Minnesota auto dealer makes a bad deal worse

When I was a kid, a local car dealer had long-running advertising campaign centered on the tagline: “A better car deal – we wrote the book!”

Recently, another Minnesota car dealer made a good start writing a different kind of book. This one might be called: “How to drive customers away by the busload.”

This article in the StarTribune would make a good first chapter. It tells how this car dealer has dealt with a customer over what appears to be the car dealer’s mistake. (According to the article, they undercharged her by $7000.)

One of their tactics was to sue their customer. (But it’s not clear she did anything wrong other than unwittingly get a very good deal on the car she bought from them.)

We all know newspaper articles never have all the facts. But if the basics of this story are true then this dealer made a costly mistake in how they chose to resolve a problem. The bad publicity alone has run way past the value of the mistake they made.

Fighting with your customer is never the answer. It’s even worse when the company is at fault and they resort to bullying tactics to fix their mistake.

When a company does that they send a powerful message:

“You cannot trust us to look out for you.”

They might be fine if there are never any problems with your transaction. But if the going gets tough they will not be there to help you. They’ll look out only for themselves regardless of who’s at fault.

That’s what this behavior tells customers.

As a customer, how does this feel to you? Does it make you want to do business with them?