Posted: 02/25/12 05:29 AM
That old saying, "To make a long story short..." does not apply here. Back in 1985 my Dad bought a Toyota longbed pickup. The dealer asked what his intended use was, my father told him just as basic transportation, so he was given passenger plates for it. He drove the truck for close to two years before he got pulled over on one of Long Islands' Parkways and given a ticket for driving a commercial vehicle with passenger plates. He was told that he'd have to put a cap on it and have seats with safety belts in the bed in order to get regular tags. The following Fathers' day my sisters and I chipped in and got him a cap. The total price was around $125.00. So two years ago, when I got my truck, I immediately looked into getting a fiberglass cap and was stunned to see that they cost about $1,700.00. Luckily they've eased the laws about what is considered a commercial vehicle, so I was able to get passenger plates, but I've been looking for a tonneau cover so I could haul my bass, amp, tools, and other essentials around without them being tempting fodder for thieves. I was equally surprised to see that a plain old tonneau cover was over five bills. There are some vinyl ones that a box cutter could slice through in seconds, so those were out of the question. After searching the inernet for a while I finally found one for a hair over three hundred bucks that was a one piece fiberglass unit, so I took the plunge. When it arrived, the box had been water dammaged and was falling apart. The instructions were inside a plastic zip-loc bag, yet they were soaked and barely readable. The hardware included in the kit had some loops that the front of the cover slid under, and there were two little rings, similar to what you can keep keys on that allowed the lid to be lifted, but kept it from sliding off...as if that was a reality. I eventually got the cap installed and was reasonably pleased with the outcome...until it came time to lock the cap shut. There were two locks on each side of the tailgate lip and one only spun around when the key was inserted. The other side did work...for a while, but the plastic lid, designed to keep water out wouldn't snap closed. Within a short time that also stopped working. I tried to contact the manufacturer and was unable to locate them by any internet searches. I had ordered from some place I had never heard of, and decided to contact them. When I checked my receipt, it was J.C. Whitney & Co. even though I hadn't ordered from their website. I called them and explained my dilemma. They told me that N-Dure was a manufacturer that dealt specifically with them and they would contact them and see what could be done to remedy the situation. I wasn't given a case number or anything like that. While waiting for the manufacturer to contact me, the two little rings rusted almost all the way through, so much for quality materials. About six weeks passed, then I got frustrated and called them again. They told me that the manufacturer wouldn't supply new locks and that I could ship the cover back for a refund. Since the box had been a mass of papier mache when it arrived, I hadn't hung onto it, and to ship it back would have cost a bundle due to the size and weight. I ended up going to a local camper supply house and buying new locks and installing them. I also drilled out the holes in the front loops and put two small locks on, to replace the rusted rings. In the end it still ended up being less expensive than if I had bought a cap locally, but it sure is nice to be able to check things out BEFORE I bought it! The locks were made in China and weren't worth the metal they were made from. On the whole, I would only recommend this brand if price was the only factor in the buying decision. If you're building a show truck, or you've got a bed full of valuables, stick with a name brand!!!