This’ll be short and ‘sweet’ (read: sarcasm).
For those late to the game who would like to catch up on this ongoing saga of ‘FFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-!’, you can find my previous updates and initial post on my Kinja profile.
Warning: A lot of pictures in this one.
Everything I ordered for the clutch repair arrived either yesterday or today. Including the new Valeo clutch kit, which arrived via FedEx this morning. As it so happens, I was doing some dishes at the time and saw the truck pull up. I headed to the front door to meet him and I watched as the FedEx driver hoisted my $400 shipment of clutch components over and onto his shoulder like a bag of dogfood. I could actually hear the contents shift violently in the box as he did this.
Fearing the worst but hoping for the best, I accepted the box and thanked him. Heading inside, I set the box on the dining table and unpacked it. Inside, the Valeo box was off to one side, unpadded on the bottom and on 3 sides. The bottles of Redline MTL, on the other hand, were swaddled in giant bubble wrap like the Baby Jesus. Removing the bubble wrap from the top of the Valeo box, I took it out, set it on the table, and looked inside. What I found was disappointing and frustrating and depressing, but somehow not in the least surprising:
As you can see, my brand new clutch kit looked like it fell down a mine shaft. The throwout bearing appeared to have been used as a chew toy at the local K9 Unit kennel, and the inside of the Valeo box was shredded.
I immediately contacted ECS Tuning and informed them of the issue. They requested pictures, so I emailed them the ones above and their representative promptly agreed to an exchange and emailed me the return shipping label and pertinent paperwork. I also made sure to request UPS instead of FedEx this time.
After some consideration, I then called them and then made a request that, giving them my explicit permission to open the manufacturer packaging for the clutch kit, they remove the individual components and wrap them separately in styrofoam or bubble wrap to avoid a repeat of this. They agreed to this, even as I felt a little selfish and entitled making such a request. But I can’t afford to take anymore chances of delays.
Once that was done and the box was dropped off at my local FedEx shipping office, I called Valeo USA and informed them of what happened and advised them to maybe review their packaging procedures. The phone representative, I believe his name was Phil, was really understanding and agreed that it didn’t make a lot of sense to package something like a clutch kit with nothing more than some brown paper separating the components, especially when the items are intended to be shipped across the country. For all intents and purposes, the items were metal-on-metal in the box.
Phil politely assured me that he would inform the packaging department of the problem. I have no way of knowing if it will do any good or if they’ll take the advice of some random guy over the phone, but I really do hope they do something to better protect their products during shipping. This experience has left a bad taste in my mouth, which is impressive considering the recent sequence of events in my life.
So at this point, we’re essentially an additional week away from getting my car back on the road, as we have to wait for the busted kit to arrive back at ECS’s warehouse in Ohio, then the replacement kit packaged more thoroughly and shipped to me.
I do not hoist blame soley upon any individual party in this. I consider this a combination of factors equally shared between Valeo, ECS, and FedEx. Each could have done something better in this situation, but no single entity is entirely responsible for the condition of my clutch components. Things could have, and should have, been done differently, but the most important thing is that all three have shown exemplary customer service once I made them aware of the problem and have made sure to make things right. Not only is that hugely reassuring for me, but it’s also very mature on their collective parts. For that I give them kudos.
But hey, the parts for the dryer are here now, so I can at least get that working. Silver linings, right?