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itry2fly
08-19-2007, 22:16
New to diving, we had done our research on diving equipment online-pricing, reviews, etc. We visited all of the LDS in the area (the ones that were not run out of a van) and discovered something. WE LOVE DIVERS!! The community of people seem to be the nicest and most helpful of any sport/activity I've ever encountered. My wife and I commented after every LDS visit about how nice and helpful everyone was, and how genuinely passionate they seemed about diving. Their enthusiasm is contagious and greatly appreciated. As a private pilot, I can attest to the "snottiness" you can get with people in other sports, and diving seems to be on it's own with the great people we've met. Having said that, this is where the weirdness comes to play. After a few LDS visits, we decided that we would pick a LDS and basically stick with them for equipment and certification since after going into a few shops and merely MENTIONING another LDS would send some of the owners into some weird trance. You could almost see the process in their mind of how to convince you that those "other" places weren't as good as them, their equipment was generic, etc.

We decided on a LDS, and absolutely love the place. The people are all great, and thier product selection is awesome. I have had one problem though, and tell me if I'm just being weird here. I had spent a little over 3000 dollars in a month with them, buying 2 BC's, 2 regs, 2 wetsuits, and tons of other stuff and certification. When it came time to purchase a guage console, I decided to just buy computers up front instead of having to upgrade later. My LDS gives a 15% discount on equipment when enrolled in a class. I had done some price shopping on the internet, and found that even after the discount, they were about 90 dollars more than online. Normally, I would just suck up the difference, but I needed 3 of them. Needless to say, after 270 dollars difference (plus tax), the online prices looked better and better. Wanting to give the LDS a chance, I asked if they could match or even "come close" to the prices quoted by ST. I was told the owner would get back to me. After a couple days without a response, I called back and was given the whole "you won't have any warranty" by another employee. After explaining ST was an authorized dealer, I was told "they are not allowed to sell at that price, we are protected". I e-mailed the owner and request a callback (again). After 1 more unanswered call for the owner , and 2 more days of waiting, I ordered the units from ST. I can understand why a dealer wants you to buy from them, and I really do like to patronize them. Spending money at the LDS is what keeps them in business and the people and their information is invaluable. I really want to consider myself a customer for life, but that experience left a little bit of a bad taste. I feel like if they had come out and said "no way we can even come close", I would have at least respected that. But I didn't recieve ANY response on an offer, and the attitude that I am wasting their time by price shopping them seemed a little disconcerting. Like I said, I love these people at the shop and don't want to piss them off, but if they start giving me grief on annual inspections, etc. from items I bought from ST, then I will stop business from them or anyone that has that sort of attitude.
Has anyone else dealt with this same thing? What do you think is the best course for this kind of situation?
Sorry for the massive post, I had to vent a little frustration. I feel better now...

DivingsInMyBlood
08-19-2007, 22:34
I think your right, its up to you where you spend your money you have to look out for yourself and your own wallet.

ReefHound
08-19-2007, 22:55
Well the bloom is off the rose now, isn't it? Your LDS did what many LDS's do, they charm and BS the new wide-eyed diver to sell them a bunch of expensive gear, then when they realize you've wised up they move on to the next newbie.

You shoulda tested them sooner instead of trying to please them by giving them your loyalty. I swear the dive industry is the only industry I've seen where the customers try to please the shop owners and are afraid of pissing off the shop.

94GTStang
08-19-2007, 23:06
Well the bloom is off the rose now, isn't it? Your LDS did what many LDS's do, they charm and BS the new wide-eyed diver to sell them a bunch of expensive gear, then when they realize you've wised up they move on to the next newbie.

You shoulda tested them sooner instead of trying to please them by giving them your loyalty. I swear the dive industry is the only industry I've seen where the customers try to please the shop owners and are afraid of pissing off the shop.

That's a great point. I too have noticed that. The shop I got certified at really hacked me off when I wanted to rent a tank from them for some pool fun. When they quoted me $20 for a freaking one day tank rental, I was hacked off to say the least. So I decided to go to the other two area LDS's were they not only know me by name, but came up with nicknames for me and my fiance :smiley36:

brandon
08-19-2007, 23:20
Heheh... I made a funny picture for an LDS vs. Online Shop argument thread once. Photoshopped from a WW2 style propaganda poster.

DivingsInMyBlood
08-19-2007, 23:28
Heheh... I made a funny picture for an LDS vs. Online Shop argument thread once. Photoshopped from a WW2 style propaganda poster.


thats pretty funny, i like it. :smiley20:

3rdEye
08-19-2007, 23:36
I had the same experience with a shop I was looking to buy a package from....they were off by a good 600 bucks....and gave me the same spiel about the warranty and how ST wasn't supposed to sell at that price.....and how they talked to some VP over at Oceanic...blah blah blah. And then sort of hinted that he wouldn't service my regs if I bought through scuba toys. At that point, I really got a bad taste in my mouth, and my attitude is now F them.

I won't so much as rent tanks from them because of that ****e. Like you said, if he would have just been up front and said, "hey, we can't match it", I would have probably still bought stuff from these guys....fills, misc things, classes, etc. But, he had to be a weasel about it and spew that BS.

Funny thing is, he is also an online retailer, with actual decent prices, and the same prices in the store, why he couldn't match ST, I don't know. But with the attitude, I'm happy to take my business elsewhere.

And yeah, the sales tax thing kind of sucks too, it definitely weighed into my decision.

brandon
08-19-2007, 23:39
Oh, by far my favorite is the LDS's that will outright lie to you. Call them on their BS, then leave.

-B.

3rdEye
08-19-2007, 23:40
You shoulda tested them sooner instead of trying to please them by giving them your loyalty. I swear the dive industry is the only industry I've seen where the customers try to please the shop owners and are afraid of pissing off the shop.

it's kind of the same in other things like bike shops and some other sports....because you depend on these places to have stuff serviced, and depend on their expertise for classes with diving especially. It's a shame, because I like to support local businesses, but at the same time, these places will have to somehow adapt their business model to survive in a digital world. Clearly scuba toys is leading edge in that aspect.

94GTStang
08-19-2007, 23:41
Yea, sales tax is the suxor. That alone could have payed for a lot of dive equipment.

I have no choice but to rent tanks from my LDS. :(

Krakenn
08-19-2007, 23:52
Yeah, I know what you mean, the other one is when you are buying gear from the USA, ie another country other than mine and the online supplier says they cant complete with LP or ST.The other comment is 'they dont have warranty' - I mean FFS - I buy a reg for say $200 cause it costs $800 in Australia I then pay $50 for freight/import. - If I was to get a dud which I have not so far then I would have to spend another $50 to freight it back. I mean I wouldnt do it, I would just have it fixed here. With the exception of computers there is not alot that can go wrong with hard gear.

I just go with my pocket at the end of the day, no online or LDS sends me a B'Day Card after I buy something from them do they.



Kraks

itry2fly
08-20-2007, 00:03
ReefHound, you are absolutely right. I am an automotive technician by trade. I know the historical perception people have about mechanics up front, and I know it is up to me to act and perform professionally to keep my customers satisfied-and knowing that they got what they paid for. It does appear the dive industry is the only one that does require the customer to appease the business...for fear of warranty discrimination or simply being able to get an air fill in a jiffy.

I don't want to pick on factory reps, but I think I know where a lot of that LDS attitude comes from. I spoke to a couple of factory reps this weekend, who were promoting their stuff at the LDS. Both of them came off cocky about their product and was quick to badmouth the next guy. I thought one was joking as smart-assed as he came off as, but he was dead serious. I thought that was very unprofessional and definately did not serve to promote thier companies product any more. Having seen the same thing in the automotive industry, with factory reps peddling their goods, I know the inside talk that goes on. I know that a lot of times with reps there is an attitude that an educated customer is a pain in the ass and a dive shop would be well served with some quick rhetoric and the ability to blow smoke up the customers' nether regions...

Having said that, I think ScubaToys is a little behind the ball on the LDS standard operating procedure manual. Where do they get off, selling products BELOW MAPP?? How is ST going to establish itself as the Alpha in the customer/business relationship if the ScubaToys owner's answer phones, or reply to e-mails nearly instantly?? 10% discounts? gift cards for posting? I'm sure the AquaLung reps could find a breach in the dealer agreement manual somewhere, hmm...

ScubaCrash
08-20-2007, 10:31
Every time I read a thread such as this I become accutely aware of just how lucky I was in finding the LDS where I learned to dive. (Let me caveat that by saying it was in Curacao where I was working for 4 months, not in my hometown) The shop owner flat told our group when we inquired about buying our gear (BCs, regs, consoles) that he couldn't in any way match the online prices, but he would do the best he could for us if we wanted to buy from him. Then he went a step further and told all of us if we were still set on buying our gear online, to at least let him know what we were going to buy first so he could let us know if we were buying crap or decent stuff. Three of us bought basically same packages, and he told all of us that what we were buying was a solid package for beginning divers, in fact the BCs we were buying was the next step up from the rental BCs he used. Its s shame many more LDS don't adopt this type of customer friendly attitude, I think they'd find themselves doing better business that way.

georoc01
08-20-2007, 12:16
My LDS has an internal struggle between the Equipment side and the teaching side. The equipment side wants the teaching side to push their products more and more during classes.

Its great when they put some demo gear out there, and they give you the opportunity to try different masks till you find one you like or different fin styles to work with. And I bought my mask and fins with them accordingly.

cgvmer
08-20-2007, 12:25
ScubaCrash, your lds sounds like the santa claus on a miralcle on 34th street, with this attitude he may not make every sale , but at least he stays in the running for the next purchase unlike the ones everyone complains about.

ScubaCrash
08-20-2007, 12:35
ScubaCrash, your lds sounds like the santa claus on a miralcle on 34th street, with this attitude he may not make every sale , but at least he stays in the running for the next purchase unlike the ones everyone complains about.

Yeah that's for sure CG. All of us in the dive group (7 that got OW, 5 of us that advanced to AOW and beyond) bought masks, fins, snorkles and other little diving doo-dads from him. Besides all the $$ we layed out for our certs we made sure we supported him and his wife with our $$ as much as possible.

Xspect
08-20-2007, 17:07
Wow its amazing. I wonder how long its going take to wake up the LDS. ST and LP are not going away. They are just going to get bigger and bigger and more people are going to find out about them.

Drawing a line in the sand isnt going to help.

quarrydiver
09-10-2007, 21:08
Every time I read a thread such as this I become accutely aware of just how lucky I was in finding the LDS where I learned to dive. (Let me caveat that by saying it was in Curacao where I was working for 4 months, not in my hometown) The shop owner flat told our group when we inquired about buying our gear (BCs, regs, consoles) that he couldn't in any way match the online prices, but he would do the best he could for us if we wanted to buy from him. Then he went a step further and told all of us if we were still set on buying our gear online, to at least let him know what we were going to buy first so he could let us know if we were buying crap or decent stuff. Three of us bought basically same packages, and he told all of us that what we were buying was a solid package for beginning divers, in fact the BCs we were buying was the next step up from the rental BCs he used. Its s shame many more LDS don't adopt this type of customer friendly attitude, I think they'd find themselves doing better business that way.

right on the money!

DevilDiver
09-10-2007, 21:39
It's the man! He's got his hand in your pocket and his thumb on the back of your neck....... Fight the system! Power to the people! Wake up from your slumber and start the new day.....................

Sorry, I was born in Berkley, Cal.

skdvr
09-10-2007, 22:04
I hate it when I am in the LDS and they talk crap about online dealers. They try to say the same crap that all of you have talked about. In my buisness we do not talk bad about our competition or tell lies about them, we just try to tell the customer why we are better and leave it up to them to make the decision.

One LDS around me that I use to go to all the time because the people were nice to me really has ticked me off lately. I bought two tanks from this LDS about a year ago and about 3 months ago I bought a tank from another LDS because they had a great deal on it. When I took it into the first LDS to get it filled they looked at me like I was the devil because this new tank that I am bringing into their shop had a Vis sticker on it from another shop. After that I was treated different in there everytime I walked in with that tank.

I now go to teh second shop for everything, because I do not owe any shop anything. If they earn my buisness they earn it.

I like shopping at ST and I will do that and I have no problem telling my LDS that I can get a better deal somewhere.

Now I think that the LDS is an important part of the puzzle but I do not need to get screwed everytime I walk into the door...

Phil

Zenagirl
09-11-2007, 07:50
What drives me insane are the LDSs that try to demand loyalty from their customers, yet they aren't willing to step up and return that loyalty.

Frankly after you dropped $3000 with them, they should have matched the online price and been happy about it, but in the end they just got greedy IMO.

Aussie
09-11-2007, 08:15
Just consider yourselves lucky that you live in the states where the prices for Scuba gear is the cheapest in the World!!!!

Here in Australia the retail prices for dive gear is fixed by the local importer/ Distributor of that brand. If a LDS wants to sell brand X for example they have to purchase brand X products from Distributor of brand X products. The distributor has a wholeale price and a RRP for their products.

For example I purchased a Mares Mr22 Abyss from ST a few years ago for a special price of $299 add $50 for postage and it cost me $349usd delivered to Australia. The RRP in Australia at the time for the same reg was around $1000usd. The wholesale price to the LDS was around $600usd.

Wish Larry would setup a Scubatoys Australia store as I would be their number one customer and so would most of the country.

Aussie

greyzen
09-11-2007, 08:29
Yeah, it's something I've said in other threads that I'll say again :)

Companies have no problem demanding and grieving loyalty out of you, but few of them have the forward thinking to change their management styles to reflect current technology.

Twenty years ago, you were basically dependent on your local community stores for experts and 'hard to find' items. Even so short as ten years ago, finding a centralized source of information on the pro's/con's of a BC/regulator/UW camera's, etc. Not to mention the fact that if you wanted to know GOOD information for dive-centric vacation spots, or further your training you were dependent on that local community.

The internet has caused all of those to become irrelevant. The internet has made the world a much smaller place, LDS's now have to compete with people who can deal in volumes they can't keep up with.

The problem is these old thinking shop owners are trying to hold onto the old idea's of scuba-mystery and unfortunately for them, that isn't possible anymore. Even without ScubaToys the LDS community would be very very different, but WITH ScubaToys, the LDS community is being forced to adapt and unfortunately for them (and fortunate for ST) most of them are denying the inevitable.

My local dive shop pretends to not even know ScubaToys exists...as a businessperson I make it my business to know EVERYONE who is competing with me for my customers dollar. It's silly they pretend to not know the people taking over their customers. They allow ScubaToys to shine... we are just fortunate that Larry and Crew were smart enough to embrace the changes and help us all grow as divers.

ScubaToys Larry
09-11-2007, 08:35
Just consider yourselves lucky that you live in the states where the prices for Scuba gear is the cheapest in the World!!!!

Here in Australia the retail prices for dive gear is fixed by the local importer/ Distributor of that brand. If a LDS wants to sell brand X for example they have to purchase brand X products from Distributor of brand X products. The distributor has a wholeale price and a RRP for their products.

For example I purchased a Mares Mr22 Abyss from ST a few years ago for a special price of $299 add $50 for postage and it cost me $349usd delivered to Australia. The RRP in Australia at the time for the same reg was around $1000usd. The wholesale price to the LDS was around $600usd.

Wish Larry would setup a Scubatoys Australia store as I would be their number one customer and so would most of the country.

Aussie
Yea, we ship a lot of product to Australia for that very reason... the dollar difference is pretty dramatic - the US dollar is getting so weak on the international market, it makes our pricing very attractive over seas... and as long as the package is not too heavy - the shipping over to there is not that bad.

And I'll be a guest speaker at another conference in Australia next summer (well... actually for you... next winter - June) and just let me know what you need! I'll pack another bag!!

creggur
09-11-2007, 08:51
After a couple days without a response, I called back and was given the whole "you won't have any warranty" by another employee.
They are living under the delusion that their entire customer base is uninformed....Welcome to the information age...



After explaining ST was an authorized dealer, I was told "they are not allowed to sell at that price, we are protected".

They may think they are protected on price, but obviously not protected from you taking your $$$ elsewhere...

ReefHound
09-11-2007, 09:39
My local dive shop pretends to not even know ScubaToys exists...as a businessperson I make it my business to know EVERYONE who is competing with me for my customers dollar. It's silly they pretend to not know the people taking over their customers.

They know... they don't want to acknowledge it because then they would either have to explain why they cannot provide the same prices or have to trash talk ST somehow. And it would be too easy for you to call BS on the latter these days. In the past when "online" meant LP, it was easy for them to make anti-online arguments like "unauthorized" and "gray market" and "no manufacturer warranty". With stores like ST those arguments no longer exist.

h2odragon1
09-11-2007, 10:21
Heheh... I made a funny picture for an LDS vs. Online Shop argument thread once. Photoshopped from a WW2 style propaganda poster.


did you ever think of marketing the poster? I'm a penny pincher, (aka cheap bas***d), but I would buy one. If the price was right.

georoc01
09-11-2007, 10:32
Just consider yourselves lucky that you live in the states where the prices for Scuba gear is the cheapest in the World!!!!

Here in Australia the retail prices for dive gear is fixed by the local importer/ Distributor of that brand. If a LDS wants to sell brand X for example they have to purchase brand X products from Distributor of brand X products. The distributor has a wholeale price and a RRP for their products.

For example I purchased a Mares Mr22 Abyss from ST a few years ago for a special price of $299 add $50 for postage and it cost me $349usd delivered to Australia. The RRP in Australia at the time for the same reg was around $1000usd. The wholesale price to the LDS was around $600usd.

Wish Larry would setup a Scubatoys Australia store as I would be their number one customer and so would most of the country.

Aussie

We need to work out some kind of courier program for those coming over there to dive.

divingmedic
09-11-2007, 10:45
Why do some LDS have such a problem getting with new age and leave behind the days of the old? At least I got mine to price match a few weeks ago on a pair of fins. Now if the can repair something in a timely manner.

TxHockeyGuy
09-11-2007, 10:58
Threads like this remind me how lucky I am to have ScubaToys as my truly local dive shop.

lmorin
09-11-2007, 11:49
The major gear pieces for me and my wife came from our LDS after getting prices from another, more distant shop. LDS came close to meeting them and we agreed on the LDS price because the going to the other shop would have been a schlepp. So, we have become locked in to the LDS and, basically, we guarantee it some yearly income, if for no other reason than the fact that we get our regs serviced there yearly. The LDS offers "discounts" equal to the sales tax if cash is paid. Has sold us a couple of things at cost when the original has been lost (weight pouch, for example; also, gave us 2 free tank uses to test our gear in a pool before our first trip with it). When we make purchases, we always check competitive prices or product availability. Bought 2 great dive bags from ST because the price was right and the LDS did not have an equivalent. Bought fins from LDS because, for the model desired, the LDS price equaled the ST and LP prices, if they included the shipping. So, our LDS seems to be doing a reasonably decent job of dancing the fine line between losing out to competitors and losing their shirts by discounting too much. This LDS has also positioned itself as the primary location for buying spearfishing gear on Long Island and southern New England. I have respect for the owners because it is clear they are working hard to keep the respect of their customers. On the other hand, they refuse to teach anyone anything about gear maintenance out of fear that the person will cost them money. And, probably like most LDS's, when someone comes in "knowing" what they want, there is little effort to steer them into something more appropriate. That's all part of the game.

greyzen
09-11-2007, 11:58
My LDS treats me like I'm a plague on their time. So I signed up for the classes, I'm certified now, so I'll be spending lots of money soon on high margin items not at my LDS.

I find it seriously pathetic when I can't even get a sales person to talk about gear unless I'm ready to buy it that moment.

Zenagirl
09-11-2007, 13:16
We have an LDS that used to love to point out to me that ST aren't authorized dealers which is why I shouldn't buy with them. The first time they told me that I argued, but "they knew better". The second time, I challenged them to walk over to the computer and look, but their internet connection was down. The third time (I couldn't help myself!), I told them I had ST's number in my cell phone and we could call. They finally changed tactics and tried to convince me that I should buy from them because if they went out of business where would I get air fills? Gee, they conveniently forgot I don't dive locally. ;)

Needless to say I only go into that LDS when I feel like having some fun messing with them. :D

plot
09-11-2007, 16:47
I'm sure the AquaLung reps could find a breach in the dealer agreement manual somewhere, hmm...

i'm sure they could, but you won't find aqualung on ST. they are however on another large online site and all people can figure out is aqualung is turning their heads becuase of the large volume the site does... they've never been known for fairness or enforcing their policies equally across the board.

the more I see of my LDS's practices the less I want to deal with them... i do let them know where I get my gear and how much I saved going online vs. them though. They have a seriously out of date mentality that I'm afraid will limit their days in the scuba business. (luckily scuba isn't their bread and butter, just keeps the doors open during the summer)