4x4 Labs....Anyone?

FJBroBri

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So, I ordered a custom front bumper(with a never before requested bull bar) on it and a rear bumper with attachments from 4x4 Labs, in the middle of June, for my '99 LX470.

At that time I was told it'd be about six weeks to get them completed. I received them on September 10. 12.5 weeks later.

I had them delivered to my mechanic's shop: Mike's Custom Toys near to me in Grants Pass, Oregon. When he was able to fit me into his schedule, I delivered my rig to him and he removed my stock bumpers, spent about half a day installing the rear and another couple hours on the front. At that point, he contacted me to ask what I wanted to do about turn signals.

I told him that the bumper was supposed to include turn signals, as the office assistant @ 4x4 Labs, HD, who took my order, informed me of the difference between LC and LX470 bumpers...the latter needing turn signals since the LX has it's turn signals on the bumper, and that they'd be building them into the bumper I was buying. But they didn't....

Then Mike @ Mike's Custom Toys told me there was an issue with the bull bar: there were bars blocking the high beam lights... which made me reach out to 4x4 Labs to inquire about that.
20181002_092137.jpg

Then the drama began.... HD accused me of waiting too long... a mere three weeks before unpackaging them, and said I ought to have examined them and figured out without installing them, if they were correct for my application. I'm sure most of you can think of my response....: Umm, this was a custom build for a LX470, why should I even have to think about such?

After expressing my dismay and dissatisfaction, he offered to have a friend pick it up and he'd have the replacement for me by the end of October. This was the first week of October, mind you. So, I was expected to remove it and re-install my stock bumper for an estimated 3 week replacement time....and when I requested that they pay for the R&R, he clearly stated that they would NOT be paying for ANY shop time for the installation/removal/and re-installation of this MISTAKE(major f-up)...I was dismayed, to say the least.

Their reason for a 3 week(estimate that is..remember i waited 3 months on the original 6 week lead time estimate) lead, was that they had to build bumpers for (2) King of the Hammers vehicles...that were now in the shop...not to mention that I PROBABLY had my order in and paid for way before these two race vehicles came along..

After some back and forth about such, and me expressing that I was no longer even interested in having their products on my rig, HD referred me to Luke, the owner of 4x4 Labs. I sent them two emails....:

From MY standpoint fellas, this job of my custom bumper(s) was a total flop on your end. The mix up about making me a Landcruiser bumper for my LX, that was specified in email to Luke and in conversation with HD while placing the order, which I know was specified by the fact that I was clearly expecting a bumper with turn signals in the bumper, as per our conversation about the difference between the LC and LX, is a major f-ing mixup. I waited nearly 3 months to get these bumpers(with a custom bull bar for a LX470) and yet they weren’t as ordered. I went so far as to send you custom powder for the powder coat, as well.
Then, the unprofessional and immature attempt at manipulating me, creating the argument and blaming me for the delay in realizing that this was an incorrect bumper for my application is despicable. Totally disrespectful of you and your company, that I sought out and gave business to.
Trying to blame me and make it my fault by not inspecting this custom order that was wrapped in plastic/and bubble wrap for a mere three weeks before installing them, is absolutely disgraceful too!
You need to own all of your mistakes on this MAJOR F-UP! This is not the way to treat a customer. I did nothing wrong here.
Because of the fact that I installed a front bumper that I custom ordered for my LX470, on my timeframe without measuring the bull bar to see if it fit my headlight/grill or noticed before hand that it was missing turn signals, is still your mistake.
This was ordered for a LX 470.
I have a mechanic that does my installs for me, and I had to pay him to install your bumper that was not built for my rig(even though I did all I could to make it the right bumper) . I didn’t order a bumper for a Landcruiser. This is not my mistake. THis is your mistake and you MUST own up to this and realistically pay for the labor for what was done if we are to exchange for a new bumper that fits. And the powder as well.
This my complete standing on this. I will copy and paste this onto a thread on IH8MUD to inform the Landcruiser community that led me to your company if you fail to realize your awful customer service in respect to this transaction.
I know you’re capable of righting all these wrongs, as any honorable company can.
Regards,
Brian Lloyd

AND:

Hello Luke,
I just got off the phone with the main creditor who paid for this transaction. They are requesting that I attempt to reconcile the transaction with your company before I make concrete actions to dispute the charges to 4x4 Labs for this mishap.
As you know, I am unhappy with the product(s) I received from 4x4 Labs. As you know, there were mistakes made on your end, that had nothing to do with me. I, as your customer have really done nothing wrong in ordering, paying for, receiving, and installing your equipment.
I, did install them, even though I wasn’t happy with the welds(for a rather modern vehicle), as I didn’t think a custom order would be returnable.
As you know, it came to be that the front bumper was made incorrectly…for another vehicle, that doesn’t have the same front end styling as my vehicle. And, my installer had to make my side marker lights into functioning turn signals, since the bumper you sent me didn’t have turn signals on it, like a bumper for a LX470 is supposed to have. Then he notified me that the bull bar was blocking my high beam headlights...
And, it is clear that it now MUST be returned, requiring me to un-install it, and re-install my stock bumper, since you are unable to provide an immediate replacement.
I have incurred charges beyond the original cost of your bumper by having it installed by an automotive professional, which is not my responsibility, I don’t think. I did all I could do to order the correct bumper for my LX470. Thinking that I received a custom made bumper for an LX470, I had it mounted.
Now, your office assistant HD is accusing me of being in the wrong, for not installing it quick enough, nor noticing before installation, the discrepancy.
I am not at fault here. I was given the incorrect part, and my Toyota truck mechanic moved forward with the installation when I asked him to.
Now, we are at a place in which I’m being projected at as the cause for the issues at hand, in a very disrespectful and dishonorable way. Because of this tactic of putting the blame on me, I no longer wish to be reminded of all this BS by having your product(s) on my rig.
I wish you to take back both front and rear bumpers, giving me a full refund and paying for the labor to install and removed them.
This is the professional way to take care of this matter. That’s my opinion. You may want to reprimand your office assistant for mistreating a client too.
Thank you

Luke responded:

hey Brian,
Apologies for the mistake on the front bumper. It was definitely our fault and should have been caught several times throughout the build process. I was hoping we could just build another one and replace it for you (which I will still extend to you, we even have enough of the special powder color) but it seems this has gotten out of hand which I also understand. My Neanderthal office manager gets enormous amounts of s*** done but can be a little abrasive at times and I apologize for his behavior if it was presumed offensive. He's somewhat of a scary tattooed biker dude but actually a sweetheart on the inside as long as he doesn't get riled up. I've spoken with him about being a little more pliable in situations like this as it reflects my business. He's great at customer service 99% of the time, awesome at collections, is usually very organized and has a nearly photographic memory so I usually stand behind his decisions. This is one time I didn't and sometimes we just can't save a transaction which is OK. It only happens once in a great while. I can think of only a couple times in 18 years that this level of dissatisfaction has occurred. I will chalk it up as a lesson and go forward.
I will be happy to refund the amount for the bumpers and get them shipped back. As far as labor and such that is out of our realm of responsibility. We reserve the right to replace or refund but can't be liable for 3rd party work which is standard throughout the manufacturing sector.
I would like to see a few pics of the welds in question if you have a few moments to snap some pics. If you don't no problem we will see them when we get the bumpers back. I have extremely talented welders here and I'm fairly certain that Brent, my best guy built yours. If that is so I'm sure they are nearly perfect as far as welds go, sorry if you don't like them. We don't grind down any of our structural welds. Grinding welds is often a sign of something not done quite right hence the need to grind them. If you wanted a smoothed weld bumper then I'm sorry we don't do that kind of work here. Our reputation on mud is stellar so I'm not sure slinging this out there is going to be productive but please do what you think you need to do.
Again, I'm truly sorry this transaction went south so badly. If there's anything more I can do let me know.
You can just slap those bumpers back on the pallet and I'll send a truck. As soon as I have a tracking number I will refund you the full amount of your purchase.

Sincerely,
-luke@4x4labs

I informed him that I am rightfully owed the labor for the R&R once again and the powder for the powdercoating and he has failed to respond, so I feel it's best to get the opinion from our MUD community about this shady customer service situation and conceited attitude about their STELLAR REPUTATION?!?!?! and lack of respect for the everyday customer/consumer.

Beware, you may have this happen to you.
 

erse

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That is a bummer and a depressing chain of events.

I get what he is saying about
We reserve the right to replace or refund but can't be liable for 3rd party work which is standard throughout the manufacturing sector.
However in this case the mistake on his companies part begat needless expense on your part. I don't know where the law comes down on this but from a pure customer service stand point if the statement
It only happens once in a great while. I can think of only a couple times in 18 years that this level of dissatisfaction has occurred. I will chalk it up as a lesson and go forward.
is true then it should pose no risk to the business to make it 100% right in this instance. Its a learning opportunity for the company employees and owner and might be worth paying for.
How much is the third party labor we are talking about?
 

JohnVee

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4x4Labs is extremely busy most of the time. That said, Luke has responded to all of my questions about his product in a timely manner. It might be longer than I would take with MY clients but mine can lose millions of dollars a day without timely (no matter the time or situation) communications. I can honestly say that based on my firsthand personal purchases and/or observations of other club members' trucks that Luke, and Jason @TRAIL TAILOR at Trail Tailor, are top notch customer service oriented companies. Coming from the customer service industry, I like to think that my standards are ridiculously high. I hope for the best outcome for you. BTW, that bumper looks pretty damn nice.
 
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Joined
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Nope, you are never owed labor. Custom fabricatuon just doesn't work that way. If you order custom, you need to be completely sure it's all as you wanted before you spend money getting it installed. You check everything, twice. You hang the stuff on the truck to make sure it fits, then you get to making it look like you want, not the other way around. I feel for you, but that is why people buy ARB and TJM bumpers. They come one way, and they are already right. Custom bumpers just really aren't something, IMHO, that people should mess with if they have a shop do their work for them. Too much chance for something like this to happen. I see Luke doing the right thing, from his email. The truck ship return and shipping the right one are NOT cheap.
 
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MongooseGA

Learns things the hard way
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Sounds like a PITA but I think Luke offered a very acceptable response. I've been in a similar position with a faulty part before as well- had it professionally installed, part was faulty and needed to be removed, and the vendor wouldn't pay the extra labor. I've found this to be SOP in the industry, custom products or not.

I hope this comes to a good resolution for you. I've been eyeing their rear bumpers.
 

FJBroBri

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Nope, you are never owned labor. Custom fabricatuon just doesn't work that way. If you order custom, you need to be completely sure it's all as you wanted before you spend money getting it installed. You check everything, twice. You hang the stuff on the truck to make sure it fits, then you get to making it look like you want, not the other way around. I feel for you, but that is why people buy ARB and TJM bumpers. They come one way, and they are already right. Custom bumpers just really aren't something, IMHO, that people should mess with if they have a shop do their work for them. To much chance for something like this to happen. I see Like doing the right thing, from his email. The truck ship return and shipping the right one are NOT cheap.
It wasn't totally custom though...just the bull bar part of the bumper...and I hear you too. I just thought I was getting what i ordered, from a reputable company that makes 100 series bumpers for LC's and LX's.
 
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I agree with the above, you are not owed labor costs.

Luke seemed nice and it was cool of him to explain it. I would still be pissed if I was you though.


Luke, if you read this, for whatever it's worth: I was considering your bumper, a Dissent or a Blueberry and after getting a response from HD, or more realistically a lack thereof there was really no decision at all. I knew there was no way I'd go with your bumper. I could easily tell it would be a PITA to communicate and figure out what was going on if anything out of the ordinary arose.
 

bwell

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Having dealt with them a few times for products and being completely satisfied, I think he gave you the absolute best response you could have imagined. Especially given you are not dealing with a huge manufacturer, but a small specialty business that is grounded in word of mouth experience.

I think what happened sucks, and I'm sure has been unnerving, and a huge pain in your a$$.

Realistically your dealing with about eight bolts that actually take about 10 minutes tops to remove to get that front bumper off.

Having gone through a similar situation with a different vendor on here, that is much larger, and could have been in the 2 to 3k in labor costs if I hadn't been able to do it myself over a $500 part, in the end as much as I wanted to do a public smear campaign, I didn't, I rest peacefully at night knowing they will eventually get theirs.
 

Somebodyelse5

Land Crushers
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I think Luke came through here. I also agree that they do not owe you for the R&R of the bumper, it's another plus for doing this stuff yourself (bumper installs are easy) or having someone familiar with the platform do your install. Having that bumper unwrapped and in front of your rig, someone should have noticed those issues before it got all buttoned up. Why is there no expectation for your mechanic to cover the install? Did he bring up the fact that the bullbar covered the high beam along the way? Easy for a DIYer to miss, shouldn't be something a pro would miss.
 
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I'm also curious as to why you wouldn't inspect your new parts before paying to have them installed. When I get something, I look over the workmanship for defects ect before I take my time (or money) to install it.

Heres another piece... If I were the business owner, I would prefer at this point to not deal with an unsatisfied customer. Things never seem to be 100% no matter how much I bend over backwards. I'd rather refund your money and never hear from you again rather than build you another with the very likely possibility of you remaining unsatisfied. Return and refund is probably your best option at this point.
 
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I would not be happy with the response either, but that’s the best your going to get. Call it even on him making it right and the cost of labor may be a wash.
 
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Once it is corrected, who eats the shipping back to you? I hope all turns out well and gets rectified. If i was an owner and couldnt eat the inconvience fee's. Id do something within my expertise that would suffice for the inconvience. Like throwing in something you already have stock of that moves more slowly off the shelf. (Skids, sliders, recovery points etc)(i know all these items less recovery pts are out of the league of the price invested on install and powder though). I hate having that feeling like I owe someone something. For instance when my neighbor takes out my trashbarrels on trash-night. I respond by mowing his lawn when i do mine. (Hes gotta bad back so taking the barrels down is a bigger deal than it seems i assume).
 
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Asking for labor is silly. Your mechanic deserves some of the blame as well, most custom mechanics know to always check over the new parts before even removing the stock parts. Could have spotted the problems right away.

Labor amounts to what? Less than 5% of this transaction?
 

nukegoat

Should have bought a Jeep
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Luke is a badass. He is probably a little bit high right now but he is making it right. Paying for labor? Cmon.

Btw shame on you for ordering that gross bull bar garbage in the first place. Can we talk about how terrible that looks?
 
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Luke is a badass. He is probably a little bit high right now but he is making it right. Paying for labor? Cmon.

Btw shame on you for ordering that gross bull bar garbage in the first place. Can we talk about how terrible that looks?
i like bullbars. im gonna keep my eye out to see if it ends up available at a less than brand new price (i dont mind the design). If not id like to get the dissent front with cruiser bullbar. This one will prob be gone by the time im ready to purchase though.
 

reznunt

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bb2-2.jpg


If I couldn't install the bumper myself, I probably would've at least taken receipt of the bumper myself rather than have it shipped direct to a third party shop. Many things can go wrong in that scenario. Upon arrival I would have also checked out the bumper and parts before giving it to a shop to install. But that's just me. Mine was a WIY rear bumper kit and it was missing a box of hardware and misc pieces. I emailed Luke and got a response right away. He told me they were in a separate shipment and would be arriving the next day.

Your situation sucks for both sides, but it seems like Luke is accepting responsibility for his error. I wouldn't be surprised if I had to eat the cost of the shop labor if I didn't do my due diligence inspecting the product before hand.

Sorry to say, but if you are hoping for someone on Mud to speak ill of 4x4labs, you'll have to look very hard. Everyone around here knows he's a stand up guy and that's why we support his business.
 
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Slashzero

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They acknowledged their mistake, offered to eat the return shipping costs, and build and ship you the correct bumper. That’s the extent of their responsibility, and it’s what any reputable company should do. I would personally be happy with that outcome.

The odd thing here is why did the shop proceed with the installation attempt when the bumper was obviously not correct (no spots for turn signals and bullbar covering high beams)? If anything it sounds like the shop is screwing you over. The second they saw it wasn’t right, they should have stopped and called you, before they took anything off your truck, so you could have halted work, and had the right bumper made.

In any case, the lesson learned here is to either do the work yourself, or before you pay someone to do it, make sure all the parts are correct.

If I were you, I would ship it back so they can send you the right bumper, if you still want it, or get your refund and move on.
 
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