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After the last email from Jason at Backyard Buddy I thanked him for his replies and said he had provided me with valuable information (detailed here). The valuable information was all pretty bad, but I thought perhaps the poor guy had hammered enough nails into his own coffin. Unfortunately, it would seem that Jason hasn’t got the intelligence to know when to quit. He sent me a brief email about checking out the latest Corvette Fever article about lifts (which is where all this began). Then this morning I received two emails in quick succession.

The first was :

Email5

I don’t feel that my comments were condescending. I had a valid complaint about a shockingly bad website and responded to Jason’s hostility in a measured way – a direct opposite to his own somewhat histrionic communications. I also had a valid complaint about the tone of his responses and the facts that he stated in them. I also didn’t ‘slam’ Backyard Buddy; I think Jason has managed to do that pretty thoroughly without any help from me. If asking for decent customer service makes me an ‘idiot’ then I suspect most of Backyard Buddy’s customers would also fall into that category. As for why he’s never heard of me? Well, why should he have? I’m just a consumer writing about his personal experiences with an incredibly hostile ‘sales person’. I never made any claims to be anything else.
 
His claims that Backyard Buddy build the best lifts again is entirely irrelevant; at no time did I say their lifts were of poor quality – I simply pointed out the flaws in their misleading website, order process, and extremely poor business communications skills. Interestingly when I did a quick search online, I found a post on Corvette Fever regarding the dubious practices of Backyard Buddy’s sales force.

“There was one big difference however… the sales reps for BYB were the only ones that were denigrating their competition. I have been around lifts all of my life and I certainly know the difference between a good lift and a bad one. I also understand the concept of “puffing” in advertising and that it might work when dealing with the uninformed, but that alone convinced me to not buy their product. Too assume all of your customers are ignorant of quality was a little too arrogant for me. “

It would seem that they like to denigrate potential customers as well as their competition.

I didn’t claim that the steel market and stock market were ‘parallel’; I simply pointed out that the stock market has heavily fluctuating prices and yet manages to keep people up to date on current prices. I could have used gas prices as an example, but let’s face it, it doesn’t really matter what example I used; the fact is that changing prices on a website takes about five minutes of someone’s time. If you’re crying about having to spend that time then you are pretty much the definition of ‘lazy’ and probably shouldn’t be in business. Here’s a thought: if you don’t want to market through the web just take your site down – believe me no one will miss yet another bad website.
 
The idea that somehow I am being ‘unfair’ is amazing and displays a paranoia that is as remarkable as it is unfounded. I specifically made the point of detailing the entire email conversation on both sides in its entirety. If this is ‘unfair’ then presumably any concept of what’s fair must be completely beyond Jason’s comprehension. Was it unfair of me to show him opening his mouth extremely wide and shoving his foot into it repeatedly?
 
Within ten minutes, he followed up with this. I hadn’t responded, as the sheer hostility and personal attacks had left me somewhat stunned. If this is an example of his business communication then I have to wonder where his talents lie.

Email6

Again I didn’t ‘slam’ his country. The typical American is not exactly renowned for their ecological and environmental concerns and I felt it only fair to have a little quip at their expense (note the use of the smiley in my original post). As for my Corvette, yes it is an ‘American made car’; the engine was designed by Lotus, in England. The transmission comes from ZF in Germany. But it was assembled in the USA. This seems to have little to do with my complaint about Backyard Buddy’s inaccurate and misleading website and the virulence and misinformation in Jason’s emails.
 
I also have to say that I find the sheer amount of racism displayed in these emails to be quite staggering; one can only assume that Backyard Buddy has no plans to appeal to future Chinese customers. I also don’t imagine that his comments describing Canadians as ‘typical liberal hypocrites’ is going to enamour the company to any potential Canadian buyers either 😉 . What makes his diatribe even more laughable is that although I live in Canada, I am originally from England with grandparents who were Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English – a true Celtic mutt :-) . Presumably all of those countries are full of ‘liberal hypocrites’ too.
 
Just to clarify some of the points Jason mentions repeatedly (perhaps he needs to follow his own advice “if you don’t know, then don’t speak about it”):
 
Recycling
Steel is one of the most recycled products anywhere, and especially in North America. The energy saved by recycling is around 75% over producing ‘new’ steel; not only that but about three-quarters of all steel produced annually is recycled and recycling has been an accepted practice for more than a century. See the recycling section on answers.com for more detail. That being the case it seems highly likely that the steel used by Backyard Buddy has a good chance of coming from a  ‘recycled’ source as any other steel in use anywhere else in the world.
 
Grade
Grade, in relationship to steel, refers to a scientific method of determining steel quality. It is not an arbitrary ‘judgement’ that fluctuates depending on who is assessing it. The definitions and standards for each grade are strictly laid down both internationally and in North America. If a particular piece is a specific grade, then it is that grade – regardless of source. More information on steel grades can be found in this article on wikipedia.
 
Canadian/US cars
Canada makes a lot of cars. Almost all auto manufacturers now are international concerns;, some (like GM who build the Corvette) have been for a long time (as with my ZR-1). As it happens the 2009 Camaro for example, is to be built in in Canada. The Buick LaCrosse/Allure, Grand Prix and Impala are also built in Oshawa, Ontario and the plant was recently rated as one of the most efficient auto plants in North America. In addition, Ford builds the Freestar, Edge and Lincoln; DaimlerChrysler builds the Dodge Magnum, Charger, Chrysler 300 and Caravan among others (by the way, DaimlerChrysler’s corporate head is in Germany). Honda and Toyota also have plants here building Civics, Acuras, Corollas, Lexus and Matrix. And the largest market for all of these is the US. See here.
 
Made in the USA
Many companies now exist and operate in a world-wide economy. While that might feel strange to people more used to dealing with ‘Mom and Pop’ organisations, it’s a fact of life that we have to deal with. Just because products come from another country does not automatically make them bad quality (anyone care to discuss quality with BMW, Audi or Mercedes, for example?), in just the same way that goods from the US are not automatically good quality (the examples here are numerous, but I guess I’d be ‘slamming’ the USA again to point them out). For what it’s worth, the vast majority of goods will have at least some percentage of parts made elsewhere, whether it be your TV, Computer, tools, auto lift or anything else you might care to point to. When we look at cars as an example, ‘Made in the USA’ is defined as having 75% or more of their parts made in the US or Canada. So that means anything stamped that way could have up to a quarter of its content sourced from anywhere else in the world. According to the Automobile Trade Policy Council (a lobbying group for GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler), most of their own cars only get to 73% (as an example the Ford Mustang only has 65 percent domestic content). See here for more information.

Presumably the workforce at Backyard Buddy only buys domestic TVs, washing machines, computers, phones, kitchen and bathroom appliances, linens, crockery etc.. If so, perhaps they’d be willing to share where they get all these goods domestically?
 
Certainly I support locally produced goods; from an environmental perspective it’s the only stance that makes sense (not to mention the long term benefits to the local economy). Sadly, the real world means that all too often this option isn’t even possible. The US economy is propped up by cheap Chinese goods and cheap oil for transporting them. The US has racked up a massive debt to China of several trillion dollars – that scares me and I don’t even live there! This has been largely created by greedy companies taking advantage of less costly workforces overseas without regard to the effect at home, and by consumers who choose simply on the basis of price, regardless of the cost to the economy or the quality of the product. My issue was never one of quality or whether I should pay more for that – it was about a highly misleading website that tried to take my credit card details without informing me of the price, incredibly bad customer service, and one extremely ignorant man’s unprofessional, offensive and racist comments.

3 Responses to Backyard Buddy revisited

  • You are right! See the last ad placed in any magazine, they slam their competition claiming to be the safest lift. I went to the Automotive Lift Institute website and I found out that these lifts are not even recognized as meeting the minimum ANSI standards. Check out the comic book style ad on their website, they fully claim to meet the ANSI standard.

    Litigation lawyers will have a field day with this outfit!!

  • You might be interested in the attached site. You will need to scroll to the bottom of the page. Read the attachment. The closing paragraphs speak of false product claims. If legal action really is pending, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is.

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