil_orally, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. Does anyone know what the law is regarding things repaired under warranty, and the amount of time this is covered for?

    I have a 2005 manufactured Kawasaki VN 800 which was purchased in Jan 2006. These bikes have a 24 month / 20,000km warranty.

    This poor thing doesn't get enough use, and to date has just under 17,000 km on it. The basic story is that it started jumping out of second gear. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with adjustments, it went into the shop at Floyd Parkes in Ferntree Gully when it was about 8 months old. There it sat waiting to be repaired under warranty and being assessed for 9 weeks or so. To be fair to Floyd Parkes, I have a fair idea now where the hold-up was, don't I Mr, Kawasaki Australia?

    It was duly returned to me, and seemed fine and dandy. Then in March this year, it started jumping out of second gear and staight back in again. It felt just like a miss in the carby, but only in second gear. Bear in mind this was 3 months outside the manufacturer's warranty on the bike, but only 16 months after the gearbox rebuild under warranty.

    With work and play taking priority, and not being able to ride it because of same and the problem outlined, the bike sat there until August when I could get it to Floyd Parkes again. Vince there is fantastic. He pulled it down and rebuilt it while I was in the States for 3 months clocking up 21,000km around the West Coast and Canada on a Beemer. When I got back, he duly informed me the gearbox had been pulled down, checked for tolerances (it was found to be right on-spec), and that he had replaced the selector forks, second / fifth gear. The invoice for this is $2000.

    I do not have a problem with the cost of the work. I trust Vince and have always found his work at Floyd Parks (now 1300Kawasaki - owned by Peter Stevens) and previous employers to be of a high standard. He is a straight shooter who tells it like it is. I am happy to pay him for his time and expertise.

    I was interested on Kawasaki Australia's take on the problem though, so I rang them. The phone was answered by a person who informed me that (quote) "Kawasaki Australia has a policy of not talking to its customers". I enquired as to how to contact them, and wa eventually told I could email to info@kawasaki.com.au. So I sent the following email:

    From: Tony
    Sent: Tuesday, 2 December 2008 11:49 PM
    To: info@kawasaki.com.au
    Subject: VN800

    Hi Folks,

    I have a 2005 VN800, the performance of with which I am quite happy, with one exception.

    I have had persistent problems with the gearbox.

    I purchased the bike in Feb 2006, and it ran fine for a few months, and then started jumping out of second gear under power. Not all the time, just occasionally. This problem became progressively worse, until it was happening more often than not. When it was in for a service, the mechanics adjusted something, which made the problem go away. For a while.

    The problem occurred again about six months later, and the kind folks at Floyd Parkes in Ferntree Gully organised for the bike to be pulled down and the gearbox serviced under warranty. The guys there do a great job in my experience. It performed wonderfully until May of this year. At first, I thought there was a miss in the engine, but a diagnosis by a local mechanic determined that second gear was jumping out and straight back in again. I was away with work for a while, so did not manage to get to Vince at Floyd Parkes (1300KAWASAKI) until August. I then left for a 3-month holiday around the US. I have come back to an invoice from Vince for nearly $2000 for a gearbox rebuild. I have no doubt Vince's work is worth every penny, but my concerns are as follows:
    1. The bike has under 17,000km on it. Why has it gone through 2 gearboxes?
    2. Given the history, how long can I expect these gearboxes to last?
    3. If this was a known problem, I would expect to see some evidence via Google, but there is none. Thus, it would seem to be caused by either
    a) a fundamental problem with this bike only
    b) the rough riding style of the rider

    I would like to think I could break 2 Kawasaki gearboxes, but I am only a mortal.

    I fully understand the bike is out of its 2-year warranty, by nearly a year now. When the problem surfaced this last time, it was about 18 months after the rebuild.

    I would ask for your comments on my concerns above please.

    Vince at (now) 1300KAWASAKI can no doubt cast far better technical information on the issue he found.

    If you need further information, please contact me on 0424 xxx xxx.

    Thanks and regards,


    Predictably, I received no reply. So, I sent the following email:

    To info@kawasaki.com.au
    date Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 2:53 PM
    subject VN800 gearbox

    Hi Folks,

    Nearly 2 weeks ago I sent an email regarding a VN800 that has experienced 2 gearbox failures in 2 1/2 years. To date I have not received a reply, or even the courtesy of an acknowledgement, to this communication.

    Can you please advise when I may expect to receive the comments requested in this email?

    I am compelled to point out I have spent 3 months of the past 3 years without the ability to use this bike, due to it being in the workshop for this problem. Naturally, these have been in the times best for riding.



    This got a response from Jeremy Fuller:

    Dear Tony

    Thank you for contacting Kawasaki Motors with your enquiry. To hear of a transmission failure in a VN800 model is very unusual let alone 2 failures in such a short time. The VN800 was one of Kawasaki’s most popular models and ran for 10 years. The transmission has had few changes from the original; design right through to 2005. Please be assured that Kawasaki Motors takes customer service very seriously and will always try to assist Kawasaki owners where possible. If a manufacturing defect is detected with your transmission that has caused this failure we would certainly look at assisting you. For this to happen you will need to contact your preferred authorised Kawasaki motorcycle dealership and organise to have this issue investigated. Please direct all further communications regarding this to your dealer as they are best suited to assist you.

    In order to find your preferred authorised Kawasaki motorcycle dealer I suggest you visit the Kawasaki Motors public website at www.kawasaki.com.au and search for your preferred dealership by clicking on dealers, selecting a product type & entering your postcode. You then click on the “GO†button & it will advise you of all the local dealers & their address’s & contact details closest to your location.

    Kind regards,
    Jeremy Fuller
    Senior Technical Service representative

    So it is apparent Jeremy doesn't actually bother to read what is sent him, or cannot understand what the difference is between a quote and an invoice. 1300Kawasaki is an Authorised Dealership. Just to make it clear, I sent him this:

    to Jeremy Fuller <fuller_j@kawasaki.com.au>
    date Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 4:50 PM
    subject Re: VN800

    Hi Jeremy,

    thanks for the reply.

    The motorcycle has already been repaired and is at 1300KAWASAKI in Ferntree Gully, under the stewardship of Vince. I shall ask Vince to contact you with his impressions.

    By the way, in my experience, Kawasakis are amongst the leaders in reliability. This issue in no way dents my opinion on this. I am still very happy to own one (and others down the track). It is the unusual aspect of the fact this has failed that prompted me to contact you.

    Thanks again for your time,

    Best regards,


    So I rang Vince, and advised I had a response from Kawasaki Australia, and that they had effectively asked me to get him to contact them.

    So I waited. And waited. Then sent an email to my new friend Jeremy.

    to Jeremy Fuller <fuller_j@kawasaki.com.au>
    date Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 11:41 AM
    subject Re: VN800

    Hi Jeremy,

    any progress on this item? I understand you will be busy this time of year, but I would like to have the bike back by Christmas so I can participate in a planned ride. I have already missed the toy run.



    I got a suspiciously quick reply:

    date Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 12:49 PM
    subject RE: VN800

    Dear Tony it is critical that you continue to follow up your issue with your dealer as this is the proper process as it is with all automotive distributers. Although Kawasaki Motors is a very customer focused company, a manufacturing defect has to be identified for us to be able to assist you in any way. For this to happen your dealer has to contact us. Vince from 1300 has contacted me and I have replied to him regarding your issue. Please understand that if no manufacturing defect exists we are unable to assist. Once again I strongly advise you to follow up your issue with your dealer. Please direct all further enquiries regarding this to your dealer.

    Kind regards,
    Jeremy Fuller
    Senior Technical Service representative

    Now I work as a contractor for one of the world's biggest companies, and I can recognise gutless corporate speak for "we have bad news, but someone else has to tell it to you so we can stick our head up our arse and pretend that all our customers are happy." I see it all the time. So I rang Vince, and he confirmed apologetically they had stated to him "it is not a known problem, therefore it must be his fault." They did not want to see the parts to analyse this in any way. If you don't see a problem, it mustn't exist.

    So, here is the situation. Originally I only wanted what I asked for in the email - comments from Kawasaki. I always treat customers with respect and, if there is bad news, will tell them directly. Y'know, like an adult. This smacks of treating customer like they are an impediment to your work, not the reason you have a job in the first place. Now I want a bit of blood, and i am willing to spend a bit of money to get it if necessary.

    I am not squeaky clean in the above. The gear change lever was bent from when I dropped it stopping at roundabout on a drizzly day. Foot down on a wet painted arrow. I did ask if this would cause it, and got an unqualified "errrmmmm, maybe perhaps possibly" until I advised this happened after the rebuild, and what would cause the original problem then? (the other option was if it happened *before* then the lever had been refitted bent - an option quickly poo-poohed by the mechanic).

    So in short, does anyone have experience with items repaired under warranty failing again out of the main warranty, and what was the outcome? If I manage to get a taser inserted into an orifice of Jeremy / Kawasaki, who would pay for a raffle ticket to be the first to pull the trigger?
  2. thats a story and a half mate!

    from my experience, items repaired under warranty do not revert back to the original length of warranty, rather, to a shorter term. I.E - my phone broke, it was under 12 months warranty. Telstra repairs phone after much hassle, but the repairs on the phone only have a 3 month warranty. Make sense? I'm fairly certain that the warranty terms do not get 'extended' after a fault is found and repaired.

    I hope this all works out for you.
    but thats what happens when you buy a Kawasaki! :p

    p.s - i would buy a raffle ticket :)
  3. You're out for blood from Kawasaki Australia???

    Did you buy the bike from Kawasaki Australia or from a dealership?

    Does Kawasaki Australia do servicing/repairs or does their dealer?

    KA can't deal direct with end-users and then give their dealers instructions based on a motorcycle that only the dealer has seen.

    If you want warranty, your dealer must agree and go in to bat for you.

    Ask Vince, as he is in possession of the same facts as you are: objectively - does he think you have a case for warranty or is it your problem to have it fixed?
    If he thinks you have a case for warranty then it becomes HIS case for warranty with KA - and he'll be chasing them up + they'll listen to him because he's the dealer.
  4. I agree with Ktulu.
  5. KA provide the warranty.
    The dealer provides the service for the warranty and is paid for it by KA.

    KA can deal with customers and instruct dealers. They are paying for it. I work for a large corporation, and we / I do it all the time.

    It helps if the dealer goes into bat, but not necessary. That is why we have a Consumer Affairs department. In this case Vince has gone in to bat, and met the Jeremy firewall. I have sanitised what was relayed to me about the discussion between Vince and KA. It would make a docker blush.

    FYI, KA has a long history of intransigence, dynamic inaction and customer distain it would appear from readings on other fora.

    An I annoyed? Hell yes. All I asked for was an opinion. KA has no interest in seeing the parts to determine if there *IS* a problem or not. As a manufacturer, I make damned sure any failed parts claimed are inspected. It helps determine failure modes if nothing else.

    Not the sort of attitude I would expect from a reputable organisation.

    *Disclaimer* the Corporation I work for has some issues in this regard too. I realise other people aren't perfect ("There can be only one"). When we find out about it though, we jump through hoops to get it rectified. Customers don't always appreciate the outcome, but they ALWAYS get treated with respect and honesty (unless the lawyers get involved, that is...)
  6. Yeah sorry, if you want good service from the manafacturer, get a Honda or BMW. KA are not known for this area being a strong point.

    I don't know how you'll go with this as the bike is out of warranty and I don't know what warranty you were given on the previous rebuild. The ACCC will know the best couse of action and what your chances of success are.

    In the meantime, you are entitled to keep the faulty parts so make sure they don't get thrown out.

    If the dealer thinks they are faulty, get that in writing. A letter stating why they were replaced as stated on the invoice.

    Send a copy of that letter and a copy of the invoice to KA with a letter of demand for the cost of repairs and see if that has any effect. :)
  7. Of course KA don't want to see the parts.

    They want a written submission from their dealer for free repairs to any motorcycle less than 2 years or 20,000km old, for faulty parts or workmanship.

    I'll wager your biggest hurdle in this matter was that the bike was outside of warranty.

    That you're dealer went in to bat for you anyway makes him a nice guy and an optimist.

    Best of luck anyway.