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It pays to shop around

It pays to shop around as we all know. So here is my story from the last three days.

The deck on my Stiga 740 pwx is older than the machine itself, being the one from the previous 740. So the deck, a Combi 100 EL has done over 1100 hours. 1100 hours of at times, very hard working conditions in old ‘up and down’ churchyards etc. It has been completely trouble free.

On Wednesday the deck itself fractured at the rear corner and the rear support came away with a portion of deck casing. There was no rust anywhere, it was just the erosion caused by constant internal debris blasting and metal fatigue. After dismissing thoughts of welding [it really was too far gone to be practical], I decided a new deck was needed.

The later, newer versions now have additional electrically operated pins at each side. You flick a switch to disengage the pins and then you can get off the machine and manually lift the deck into the cleaning/maintenance position.

This to me is something that is not needed. All you need to do is manually remove two pins and then lift the deck. The electric release really makes it no easier.

So there are currently two versions. The old stock, which is like the one I had already and the new stock which have the electric pins. Other than that, the decks are identical.

There is the Combi 100 EL [list £899 and latterly £999] and the Combi 100 EL QF – [quick flip] [list £1158].

So after much Googling I found a dealer in Kent who had a ‘cheap’ deck for sale. They stated that the list price was £1159 and that they had discounted the deck to only £949. But it was a 2019 old stock without the ‘quick flip’. So I spoke to them and pointed out that the list price they had quoted was not correct. It took a while to get them to admit this, but in the end they would not offer any discount. Plus it was £70 to send it up to Derbyshire, so £1019 altogether.

So I Googled some more [I actually just looked at the second page of results] and this time found an agricultural machinery dealer I hadn’t heard of [Russell’s], here in Derbyshire [below Ashbourne, so about forty miles away from me]. They had the exact same deck as the one in Kent, a brand new in box 2019 model. The price to me including vat - £694.80. I collected it this afternoon.

Had the miserable dealer in Kent offered me £50 discount, I would have bought it. I’m therefore grateful that they were so intransigent. It saved me £324.

Every other dealer was offering the ‘QF’ version, which were even more money, even with any discount. They were also talking of at least seven days to get one. Some even mentioned late December.

So, it pays to tread carefully and to take your time and to always question the price when you know more than they think you know. The Kent dealer even said ‘you obviously know what you’re talking about’. Sorry for the very long story, but I thought it was worth telling.

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  • Good to hear that Vic, usually when one needs something in a hurry it's so easy to pay over the odds. On an admittedly much smaller scale than a mower deck, which is rare to fail, I occasionally have a trawl around the web to find parts that I am likely to need for specific equipment sooner or later, like blades, chainsaw chains etc. Plus other bits which tend to wear out or break. Sometimes unbeatable prices out of season or in a damaged box etc. And minimal down time when a tool requires that new part. Also postage can be quite high, so it's cheaper per item to get 5 units rather than just 1. A customer the other day where I cut the lawn was moaning because the other gardener couldn't do some promised work because of a broken hedge trimmer. A problem I realised I just don't have these days, because I would just get another one out. Could have poached the job on the spot, but am not like that, plus got more than enough work on anyway

    • Yes, I carry spares, like belts and elbow joints etc. I also have more than one example of most things. I even have two ride on mowers, although the John Deere can’t reach places that the Stiga can. So it’s horses for courses.

      I now regret selling previous ride one mowers when upgrading. For what you get for them it would be better to keep them as a backup, or even a spare parts pool.

      But you live and learn.

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