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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
TO: parts at mikeshawsubaru dot com (Colorado [Boulder/Denver] Subaru Dealership)
FROM: [thesubie]
SENT: Dec 13, 2020

SUBJECT: 1,063% markup on Fuel Tank Shield Nut - Mike Shaw Phone vs. Online

Hello friends,

I called and spoke with some very nice folks at your parts department at 1:28pm yesterday, Dec 12. I asked about a few parts. I've detailed their costs below:

Part #Part NameCost @ Mike Shaw (Online w/Free Pickup)Cost @ Mike Shaw (Phone)Penalty (Markup)MSRP
82161AJ11ARod Battery Holder$2.10$4.55116.67%$2.33
82161AJ10ABattery Hold Down Bolt$2.57$5.56116.34%$2.85
23806006Fuel Tank Shield Nut$0.74$8.611063.51%$0.82
59122FA010Fender Liner Retainer$2.70$5.85116.67%$3.00

I'll also note I called right after visiting a junk yard, which I waited the week to drive all the way to, because I was quoted $45 over the phone for a hood strut which was a totally reasonable price (half) should I have purchased it online for pickup. For the record, I ended up purchasing the two rods and the fender liner retainer in store.

Please let your customers who express price sensitivity know that the savings from self service will be passed on to them. Staffing phone lines and taking credit card at a terminal takes time and isn't free: nobody should expect it to be. That said, if we say "I just have to find an Ace, drive out of my way to it, park, walk in, and find a replacement--all while increasing the risk of getting sick--because I simply can't give in to Big Nuts & Bolts by paying eight bucks for a tiny nut", please let us know we can shave 91% off the price by ordering online next time.

Folks - beyond my incredulity at that customer service shortcoming, it is simply egregious for Subaru to charge 950% more than the Subaru Suggested Retail Price for a nut. Would you please bring Subaru of America into this discussion to ensure either the MSRP is adjusted upwards or dealerships with Subaru in their name never again fleece customers like this without warning? If a customer chooses the convenience of a phone order after being presented with her real options, that is just business. But what happened to me today was not ethical. If it's a training issue, it's an alarming one (e.g. neither of the two kind associates in parts were familiar with these markups on identical products picked up in an identical way - and at least one empathized with my decision to refuse to buy an $8 nut on principle). As much as I LOVE my Outback and preach the brand to anyone who is willing to listen, I am nearly incensed by these discrepancies.

Thank you very much for tediously trodding through my frustration in this message. I appreciate your understanding and assistance.

Sincerely,
[thesubie]


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TO: Subaru of America
FROM: [thesubie]
SENT: Dec 13, 2020

SUBJECT: Egregious Pricing Practice (1,063% Markup)

Hello folks, Please find my email attached and let me know if I'm missing something here and whether we can improve this for other Subaru customers going forward. Thank you! -[thesubie]

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TO: just you guys this time :)

Well -

I guess I should have known better! I'll let everybody know whether they ignore me. I'm going to ask for a price match in person at some point, at the least.

Sincerely,
The guy who lives near the Subaru dealership with a $250/hr shop rate (AKA what an individual needs to make to earn half a million a year working full time)
 

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To: OP

I don't understand the point of your posts. Welcome to the free enterprise system. MSRP is just a number.

No one is being forced to buy parts from this dealer. Those parts are all cheaper online at places like
subarupartsdeal

I don't see a problem.
 
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Brucey
'17 3.6
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What he said sorta kinda.

Just buy online where everyone sells well below MSRP.

Let the dealers go bankrupt trying to sell a single nut for $8.
 

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SubaruOutback.org Founder
2021 Outback Limited 2.5L - 🍦The Ice Cream Man🍦
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It's just $8 anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Customer service. When you’re in front of them saying “man, it’s just unjustifiable - I’d rather drive all over town than fork over $8 for each nut,” it wouldn’t it kill them to say “we charge sane prices when you preorder online - check it out next time!”

MSRP is just a number. If the $699 MSRP Apple iPhone 12 sells for a million bucks at Best Buy, who cares? Now say you walk into the Apple Store and that phone is going for $7,339.50. You say “why is this so expensive?” and they shrug. When you go home, you see on Apple.com that you can buy the phone for free in store pickup immediately at that same store for $697.

Obviously Apple would never charge a 950% markup on their own MSRP. While regional pricing is common for national brands, I cannot think of a single company that deviates from MSRP so drastically if at all. A $200 Nike shoe for $2,100 at the Nike store? Really, I’d love to know if Subaru is not the only one doing this - franchised or corporate stores.

The cunning capitalist solution here is to jack MSRP to $10 for the nut. Let the online pickup save you $9, and the phone pickup save you $2. Tell the whiners like me to take some responsibility and do some research, don’t clog the phone lines and pay online for best pricing. Have an automated message scaring people off of talking to parts at all.

“Did you know you can save big when ordering online, and pick up at the exact same parts counter same day anyway? Visit Mike Shaw Subaru dot com.”


Thanks for letting me whine :)
 

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23806006Fuel Tank Shield Nut$0.74$8.611063.51%$0.82


That looks like a decimal placement error during data entry. Sometimes those can be hard to rectify in our computer driven world!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
23806006Fuel Tank Shield Nut$0.74$8.611063.51%$0.82


That looks like a decimal placement error during data entry. Sometimes those can be hard to rectify in our computer driven world!
haha maybe, here’s the response:

“Hello [TheSubie],

I do understand your frustration on this matter,

I took the liberty to check in our catalog and found the part #023806000 is the part # for the nuts not 02380600. [some sort of glitch online I guess]

I do however question the price on such a small part. I will investigate the pricing structure on this transaction .

Online pricing does offer discounts on many parts which you can take advantage of.

The part # 023806000 is much higher than 02380600.

I truly apologize for the mixup.

Thanks!!!”

I looked at both. Same nut? Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There's a place called RockAuto
Love them, thanks to y’all for the rec.
That said - there’s a place called the exact same dealership at the exact same pickup window! Just can only call to get part numbers if needed, not ask for pickup. Go online to the official site, create pickup order there, pay less than MSRP instead of way more.

Also, I went OEM on those battery hold / tie down rods because aftermarket weren’t the two unique sizes and the hooks weren’t the right size. Would need a little vice grip or saw to adjust.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Limited
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doing homework before buying is always good. these types of markups are common in my experience.

why? Fasteners, nuts, bolts, screws, and washers are obscure parts that when needed, is after an oh shute moment, where you probably need the part the same day vs. waiting for an overnight. That's it. *this is the same for small engine parts on lawn mowers etc.

I've got lucky a few times at, LowesDepot, O'Reily'sZoneBoys et al., just not very often.

Some of them bolts have strange thread patterns and I get paranoid about stripping bolts. I'd order from Subaru or a reputable retailer online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
doing homework before buying is always good. these types of markups are common in my experience.

why? Fasteners, nuts, bolts, screws, and washers are obscure parts that when needed, is after an oh shute moment, where you probably need the part the same day vs. waiting for an overnight. That's it. *this is the same for small engine parts on lawn mowers etc.

I've got lucky a few times at, LowesDepot, O'Reily'sZoneBoys et al., just not very often.

Some of them bolts have strange thread patterns and I get paranoid about stripping bolts. I'd order from Subaru or a reputable retailer online.
& NapaBoysZone? wait

Totally, I get you on the same day thing. That's what's crazy, here are two near-identical scenarios:

1 - Call Mike Shaw. Ask what nut you need for a battery clamp down. Ask to pick it up. Drive there, pay 950% markup, pickup immediately.
2 - Call Mike Shaw. Ask what nut you need for a battery clamp down. Search part number on Mike Shaw's site. Pay under MSRP. Drive there, pickup immediately.
 
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