"Close the hood, I will go," I abruptly replied to the mechanic.
Few things can make a man as upset as a broken car air conditioner in the summer, especially after paying 600 dollars to fix it three months ago.
I found the mechanic online. I read his blog which was maintained with diligence and filled with many positive reviews. My car is rare in Korea, but the mechanic assured me he was an expert and the right man for the job.
"Believe me, I can fix it. If you have any problems within six months, I will fix it again or you will not have to pay," the mechanic assured me.
As you can imagine, I was not very pleased to have to drive back to the mechanic on a hot summer day with a broken air conditioner. At the time my only two concerns were surviving the trip and how long will it take to repair. You can imagine my surprise when the mechanic told me it will cost $1,000 to fix.
"What about my six months warranty," I asked.
"Don't you know there are 12 components in your car's air conditioning system? I fixed one of them and you have a problem with a different component," the mechanic said without sympathy.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Somehow I remained calm. "You never mentioned the 12 components before. You promised you would fix my air conditioner, not a single component."
"Why don't you listen to me? There are 12 components in the air conditioning system. It's common sense," he answered condescendingly.
"Common sense? If I knew that much about air conditioners, I would have fixed it myself," I replied.
The mechanic stubbornly repeated his argument.
"If you are not going to fix it, please close the hood, I will go," I said. "I will also post my experience and write what you said on your blog."
His attitude changed immediately.
"What do you want?" he pleaded.
"What I want is for you to fix my air conditioner like you promised."
He didn't repair my air conditioner, but he did return my 600 dollars.
My experience with the mechanic exemplifies two critical lessons in business. The first is never assume your customers have a wealth of knowledge about your business. The second demonstrates the power of social media and one's reputation.