I’m done with false marketing hype and offers. This includes all marketing offers, not just on price. It includes free trips, lifetime warranties and all of that. It’s time for some sanity in the offerings department.
Recently, I was trying to find a one-way rental car and was astounded by the prices. It was about three-to-four times the cost of a round-trip rental. While I was aggravated, I understand the increased inventory challenges of a one-way rental. As I surfed around looking, I found it. A $40-a-day rental. Perfect, I thought. It was even a mid-size car. But wait, the three-day rental was $604. How does that math work? I clicked deeper and found the culprit – it was a $437 drop charge. I was outraged by the attempt to conceal such a charge. Did they really think I would not check the total?
Then, there are my favorites: the car deals. Lease a brand new whatever for $199 per month. I dare you to go buy one of those. If they have one, it’s literally bolted to the floor. If you do get it loose, it will be plus, taxes, destination fees, cost cap reduction charge, turn-in fee, license plates and, my all time favorite, dealer documentation fees. This is usually about $250. I could easily run to the title bureau on my own for $250. It’s all in the money due at signing: about $2,000-$3,000 and the payment is now $279 because you wanted red paint.
If you think we don’t do this in the aftermarket, you are blind. Look at how we price stuff in ads. Batteries from $19.95. Great, but I want a car battery not a garden tractor battery. How about our battery warranty policies? A 60-month warranty, it says. What is the actual refund on a 60-month battery that fails at 22 months?
How many $9.95 brake pads do you really sell? There are probably about five SKUs that really sell for that and they are not very popular. I could go on but I won’t. You get the picture. We need to let we consumers know how much our stuff really costs and stop the deception. They are going to buy it anyway because they need it. Just stop making them so mad that they buy it begrudgingly. That is no recipe for customer satisfaction.
I buy my parts where I know the pricing is fair and accurate. When they give me a fair and accurate price, it keeps me going back. In the end, repeat buyers are what we all really want.
Now, I have to go, I just saw an ad for $9 airfares.
Editor’s Note: This column originally ran in the July 2017 print issue of Counterman magazine, a sister publication to AMN.