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Rough Cuts | ‘Half-truth’ in advertising

And here is this association of advertising firms that is strongly advocating for “Truth in advertising.”

We have no doubt that this logistics company is a member of the group. And this forwarding firm has this motto that seems to have captivated the imagination of the Filipinos.

Frankly the company could not have adopted a most appropriate catch phrase than what it presently has. After all, moving things from one place to another is the primary reason why it is allowed to operate and has survived the many years that it has been in operation despite the ups and downs of the Philippines and global economy.

But while we are witness to what could be called as its efficiency in moving cargoes with attendant passion we could also sense that somehow there are times when it seems telling its customers only half-truths as to its operation.

We do not know if this company has realized that it has operational policies right here in the domestic routes that may not bode well with its customers. For example for several occasions we have sent fruits like lanzones, mangosteen, or rambutan to our son in Cebu. And every time we did this we were warned that it would probably take three days, the earliest, and not the “next day” arrival to destination. The reason given was that from Davao the cargo will have to be routed first to Manila before being shipped to Cebu. We have to live with it because for so long we had been using the logistics firm for sending whatever items to other places in the Philippines.

Lately though, we could not help but start doubting the truth of the firm’s claim of moving cargoes of its clients, especially the small ones.

For who would not when our family was consignee of “Balikbayan” boxes from the US southeastern state of Alabama.

Believing in the firm’s commitment to allow its customers, both the senders and consignees, to track the movement of their cargo, we check the shipment intended for our family through its tracking apps provided in the company’s website.

Sometime at the onset of the third week of November we tracked the movement of the cargo intended for our family. We found out that the boat the boxes were loaded on was unloading cargoes in a South Korean port. A week after we again re-tracked the vessel’s location and we found out it already reached the port of Manila and the cargoes for the logistics company were unloaded and moved to the firm’s warehouse.

On the ninth of December when we again tracked the whereabouts of the shipment we found out this was already forwarded to Davao City.

When we failed to receive the boxes towards Friday before the Christmas week we had to track it again. This time the information contained in the firm’s website remained the same – it’s forwarded to Davao City. We asked our daughter to inquire on the shipment’s status through the company’s supposed hotline. But what she got was either the phone is continuously busy or that nobody answered at the other end.

Feeling some apprehensions that the boxes could not be delivered in time for Christmas we decided to go to the firm’s operating hub to check. It was on December 23 that we were told that the boat loaded with the firm’s cargoes including the boxes intended for us was still expected to dock at the Davao sea port on the night of that day (December 23).

In other words, the length of time to move the cargoes from Manila to Davao by boat took fourteen days. It appears the process of transporting the cargoes from Manila to Davao was one week longer than moving the same from the port in South Korea to Manila. Is not that eyebrow raising?
Of course we are not discounting the possibility that the delay could be attributed to the port condition in Manila. After all it is no secret that loading of cargoes in that port is affected every time there are messes in pier operation. And such is not uncommon these days.

We think it is about time that the subject forwarding company should start re-thinking its motto vis-à-vis the advertisers association’s mantra of “Truth in advertising.” And one way of adhering to this commitment is by providing some information on the website why at times the status of the cargo movement remains the same after a period of time from the latest posting.

For example the firm should inform its customers that by “forwarded” it is still the beginning of a process that includes moving the shipment from the warehouse to the pier; loading the same in container vans; moving the loaded container vans to where the boat is docked; then the actual loading of the containers in the boat; the schedule of departure and arrival at destination.

Unless all these information are given as a way of explaining the process, then there will always be the suspicion that the company is somewhat infidel to its customers.

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