The Parts Bin Complaint - Just because the website SAYS it's in stock...
Friends, Romans and countrymen - lend me your ear. About a month ago, the wife's 2000 VW Passat with 125,000 miles on it developed an engine malfunction. It was mis-firing on what turned out to be cylinder one. I found this out by using my code reader to determine the cause of my "check engine" light.
Deductive reasoning told me that by misfiring on only one cylinder that my initial guess of "bad gas" was not gonna be the culprit - and when I pulled that particular plug, I noticed it didn't appear to be fouled, but was indeed wet. That told me it was indeed getting fuel, just no fire.
Because this 1.8 turbo engine is a distributorless ignition, I quickly determined that the likely culprit was the ignition coil for that particular cylinder. In these kinds of lower maintenance engines, each cylinder has its own individual coil.
Because I have a number of vehicles at my disposal, and wasn't in a big hurry - I decided to search for the part on the internet - as the local parts shop wanted 80.00 for it.
A simple google brought me to "ThePartsBin dot com" The website showed me the part I needed, that it was a mere 30-odd dollar charge including shipping, and that the part would be to my house in a few days.
The plot really doesn't need to "thicken" at this point gentle reader, as I'm sure you know where this tale is headed - and no, "the butler didn't do it." Of course the part didn't arrive as I was informed. I call them back, to be told that they don't have that part in stock right now, and that they sent me an email telling me they cancelled the order and refunded my card. Of course I never got said email and have yet to check with Visa to see if they refunded me.
I ended up paying the 80.00 for the part at NAPA, replaced the faulty coil and now the wife is happy again. She's still not cooking or sleeping in the same bed with me, but hey you choose your battles in life eh?
So now my wife's fun-2-drive car is back on the road getting 30 plus MPH, and I think to myself, "self, if ONE of the 4 coils has gone bad, perhaps it'd be prudent to have a second one on hand, in case it happens again - like when you're driving 14 hours to Jackson Hole Wyoming this summer where you don't wanna get stranded on the side of the road only to become some grizzly bear's afternoon snack.
So...................silly me now goes back to THE PARTS BIN to see if they've gotten new stock - after all they had the far better price. The website indicated they did in fact have the part in stock. Not to be fooled again, I engaged in an online chat with a monkey on the other side of the keyboard who claimed to be working for the website and "yes they had coils in stock." I REPEATEDLY (3 times) axed her/him if that particular part was in stock - YES it is in stock and READY TO BE SHIPPED! WE JUST GOT ANOTHER SHIPMENT IN THIS WEEK!
Now here's the part where I need "sucker" tattooed across my forehead. OF COURSE THE PART DOESN'T COME AGAIN - JUST LIKE IT DIDN'T COME THE LAST TIME! (At least they are consistent) I call their 800 number AGAIN and AGAIN am informed that they don't have the part and that they emailed me (they didn't) and refunded me - (I'm not sure).
So fellow shade-tree mechanics, it comes down to this, don't use "ThePartsBin dot Com" to order anything - especially VW Passat ignition coils. In fact, I wouldn't order from them at all, as their website doesn't appear to really reflect what parts they do in fact have in stock. Even their online chat personnel don't seem to have a grip on what they got, or what they don't got - but they sure like to play "gotcha."
Happy motoring - urfriendlypirate.
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