Monday, June 20, 2016

Auctions, "Legal Advice" and Mr Butthurt

I’ve been thinking about my recent brush with Mainfrieght. 

For those of you not up to speed I was auctioning an “artwork” that featured their logo bust into pieces. You’ll find the text for the auction at the bottom of this post. 

The auction ran for just over 24hours. It was on over hundred watch lists with over six and a half thousand views. When Mainfreight decided to shut it down. Now this is where things get interesting.

Did they come after me for pointing out how terrible their service is? Or refute the fact they had smashed all my stuff in the past?


Instead they contacted TradeMe (who were pretty brave letting me auction the thing in the first place at least they have a sense of humour) and made them shut the auction down over an IP issue (that’s Intellectual Property which is basically their logo). That was their only recourse. Interesting. So I’m guessing they had a hurried meeting and set their lawyers on the task. And they reacted in a day. Fast turnaround. From what I know about lawyers I’m guessing that wasn’t cheap. 

When someone reacts so quickly to shut you down you know what that says to me?


The next thing that happened - within 10 minutes of the email I got from TradeMe saying the auction had be shut down - was a phone call, on my cellphone - from the manager I named on this blog. You’ll notice that posting has been removed from here more on that later. 

He informed me in veiled terms he was seeking legal advice because I had named him here on the blog. I’m still worried about naming and shaming him again so for the purposes of this story we’ll call him “Mr Butthurt” When I asked Mr Butthurt “are you guys setting your lawyers on me?” He quickly refuted this by again stating “I’m seeking legal advice.” Because I had named him. Cold chill time. He also went to great lengths to explain to me this was him personally not Mainfreight who would be “seeking legal advice.”

I pointed out to Mr Butthurt that it was my personal blog and I had posted emails he had sent me. Nothing was untrue it was his own words. He went on to point out that the blog was linked to a TradeMe auction with 6,500 views and over 100 watchers… wow he was really paying attention to the auction wasn’t he? He also reminded me that I was the person who’s pervious action had over a million views. He had really done his homework. 

So here’s what I think happened. Mainfreight, knowing someone was exposing their less-than-impressive business practices, had found a sneaky way to shut down the auction - “Everything he’s saying is true but wait a minute he’s using our IP!” I hope that guy got a raise. 

However then there was the sticky subject of my personal blog post. Notoriously difficult to shut down. So they phone up Mr Butthurt and say you tell him to shut it down or - not in these words - you’re going to sue him. Don’t worry we’ll pay your legal bills. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they didn’t threaten to throw him under the train if he didn’t react. 

They did all this in a day. What does that say to you?

I scared them. 

One of the biggest companies in New Zealand was frightened of a hairy bloke sitting in front of his laptop in his underwear. 

They didn’t think to embrace this auction and join in on the fun. Call me and say we’ll buy the thing if you donate the money to a charity. They didn’t look to find a positive spin. They didn’t come out in the media and say we’re going to make things right with this guy and replace all his stuff that we trashed. No they didn’t. Instead they shut me down.


Because if they did if for me they’d have to do it for the hundreds of thousands of other people they’re done this to. I’ve been contacted by a lot of people who have some terrible things to say about Mainfrieght and the same thing keeps coming up again and again. 

They’re bullies. Big, bad bullies. 

Sadly they were successful and I’ve removed my post that named Mr Butthurt however there’s nothing stopping me putting it up again and changing his name to conceal his identity is there. So keep an eye oh for my correspondence with “Mr Butthurt” in the future. 

In the meantime here’s the text from my auction which was cut down just as it was getting up and running…

"A few years ago I shipped my precious possessions from Auckland to Wellington. Imagine my surprise when they arrived and I discovered it looked like they had been attacked by a troop of angry baboons high on rage medication. Not a single object had escaped their primal fury. 

Naturally, I was upset with the company - how was this the “premium” service I paid for? They were utterly indifferent to my pleas. This was because I hadn’t realised what I’d signed up for. They hadn’t taken the happiest moments of my life and trashed them, no, they had taken them and turned them into ART. What a silly sausage I was for not seeing this. I’ve never really understood modern art so it was initially lost on me. 

My priceless heirlooms and irreplaceable objects hadn’t been ruined they had been “deconstructed” like a dessert at a fancy restaurant. I had no right to complain. They had done me a huge favour and their trained rage-monkeys had actually increased the value of my possessions!

Wow what a service! No wonder they’re one of our countries biggest companies. However I have since had a lot difficulty selling the broken detritus they “gifted” to me and I’ve spend years trying to recoup my losses. 

But then I had a brilliant idea! I would use their service to create a new work of art! I created this abstract signage, carefully packaged it (got to give them a challenge right?) and sent it to myself through their company. Originally I thought it might take a few attempts for them to work their magic so I was fully intending to send it back and forth a few times. Amazingly the butter-fingered, jackbooted cave trolls worked their artistic magic on the first attempt.  As you can see. So I dutifully framed the “artwork” and put it up here for your amusement... sorry consideration. 

I have also decided to put a “buy now” price in case some large corporation wanted to shut this auction down early and hang this stunning piece of art in their head office as a constant reminder of their high standards of service. 

If you have any questions I’m here and ready to happily answer them. 

For the story behind this art work please visit my blog."   

I wonder how long it will be before I get another friendly-but-threatening phone call. Or a horses head in my bed.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nick,

    Awful, awful experience. It's beyond comprehension how a dedicated freight company can be so "careless" with the items in its care. If wouldn't accept a plumber flooding your house. You wouldn't accept a dentist breaking your jaw. You wouldn't accept your kid's English teacher being illiterate. Generally there is some governing association that oversees quality control in various industries and professions. Are freight companies not subject to oversight? Have you thought about trying Fair Go? Your very unpleasant story is quite spectacular, and your evocative story is very media friendly. I hope you find a more just resolution.