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Mechanic Destroyed paint job on new bicycle

Old 09-20-19, 10:09 PM
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squintz
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Mechanic Destroyed paint job on new bicycle

Just bought a brand new bike, MSRP $5k. Needed to have the hydraulic brake cables lengthened to accommodate an elevated cockpit - so I took it to the closest dealer/bike shop who services this brand of bike. After getting the bike back I noticed the fork near the front brake have been completely tarnished (clearcoat black is now a mirrored gray). Brake oil must have spilled and a harsh cleaner must have been used.

What is the right solution here? Is this acceptable or should I have the shop buy me a new fork? I did not expect this from a professional shop - I've had the bike for 2 weeks and I am very angry and upset.

Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated.

Cheers.

Last edited by squintz; 09-20-19 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 09-20-19, 10:18 PM
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Matte finish paint is notoriously difficult to keep looking matte. Greasy fingers can easily change the appearance. If it bothers you that badly (and it sounds like it does) take the bike back to the shop that did the work and complain.

One question: Why didn't you have the cockpit setup for you when you purchased the bike from the original shop? That's typically something the selling shop does on a new bike purchase.
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Old 09-20-19, 10:28 PM
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RGMN - Apologies, it is not matte black, it is a clear coat gloss black on the fork...the head tube and top tube have matte black, which was also blemished, but not nearly as bad.

It's a race setup that I did not buy locally (hunted this particular bike for awhile due to a specific paint scheme). When I tried to put in spacers or flip the stem, too much tension was put on the front brake cable. Definitely a manufacturing issue but a simple enough fix if done right.

I will be addressing this issue, but what is the solution I should be looking for? In my mind I want the fork replaced on this 2 week old bike, but is that asking too much?
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Old 09-20-19, 10:40 PM
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The only thing to do is go to the shop and start a conversation. This sucks for the shop, but if they're a dealer they should be able to get a fork in--the manufacturer might even help them with it to some degree. Its understandable that you're upset, but you're more likely to get a good result letting them know that you expected better, and are disappointed, and what you would like, calmly. They should work to resolve the situation to your satisfaction regardless, but it doesn't hurt to make them personally want to make things right.

If I were guessing you're probably using Sram brakes (as they're the only road hydraulic system using DOT fluid) which is fairly corrosive. It's very unlikely to be from cleaning post bleed (almost certainly they used isopropyl alcohol or denatured alcohol). If they did a fairly reasonable job cleaning they may persue warranty with the manufacturer--really, paint shouldn't discolor or mar unless they left significant amounts of DOT on the fork. Also if the bike shipped with lines so short that the stock stem and handlebars can't be put in the highest configuration without binding, then that's really a manufacturing problem and should be resolved under warranty covering parts and a labor credit (I just did exactly this at work a few weeks ago).

If this happened where I was working I'd try to get as much out of the manufacturer as I could. Really none of this would've happened if the bike shipped correctly.

To be honest, if you're the kinda customer dropping $5k on a bike, unless you're a real jerk, they should be trying to convince you that they hold high standards and take care of their customers.

Last edited by cpach; 09-20-19 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 09-20-19, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by squintz View Post
I will be addressing this issue, but what is the solution I should be looking for? In my mind I want the fork replaced on this 2 week old bike, but is that asking too much?
I'd ask for a new bike. If you're gonna do it go all in. Settle for a new fork.
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Old 09-20-19, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
The only thing to do is go to the shop and start a conversation. This sucks for the shop, but if they're a dealer they should be able to get a fork in--the manufacturer might even help them with it to some degree. Its understandable that you're upset, but you're more likely to get a good result letting them know that you expected better, and are disappointed, and what you would like, calmly. They should work to resolve the situation to your satisfaction regardless, but it doesn't hurt to make them personally want to make things right.


If I were guessing you're probably using Sram brakes (as they're the only road hydraulic system using DOT fluid) which is fairly corrosive. It's very unlikely to be from cleaning post bleed (almost certainly they used isopropyl alcohol or denatured alcohol). If they did a fairly reasonable job cleaning they may persue warranty with the manufacturer--really, paint shouldn't discolor or mar unless they left significant amounts of DOT on the fork. Also if the bike shipped with lines so short that the stock stem and handlebars can't be put in the highest configuration without binding, then that's really a manufacturing problem and should be resolved under warranty covering parts and a labor credit (I just did exactly this at work a few weeks ago).


If this happened where I was working I'd try to get as much out of the manufacturer as I could. Really none of this would've happened if the bike shipped correctly.


To be honest, if you're the kinda customer dropping $5k on a bike, unless you're a real jerk, they should be trying to convince you that they hold high standards and take care of their customers.


Thanks for the feedback. This was the plan in my mind - I do like the shop owner, he's a small one man shop that has only been around a few years.


There is more to the story that makes this a little weird. This is a dura-ace setup (thanks for the heads-up on Sram), and when I arrived to pick-up the bike the he said the brake pads were causing a squelching so he swapped them out. When I arrived home, I noticed the disc was incorrect (and then the paint) - he had swapped my RT900 for a used RT800. I called the shop and the owner said that he had swapped it to see if it would fix the squelching and forgot to swap them back - he also said not to worry and that they were the same (not sure what that meant, functionality???...one is silver and one is black). I told him I would like it to match the rear so I would be coming by to pick it up.


After accessing, my guess is that either he accidentally made a mess which contaminated the brakes and covered the fork with mineral oil...even more surprising because the brake pads and wheel should have been removed if he was swapping out brake cables. I also did not mention that the brakes weren't bled properly, might just do it myself and not mention it. Several issues here and he is definitely going to feel he is being called out.


Uggh...this is not going to be fun, starting to think this might be just rookie mistakes from an unseasoned shop.



BTW, this bike was a heck of a deal but still spent a lot. Found the exact bike I was looking for and it had just become 2019 closeout.

Last edited by squintz; 09-20-19 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 09-20-19, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
I'd ask for a new bike. If you're gonna do it go all in. Settle for a new fork.
Yea...this could get ugly. If I had bought it from this shop I think I'd feel more confident in that approach. I just want this guy to make it right.
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Old 09-21-19, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by squintz View Post
Yea...this could get ugly. If I had bought it from this shop I think I'd feel more confident in that approach. I just want this guy to make it right.
Hello "squintz",
I have run a one man service shop, not bikes; but I'd work on whatever item people brought to me if I had the skill set and tools/equipment. I did both factory authorized and non-authorized service. Ultimately the "buck" stopped with me! As a small business I could not afford to have a dissatisfied customer leave since I greatly relied upon " word of mouth" advertising. As a side note, I have come to the point of doing nearly all my cycle, automotive, home repairs, and more due to the inadequate and/or unprofessional workmanship that I've experienced over that past 25 years or so. I have VERY "OLD SCHOOL" ETHICS regarding the work I perform on someone's property regardless of it's condition when received. "DO NO HARM" is my mantra; and the item should ALWAYS look as good or better than when originally received. I always tried to let a customer know exactly what I would do in advance, especially relating to troubleshooting, before I touched their equipment. This gave them an "out" if they felt it was inappropriate or just didn't want me to go to whatever extent I felt might be required to perform said service(s); generally it related more to service costs and helping a customer know what the bill might come to regardless of type of service required, factory authorized or not. With all that being said, I also had to take into consideration their emotional state and attitude. Respect is a 2 way street and rudeness is different from anger and displeasure so keep that in mind. I am fairly "thick skinned" so I can blow past a lot misbehavior on the part of a customer; avoid personal insults. You want to be satisfied, and as with most of my customers, want to continue doing business with the same establishment which is why I presume you went there in the first place. If I mess it up, I make it right! On the other hand, if you ask me to do work that I warn against and/or I have previously warned you of the possibility of damage by attempting certain work than a modicum of responsibility falls on the customer. Still, I would never proceed with any service in the midst of being performed if I felt that it would be detrimental to your property. I would contact you and give you a heads up so that the ultimate decision to continue now fell into your hands, but always taking due care on my part. I never charged high repair rates, thus I could not afford to have unforeseen problems arise that could have been nipped in the bud much earlier. With your situation as you explained it, I would be responsible for any damage caused because I was willing to do the work whether I can back charge it to the factory or not. Factory authorized service requires a contract between the service company and the factory, and they usually don't let the servicer get away everything; not saying that they won't compensate the service company even for some non-related problems; but that's a different subject. As far as swapping out parts to troubleshoot a problem, I would have told you in advance and/or in the midst of doing the work which provides you the "out" as previously mentioned. Leaving a new or used part that was installed for troubleshooting purposes and not informing you is unacceptable. This would have been annotated in my service write-up, which I would have reviewed with you when you came to retrieve your property. I could not have given back the bike without knowing a different part was "left in" regardless of whether you authorized it or not. As explained by you; I could not let you leave the shop with any costs related to service factory authorized repairs or not; all repairs/replacement would be covered and I would have a great return customer who would hopefully extol to others my services and professionalism. Yes, there is always a gray area in there somewhere, but I want you to leave satisfied beyond a doubt. Read my "Bike shop woes" thread and see if I was "crying wolf" with my experiences. As others have said be nice, but still demand that things be made right. You've experienced both a factory issue and a servicer issue where both should be solved without further cost on your part; I don't care if it was a $5K or a $5 purchase; the same rules apply! Good luck my friend.
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Old 09-21-19, 07:39 AM
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My advice is to be respectable when telling them, and at the same time be assertive. Never get anything fixed at that shop again but play like you will continue to patron his shop when telling him this issue.

If you make the impression that you'll never be back anyways, he'll be much less likely to care about fixing the issue—why spend all this money satisfying a customer who'll never be back? His bottom line is money, so he'll see your happiness as an investment.

He may say something such as, "This is a common thing that happens when the bike is cleaned," presupposing that it's normal, and you just need to accept that.

I suggest you come back like a broken record (try to sound natural, though): nonetheless, when I handed the bike to you, it didn't have this damage. Now it does. I would appreciate that this be rectified...

He'll likely come back blaming the manufacturer's paint job, the chemicals, or a monkey's uncle in attempt to try to weasel his way out of his responsibility. Go along the same lines as the above adding that the bike was given into his care and was fine before that time. Now the bike is damaged. That's not the manufacturers fault.

You could always say that since the mechanic caused the bike to be eligible for warranty repairs, then he is the one who should take care of sending it back to the manufacturer to be repaired; he should pay the shipping expenses and go through all that hassle as it was his own doing.

Remember the simple rule: I gave you a perfect bike. I got back a damaged bike.

Do not back down. The owner won't want to spend the money and will likely have no problem arguing with you if he thinks he can change your mind. Don't even allow him to think you're considering his mantra.
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Old 09-21-19, 09:15 AM
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Yeah, that's not great. You can almost always clean up a rotor if it gets contaminated. Every real pro is going to assume that someone on a new 5k road bike is going to care about matching aesthetics. I'm amazed that the finish is damaged from mineral oil/cleaning. If they didn't use anything crazy to clean I'd have bought it up with the manufacturer—it really shouldn't effect the finish even if they leave mineral oil on, it's really pretty inert.

Bleeding Dura Ace should be a breeze, too—it's a one way bleed brake. You pretty much install a bleed block and push fluid from the caliper, close the caliper bleed port, and pull the lever until no more bubbles are released. It is among the easiest bleed procedures because you run fluid in only one direction. I wonder if he didn't have the road bleed cup adapter—could be messy if you improvised around that.
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Old 09-21-19, 01:03 PM
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Oh hell no...I would make them replace everything they jacked up. Whoever worked on your 5k bike is a schmuck and should probably be assembling bikes at Walmart. Leaving an old rotor on your bike and the mess they made on your front fork? Yeah some serious attention to detail, pride and care displayed there. If they don’t make it right, I would put them on blast all over social media.
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Old 09-22-19, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by HPL View Post
Hello "squintz",
I have run a one man service shop, not bikes; but I'd work on whatever item people brought to me if I had the skill set and tools/equipment. I did both factory authorized and non-authorized service. Ultimately the "buck" stopped with me! As a small business I could not afford to have a dissatisfied customer leave since I greatly relied upon " word of mouth" advertising. As a side note, I have come to the point of doing nearly all my cycle, automotive, home repairs, and more due to the inadequate and/or unprofessional workmanship that I've experienced over that past 25 years or so. I have VERY "OLD SCHOOL" ETHICS regarding the work I perform on someone's property regardless of it's condition when received. "DO NO HARM" is my mantra; and the item should ALWAYS look as good or better than when originally received. I always tried to let a customer know exactly what I would do in advance, especially relating to troubleshooting, before I touched their equipment. This gave them an "out" if they felt it was inappropriate or just didn't want me to go to whatever extent I felt might be required to perform said service(s); generally it related more to service costs and helping a customer know what the bill might come to regardless of type of service required, factory authorized or not. With all that being said, I also had to take into consideration their emotional state and attitude. Respect is a 2 way street and rudeness is different from anger and displeasure so keep that in mind. I am fairly "thick skinned" so I can blow past a lot misbehavior on the part of a customer; avoid personal insults. You want to be satisfied, and as with most of my customers, want to continue doing business with the same establishment which is why I presume you went there in the first place. If I mess it up, I make it right! On the other hand, if you ask me to do work that I warn against and/or I have previously warned you of the possibility of damage by attempting certain work than a modicum of responsibility falls on the customer. Still, I would never proceed with any service in the midst of being performed if I felt that it would be detrimental to your property. I would contact you and give you a heads up so that the ultimate decision to continue now fell into your hands, but always taking due care on my part. I never charged high repair rates, thus I could not afford to have unforeseen problems arise that could have been nipped in the bud much earlier. With your situation as you explained it, I would be responsible for any damage caused because I was willing to do the work whether I can back charge it to the factory or not. Factory authorized service requires a contract between the service company and the factory, and they usually don't let the servicer get away everything; not saying that they won't compensate the service company even for some non-related problems; but that's a different subject. As far as swapping out parts to troubleshoot a problem, I would have told you in advance and/or in the midst of doing the work which provides you the "out" as previously mentioned. Leaving a new or used part that was installed for troubleshooting purposes and not informing you is unacceptable. This would have been annotated in my service write-up, which I would have reviewed with you when you came to retrieve your property. I could not have given back the bike without knowing a different part was "left in" regardless of whether you authorized it or not. As explained by you; I could not let you leave the shop with any costs related to service factory authorized repairs or not; all repairs/replacement would be covered and I would have a great return customer who would hopefully extol to others my services and professionalism. Yes, there is always a gray area in there somewhere, but I want you to leave satisfied beyond a doubt. Read my "Bike shop woes" thread and see if I was "crying wolf" with my experiences. As others have said be nice, but still demand that things be made right. You've experienced both a factory issue and a servicer issue where both should be solved without further cost on your part; I don't care if it was a $5K or a $5 purchase; the same rules apply! Good luck my friend.
HPL and bedtime -

I appreciate the thorough response and insight. This is the right way to go about it and thanks for making my head clear on this. "nonetheless, when I handed the bike to you, it didn't have this damage. Now it does."...perfect perspective.

I will let you know how everything turns out. I plan on dropping by the shop early this week.

cpach - I know the procedure and should have done it myself, but didn't want to fiddle with the cable lengthening. I am certainly going to make him describe the process he used.

jadocs - I guess that is the gamble he is going to take, and that would be the most significant retribution I could deliver. If he makes good, I will also give credit where it is due - even though it was a rookie move integrity is more important to me. If you mess up and own up I'm good.
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Old 09-26-19, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by squintz View Post
HPL and bedtime -

I appreciate the thorough response and insight. This is the right way to go about it and thanks for making my head clear on this. "nonetheless, when I handed the bike to you, it didn't have this damage. Now it does."...perfect perspective.

I will let you know how everything turns out. I plan on dropping by the shop early this week.

cpach - I know the procedure and should have done it myself, but didn't want to fiddle with the cable lengthening. I am certainly going to make him describe the process he used.

jadocs - I guess that is the gamble he is going to take, and that would be the most significant retribution I could deliver. If he makes good, I will also give credit where it is due - even though it was a rookie move integrity is more important to me. If you mess up and own up I'm good.
I'm waiting to hear the outcome. Have you taken the bike back?

Wait too long to take it back and he'll flat out refuse altogether.
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Old 09-27-19, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bedtime View Post
I'm waiting to hear the outcome. Have you taken the bike back?


Wait too long to take it back and he'll flat out refuse altogether.

Hi guys - Quick update.


When I approached the owner, I did so first noting the obvious...incorrect rotor and brakes put back on the bike (ultegra rather than dura-ace oem). He agreed that this was a mistake/oversight and he was only trying to make the bike ride-ready (there was some brake squealing after hydraulic brake line was re-done) - putting the original equipment back on was not going to be an issue.


When the components were settled I then addressed the fork. There was much resistance to the idea that he had done anything wrong to the bike. He showed me the cleaner he had used and always uses (Muc-Off Nano Tech), followed by about 10 minutes of a heated reaction in which I remained very calm. I then walked him through what I believe happened - brake contamination from hydraulic fluid (which caused the squealing), followed by brake cleaner to try and remedy. If brake cleaner (he had a can on his shop counter still) had been over-sprayed and then wiped down, it would cause paint finish issues (the only paint finish issues on the entire bike was where the work had been completed). He was still resistant, but I think this was where we had a break through and he realized that there was a possibility that this happened. He was still very unhappy and clearly upset, but did finally agree that he would make it right even though he still was not convinced he had caused the issue.


He was ready to call it a day and dismiss me after we agreed that he would make it right, but I hung around for a bit longer to try and leave on amicable terms. As a business owner myself I do have a mutual understanding of his position, this effects his time and the bottom line will probably now be at a cost to him rather than a profit in doing business with me. It's hard to completely prove that this was the result of his work, but the collection of evidence is just too coincidental - if he was in my position how would he handle it? I know this wasn't on purpose and I am not questioning his integrity, accidents happen (and the lighting in his shop does make it difficult to see the now mirrored gray finish). By the time I left he calmed down and we shook hands.


In the end, I know he did not purposefully do anything to the bike and I hate this situation for him. As a bike-professional, I know it was very difficult for him to have a non-bike professional discuss the quality of his work, and that part was difficult me too - I have pride in what I do as well. I do genuinely think he has integrity, and this is a situation that would fluster anyone - so the heated exchange is understandable and I do not hold against him.


I was hesitant to leave the bike but did which I think was appropriate and shows good faith, and will be going back in about a week to wrap things up. I will post the final result here, and some before and after pics.



Feedback or any other advice on how to proceed from here would be appreciated.


Cheers.
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Old 09-27-19, 11:08 AM
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All people make mistakes, all businesses make mistakes. How a business responds to its own mistakes is a reliable indicator of the integrity of the owner, and whether they value your business enough to make things right.

You gave the owner the chance to make things right, and the owner agreed. As long as you reach an amicable solution with him, all good. You're both operating under the assumption that something averse happened, it needs to be made right, and everyone's on the same page. Hoping it plays out that way.
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Old 09-27-19, 12:05 PM
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Hoping it all comes out for the best.
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Old 09-27-19, 04:43 PM
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He used cheaper parts with the excuse of getting things ready?

Then he fights you every step of the way about the forks and gets mad at you for his mistake? Had you not been prepared, or had you been another customer, you might have just given up and walked out, and I'm betting that's what he hoped you'd do.

But since he wasn't able to convince you, he had to give in. It didn't seem like he had a change of heart but that he knew he couldn't wiggle his way out of this one. It's most likely out of necessity that he relented.

I recommend that you be prepared for more resistance when you drop into the store again. There is a chance that he could say something to the tune of, "After thinking this over, I am now positive I couldn't have caused this damage. Sorry, I know it sucks, but the store is not responsible for this..."

Remember to reiterate that mantra of bringing a perfect bike into the shop and leaving with an imperfect bike. If he continues to resist, I think this will be the time to mention that you will be forced to bring him to small claims court and that you really don't want to do that.

If he still resists, I have more legal tactics that will make him bend (or he will just lose money), but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Keep in mind that his bottom line is money; he really doesn't care about you or your bike. If today wasn't a good example of that, I don't know what is.
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Old 09-27-19, 07:05 PM
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I'm curious if you left with all remedies agreed to, for no surprises. What are the remedies?
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Old 10-20-19, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by squintz View Post
Hi guys - Quick update.

...

I will post the final result here, and some before and after pics.
Are you still alive? Was the bike fixed?

Can't just keep us waiting like this!
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Old 10-25-19, 10:27 AM
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MUSurvey19
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I agree with this comment, bring the bike back to the shop and ask them to replace for damages.
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