This is a Public Service Announcement
regarding a seemingly-disreputable shop:

Norm's Cycle Center
1025 Forest Avenue
W. Homestead, PA 15120

The following story is a day-by-day account, told in the  victim's own words:

 

Click here for a brief summary of the significant points (not in the victim's words)

 

 

DANGER - stay away from 

Norm's Cycle Center
1025 Forest Avenue
W. Homestead, PA 15120

(412) 462-2225 phone
(412) 462-9811 (fax)

Norm Schoeb, owner (and shady character, IMHO.....or at least a CRAPPY businessman!)

 

5/01

Third gear blows. Start calling places looking for options...........spend next few days looking.

5/01

Speak to Norm directly about replacement engine on phone. Has one on way back from Colorado. Price is $700 plus $200 to install and that it has 6700 miles.

Check back once a week.......either by phone or stopping in. A couple weeks I stopped or called twice...once on Monday, once on Friday.........

 

7/18/01

Call and speak to either Norm or Roy. Engine is finally in. Said I would stop after work to check out. Stop by and look at engine..........Norm says price is $850 plus $200 to install and that it has 6700 miles. I check out engine again. I inquire about the title for the bike it came from to show the mileage. Norm and Lou (?) Start searching through two stacks of titles. None is found. I am told that they should be able to get it by the date of install.

Ok purchase of engine & make deposit of $250. Asked to wait two weeks for install.......bring back bike on.....

Monday, 7/31/01

Stopped by after work..........asked if I could drop bike off and would it be done by weekend. Ed okís both, and says probably ok for the weekend. I strip bags, seat, etc and leave bike that night.

Tuesday, 8/1/01

Stopped by after work to check progress...............walked into garage area........my engine out and parts being swapped to replacement engine, as agreed. Left without speaking to anyone.

Wed, 8/2/01

No activity

Thursday, 8/3/01

Called to ask about progress..........."Still working on it"

Stopped by after work just to see..........replacement engine is in bike, all hooked up, etc. Battery charger is connected to battery. Mechanic says "dead battery"........I say its only 8 months old or so.........he insists........they say they will try starting it that evening after charging. I say great! Iíll check back Saturday. Should it be done? " "Probably", says Ed.

Friday, 8/ /01

Called at about 1pm to inquire how it went. Talked to Roy. "Still working on it".....I ask for an update "No idea, partner.....weíll call you."

 

Saturday, 8/4/01

Had not heard from anyone by noon............went out to run errands. Stopped by garage and walked in. Mechanic was seen working on an old Shadow that looks as though it had been there for years. He was removing the engine. I went on to look at my bike. Bike was off the charger and had not moved from spot on Thursday. I went to front office and waited for Roy to become available, 10 minutes or so. Roy said I needed to speak to Norm. Waited another 20 minutes or so for him to appear. Norm stated "That motor didn't run partner."

I said, "Is that why he's pulling the motor out of that other Shadow back there?" He looked surprised....."Yeah.....it's the same price though....I'll give you the same 30 days (warranty)..." "But that one's got 26,000 miles on it! Why is the price the same?" I says............

"You donít want it?? Let me go stop him then......" and he runs out......So I go back outside and met him at the rear area again......I asked what kind of price break he could do on it and he goes into a rant where he says if I don't want it fine, they'll swap mine back in, etc, etc. but the price is the price........I said I simply thought that paying the same for both motors wasn't quite equitable as the second one has almost 4 times the mileage......so he repeated his rants and went back inside.....I snuck into the garage again to look at my bike, my old engine, the defunct one and the higher mileage transplant.......I decided, given the miles on the new motor, the general feeling of uneasiness I was getting, etc to pass on it.............I went back up front to get my deposit refunded........

We got into it again up there and he started saying "Don't bring this shit up here" blah blah blah....there was about 6 other customers hanging around.....I said..."Look, I ain't trying to cop an attitude......all I wanted was info on my bike........a day ago my bike was "almost ready" and now I go back there and see another motor about to go in? Why didn't you CALL before starting to put a DIFFERENT motor than I bought in my bike!?!?!?"

"You shouldn't have even been back there! Customers ain't allowed in the garage!"

"Well, the point is, I come in to see my bike, which is supposed to be almost done and find yet another engine being pulled for my bike...one with 4 times the mileage!"

"Well I was gonna tell you about it!!"

"That's not the point! That other motor has almost 4 times the mileage!!" I says........."Why didn't you call yesterday or today and let me know first?!!?"

SO, we went back and forth just a little and he completes my refund.......

Then I asked if the carbs would be re-set for MY old motor, since I assumed that they changed stuff when they mounted them on the "new" motor.........."We didn't change nothing, so it'll run the same .. we ain't gonna tune your up or nothing if  THAT'S what you are asking"

Then I said "Well, my bike just better run the same as it did when it came in..........".....he says, "That thing didn't even run when it came in!" I says "I RODE that THING in here and every day for the months before! It ran fine when it came in except for the tranny problem and it better run the same when it comes back out!" He grumbled back and forth and said it would.........

 

I asked when it would be ready. Norm says "Tuesday". I said "So I can pick it up Tuesday?" "Yes." he says.

I left the premises.

 

Monday, 8/6/01

No activity

 

Tuesday, 8/7/01

Stop by after work, ready to pick up bike, around 4:30. Take a look at bike and all looks in order except that $45 dipstick is damaged. No one is in garage (maybe Jim?)....I walk around to front of store and enter. Ed is with customer...I wait a while until he is finally available....Ed comes available and sees me and says "We can't get it to crank on your battery...do you want me to put in a battery?" "Well, does it run ok and all?" I asked. "Oh yeah, just fine...we just need to bump start it." I respond "Well, then, Iíll just take it and try charging it or taking back the battery cause its not that old.". Ed says "Ok...." I mention the dipstick and he grumbles and says he will replace it. Ed leaves room. I ask Roy what time I should come back to pickup...he calls back and asks then says "Between 7 and 7:30..........Just go to the back cuz weíll be closed up here but theyíll be there." I say "Great...Iíll be back then! Thanks!"

I return with wife at 7:15 PM.....they are still welding skid plate support, etc..........Wait about 1 hour and bike is "done"...........needs bump started, but it runs. Relief. Very loud though. I take for quick test ride and rear exhaust is VERY LOUD. Pull back into Normís to investigate. Rear exhaust flange is hanging loose. I tell Ed, he comes out with wrench to tighten up. I take for another ride. STILL very loud! I pull back in and tell him. He tries tightening but no good. I say, "Well, Iíll check it out tomorrow and if it looks serious, can I come back?" At that point I just wanted bike back, thinking that exhaust was only problem. He said no problem. I asked about the dipstick and he said he has some, he just needs to dig them out of stock. He said to come back in a week for it. I say OK and leave with bike.

That night, I try charging battery for a couple hours. No good.

I try jumping from truck battery, which has always worked in the past. No good.

I leave charger on battery overnight.

 

Wed, 8/8/01

Next morning try and no good. Plug in charger again for all day charge.

Stop by Autozone after work for new battery to try. Get home, call Ted to bring his bike over. We try my "dead" battery in his bike and it starts RIGHT up. Try his in mine, and no good. BATTERY IS NOT THE PROBLEM.

I take bike back to Normís , with Ted following. Stop bike in garage doorway and walk into garage. I walk straight to Ed and say tell him what we tried. He says, "Ok....can you give me until Thursday? (Tomorrow)?" I say "No problem ... in fact take till Friday cause I cant come in tomorrow." "Thanks" he says and I leave.

 

Thursday, 8/9/01

No activity

 

Friday, 8/10/01

 

Stop by after work, about 4 pm. Walk right into garage, bike seat is off but no other activity apparent. Lou is there (Edís brother) and I ask if Ed is around. Am told that he is out getting oil. Ok......Lou and I strike up a cool conversation about bikes, etc. Also talk to older fellow sorting parts. No apparent problems.

 

Waited an hour for the one guy to come back and when he comes back he stays up front (I am in garage area)....so after 10 minutes, I go up front to speak with him. He says its not done.........he said "We spent quite a bit of time on it and no luck yet...we have other bikes to work on..."

I asked for a "when will it be done" ...........he says How about next week......I says "Ok, next week when...Monday?? Friday??" He wouldn't give me a day....didn't want to give me a date........

I asked if he would prefer my taking it to Honda to repair and then he could pay for it and he said they would "rape" him. I agreed and said, well, just give me a time that my bike will be done......He said "How about next Thursday?" I said "Ok....what happens if it isn't running by then?" He said I could do whatever I wanted..."Even taking it to Honda?" I asked. He said "Yes...Iíd have to check with my Dad on that, but probably." I explained that I was not trying to be rude or disrespectful, but that I thought I had been patient enough waiting for the engine and then to have it installed. AT this point Roy broke in and was mad and said "Now LOOK....you were TOLD it was in Colorado, etc" I reassured him that I understood that and that it was no big deal...but that it has been too long and that all I wanted was my bike the way it was when I brought it in".

 

Roy got upset and started saying that I should not have accused his brother of trying to pull a fast one (which I never did) and I tried calming him down to no avail........Ed said "This conversation is over...you can wait 'til my Dad comes back and deal with him on this." and he walked away. Roy continues yelling and I am trying to calm the situation. He says that I can call Tuesday or Wed (8/14 or 15) and talk to Norm. He emphasized that I should call. He says I have been a pest calling every day or stopping by and bothering them. I deny and he continues to yell. I leave to return to my vehicle at garage area. I walk into garage to tell Ed that Roy said I should call Tuesday or Wed and I add that I might just stop down after work. AT that point, Roy has run into garage behind yelling "No, I told you to CALL. I donít want you down here. Now get out of this garage. You aren't allowed in here" and forced me out verbally. I turned and said "Ok fine."

 

I visit Homestead police department to inquire about what I can do. I am told they will escort me to pick up my bike if I want and that I would need to see the magistrate if I wanted to file charges. I leave my name and number and say that I have to think about it.

 

Saturday, 8/10/01

No activity

 

Sunday, 8/11/01

No activity

 

Monday, 8/12/01

No activity

 

Tuesday , 8/13/01

Called at about 1pm. Spoke to Norm.

 

Very short and civil conversation. Norm said Jimmy was working on it.

 

He ALSO pointed out that I would have to pay for anything that was bad.....i.e. starter, etc........I stated that they were all fine when I dropped off the bike, he said "Well, I cant control when things stop working"...........

 

I asked for availability of bike, he said "Weíll call".......I asked if end of week was possible, he replied, "Oh yeah, no problem" or somesuch.

End of conversation.

 

I call back shortly thereafter and speak to Roy..........ask him to tell Norm that if anything large is needed to call before replacing so I could decide. Roy repeated this and said he would pass this on.

End of conversation.

Wed August 15, 2001

No activity

Thursday August 16, 2001

No activity

 

Friday, August 17, 2001

 

Called at 11a..........Talked to Luke.......

Potential problem found.......washers/ spacers..........Will call at 3 or so..........I inquire if ok to call around 5 if no word "yes".........

Call at 4:45 pm............Talk to Roy..........hold..........tells me Norm will call back. Roy calls back and says they are charging. I ask if ok to come down on way home. "OK" he says..........

Stop by, Norm says "Bike isn't ready...." ....talks about battery..........I say Iíll take it now. They put back together and bike starts right up..........I leave with it. Bye Bye.

 

 

 

The following is a brief summary of the significant points:

 

1.  Norm first quoted one price for "the only matching engine he had", and told the victim he'd have to wait for it to come in.

2.  When it did come in, Norm raised the price.

3.  When they were unable to get it to run, they attempted to swap in a different engine, with four-times the miles, that had been there all along, without telling the victim.

4.  They claimed that the reason the bike (with the re-installed original engine) wouldn't start was that it had a bad battery.  It didn't.  The reason it wouldn't start was that they had incorrectly assembled it.

5.  Throughout this entire incident, they attempted to conceal the truth from the victim, and, instead of acknowledging mistakes, attempted to hide them, blame the victim for them, and avoid responsibility for them.

 

 

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