carwashing

It should go without saying: If you say you’re going to give a customer free car washes for life, you’d better give the customer free car washes for life. Or, conversely, don’t get in the business of offering free car washes for life in the first place.

Case in point: A man in Toronto went to the TV news network Global News after the Acura dealer changed the terms of the promise it gave when he bought his car there in 2012. At the time, they had a booth set up advertising a lifetime of free car washes with the purchase of a car. Doug Bernardi bought a $45,000 Acura, and said he’d be in every day.

Well, he didn’t quite go every day, but it seems like the dealership was getting pretty well inundated with car buyers cashing in on their free wash. So they changed the deal: You get a car wash for free only when you come in for service, plus a gift card for 12 free car washes. “There are certain things that we have to do over time that change it, we cannot continue to offer free car washes for life with people and it’s a policy that we know it wasn’t popular but we have to stay in business,” a dealership representative to Global News. Subsequently, the rep reluctantly backed down, saying they would honor their original terms. “We don’t need to create problems,” he said.

To be fair, a car wash once a month and with each service seems pretty reasonable. But that wasn’t the deal; they should’ve offered that from the beginning. It wasn’t worth the negative publicity.