As we exited Australia on our last trip home to the USA my wife put her car in to be fixed on her way to the airport. On leaving it with the auto electrician she said, “we are only ever here for a week at a time and only every 3 months or so. I can leave it with you to be fixed but I won’t be able to come get it for at least 8 weeks, maybe longer. If you have a place to store it I can leave it with you?”

His reply, “no worries, that car over there (pointing to another in the yard) has been sitting here for months, you’ll be right.”

The diagnosis was that her trusty builders’ 4WD utility pick up was in need of a new starter motor. And we had two options, get a second hand one for $250 or get a new one with a 3-year warranty for $345. The choice was simple, give the old beast the new motor for a new lease of life. She also asked for him to take a look at a faulty indicator that would work one day and not the next – it turns out it was a simple $5 part replacement.

As we rang from Florida to advise of our brief return to Australia the quote came back in an email to say that the car was ready and the bill was $495. A little different from the expected $345 for the starter and a few bucks for the indicator.

Of course Dom enquired as to how the bill went from $345 to $495 without any consultation. His response in a curt email was that ‘there was a corroded bolt that took much longer to take off and therefore the extra charges, and anyway, if you want to query the bill then I have the right to charge you for storage at a rate compatible with the long term car park rate at the airport.”  Not sure how he figured that? But anyway…

For sure, had we have received some explanation prior, or even during the repair that there was to be some extra charges then we would have probably swallowed this. Dom responded saying that she simply wanted an explanation.  But he didn’t stop there, he kept on the defense with, “well if you don’t come and pick it up by (this date) then I’ll simply charge you for the parking. It’s my right you know”….. No, we didn’t know.

So Dom goes to collect the car as I was commuting from an appointment only to find out that the new starter engine was in fact NOT new and in fact second hand. So again, she enquires as to why it is not the new one as quoted. The response, “I have no recollection of that quote, or saying that it would be a new one, I don’t know who you talked to, and anyway, I can charge you parking, it’s my right.” Once again, Dom simply repeats that she is only after an explanation. To which she was told to, ‘just pay the bill and get lost before I charge you parking.’

So, after enough verbal abuse, she does.

I am yet to call this guy, mainly as I am still too angry that he treated Dom as he did, and partially as I am not sure how to address him. Should I hold up the mirror to show him his Neanderthal ways, or should I just let him go into what will no doubt be certain self destruction as he takes out his life pressures on the same people that could help him solve some of those pressures, and continue to bite off the hand that feeds him.

Amazing how in an economic shift, when we’re all placed under pressure to keep the wheels turning and the business moving, so many people simply lose track of the difference between wrong and right, logic and lunacy, service and stupidity.

As my good mate Mick keeps telling me, ‘pressure does not create character it reveals it.’ I agree. And this is another classic example.

So, after some thought I chose not to call him and show him the error of his ways, figuring that all that will serve to do is have him grunt more like a cave man and beat his chest. Instead, I think I will make my point more subtly. By writing this note and sending it out to my network and my magazine mail out list, and telling the story on stage to the 30,000+ conference participants that I have the honor of addressing each year.

Maybe I should ring and thank him for the great material!