If you don’t get it right, make it right

About a month ago, I bought a 2020 certified luxury used car from a dealership in Huntsville Alabama. Huntsville is almost 250 miles from our home in Loganville, GA. Before I made the trip, I talked with the dealer several times.

We worked out the price. This model car is no longer being manufactured. It has features you can’t get in any new car. I test drove this model way back in 2016 when they were first introduced and have wanted one ever since. When I arrived at the dealer, the salesman assured me that everything was in shipshape, only has 22,000 miles, and of course is certified – basically a new car.

It was freezing cold out. I’m not sure I even walked around the car. I made, what I realize now, was a big mistake. I trusted, fully trusted, the dealership to deliver me the equivalent of a new car.

I loved driving the car home. It has more luxury features than I’d even realized. I enjoyed the back massage and other features. I didn’t know I would enjoy them as much!

A couple of days after I got home, I had my professional detailer come over to apply a ceramic coating. As we looked the car over, we discovered, to my amazement, body damage on the quarter panel just behind the right rear door.

We sent a picture to the dealership in Alabama, called the salesman who said,

“Well, take it to a local dealer, have it repaired and send us the bill.” The local dealer’s body shop found considerably more small areas of damage. They all added up to several thousand dollars.

I called Alabama again, sent them all the pictures and the estimate. As we talked, it became clear the only way they could understand the extent of the damage was for me to make another “7:00AM – 7:00PM” round trip back to Huntsville.

Our son and my wife really didn’t want me to make the trip, “forget about it, there is nothing you can do about it,” “Really dad? You can hardly see it.”

When I arrived, the second-generation owner of the fifty-year-old dealership and his general manager looked the car over carefully.

“You are right, Mr. Dennis. This is not acceptable. What do you want us to do?”

My response: “Just make it right.”

We worked out the details.

As I left, I said, “Thank you for being so professional, standing behind your sale, keeping your word. I’ve tried to behave myself too.”

The lesson I learned from this experience is the importance of professionally standing my ground, expecting the best of others.

The action I want you to take is to expect others to live up to their word, keep their promise and when needed stand firm. There should be no need to shout.

The benefit you will gain is living in a world where people earn the trust you place in them.