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Dealer agreement ethics

Discussion in 'Business of Diving Institute' started by CWC, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. mmerriman

    mmerriman Captain

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boston MA
    bad mouthing, or even steering people away from gear your shop sells is never a good idea.
    Wookie and Darcy Kieran like this.
  2. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    I agree, but in this case, what the OP described on Facebook wasn’t that. (OP pointed out a feature wasn’t actually one.) I think the manufacturer jumped the gun worrying that it would escalate to that and the OP is also asking about policies and how can we actually trust what shops and instructors etc are saying. Conflict of interest, etc.
  3. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    I've seen first hand how that gets thrown out the window as long as an instructor is producing certs/revenue for PADI. It all comes down to the almighty dollar (and PADI is not unique to that).
  4. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    I have seen some dealer agreements that contain similar language about promoting their products. I've also seen dealer reps use unwritten threats to get a shop to toe the line. One long-time major brand dealer was cut off because he promoted other brands at times to customers when it made sense to do so, he was in an inland location and could not afford their minimums every quarter due to the water being solid at certain times of the year, and the rep just didn't want to travel out in the boonies to his shop.
    I have written reviews of different brands. I'm one of the original consumer testers for the Hollis bat fin. They came out in June of 2008. I took a pair to Bonaire in January of 2008 and then ice dived them two weeks later. I noted some of the cons of them for certain divers. No repercussions.
    I've reviewed some of the HOG products and pointed out items I felt were lacking. No repercussions.
    I've pointed out issues with the standards of some agencies, DEMA, and the industry as a whole and seen a lot of flack. The DEMA board president at one time had another board member call me to tell me I needed to tone down my criticism. That didn't work at all.
    When the YMCA program closed and SEI was starting up from it, the first thing the YMCA lawyers wanted to know when SEI went to meet with them to iron out the details was "who is this Jim Lapenta?" They had pages of my posts from here criticizing their move. Too bad.
    As an independent instructor and retailer, I only promote to students that which I would dive myself. If I would not use it, I don't promote it. There are some Edge/HOG products I don't recommend to my students because they are not suited to the conditions we train in.
    Any mfg that would threaten you (and it is threatening) for telling the truth or pointing out a false claim on their gear is one I'd never use. It shows what their true colors are. You, and maybe your shop, have to take a look at what kind of ethics you want to represent. If someone buys that gear from you and then complains that it didn't do what it was supposed to, who is the bad guy? Not the mfg to the consumer. But the guy who sold them the item and wasn't honest with them.
  5. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    You didn't say whether or not you bought the BCD through the shop you work for. It would seem logical that you did, but it's possible you didn't. In any case, my two cents:

    If I bought a BCD from a shop for which I taught scuba classes, and I had any problem with the BCD, whether quality concerns or the promotional claims made by the manufacturer, I would first bring my concerns to the shop. Why? Because as an instructor I'm working with the shop to promote gear to students that I believe in. The shop should feel the same way about the gear they sell. So to me it just would make sense to bring those concerns to the shop first, let the shop then bring the concerns to the manufacturer.

    But that's just me, I guess.

    Sharing concerns on Facebook is another way, but if you do so it's unrealistic to expect the manufacturer to respond with "thank you very much! We love it when our customers send their complaints to the entire world through Facebook before giving us a chance to address them."
  6. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    Any chance you can give us a hint as to what the untrue claim was? Just seems that the type of claim being made could help explain the situation. For example, it could certainly be argued that "2 inch D-rings" (Untrue! They're only 1.9 inches!) and "ours is the ONLY BCD on the market that will allow you to survive underwater!" are claims that are different kinds of "not true."

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