Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maybe It's The Full Moon

or maybe it's the fact I am just tired of having my middle name be DOORMAT.

I got a call last night from the Ford dealership looking for feedback on my "recent visit and service experience." I gave the poor girl my feedback. I think she was rather taken aback by my response. I told her that I was happy with the repair and fully expected it to be done and done professionally, but was sincerely UNhappy with the up sell and subsequent condescending attitude of the employee who handled my paperwork when I declined the additional services. The main service manager was very pleasant, his underling was condescending. The dealership tried to sell me not only the oil change I originally went in for (and had the ABS light checked out at the same time), but a new fuel filter and a transmission flush and fill. My $30 oil change ended up with a estimated bill of $750 IF I had agreed to all their "suggested and much needed" services. I told the poor girl that the eye rolling by the technician in front of me was less than professional and that the up sell on the other services was more than a little irritating. Plus I can read the owners manual and the recommended fuel filter change was not until the 60k service, the car came into the dealership with 50K on it. I was nice, but very direct with my feedback to the young lady. I don't think she gets many people who give the specific feedback I did.

My check for last months second job work had not arrived by last week. The barn went on a new payroll schedule and I was expecting a check to be sitting in my mail box when I got back from my conference. It was not there. I called the barn and was told they had forgotten to cut me a check and I'd get the check in a couple weeks (the next payroll cycle). I told the barn manger who processes the auxiliary help checks that this was just not acceptable, especially since I did that work in the beginning of October and fully expected (as in the past) to be compensated in a reasonable period of time. Six weeks later was not reasonable. Again I was polite and professional, but I was very firm. I needed that check now. It was in my mail box on Monday.

I also ran into one of my "friends" this morning at the coffee shop. This was the supposed friend who did me no favors in my quest to find Poochie 2 a new home, in fact, she referred a prospective owner to someone else other than me. Supposed friend gives a pleasant greeting and proceeds to ask me a lot of real estate questions about an impending purchase she is making in another state, she is helping her daughter buy a house. And the purchase is not through me or my agency. Call me petty, call me vindictive, call me many things, but don't call me asking for advice on your purchase and sale of a property. Like in many businesses, real estate professionals do referrals if a prospective purchase and sale is really out of our jurisdiction. When this supposed friend needed some advice, I helped her out and asked that if she was serious about a purchase, please let me know as I would love to do a referral. I also gave her the contact information of several agencies. I was told yes, but the referral never came through. All I needed was the name of the agency and agent to process the referral. I was given a song and dance about how the daughter "found" the same agencies (oh my!) that I had given her. She would not be paying for the referral fee, it would come from the other agency. I know we had many conversations about purchasing a home in this market. I more than earned that referral, I did not get it for what ever reason. I did not forget that or the incident with the dog. And I found out about the prospective home purchase through the ever popular and usually reliable grapevine of gossip (remember that 6 degrees of seperation thing). Her explanation of why I did not get this referral was pretty much BS. At the time, I let the situation drop for a variety of reasons. When supposed friend started to ask specific questions, I politely cut her off and said, you really need to talk to your agent about this. Supposed friend was a bit taken aback and said the agent had not returned a phone call. I picked up my coffee and said, I really could not help at all, not my purchase or sale and I don't have a financial interest in the transaction, so I could not help. I smiled, said good luck with the transaction, and walked out of the door.

I had actually given this woman a lot of help and advice for her out of state transaction. The fact that she could not be bothered to do the referral really got to me. I don't need supposed friends or business acquaintances like this. I was polite, I was professional, but I was quite firm when I said Not my problem, use your own agent. I don't get paid to do other peoples work.

What has this got to do with personal finance? It's about sticking up for yourself and getting what you deserve, whether it's better service, a referral, a discount, a bonus, a lead, or what ever. In the past, I probably would have given in and waited the extra two weeks for the check, or spent the 15 minutes giving out free advice or not have spoken up in my own defence. In these tough economic times, we have to do what we have to do and not allowing one self to be used is an important concept. it's about asking for the lower interest rate, asking for the referral, asking for the discount, asking for the extension, asking for the business, it's about getting what you deserve. I may have lost a "friend" over the above incident, but this "supposed friend" has been less than honest on several occasions and I don't need friends or business associates like that. We all deserve better.


Luna said...

All I can say is Good For You!! I think you did exactly the right thing. It's no fun taking slack from other people. Especially pushy sales people and "supposed" friends. I probably wouldn't have had the composure you showed that "supposed" friend.

Shevy said...

Great example of chutzpah! You'd think that after having treated you shabbily not once, but twice, she would have pretended not to see you or just said "Hi" and hurried out.

But no. She went for the hat trick. Good for you for not cooperating.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. I hate dealers that do the upsale when just trying to get an oil change. Fortunately, the dealer that I bought my last car from is the total opposite. I am always amazed how a dealership will tell you that all these things are needed for a pratically new car. Must be a problem with their car.

Sammy said...

We should all follow your example and stand up for ourselves.

Dawn said...

It isn't just that these are hard economic times, it also is about investing in ourselves. I remember your post about the dog, and how miserable you were. It sounds like now you are holding your head up high and walking tall. You go!!

Northern Living Allowance said...

I loved this post! I truly admire the way you dealt so effectively with each of these. I've got to take a page out of your book and get myself a backbone - or at least one that's not quite as floppy as the one I currently possess! :P

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