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Stihl Dealer Flagged by "Papa" Stihl for Selling on Ebay

Post in 'The Gear' started by Boog, Dec 30, 2012.

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  1. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    One of the ebay sellers I have been buying some parts from just emailed me and told me that he received a letter from "headquarters" requiring him to remove all his items from ebay by 1/1/13 or face loss of his Dealership. The letter reminded him that official "Dealers" are not allowed to sell over the internet. He was obviously quite put out since lots of "dealers" are selling there and he feels he has been singled out. I was not aware of this policy, and if it is true, where are all the folks there getting their cach of OEM cheap Stihl stuff. He indicated to me that he would have to remove his store from ebay, and also what "his next move on this would be", but it would be best if I did not disclose that here.

    Anyone else aware of this? It may be common knowledge to many of you guys but I was not aware of this policy. I've gotten a lot of less expensive OEM stuff over the internet.

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  2. oldogy

    oldogy Member

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    The non selling on electronic media is common rule among power sport manufacturers.
  3. Freakingstang

    Freakingstang Feeling the Heat

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    Stihl has always been like that. When I need parts I can't find on the Bay, I head back home to amish country and get quite a few parts at or near cost from my old dealership.
  4. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Yup. They don't mess around either. You do not sell saws via mail, phone, or internet. Period. No parts over the internet.

    It really is a good policy, good for the industry as a whole, so long as we desire brick and mortar stores where we can get support for our toys that is. Problem with the internet is that somebody will start selling parts/equipment at razor thin margins because they can (and because they don't have the overhead a brick and mortar dealer has) and then every savvy buyer out there stops buying from his dealer and a very significant portion of their income disappears. That results in a net reduction of jobs in the industry, and starts to erode the number of skilled workers available and the funds to train replacements. So the manufacturer has to adjust by making a product that does not require skilled service techs to repair, or is cost-effective to replace rather than repair. Enter the box-store retail model. :confused:

    I agree that getting low-cost parts over the 'net may be awesome for you and me now, but I also fully support Stihl's decision to protect it's dealers.
  5. BravoWhiskey

    BravoWhiskey New Member

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    Good on them, it's their own funeral. I remember Digital Equipment Corporation used to play that game. They had the best stuff and could charge whatever they liked through their own vertically integrated organization, and the prices were truly unbelievable. There were some successful lawsuits brought by independent service companies to make parts available through third parties, but on the whole good old DEC managed to maintain their stranglehold nonetheless. Well they're all but gone now and it's too bad, their technical achievements were truly remarkable. Meanwhile my snotty little Echo and my chip slinging XP just won't die. You say yeah but Stihl makes better products and suppose for the sake of argument that it's true, if that's the way they want to do business the quality of their products is irrelevant to me.
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  6. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    I am fine with the policy as long as it is applied across the board to every dealer. If Stihl is favoring its bigger dealers and allowing them to sell over the internet, which it seems they might based upon this e-bay seller's issue with Stihl, then I have an issue with it. Certain bicycle manufacturers have the same policy, but I can still find a dealer here or there that will sell over the internet. Most of them are overseas though.

    At the end of the day, I am rather mechanically inclined. I don't need anybody to fix my saws, bikes, cars, etc., so buying parts on the internet cheap is great for me. However, I still like to be able to see the saws at the dealer before I spend several hundred dollars on them. Then again, I bought $2,500 and $3,200 carbon fiber bicycle frames over the internet without ever having a test ride on either of them.

    It sucks, but I think the brick and mortar stores will eventually fall by the wayside. Was all ready to buy a Gorilla hauling cart from Home Depot online, because it was only available online, and they were out of stock online. Ended up buying the Tractor Supply equivalent for the same price and was able to pick it up that day.

    Pluses and minuses to everything I guess. Got to use the cart for the past 3 days and really put it through its paces.
  7. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I learned this the hard way when trying to get chains (and that @#%$ bar screw we dropped changing the chain) for my mini boss after Hurricane Sandy. NO ONE anywhere in 200 miles had anything, not even a saw to buy! Using my cell phone, tried to find them on line, not there. I ended up calling my family in OH to send me chains and that stupid screw. I get the dealer regulations but when a super storm wipes out several states, it's tough. I love the mom n pop place I bought my saw and go there before any of the big box stores but even they laughed when I asked for Stihl parts after the storm, they laughed hard :)
  8. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    I really have to disagree with you on this one, because what you said above is the whole counterpoint. I don't want brick and mortar stores to regulate my life, that's not the world we live in today. I have no problem with Stihl only selling their new saws through dealers, totally agree with that, just like car dealerships. And when I do really need their support, that's where I will go (after first talking with you guys). But when it comes to ordering an OEM air filter, a new sprocket or side cover, a new bar or chain, maybe even a new slug/jug/gasket or fuel line, they will not survive the long haul if they do not get with the 21 century and make these items available through direct marketing. Dealerships that modernize and get with the times will survive and thrive, ones that don't will be replaced by someone who is eager to modernize and grow. Some car dealerships are now selling OEM auto parts online. I have several Stihl dealers in the greater area around me. None of them sell just Stihls, rather, they all sell a wide variety of items with Stihls being just a small part of what they do. That sales percentage will get smaller and smaller if companies like Stihl don't get with the times. Whether we like it or not, this is a global company and a global economy. If a guy in Italy can sell and ship me my OEM part cheaper than anyone else, and he has the reviews of his service to back up his price, he'll get my order. If my local guy 5 miles away can match that price, or at least come reasonably close to it, he'll get my business. But if my local guy is going to gouge me with Stihl's parts pricing policies, I'll go elsewere. Sorry, but that's just the way I feel.
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  9. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Not that I'm aware of. I worked for this area's biggest dealer and we had to follow the rules just like everyone else.

    I doubt it. I think for equipment at least, and other things that are large/expensive to ship, brick and mortar will still be around.

    And that puts you, me, and most of the regulars on this forum in the minority of folks who buy these products.
    Heh, I remember the Alpha processors (too young to remember the good stuff ;) )and what they cost... _g OPE is a completely different game than semi-conductors, both the products and the customer base.

    We all complain about how stuff is built cheap, meant to replace rather than repair, and the staff wherever we bought it knows nothing about the product they sold us. Following the flock to massive internet sales volumes at ridiculously low margins or putting their product on the box store shelf right next to their competitors (even if it's not the top-of-the-line models) isn't going to boost their product quality or sell more equipment. Heck they're already #1 for handheld power equipment in the US. Look at what happened to Deere's reputation when they built a line of lawn tractors squarely targeted to sell out of the big home improvement stores.
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Problem there Boog is that there is little profit to be made with serialized (carries a serial #) wholegoods. Really, in todays' OPE business, it's all about parts and service. So you want to pull the plug on roughly 50% of every dealers income?

    Cars are tough to compare to OPE because aftermarket parts equivalents (or superior replacements) are easy and cheap. You can walk into your local NAPA (or whatever) and buy the same part the dealer sells, often for half the price. Outside of filters and sparkplugs, there are relatively few aftermarket parts available for OPE that truly is equivalent or superior to OEM.

    I disagree, more and more folks see the benefit of buying local, commercial customers need/desire near instant part availability for much of their equipment, something I don't foresee the internet supplying anytime soon. Not everybody is as well educated in their equipment as you and I are, so the need for parts lookup service and general advice will continue. The internet won't look up a part for you, you still have to know exactly what you're looking for to match it up in an IPL and order it by part #. Remember that you and I (people well capable of self-service) are still in the minority of folks who purchase this type of equipment.


    Because that guy in Italy may have zilch for overhead, selling parts he stores in his basement/garage, working from a home office with an internet connection. He doesn't have to pay employees, commercial rent/mortgage/insurance, extra utilities, etc and so forth. So long as Stihl maintains the level playing field amongst dealers, they'll do just fine. Somebody is bound to get greedy and try to make an easy buck from internet sales, just human nature, so Stihl drops the hammer, gently for a first offense.

    It's not price gouging either. That would be doubling the price of chain for a hurricane or other good-for-business type storm. It's what the market will bear. By being strict with their no internet sales policy, Stihl ensures that the market remains fair to both dealer and consumer (remember, it's not like the dealer doesn't have competition). Low prices might be great for your immediate satisfaction, but is that really sustainable long-term? What's the point of manufacturing a high-end product when all everyone wants is fast, bad, and cheap?
    TreePointer likes this.
  11. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    If Stilh is so High and Mighty, why are they producing 3 lines of saws, of which the bottom ,johnny homeowner- box store version , mid grade - northern tool, Tsc similar and a pro line by their own admission? Putting a lock on parts sales usually comes back to bite you from behind. Operating on a brand name reconigtion only lasts so long before the consumer finds an equivalent unit from a different mfg. that is less expensive to maintain. A classic example is the auto industry with the invasion of the Asian units in the 70's and 80's.
  12. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    MasterMech,

    I really do think you are wrong about brick and mortar stores sticking around as far as selling goods are concerned to the average consumer. Now, providing repair services is an entirely different thing, but for goods, forgetaboutit. It is just so much more convenient to deal with stuff over the internet nowadays. I can find gun parts that I NEVER would have been able to get from my local dealer. Same goes for bike parts. A lot of my cycling stuff has actually come from Europe. When I can buy Giordana cycling clothing for half of what it costs in the US simply by ordering online from Italy or Great Britain, you can bet that is what I will be doing. Same goes for Colnago frames. They are the creme de le creme when it comes to bikes, and while Colnago does not generally allow the sale of their frames via the internet, there are always a couple shops selling what Colnago calls gray market frames. Thing is, these gray market dealers are selling a ton of them.

    Ultimately, if Stihl makes a really good saw, sells it and parts over the internet, but still trains repair people and gives an incentive to its dealers to carry the line just for show, I think it will do just fine. Heck, a lot of the stuff I buy, I buy based upon internet reviews of products and what I hear from people on chatboards like this. Don't know a single person in real life (versus internet life), that owns a MS261 or MS660, so the only person I could even talk to about the saws would have been the dealer. Same goes for Colnagos. Don't know a single real life cycling buddy that owns one. Heck, I bought a ton of Stihl chains through e-bay that were less than half price of what the dealer wanted to charge me, and the prices on chains varied a good deal when I was asking about them on this forum.

    Eventually, we will buy cars online with the exact options we want in them and the exact color we want, delivered to our doorstep.
  13. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    What's wrong with building a quality saw priced so that an average homeowner can afford it? I for one find it refreshing that saws like the MS170 and MS180 (Both under $200) are simple, reliable machines that have been serving homeowners for many, many years since they came out as the 017, 018. Just because something is labeled "homeowner" doesn't mean it's junk. How many folks here run MS290's (or 029's?) ? Is that saw a piece of junk because it's a "mid-range" product? No way, it's one of the best saws out there for under $400 and it's a design that was introduced over two decades ago! Their $150 BG55 blower was thumping the chit of the competition's machines that cost much more and weren't any more powerful or ergonomic. That blower also has survived many commercial landscapering crews despite being a "Homeowner" unit.

    The auto industry at the end of the 70's was producing over-weight turds for product. They got lousy gas mileage and were ridiculously under-powered for their size. They got what they had coming to them. Stihl is not coasting on brand-name recognition by any means. I'm not saying that everything Stihl does is gold-plated, but they currently have an awesome line-up of tools that are lightweight and powerful, offering solutions for everyone, homeowners through professionals. That's pretty rare in a business where it's common to have a few bright spots in your product line but a few turds as well. (Husqvarna snowblowers anybody? ;sick )
    TreePointer likes this.
  14. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Pretty sure you can do that now . . . or pretty much do most everything from home.

    The last vehicle I purchased I pretty much specced everything out and sent a request to the various dealers asking for their out the door price. I then went to the nearest dealership with the best price and did the paperwork after a short test drive . . . although I probably could have skipped the test drive since I had already test drove a similar vehicle a week or two earlier. I'm guessing if push came to shove some folks could even by-pass going to the dealership for the paperwork.
  15. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    Hey! A woodburner and a cyclist. Me too. I do like the treatment of my stihl dealer. They are trained well on their product.
    Not sure if you bought a saw on the internet they would be so gracious. especially if stihl won't honor the warranty on an internet sale.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  16. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    But that's the point fabs. The internet retail model slashes product margins to razor thin levels, sustainable only by internet retailers. It will forever drive prices lower, which to you in the short term, seems like a good deal. But in order to keep pounding down the price, product quality will be compromised until we're buying orange and white Wild Things. And if we destroy margin on parts, then their is less $$ to train those skilled repair techs needed to maintain a quality product. Ideally nothing would ever break and people like me should be useless. ;) Plus, how many shops carry Poulan exclusively and provide parts and extensive repair capabilities? Not many, because the price of the product makes replacement more economical than repair. Poulan is an excellent example of what kind of product you'll end up with with box-store/internet retail strategies. Are they awful? Sometimes but they do cut a lot of wood in this country. The most expensive repair I've ever done on one is a replacement bar and chain.
  17. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Smart dealers would be. Educating consumers is good for business. ;)

    Brings up one more point - A dealer hands the customer (or is supposed to) a fully assembled, properly tuned and adjusted machine. Let's see the internet do that. I've heard occasional stories of people getting something that was assembled wrong (just ask SmokinJ but that's no fault of Stihl Inc. If everybody is doing what they are supposed to, you can't buy a Stihl that has a problem right out of the box.
  18. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    Buying tires is another good example of the changing times. The brick and mortar folks had that market tied up till "Tire Rack.com", and other outlet places came along. As soon as I found out that I could buy superior rated tires from there, brands/sizes/models that the local guys weren't even stocking, they immediately got my business. Although the margin of savings has decreased from what it was years ago, I can still have the UPS lady deliver the best tires money can buy to my door, then take them over to my "small little local service guy" and give him my business to mount and spin balance them, for less than what the big brick and mortar place will charge me.

    As far as Stihl dealers, and Stihl's policies goes, I hold no allegiance to them either. They are just Bridgestone, Michelin, Pirelli, and Yokohama to me. We are talking about German saws here! If that local Stihl dealer is going to loose 50% of his profit to have to compete on a level playing field, he had better expand his business into other areas. The turning point for me came when I went to my dealer to buy 2 new 46mm rings for the 191T I was rebuilding. Of course he didn't have them in stock, I didn't really expect that he would. He said that they were $26 and would take about a week to get them in. I about hit the floor when I went to pick them up and he said my total was $52 plus tax! I had thought he meant $26 for both, not $26 each! That was the last straw for me. I'm sorry, but $52 for a pair of 46mm rings is price gouging by Stihl in my book.
  19. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Only from the MS440/441 (And the MS201?) on up. Everything else is built right here in the USA.

    Did you try another dealer?
  20. cygnus

    cygnus Feeling the Heat

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    Interesting points here. I'm an occasional user cutting a few cords a year. I also work on all my equipment myself. That's exactly why I have 3 huskys in the garage. It's a whole lot easier for me.

    That said, I really have to question any company's policy of 'no Internet sales'. Really? No internet?!?! That seems like a very bad long term strategy. Only time will tell.
  21. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    My old Stihl 023 is made in USA not Germany..
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  22. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Since I have two cents, I'll throw them in. I believe we are in a period of transition. I believe that for many products (not all), we will eventually find that there will be "showrooms" (handling many different products and manufacturers) where you can go to handle, try out, examine products which will then be delivered to your door within 24 hours (and perhaps less). These showrooms will be supported by manufacturers and/or consumer sales. This may take 5 years, or 10 years, but I think it will eventually happen. Right now, a friend down the street who is legally blind orders his groceries from WalMart and they are delivered free the next day.
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  23. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    As both you and MasterMech have pointed out, I am glad to hear that the majority of my hoard of Stihls was made here in the USA. I do give consideration to buying USA made things, but it is not the top factor on my list. I've been driving Toyotas (with a couple used Jeeps thrown in) since the early 80's. The 2000 E-150 conversion van in the drive was not bought because it was a Ford, but rather because some enterprising dudes out in LA pimped it out to what it is today. But its still a Ford, its brake lines went when it had only 96,000 miles. My last Rav4 went 210,000 before a brake line finally went. I expect similar service from the 2002 Highlander I'm currently driving. I'm approaching 105,000 with absolutly nothing wrong to date.

    All this has little to do with the thrust of my original posting. MasterMech last asked "Did I try another Dealer" after being charged $52 for 2 rings. My answer is "Yes, all the numerous Dealers on ebay selling reasonably priced OEM stuff". Hence, we come full circle. Happy New Years folks!
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  24. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    One good reason I will never buy a Stihl. If I can't tear the thing down, find the broken part, peck around on a few computer keys and have a reasonably priced OEM part delivered to my door in a few days, I don't want it. If the gurus at Stihl think I need to make a 50+ mile round trip to a dealer, let them diagnose the issue and order the part, then make another 50 mile round trip days later to pick it up, I will never buy into that philosophy.
  25. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    Its no problem Corey. I just walked out to the mail box and returned with 3 packages, all from "Dealers on Ebay". Each is from a different seller, and the final prices with shipping are significantly less than what my local dealers want. The free market system will win out in the end.

    parts.jpg
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