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Column: A good name
by Dale Cardwell
May 31, 2012 05:53 PM | 1739 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dale Cardwell
Dale Cardwell

There was a time a person considered nothing more valuable than their good name. A family’s worst nightmare was that a relative would shame the name; conversely, a child’s worst fear was that he or she would bring shame to their parents.

Those days seem well behind us now. Why? I’m no sociologist, but I have moved around a lot and I have observed a lot of families in crisis. My first thought is that America has become a very transitory nation. We move around a lot. A trusted friend and moving specialist, Ronnie Climer of Climer Moving, once told me that three-fourths of Americans move at least once every five years! (No wonder Ronnie’s so busy).

People move primarily because of shifts in the economy – corporate transfers play a big role. Change in status (marriage, divorce, graduation, retirement) is another. Each time a nuclear family picks up and leaves, the fabric of our society suffers another rip. If you don’t know your neighbors, you’re less likely to worry about what they think. Sadly, they’re less likely to worry about you, as in watch your home, get your mail, pick up your newspaper so your house looks lived in (and reduces the chances of crime) while you’re away.

I started thinking about this recently after I’d received a call from Dan Watkins of All Four Seasons Garage Doors. If you don’t know Dan, he’s one of these guys who work their tails off to build a respectable business from scratch. He brought together a staff of professionals with 71 years combined experience. Their goal? Deliver a great product at a competitive price with unmatched customer service. That’s what got Dan ticked off. Seems he received a call from a lady who wanted to make certain she’d qualified for the TrustDale Make It Right Guarantee after she bought her door and had it installed by Dan’s company, All Four Seasons. Normally, Dan’s answer would have been an unqualified “yes,” but in this case, he couldn’t. Why not?

Dan learned through conversation with the customer, that a competing door company had illegally and unethically used his company’s name – and reputation – just to get the job. To make matters worse, Dan learned the customer had paid the competitor way too much for a lesser quality door. Dan was livid! Imagine, spending your entire professional career building a spotless reputation, only to have an unethical competitor misuse your name, and harm someone in the process! Dan didn’t take it lying down. He informed the authorities and then, did something he didn’t have to: He offered to help the victim unwind her deal with the unethical company and give her a much better door at a reduced price. That’s how you build a great reputation.

The moral of the story? When a worker comes to your door and claims to be with XYZ business, don’t take their word for it; especially if it’s an unsolicited sales call. Ask to see their company ID (most reputable companies require their employees to carry them) and get your work order with cost – in writing – before you agree for them to begin the job. Additionally, don’t accept a verbal guarantee of the product or service. Make certain your guarantee is legible, (as in readable type) and understandable. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a guarantee riddled with so many exclusions that it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Great companies are proud of their products and equally proud to stand behind them.

For great consumer advice and companies you can trust, visit Watch Dale on TrustDale TV, weekends on WXIA 11 Alive, and don’t miss his consumer problem-solving radio show, Saturday afternoons on WSB AM and now 95.5 FM.

For great consumer advice and companies you can trust, visit, watch Dale on TrustDale TV weekends on Fox 5, and listen to TrustDale Radio Saturday afternoons on Newstalk WSB.

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