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Published on June 8, 2009

Hard to put a price on integrity

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Opinion

AKRON (June 8, 2009)—It would have been easy for TBC Corp. to wash its hands of a recent gas rebate voucher program that went sour, potentially alienating a slew of customers along the way.


After all, it wasn't the company's fault the program it hoped would be a nice incentive turned out to be a scam and many consumers—including customers of TBC's Tire Kingdom Inc., National Tire & Battery, Merchant's Tire and Big O Tires Inc. chains—allegedly failed to receive the gas rebate vouchers they were promised.


In fact, TBC itself was a victim as the failed program put it on the defensive with some upset, angry customers.


But to TBC's credit, it didn't walk away from the problem or let it fester, instead moving quickly to remedy the situation for its customers by providing an effective alternative. That approach proved somewhat costly to the company, but it was the right thing to do.


And the company did it in a way that had to make affected customers feel good. Through its own in-house program, TBC gave consumers two options: a one-time offer of a $100 pre-paid VISA card or participation in a $500 rebate redemption program similar to the one from the original gas voucher company.


Likewise, Community Wholesale Tire of Kansas City, Mo., tried to appease some of its customers upset with another gas voucher program by reimbursing their rebates out of its own pocket to set things right.


Just as significantly, the head of TBC's Tire Kingdom chain, Orland Wolford, posted an apology on the company's Web site.


That, too, seems appropriate. How many times have we heard about companies or individuals failing to take responsibility for their actions or for events happening under their watch?


Today, the more common practice often is to place the blame on someone else or simply to hunker down and hope the issue goes away.


Witness all of the home run hitters in baseball, for example, who've denied under oath that they've used steroids only to confess later that they had indeed injected the substance.


Or consider the many corporate CEOs who've failed to take the blame for their company's poor performance only to reap huge year-end bonuses.


It's refreshing to see companies step up and admit that something they offered didn't work, then take the necessary steps to resolve the situation.


TBC and Community Wholesale made things right—despite the cost—and kept their integrity along the way.


You can't put a price on that.

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