Thursday, January 3, 2008

Must have been a slow news day at CBC Ottawa

This is one of those stories that just gets my dander up.

Today, CBC Ottawa carried a story about an 88-year-old man who had leased a car from a local dealership some 18 months ago. Subsequently he has become legally blind and unable to drive so, with about 18 months remaining on the lease, he and his supporters (consisting of friends and the CBC, it seems) want the dealership to take back the car, in essence tearing up a binding, legal agreement. According to a friend of the family, “I really think the company should take the car back.” And then, to put a little extra pressure on, the CBC reporter names the dealership in an apparent attempt to embarrass them into cancelling the contract.

Now hold on just a minute. I’m not a huge fan of car dealerships, having had my fair share of abusive relationships with them over the years, but in this case, I’m on the dealer’s side. They have no responsibility here other than to live up to their side of the agreement, which by all accounts they have. They had no way to foresee, nor were they in any way complicit in their customer’s deteriorating health. They have offered the customer a number of options in accordance with the agreement. They have done their duty, full stop. Now it’s up to the customer to decide how he wants to proceed. End of story.

Why the CBC felt this was even newsworthy is beyond me, but when I see or hear this kind of rubbish being tarted up and trotted out as news, I get pissed. First of all, why is the car dealership being publicly maligned? They did nothing illegal or inappropriate, yet they are being made to seem like the bad guys here. And secondly, where is the sense of individual responsibility? This gentleman entered into a legal agreement of his own accord. Now, some months later, for reasons beyond his control, it is no longer a good deal for him personally. That’s unfortunate, but that doesn’t make it the other party’s problem to resolve. That’s life.

This “story” should never have made the airwaves.

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