® Manufacturer bulletin ethic

Many times I have heard from riders that they view the dealers getting technical notices that they don't as wrong. I feel I must try to explain how an industry veteran views this.

First, when it is a really serious product issue, and legally this means it involves safety, manufacturers do indeed send a letter to the customer revealing the problem and what the manufacturer is doing about it. It is short and not technical as is the dealer bulletin, but it is a good faith notification and it leaves nothing to speculation. The manufacturer even attempts to locate those customers who have changed their place of residence. The manufacturer recognizes the importance of informing the customer, and just so you know, in the case of a recall the law requires the manufacturer to contact the the customer. But only in the case of actual recalls, and there are many technical actions or "campaigns" as they are called within the industry, that are not recalls. Recalls are relatively rare and unique. See my article on the subject of recalls.

Second, it is unrealistic to expect untrained persons to properly construe and understand tech bulletins. While the manufacturer speaks of only a specific instance or model, the customer who reads a dealer-targetted bulletin frequently assumes more than the bulletin conveys; he wants his model included, and presumes the manufacturer is hiding something. This creates friction and misunderstanding at the dealership. This is why no major manufacturer will send tech notices to customers.

Do manufacturers ever try to hide product problems? It has been proven that they have from time to time. But mostly their feet are held to the fire by watchdog organizations such as the NHTSA, an arm of the Department of Transportation. Most of the time the manufacturer is actually doing its best to correct its mistakes. And all manufacturers make mistakes

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Last updated November 2022
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