Category Archives: Vendors

FCP Groton (FCP Euro): Good Customer Service

So last month I ordered two things from FCP Groton for my new 850. One was a set of OEM Volvo 850 floor mats and the other was a OEM door light.

When I got the package, it had a huge tear down one side, which had been re-taped by the carrier (I think it was UPS). The floor mats were inside, but the receipt and the small door light were gone.


I chalked this up to the typical UPS shenanigans and decided that for $20 it wasn’t worth filing a damage claim.

A little over a month later, I got an email from Chris Auger at FCP; basically just an automated customer service email:

Adam,Our records indicate that you placed an order with us on 5/28/2013 at our website for automotive replacement parts – order 461575. We wanted to make sure that you received the shipment and everything was to your satisfaction.I hope that you are happy with your purchase and I would like to hear about your shopping experience with us. You can share your thoughts by clicking on the following link:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase or shopping experience, please email us back directly and let us know. We are committed to upholding the highest levels of quality and service.

Thanks again for your order and loyal patronage.


Chris Auger

challenge accepted(1)

Being someone who never misses a chance to complain, I wrote back:

Hi Chris,Thanks for the email. Actually I did have an issue with the order that I’ve been meaning to write to you about. While I did receive all four floor mats, the box was badly damaged (there was a long gash down one of the edges, and it had been re-taped by the carrier). Unfortunately the packing list and the small replacement warning light housing were both gone (on the order it was 9151323 Volvo Interior Door Light (850 S90 V90 960) Genuine Volvo 9151323OE (1) @ $21.95 = $21.95). Maybe better packaging would have saved it, or perhaps taping the smaller items to the inside of the box somehow so they couldn’t fall out. Since it’s only $20, it’s not really worth it to me to file a claim against UPS, but I thought you should know that they were pretty rough on the package.Thanks,

Note that I didn’t ask for a new light or anything (since it wasn’t their fault at all; the packaging was very sturdy), but lo and behold:

AdamThank you for your email response. I apologize that your package was damaged during shipping and that the door light was missing. I am having a new light shipped out to you today. Please let me know if you have any questionsSincerely,



And…. I got my new light today! Time to replace that busted one.

Me gusta. Thanks FCP.


Volvo 850 exhausts: OEM vs. OBX vs. IPD vs. Eurosport

Let’s talk about 850 exhausts.  There are a lot of forum threads out there debating the merits of different exhausts, mostly coming down to the inexpensive OBX stainless exhaust (typically $350-450) vs. the more expensive IPD stainless exhaust. During IPD’s annual sales, you can get that exhaust for 15% off, or about $846, but normal retail is $995.  Why compare these two?  Because they are extremely similar looking… at least, on the surface.

Click here to read the full article.

An Open Letter to IPD

Now that my brake system appears to be in order, there is another point that I need to discuss:

Dear IPD,

Your prices are too high. I feel like a moron for having bought my front brake kit from you, and I am only consoled by the fact that I bought it at the garage sale where I received 10% off and free shipping, so hopefully the cost of shipping those heavy rotors and calipers ate into your outrageous margins.  Yes, I realize you do a lot for the community, what with hosting the garage sales, building concept cars, and sponsoring events, but let’s think about this carefully.

This kind of above-market pricing for widely-available products only makes people turn away from you and move to lower-cost vendors for commodity parts (like master cylinders & brake calipers, for example).  Why?  Because, like me, they feel cheated when they find out that they paid more than double for a commodity part.  (Caveat emptor you say?  Only one more reason not to trust you in the future.)   Sure, only IPD makes IPD sway bars, or carries XYZ imported part, but for how long?  We both know that your competition for these non-commodity specialized parts is increasing across all Volvo models.

The question is, how many customers can you afford to drive away with your high prices on these commodity parts?  Today’s 240 turbo driver is often tomorrow’s 850R / S60R / ??? driver (likewise with other less-sporty models), and they’re going to want parts (both specialized and commodity) for their new cars too.  Another point to ponder is that Volvo enthusiasts (i.e. ‘nuts’) are often generational and familial.  Look at my immediate family – last month we had 7 Volvos for four drivers!  As much as you work to encourage customer loyalty with one hand (community involvement, excellent service, custom parts), your other hand (pricing of commodity products) is driving customers away.

So today, if I were to buy, for example, lowering springs, adjustable torque rods, chassis braces, stainless brake lines, custom wheels, or other hard-to-find parts (but not impossible to find!), am I more likely to go to IPD or one of your competitors?  Before, it would have been an easy answer – IPD, of course.  Now, however?  I’m not so sure.

I like IPD, and it would be sad to see them fail after all their years of hard work and business growth, so I’ll wrap it up.   The lesson here is simple: save your high prices for your specialized products that are hard to find elsewhere or can’t be duplicated.  Their high pricing is justified by their limited supply, and the customer is typically left unoffended.  Keep your commodity product prices competitive to keep people from becoming disgruntled.  This is just basic Business 101.


A once and future Volvo driver