...Old Policy, New Attitude...

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The policy itself is nothing new. Lycoming has always reserved the right to charge back for exchange parts it considered unserviceable. What's new is the company's suddenly vigorous enforcement of the policy. In the past it was common for the company to look the other way when even an obviously flawed case or crank was sent back for exchange. Lycoming spokeswoman Karla Sexton told AVweb's sister publication Aviation Consumer the company just couldn't go on absorbing the revenue "leakage" from bad exchange parts. "It's important for us to get the best possible value for our shareholders," said Sexton. "The world has gotten to be more competitive." (Something some fear Lycoming may become even more familiar with as customers react to the policy shift.) Although the decision to enforce the policy was made a year ago, it has taken time to trickle through the business. In fact, some customers who got their new engines last spring didn't get their chargebacks until the fall. Lycoming and its distributors started getting angry phone calls from customers who had received the bills. In the October letter, Lycoming's Stoner directed distributors to ensure, as of Jan. 5, 2005, that everyone buying a factory rebuild read and sign a letter saying they understand that there's now a real possibility of getting a chargeback.