Before and After – A Marketing Disaster

As an admission, I am officially behind schedule on the blog but we need to delegate blame to a guilt trip a certain person placed on me.  Apparently queuing up a few posts is second on the evil meter only to kicking an elderly woman down the stairs because she is impeding your timeline to rob a convenience store.  Being haunted by the stigma this would bring to my parents, I was forced to immediately stop using the post buffer to compensate for busy times of the month.  Of course, now I am left foregoing all charity work and our annual prairie dog mission of peace to free up enough time to bring you this month’s quota.  When those dogs take up arms and start ravaging our countryside that person is going to have some apologizing to do!

I’m to close to completing my 4th year of blogging to blow my quota now, so it’s time to get to it.  Today’s post comes to us courtesy (and by that, I mean lack of courtesy) of Bridgestone.

As a little level setting, Linda and I finally gave up dealing with all the annoying problems we were having with our Dodge Durango.  The car was actually fun to drive when it was actually working but it was plagued with electrical problems.  This was similar to problems we had with our Grand Cherokees.  During our hunt for a new car we were ignored by a dealership while trying to buy an Explorer (shocking at the time because they were in the middle of the economy crisis and cash for junkers was in full swing).  After a few other failed dealerships we broke down and checked again at Dodge – guess what, they decided to get out of the large SUV business with what appeared to be a failed attempt with the Aspen.  Frustrated, we stopped into Toyota, had a wonderful experience and promptly came home with a brand new SUV (built in San Antonio so hold the complaints).  This vehicle has been mechanically free of errors since we bought it with the exception of the special deer magnet (link here).  BMW could learn a few things from this automaker (link here).

Now is good time for the BEFORE shot:

hit the jump to read “The rest of the story”.

Now let’s jump ahead to a couple of months ago.  At our 32,000 mile oil change, the service manager informed us the wear on our tires was too bad to rotate.  This caught us by surprise since our other vehicles have not needed a tire refresh until we hit the 50,000 mile mark.  It then occurred to us that this was the first time we have been on Bridgestone tires.  When we questioned the service manager he informed us we had to deal with Bridgestone directly when it came to any wear questions but mentioned they (Bridgestone) never stand behind their tires.  Linda promptly went to Tire Rack to see what the damage was going to be for new tires.  Once there she discovered that the exact same tire had a 60,000 mile wear warranty.. yet we barely got half of that.  Next dial was to a local Bridgestone dealer where she was informed that she has to call the Bridgestone 800 number.  Fine, not like we had anything more important to do than spend time calling people due to quality issues.  Then again, the entertainment factor was soon kicking into high gear.  The Bridgestone 800 representative tried to state that tires that come on new cars only get 20,000 miles if you are lucky.  Really?  Based on this reasoning, the automaker is apparently putting on inferior tires.  As it turns out, Linda and I both work for a large manufacturing company so inventory systems are something we have some familiarity with.  A quick check of the product numbers between the Tire Rack numbers and the ones on our vehicle showed an exact match.  There is absolutely no manufacturing company  (or at least one that will survive in the market) that will manage two different products with the SAME model number due to the system nightmares that causes.  Call summary – Linda told them they were full of shit.  Once challenged they gave her the number of a local corporate dealer to take the tires to in order to be properly assessed.  Fine, our time is clearly less important than theirs so off she went to the local dealer and asked for the store manager – there was chum in the water and Linda was circling.   Unfortunately, the only person available was the assistant manager, but that would have to do.  The assistant manager looked at the tires and immediately assessed that there was a serious problem with the tires and should have wore significantly better than they did.  He even called up another store manager to verify the paper work who agreed there was something wrong with the tires.  He also acknowledged that it was not Linda’s fault when she asked.  Taking into account the wear we did get out of the tires he quoted us a price ~$100 a tire to replace.  That is all we wanted and thanked the guy for helping us out.

It took awhile, but eventually Bridgestone came through… err so we thought.  The very next day, the real manager of the local store calls up Linda and proceeds to tell her his assistant was all wet.  Continuing he informed her they shouldn’t have even lasted that long and that these are really big tires (18’s) and she didn’t understand that little tires last longer than big tires and she just isn’t used to driving on them.

Linda: “Bullshit, I drive Ram 1500’s with 20’s and those have always gotten 50,000 miles on them – dorsal fin up and out of the water now.

Manager: “Well, you need to call the Toyota dealer because they handle the warranty. ”

Linda: “No, you are wrong, they do not handle warranty on YOUR tires” – jaws widening water churning.

Manager: “Uh you need to call the Bridgestone corporate office because I can’t do anything without their approval.”

Linda: “It will be a cold day in hell before I own another set of Bridgestones and I’m hanging up to order a set of Michelins”.  CHOMP.

The pathetic thing about all of this is we didn’t expect free tires, all we wanted was some form of compensation for not getting the quality they tout on their marketing literature.  If you say 60,000 to influence customer purchase decisions, then you should stand behind that or find a way to properly address it when you produce a defective product.

A quick call to the Toyota dealer validated they had the tires we wanted and they confirmed we can purchase their vehicles without Bridestones on them in the future.  With that little mess cleared out of the water, Linda’s dark side can recede back into the deep.

The AFTER:

Welcome to the list Bridgestone, your business ineptitude just cost you a lifetime of tire purchases… not to mention a word of caution to every single person we know that is even thinking about buy from you.

2 thoughts on “Before and After – A Marketing Disaster”

  1. I hope you are talking about someone else, because I’d hate to be the only person repeatedly asking if you’re going to meet your quota.

    You should email the Bridgestone manager a link to your column, and tell him that I will never buy a Bridgestone from now on either, and I’ll pass this along to others in the Chicago area. After the disastrous revelation of (criminally) selling faulty tires in the past, they should be doing everything possible to meet these modest expectations. Just for fun, though, tell Linda I agree with Bridgestone.

    Looks like they cleaned your hubcaps AND the rust off your brakes!

    Ron

    Like

  2. Ummmm, no comment. I had the exact same feeling regarding the PR disaster Bridgestone went through with the Explorers (think that was the vehicle). Apparently they think they have recovered from that disaster. I also didn’t notice they cleaned up the brakes – had to go back and look at the pictures and it definitely looks like they got a cleaning – another bonus from Toyota!

    just a second… “Hey Linda, Ron says you are wrong and should apologize to Bridgestown” [Deleted] Her response has been censored for all viewers under the age of 50 – I’d be careful there, she’s a woman on the edge!

    Like

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