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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber theonlychief's Avatar
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    Default Fire-Truck Company not delivering, Officials Say

    Thought you guys might be interested in this if it works. We bought two trucks from these people. One in 2002 and one with fema grant money in 2004
    http://www.tribune-democrat.com/loca...042234928.html
    Last edited by theonlychief; 02-19-2006 at 11:41 AM.
    The Chief


  2. #2
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    Here's a link to a Boston Globe article with a department that is having problems, but with a different manufacturer.

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...se_questioned/

  3. #3
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    Uh, demand to see purchase orders, invoices, and evidence of payment for major components as work proceeds and before in process payments are released.

    As you would when building a house!

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    Default Fire Truck Company not Delivering

    In addition to the two companies mentioned in this thread, this seems to be an industry wide problem.

    In financing apparatus, I have departments that contact me, hoping the dealer/manufacturer will return my phone call after they've tried several times to contact them, but I find a similar situation.

    There also seems to be an issue that if a department gets a dealer/manufacturer to write the RFP for them, they include proprietary items that cannot be excluded. Thus, he who writes the RFP, gets the bid, and in the case of new apparatus, they also do the funding (if a grant isn't available), often at a higher interest rate. According to the USDOJ's web site, such a practice violates the Sherman Anti-trust Act, which carries heavy fines for the company and individuals, jail time, and the victims can recover treble (3 times) damages.

    I know of several situations that have recently occurred which describe this practice. I even had a dealer for a major manufacturer send me an e-mail and put it into writing that everybody does this, including themselves.

    In fairness, I have some used apparatus dealers and refurbishers that I work with, who are in profound contrast to this practice. Most of these are volunteer firefighters, thus there appears to be a relationship between their customer service, their quality generally, and their fire service. It has taken me quite an effort and by funding quite a few deals to find those who do ethical business and identify those who it appears either are blatantly violating the Sherman Anti-trust Act, or otherwise have poor service, emphasis customer service.

    As we're now seeing more of these situations emerge and adding that the Feds fund with grants, don't be surprised if we hear more of these horror stories and that the Feds start taking appropriate actions.

    If you think you or your department has been victimized like this, you should go to the DOJ's Anti-trust division's web site, http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/index.html or visit my web site for more information. I've got RFP information there that specifically relates to the fire/EMS service. Since I've posted this information, recently updated, I've had several departments contact me and I have started refinancing their fire truck at lower interest rates and lower payments. I don't know if this reportedly industry-wide practice is illegal, as the DOJ contends, because I am not an attorney. I do believe it is shameful.

    It call comes back to caveat emptor (buyer beware), check out the dealer and the manufacturer. Just because they may have name recognition is no guarantee, because they have new management and sales/dealers since they first started manufacturing and selling apparatus. Above all, learn to write the specs for your RFP, or get someone other than a dealer or manufacturer to do so for you. This way you know that you are going to get honest and competitive bids. Also, as the two companies cited in this thread indicates the need, make the successful bidder have a performance bond. Remember, you cannot protect your community, until and unless you protect yourself first.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillGriffin1
    Also, as the two companies cited in this thread indicates the need, make the successful bidder have a performance bond. Remember, you cannot protect your community, until and unless you protect yourself first.
    Performance bond will add very little to a bid from a financially healthy company, may not be available from a shaky one, and seems like an awfully prudent idea. Bond underwriting is about as tough as it gets in the commercial insurance market, just the ability for a manufacturer to get one will be a good indicator of financial health.
    earl

  6. #6
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    Default Fire Truck Company not Delivering

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenacres2
    Performance bond will add very little to a bid from a financially healthy company, may not be available from a shaky one, and seems like an awfully prudent idea. Bond underwriting is about as tough as it gets in the commercial insurance market, just the ability for a manufacturer to get one will be a good indicator of financial health.
    earl
    Hey Earl,

    Good points and thank you.

    Performance bonds seem to be a good alternative, because the companies with excellent circumstances and track records are going to have low rates and the fire departments and communities are protected. The cost of the performance bond should be a line item in the bid. This won't add that much to the bid and overall costs. When you're talking about apparatus that costs as much as they do, a reliable/credible company won't have a problem...others will have difficulties, know this, and will balk. BUT, this then become tell-tale.

    In financing apparatus, with emphais to those I'm either taking a second position on reaching into my pocket for their down payment, or personally funding the entire deal out of my pocket, I'm requiring performance bonds per the specifications and delivery dates. There are those who have no problem with this and then there are those who say I'm being unreasonable and that I'm "canine kinfolk on the maternal side, with an Oedipus Complex; but the latter group seems to be those who complain, because they have an unfair bid, have done something or intend to do something illegal that will be uncovered by others (i.e. bond writing insurance company), can't deliver, don't intend to deliver what they promise and when they promise, or who were so risky they cannot get such a performance bond.

    In the deals that I finance, whether I've got a personal nickel or not, I'm requiring a performance bond. In fairness, if I've done quite a few deals with a manufacturer or dealer and they've met the specs and delivery date consistantly and after quite a few times, I don't require the performance bond. However, I know these be those that if there is a delay on delivery or a problem, these are the folks who call me and the purchasing fire department far in advance, advise of the problem, look and try to work towards solutions, and then say that the new delivery date will be a week or so later. Often, this occurs when they're waiting on a part from someone else, the part they received was defective, something is out of their control, and they have a profound tendancy to make it up, by providing excellent customer service and efforts to make sure the department is well trained and satisfied with the new apparatus.

    I hope that all who read this thread will strongly consider performance bonds per quality, specifications, and delivery dates. Likewise, don't let a manufacturer or dealer write your RFP bid specs. Learn to do this yourself, or get some independent (from the manufacturer/dealer) 3rd. party to do it, who won't charge you much, if anything, and won't make anything extra on whoever provides the successful bids.

    Don't let one item be something that is proprietary to one company, especially if a dealer or rep from that company wrote the specs for the RFP. If an item in the specs is something that is proprietary to the manufacturer, whose rep or dealer wrote the specs for your RFP, then you need to get someone to take a look at this, especially if that proprietary item is a MUST in that bid and cannot be substituted or eliminatd . . . this is a profound indication that you're company is about to get "hosed".

    If a manufacturer/dealer says "screw you", when you ask for a performance bond, this is far better that they say it, rather than do it!

    I have a different perspective than most about this, because at age 50 and after 34 years of service, I still hit the rig (emphasis daylight hours, when we're short handed). In any deal that I do, I look at it and ask myself: "Would I hit this truck and trust it to get me their safe and IF I had to go internal, would I trust it to push me water, when I absolutely need it?".

    Will Griffin

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    Remember a performance bond is meaningless unless you've paid for something upfront. Either insist on paying for the entirety at the delivery, or pay 100% up front with a performance bond. You'd be surprised how much you can shave off a rig's price if you prepay.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801
    Remember a performance bond is meaningless unless you've paid for something upfront. Either insist on paying for the entirety at the delivery, or pay 100% up front with a performance bond. You'd be surprised how much you can shave off a rig's price if you prepay.
    You will also save if you pay even 50% of the cost up front. You can still save money and not leave the door open to let trouble in.

    I have been looking at Bonding for a truck we are working on now. Rough numbers was a 6-8000.00 savings if paid in full upfront. Take a 1000 off for the bond and your still saved 5-7,000.00. It was 2-3000.00 for about a 50% down payment.

    Obviously dealing with companies that are financially secure will get your bond cost down, likelihood of getting the truck way up and hopefully keep you from headaches later down the road.

    I would think that if you bought the chassis and had it titled to your town/city/Fire Company you would have more of a legal standing that it is your property than if you had not taken that step. What do our legal eagle form readers think?

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