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Some people are naturally skeptical when it comes to purchasing remanufactured or refurbished products, but others are anxious because they’ve had a bad experience with a shoddy product.
If Marc Erickson, owner of Total Body Experts in Marina del Rey, Calif., has anything to do with it, consumers will know which businesses sell quality remanufactured and refurbished fitness equipment.
Erickson recently started the Commercial Fitness Equipment Association, an organization that welcomes all vendors who refurbish equipment and the retailers who sell it. Plus, Erickson said, he’s hoping to attract manufacturer members like Nautilus, Precor and Star Trac.
Erickson, whose business specializes in selling remanufactured commercial fitness equipment to customers for residential use, said he’s been vetting his vendors to make sure they uphold certain standards when repurposing the machines. This task, he said, is difficult as there are no set practices. In fact, there are no clear guidelines for refurbishing, remanufacturing and servicing and cleaning.
With the Commercial Fitness Equipment Association, Erickson has set out to define the processes, establish standards and ensure vendors adhere to them.
The goal: set, define standards
There are too many sites selling used fitness equipment, Erickson said, and consumers need to know the difference between the legitimate ones and those that don’t sell quality stuff.
That starts with defining each of the processes by which equipment is fixed up prior to resale.
“There’s not really a set standard,” Erickson said. “One company might say they remanufacture it, another might say they refurbish it, but what does that mean? Nobody really knows for sure — that’s why we’re going to explain it.”
Remanufacturing, Erickson said, is when the piece is completely stripped down, mechanical parts replaced, sandblasted and repainted. Refurbishing is when a vendor replaces everything mechanically, but does not repaint or touch up cosmetic imperfections. Service and cleaning is when vendors simply service the mechanical aspects of the piece and clean rust, dust or any other particles that may have accumulated during its life.
“I’m bringing together like-minded individuals,” Erickson said. “I’m bringing those people together who are actually doing the remanufacturing the way it should be done.”
In addition, the association has established standards by which members should do business, which include the following:
- Products must be shipped exactly as promised in terms of condition
- Products must be shipped exactly as promised in terms of model designation, generation and specifications
- Execute each and every transaction with integrity and care
The idea behind the standards is to ensure good customer service, something Erickson said is missing from the used fitness equipment retail business.
“We want to ensure that if someone orders a commercial fitness equipment piece, they’re getting something remanufactured with quality, that shows up in the condition that it was promised and in the generation that was ordered,” Erickson said.
The goal: No one suffers
When consumers buy a used piece of equipment that was supposed to have been brought up to snuff by the seller, but wasn’t, not only the seller suffers. Disgruntled customers generally take to the Internet with their scathing reviews, reflecting badly on the vendor and the manufacturer of the piece of equipment they purchased.
The goal, he said, is to attract members who meet certain criteria (such as being a licensed business and a member of the Better Business Bureau, among other things) so customers know the retailers are legitimate. Plus, the organization will serve as a mediator when customers do have a bad experience purchasing used equipment.
“We want to avoid that the end user having to go online and write a negative review,” Erickson said. Plus, Erickson said the association is for manufacturers because they also suffer when somebody purchases a piece of used equipment that originally came from them.
Erickson plans to discuss the association at Health and Fitness Business Expo in September 2012 and at IHRSA in March 2013. Both shows are in Las Vegas.