Top 4 Complaints About Motorcycle Dealerships

From People Buying A New Motorcycle Or Getting A Bike Serviced, Here’s What Peeves Them The Most

Problems with motorcycle dealerships
The dealers try to get it right but as they say, "stuff happens."©Motorcyclist
In the retail business, we try to get it right and, I think, succeed most of the time. But, as they say, "stuff happens," and we have been known to make our customers a little testy—sometimes for good reason and sometimes not. Here are the complaints I hear most often:

1// The lack of follow-up from a salesperson. How many times have you inquired about a bike you see on a dealer's online showroom only to be left waiting for a response? How about walking around on the showroom floor wondering if you've actually discovered the secret to being invisible? It can seem like all or nothing from the sales department when shopping for a motorcycle, and I know how frustrating this can be. Either we won't leave you alone or we don't pay any attention to you. We try to read the situation and be available in case you have questions but stay at a respectful distance if you're just looking. But we can't read minds. If you're ready with your questions, please let us know! Oh, and not returning phone calls? I just don't get that. No excuses.

2// Service appointments and repairs are two weeks out. Hey, when I need something I need it now. Making an appointment to have your bike serviced or repaired can be a pain whether you roll in on your bike and wait on it or catch a ride to work and pick it up in the afternoon. Unfortunately, when riding season hits everyone has the same idea, so we get slammed doing routine maintenance as well as changing tires and batteries. The best solution? Schedule service during the off-season so that your bike is ready to go when spring arrives. Keep the bike on a battery charger and properly stored, and there's no reason to have the service just before the riding season starts.

The knowledge of motorcycle sales staff
Not every member of the sales staff has the specs and history of every bike down cold; some even have to look stuff up now and again.©Motorcyclist

3// The knowledge gap. Not every member of the sales staff has the specs and history of every bike down cold; some of us even have to look stuff up now and again. But I hear often from our customers that flat-out ignorance of the products—price, basic specs, availability of colors, and trim levels—is one of those hot topics. I expect that if you're really serious about a certain bike that you'll be well educated, and I'll try my best to keep up. But doing business with a dealer whose staff is unknowledgeable—or, worse, assured but wrong—can be more frustrating than any deep discounts would offset.

4// High prices. I know it can sometimes feel like the dealership—in particular the parts and accessories portions—is out to touch your wallet as often as you do. The truth is that we can't compete with online retailers in terms of volume, so we can't compete on price. But we can provide service, both before the sale (helping you get the right gear or the right parts) and after (in case you really don't like what you bought). That's what you're paying for: service and access to immediate gratification. And don't assume we can't be flexible, especially if you're a regular customer.

Jeff Maddox is the sales manager for a multiline dealership in the Midwest. Questions for him? Email us at