The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

by Justin Weinger on April 23, 2007

This past weekend, aside from enjoying the nice weather, I did something that I’ve done before – I went back to a company that had “done work” for me, told them that I wasn’t satisfied with their work and that I would like to be reimbursed for the costs I incurred for fixing their error.

To make a long story short, I got my oil changed at a local car service center, they forgot to put the gasket back on the drain plug, so I had to re-drain my oil, put on the gasket myself and put the oil back in my car.

Because I was kind of annoyed with the situation, I thought it would be worth a shot to go up to the service center, explain the situation and ask that they reimburse me for the parts I had to buy due to their screw up.

Much to my satisfaction, not only did they reimburse the money without question, but they gave me a coupon for a free oil change.

So what exactly am I getting at? I’m using this example as a way of showing that companies are terrified of losing you as a customer and they will do whatever it takes to keep you happy and coming back to their establishment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that you abuse this fact, however, if work isn’t done to your satisfaction or a product you buy isn’t up to par, let the company know that you’ve had a problem and that you expect them to take care of it.

While it takes a certain amount of assertiveness to do this, even the most timid person can pull this off. Just remember, they want to make you happy and keep you as a customer. The reason being, it’s cheaper to make you happy and keep you as a customer than it is to go out and find another customer.

As long as you’re polite, most companies will be willing to hear your grievances and will do their best to accommodate you.



cc April 24, 2007 at 3:22 am

I believe it always pays to be assertive (in a non-aggresive way) and stick up for yourself. You weren’t happy, you got a free oil change. I’m sure that’s just pocket change to that car service company, but, in turn, they kept you as a customer. Granted, it took extra time and effort on your part to go back and complain, which I’m sure was annoying. But in the end, it sounds like both parties were satisfied.

Kenneth April 24, 2007 at 9:55 am

Similar to your case, but, clearly you’ve never had an extended warranty on electronics with a major “Red” retail establishment. They’ll do everything in their power to piss you off and weasel out of the warranty you paid for.

Brian Carr April 25, 2007 at 9:01 am

CC – thanks for the comment. While it certainly was annoying having to take time out of my day to fix their error, and then wait around their office for them to reimburse me, in the end it definitely was worth it!

Brian Carr April 25, 2007 at 9:03 am

Kenneth – thanks for the comment. Obviously there are going to be plenty of exceptions. The thing that would frustrate me the most about your situation is the fact that you PAID for the extra services that they are now denying you. However, I think that if you make a big enough stink, threaten to call the better business bureau, etc., they’ll come around.

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