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Kill the Messenger

In the light of public opinion, sometimes a messge takes on a life of it's own.  Especially is the message is inflamatory.  The Penn State debacle is a good example of what happens when you are presented with a problem that eveidently has no easy solution regardless of how you handle it.  Many states have 'whistle blower' laws intented to protect informants that provide information that leads to enforcement of law or policy to protect the public interest.  Alas, the automotive aftermarket and many other business segments offer no such protections.  If you challenge the authority, methods or customary practice within any group or institution, you are sure to stir debate, but what I stirred up was more like something stuck to the bottom of your shoe that smells really bad.

A recent article I wrote which lamented our distribution system for fuel surcharges, lack of price sheets, and fanatical policy resulted in what I can only describe as a pre-eminent first strike of an e-mail war.  I have never received so many e-mails in my life!  Nor do I want to ever again. at least not like these.  Most were very professional, well thought out, used proper grammar and punctuation, verb tense, and very literate.  Some e-mails sided with my take on things, but most were from various industry executives whom were upset over their perceived result of the article.  It exposed an ugly little truth about sur-charges and most would have liked to 'keep a lid' on it, you know, status quo.  I guess when large sums of money are at stake, status quo is a good motto.  Ugly little truths, however, are very likely to result in change if enough of the right people are aware of them.

Normal and customary should never be confused with fair and justified.  If you are plagued with additional charges that have no rooted base other than the fear of fuel price increases, it's time to speak up, because judging from the size of my in-box these days, the 'powers-that-be' are fully aware of our dislike for such things.

Comments




  • In Reading Vic's & auto damage experts comments, I think they both make valid points.


    That said regarding the surcharges that seem to be getting added to our bills from our suppliers and never seem to be removed when fuel prices drop back down. It has becaome simply another way to pad profits just like adding shop supply, hazardous waste fees, recycling fees ect...


    That is specifically why we do not charge those fees to our customers.

    shaneb, 3 years ago | Flag
  • In Reading Vic's & auto damage experts comments, I think they both make valid points.


    That said regarding the surcharges that seem to be getting added to our bills from our suppliers and never seem to be removed when fuel prices drop back down. It has becaome simply another way to pad profits just like adding shop supply, hazardous waste fees, recycling fees ect...


    That is specifically why we do not charge those fees to our customers.

    shaneb, 3 years ago | Flag
  • Something to keep in mind is that the sword cuts both ways. If you have shop supplies and enviro fees on your work order think first before debating the surcharges. Because they are surcharges, we can't have our cake and eat it too, that is unless you want to appear two faced.


     


    Just my two cents.

    Vic, 3 years ago | Flag
  • Thank you ADE, I couldn't of said it better!

    thermo, 3 years ago | Flag
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    I would say that such costs (fuel surcarge, delivery fees etc.) imposed upon a business are indeed a 'cost of doing business'…but not one to be absorbed by the repairers but to be passed onto the consumer and insurer.  Otherwise such costs can attribute to the cost of going out of business!



     



     From another aspect;



     



    You State: "Normal and customary should never be confused with fair and justified" and I say "Amen to that brother!”



     



    This is the same word track collision repairs are confronted with several times throughout each day when attempting to assess a fair and reasonable fee for labor, procedures and materials across the country.



     



    Who said anyone needs to be the same as the guy or gal down the street? There are many repairers I wouldn't wish to be included or associated with so why must my fees and charges be commensurate with theirs? Does that mean I must reduce my service and quality too…merely because there is far less of a value?



     



    Why are Nike athletic shoes more costly than the less expensive no-name shoe? Are stores forced to sell their higher quality and more popular products for the same and the lower quality and less costly products? Why aren't Cadillac and Lincoln relegated to cost the same as their Chevrolet and Ford counter-parts? After all, they all have the same basic amenities! If you want to add opulent features then that should be merely a "Cost of Doing Business" shouldn't it?



     



    If not....then why is the collision industry forced to accept "Prevailing Competitive Pricing" or “Cost of Doing Business” or Prevailing Competitive Practice’” as reasons to all charge, or not to charge the same???



     



    So the next time a claims person or customer asks why your costs are somewhat higher than another…just say” because their fair and justified based on the level of quality and service we provide in comparison to what the others offer. Given the choice, would you want a burger from the Outback or MacDonald’s?



     



     


     

    Auto_Damage_Expert, 3 years ago | Flag

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