I’ve had a few things on my plate since my last post, so here’s the update:
Michigan decided to change out their old blue plates with white letters and replace them with white plates with blue letters. Way to go Michigan! For my 40th birthday I got to go to the Secretary of State (DMV for everyone else in the USA) to renew my registration, license, and replace my old plate MIRTH1. I had the MIRTH1 for several years because someone named Mirth had the MIRTH plate. She let it go and I pounced.
At the end of 2004 I took my current job a Gospel Communications. The office is about 60 miles from my home and I had no intention of moving, so I got my car checked out by the local Chrysler dealer. I got some work done and the final price was considerably higher than I had discussed or authorized. I was angry, but nonetheless needed my car, so I paid the price and went on. Some time later I noticed that they put a license plate frame on my car – without my permission.
I sent them this letter along with an invoice for $984.15 – the precise amount of the repairs to my car:
Highland Chrysler Jeep
1350 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
To whom it may concern;
Thank you for choosing your advertising space so judiciously!
I have a long history of providing the best in mobile advertising for a relatively small cost. I was pleased to find that Highland Chrysler Jeep chose to use my services for advertising and I’m sure that the traffic seen by your advertisement is worth the expense.
Your mobile advertisement travels from a residential section of Caledonia Township in South-East Kent county to a location on Apple Avenue in Muskegon every weekday and throughout Kent, Ottowa and Allegan counties on weekend days. In fact there is a trip planned for this weekend that will bring your advertising message to a variety of new potential customers.
The most exciting part of mobile advertising for me is that you never even contacted me about spending your valuable advertising dollars with my service. One day, following a service procedure at your establishment I found the advertising and I have proudly displayed it ever-since. I have tried on numerous occasions to contact your service manager, [name], to thank him for the opportunity to fullfil your advertising needs, but he has not returned my calls. [name] was very helpful when he said he would let Mike know that I called and have him call me back, but that has not happened yet.
Please find enclosed your first quarterly invoice for rental of the advertising space and a picture showing a close-up of your message at work. Please make your check payable to Brian Melles and send it to the address listed above and below upon receipt of this invoice. If for any reason you wish to terminate your rental agreement with me prior to the end of the current billing period (January 24, 2005) I will happily pro-rate the invoice. Otherwise, I’m sure you agree that the money you spend advertising with me is well-spent, I’ll continue billing Highland Chrysler Jeep on a quarterly basis.
Additionally, next quarter, I’m running a special promotion that will put this information on my website for the low price of only $150 per month (regular price $300 per month) that’s a savings of 50% on the web advertising alone, and we all know how effective web-based advertising can be. In keeping with your previous method, I’ll go ahead and take care of that for you, and send you another invoice at the end of next quarter unless I hear from you differently.
Thanks again for using my services this way!
I received a phone call a few days later and discussed the matter with them. Not only were they not willing to pay for the advertising (duh), nor were they willing to discuss even a partial refund, but they also didn’t want the license plate frame back, and they also didn’t have the original screws that came with my car which did not have the extra space for the frame. Now. without the frame, the plate would bang and clatter loosely on the back of my car. I broke the frame up into pieces and used only the top portion to finish securing my license plate to the back end. Highland did offer me 10% off of my next service. I respectfully declined to take advantage of that.
Altogether an experience just as bad as any Comcastic customer service opportunity. When presented with the opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, why do companies continually choose to keep their customers unhappy? All people with a service should start reading Seth Godin’s blog to learn the basics. Seriously, it’s been over two years and I’m still honked off enough to take the time to blog about it – and more than once. Don’t get me started on my 1993 State Farm Insurance story!
So, Highland Chrysler Jeep – please enjoy this belated, but still appropriate, finger from me to you.