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Joe Marconi

Advance Auto Parts Marketing Continues to Hurt Auto Repair Shops

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Let me give you a prime example of what we are going through as a result of the Advance Marketing strategy:

Last week a customer came to us with a steering pull and requested a wheel alignment. After our routine inspection, we informed the customer that the ball joints were worn and they would need to be replaced before the alignment was done. The customer thanked us and said he would let us know what he decides.

The customer came back yesterday and told us, "I decided to go to Advance, bought the ball joints from them and they even LOANED ME THE TOOLS TO DO THE JOB!"

But, he is the real story: The truck now has clunks and noises and the steering wanders all over the road. His attempt to do his own ball joints, has now left his truck unsafe to drive due to his lack of expertise to perform the job properly.

This is what I have been battling with Advance and no one will listen. Why? They made the sale and that's what's important to Advance. Not the safety of the consumer, and certainly not the shop that lost the sale and is now stuck trying to figure out what went wrong.

The Advance marketing strategy will hurt the independents and send the wrong message to the consumer. Free testing, free battery installation, reading codes in the parking lot,loaner tools sets; will all do more harm than good to the relationship between Advance and the repair shops. How can Advance expect me to buy from them when they want to compete with me? That makes no sense.

And please don't tell me, "That's not your customer." I am so tired of hearing that. It is my customer! The entire motoring public hears and sees the advertising.

This is why I have serious issues with Advance, and cannot support them. And nothing will change as long as Advance listens to Wall Street and not Main Street.

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