Somewhere, somehow, somebody is taking advantage of somebody else. It’s human nature.

We like to see those scammers busted, which is why “consumer action” pieces do so well in journalism circles, particularly on television (and especially during sweeps.)

It used to be that if some local hustler was sticking it to the people, the Action News Team would take them down, and that would be the end of that. Welcome to the internet age, where the boundaries are invisible — and what some weasel does in your name can haunt you across all borders.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the poor response from local Jiffy Lube managers in Southern California. Employees in their shops had been busted for the third year in a row by local LA news.

Thanks to the internet, the effects of the muddied “Jiffy Lube” name are threatening every franchisee — including one who took the time to comment:

I am a Jiffy Lube franchisee and would like to say that this type of negative feedback is very disturbing to say the least. There are hundreds of separate franchises within the Jiffy Lube organization and many of them take a tremendous amount of pride in the service that their company provides to the customer. Speaking for myself, I am outraged that these individuals have done something to destroy the credibility and trust myself and my employees have worked so very hard to build. It is unfair, however, that the honest franchisees are taking a beating for a mistake of one. I have always said that it doesn’t matter what the name of the business is, what matters is the people who are inside of it. Customers should always pay attention to what is being done to their car because it is a big investment and you want to feel good about your purchase. It doesn’t hurt to ask to see old parts or ask what is going to be done. You will develop trust with a good facility after a couple of visits.

Well done, Chad. Here’s what he did right:

  1. The first inclination for most people is to shoot the messenger. However, Chad doesn’t blame KNBC for reporting it — nor the person who uplinked it to YouTube — nor this humble blogger for commenting about it. Chad’s anger is rightly aimed at the weasels whose shameless greed tarred an entire brand name from coast to coast.
  2. Chad isolated the offender, declaring the autonomy of the independent franchisee.
  3. Chad spoke for himself, and only for himself. True honesty.
  4. Chad provided sound advice for future customers to prevent their getting bilked, wherever they might be.

That’s a lot of good reputation management in a small package. And most importantly, it is now there for all to see. In a few months, as people start to Google “Jiffy Lube scam” or some such permutation, they will find the other side of the story, helping repair the good name of hundreds of mechanics who otherwise might feel the sting of stigma for years to come.