Did F&G's Customers Decree Corporate Capital Punishment?

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Perhaps (as its spokesman said) Foster & Gallagher's bankruptcy was related to backlash against sweepstakes. But might more direct offenses against its customers also have had something to do with the company suffering corporate capital punishment?

If my single consumer experience with F&G's Michigan Bulb Co. unit is typical, the firm should have expected no mercy from the marketplace.

The problems included poor quality merchandise, incorrect order fulfillment and failing to honor a promotional promise of "free" extra product for an order over a stated minimum ... topped off by unconscionably long hold times on the "customer service" phone line on the three occasions I tried to find someone to adjust my complaint. (I finally got a response when I wrote an old-fashioned, snail-mail letter!) And now that Michigan Bulb is being liquidated, the hard-won and quite tardy coupons I received to make good on the "risk-free lifetime guarantee" are worthless.

The lesson for surviving direct (or any kind of) marketers: Sell decent products, execute orders efficiently, be accessible to your customers and tell the truth. So what else is new?

Bernard Weiss, principal, The Business Advisory Group, West Hartford, CT, gotbag@juno.com

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