An effort should always be made to try and resolve any problem diplomatically but that does not always work. In some cases there needs to be a cut-off point at which diplomacy ends and the customer is told, there’s the door, get out; or else.

In the case of the body damage incident I mentioned previously, a guy brought a VW in for a minor service and front end alignment. Per the usual, the mechanic (a very good one) notated the hood damage on the repair order right off the bat. It appeared that something heavy had falled onto the center of the hood near the windshield and then bounced it’s way down the hood, leaving a trail of dents and scrapes to the bare metal.
The customer came in to pick up the car and immediately returned, cursing and screaming that the mechanic damaged his car. The service manager took the side of the customer because, “why would a customer lie about this?”. This led to a ruckus with the mechanic, whom he wanted to backflag on this.

The service manager sent the car to a body shop and 1500 dollars later it was done and parked under the awning out front awaiting the customer to return for his free body work.
While it was parked there a gentleman who owned a small local Alpha dealer at the time dropped by, saw the car, and started asking questions about it. The car was distinctive due to some unusual side stripes, rear spoiler, and oddball fog lights.

After being told what happened the Alpha dealer stated about the car owner “that SOB was in my shop about 6 months ago and tried to blame the same damage on me”.

Even worse, just a week later the service manager at our dealership fired the mechanic over this incident for “poor attitude and not being a team player”.
That’s just one example of many and really disgusting because a lying customer got a great mechanic and all around good guy terminated.

In another incident a guy ran his VW out of oil and blew the engine up with a pair of rods sticking through the block. He cleaned the engine up, filled it with fresh oil and a new filter, and then towed it to us at night and after hours. The guy then left an Early Bird ticket on it with a benign, “Please check my car for not starting” complaint. When called and told the engine was wiped he then blamed it on us because we were the last ones to change his oil. True enough, but that was over 10k miles back and and it was revealed later that the hood never came up to check anything after that oil change.

Yeah, I was just alluding to there was a period of time when the management consultants were spewing the whole customer service model. So Target and other retailers adopted things like no questions asked returns. Most had to back off on these policies because they became so unprofitable due to dishonest customers.

I’m not saying the customer is not important and concerns should not be cheerfully addressed, I’m just saying that a business is in business to make money, period. When customers are so deceitful that they cost money instead of making money, they are no longer customers but liabilities and should be referred to their competitors. I expect to be treated honestly and fairly by businesses and they can expect the same from me. Its a two way street though. Hope the fired mechanic landed on his feet with a better employer.

Just a little story I remember: We get business lessons along the way in some strange places but they kind of stick. Years ago when we bought a lot, trees were provided by the developer. He had his own tree spade and you just had to ride along for the day to help. When I was riding with him, a guy flagged him down to talk to him about some tree work. He just said oh gosh, I really can’t handle the work, etc. I asked him what was all that about and he said oh that guy is just a chisler, wants everything done free, and will never be satisfied. Didn’t need or want customers like that.

I agree that some people are a royal pain in the butt. I work in IT and while I never solicit anyone for extra work, I often get people practically begging me to do side work for them. Sometimes I accept, and while the fast cash is nice, I often regret my choice. I’ve been waiting for almost a month for a guy to pay me and pick up his laptop, and another guy keeps calling and calling and calling about the machine I replaced a hard drive on. Apparently doing some paid work for him once now entitles him to call me 100 times for free advice and instruction.

I’m often very glad to work for someone else and not operate my own business full time because of people like that.