A National Survey of Lubricant Industry Stakeholders

2012 - DIFM Labeling

5. Should sellers (manufacturers, marketers, installers) of engine oils provide their customers with documentation on the brand, viscosity grade and API service classification for the engine oils they sell? If yes, why, and if no, why not? Enter your comments below.

 

"Yes" Comments

  • Through the entire sales process -- from manufacturer to consumer, the customer should know exactly what they are purchasing. 

  • So the customer knows what he's buying 

  • All products should verifiable--subject to unannounced test absolutely transparent. 

  • So the customer knows what was purchased; that it is what they are expecting. 

  • I would expect everyone to only sell the up to date spec oil 

  • 99% of the customers would not understand what the grade or classifications stand for  

  • Brand would be useful. Maybe a poster in the store in plain view would answer any questions from the customer. 

  • If all of this information was provided, it would get the legitimate distributors on a more equal footing with the "bathtub" blenders. 

  • Because there are a significant number of oil change facilities using bulk products that do not meet current API specs.  In my opinion they are committing fraud by putting a lesser quality oil in a customer’s car than it requires. 

  • It’s a consumer right to know. Might help keep quicklube operators honest 

  • What installer would NOT want to know this information? 

  • Invoice is OK. 

  • If the customer cannot read the label on the package oil, they are on their own.  If we are delivering bulk, we have an obligation to provide the customer with this information. 

  • It is required on the bottle, why not for bulk?  Wouldn’t this be on any point of sale material already? 

  • Yes, if a consumer goes to a retail store to purchase oil themselves, they have the same information that can be used to make a decision on which product they want to put into their vehicle. 

  • So they can be sure they are getting what was presented to them.  There is a lot of bait and switch going on in the bulk oil industry. 

  • It is vital to the customer to know what exactly is lubricating their engine.  There has to be some sort of documentation or paper trail to show that the correct product is being sold to the installer and in turn being marketed to the general public 

  • Truth in advertising. Providing the brands they advertise 

  • Not the brand 

  • I think it would be a nice to have for the customer. 

  • Number one reason would be to combat competitors offering a cheaper off-spec or non-licensed API product. 

  • Right now people are unwittingly putting out of spec product in their new Mercedes Benz because they assume that their local fast lube is forced to purchase oil that meets today’s specs. The public is not aware of all the fraud in this business and it makes me ill to think about it. All of my relatives and friends check with me before they get an oil change. I have made them aware of the shops that purchase inferior products 

  • Buyer has a right to know and will get educated by being told 

  • API Service Classification is the only way to really know the quality of the product. There is a marked difference between an SN and a SH version of engine oil. 

  • With OEM’s being so strict on warranties, consumers need to be able to protect their warranty with documentation, and many installers who do not use a branded product lure customers into their shops with branded signage and never disclose the actual product being sold. 

  • It would be difficult to provide the brand if an installer switches brands of bulk oil.  While it is not a best practice, as long as the oil meets the same specifications as the previous brand, installers are most likely going to mingle products to some degree when they change brands. 

  • Customer needs to know what they are buying 

  • The sellers should take pride in this information as well as the variety options sellers have.  The best service station/quick lube should be there for the customer and profit from labor cost. 

  • To cover warranty claims. 

  • Everyone in the sales chain should be open and honest with all information about "what" they are selling. Too many distributors feel it's acceptable to sell any API rated oil as a "house brand" without providing any specs or other information about the product. They feel that if it's API, it's good enough for any user. This leads to competitive distributors lowering the bar of quality because they're only competing against a "house" brand. 

  • Large volumes of unbranded/private label engine oil are sold through oil change outlets much is not API licensed. The use of unlicensed products should be at the discretion of the end user. Service centers should educate consumer's and see that they get the quality they expect. In addition, if service centers neglect to demand and verify quality levels, then consumers need to be protected. Mandating quality disclosures helps consumers to make informed decisions. 

  • They should only provide all of the subject information to a customer on the product which that customer is purchasing.  What they sell to others, is information that is only the business of that customer and that supplier. 

  • The only time the customer needs the brand is if the installer is promoting a certain brand and has represented that is what he is supplying. Independent blenders, companies like ours, can and mostly do supply the same quality as the majors; they just don't advertise. 

  • Give the consumer the same information as they would have if they bought quart cans off the shelf. 

  • Every customer/consumer has the right to know what they are being sold and what product they are installing 

  • How can we make a value judgment if the seller will not tell us what we are buying? 

  • Installers should be proud of what they do and should show customers they are committed to quality, this may also earn them a premium.  I would pay a more knowing I get the right service. 

  • Too many consumers are getting inferior products. 

  • It is simply the right thing to do. 

  • Documented proof for any warranty claims and/or legal situations arising from using an inferior and/or out of date, not-to-spec product. 

  • People need to know what they are buying 

  • Enough of the "nanny" state. It should be available if the customer wants it but not a requirement. Water seeks its own level and that's why people that care about their vehicles will find good shop's for service. 

  • Consumers should know what brand, viscosity and service grade is in their engine 

  • More info the better. 

  • We need to provide a quality service and image to the user.  It should not be that difficult to identify and report what products you use in your business. 

  • As an installer I want certification of the products I am using in customer's cars. I stand behind everything I sell and every service I perform and I need to know the quality in order to do that. 

  • 100% agree.  Many customers are being misled. 

  • It holds the installer accountable to their customer that they know what product is being used.  We see many installers that misrepresent the oil being installed. E.g. Major brand is displayed on signs, tanks, literature, etc, but actual product installed is not.  The customer deserves to know what he's purchasing.  He could ask, but having it in writing is key. 

  • Better trust.  As a supplier of 'house' brands, I am proud of my brand and proud of the quality of what I sell. 

  • People should know what they are paying for. There is way too much fraud going on in the DIFM lube business. Stores will have a major brand logo displayed somewhere but this is not what is in their bulk tanks. 

  • Absolutely, otherwise it renders the sellers unreliable and untrustworthy; plus, it gives the opportunity to cut corners and sell crap oils as the real deal--which today would be called "fraud"--changing the rules to allow them to sell whatever they wanted to package as a "quality" oil.  Would you buy lard packaged as racing oil?? I didn't think so. 

  • Too much paperwork for installers. Also information overload for the consumer. Nobody understands oil grades except those of us in the business. 

  • After all is said, it is the car owner's responsibility to use the proper oil for his car. "Carpe Diem" 

  • To CYA themselves. 

  • End-customers should know this information. Even if they are not experts in engine oils, they will have the ability to cross-reference their oil w/their owner's manual.

  • Try to "hide" 

  • Believe in what you are selling and provide your customers with what they believe they are getting by the signs displayed at your business. 

  • Credibility

  • Protects customer's engines, and protects entire distribution/supply chain from liability. 

  • It is necessary for the customer to know he has the correct product for his vehicle and also for warranty purposes. 

  • Warranty maintenance is the only valid issue. Brand is just, well brand.  

  • It's good to know what you are buying- in writing. 

  • Franchised car dealers do not always carry the manufacturer’s recommended oil which is a disservice to the customer. 

  • It is right on the invoice and on the data sheet for every product we sell. 

  • It's the right thing to do and then there is no question as to the oil being purchased/sold. 

  • It affects warranty on newer cars and it is somewhat a safeguard for the customer to know exactly what he is getting for his money.

    Unfortunately we compete against some marketers who are selling obsolete oils to patrons who did not know the oil was obsolete. 

  • Motor vehicle is the one of the top investments a person can make.  Using the highest quality product to service that investment is likewise very important.  The installers that don’t let the customer know what is being put in their vehicles are the ones that are not using the highest quality products. 

  • The delivery ticket should have the description on it. Information needed for the oil is available online. The installer should also have it on his invoice. 

  • When asked, they should provide the information. I would be suspicious of anyone who refused to reveal what was installed in my vehicle. 

  • With the newer engine designs to improve MPG it is more important than ever.  If the incorrect oil is used manufacturer are left holding and paying for the repairs.  It is very difficult for a manufacturer to make a determination of the correct oil after the fact.  PROPER OIL IS CRITICAL! 

  • To assure customers they are receiving the products that are prominently advertised. Just because you go to a dealer for service does not mean you will get OEM oil. 

  • Many quick lube facilities advertise a brand name and customers may expect to receive that brand named product. If I have Mobil 1 signs throughout my shop, any reasonable person would assume that's what they are getting if they ask for a synthetic oil change. If they don't receive the product they expect, then this is an example of bait and switch. 

  • Full disclosure.  Then, only the suspect needs to be fearful. 

  • Because there are some major differences in quality of products available to the customer. It would be ignorant to purchase motor oils and not know what you are buying. 

  • Integrity of company 

  • All sellers should be WILLING to provide this information upon request, but there is a more significant problem with this in the fast lube industry.  I think they should be compelled - by law if necessary - to include this information on their invoices.  In our marketing area, we have reason to believe there is plenty of cheating going on.  This unethical practice is perpetrated by some fast lube operators and, in many cases, their suppliers.  Installers should demand this info from suppliers. 

  • Today's business environment requires more information to be disclosed, not less.  To the consumer, the lack of information feels like someone has something to hide.  It's time to come out of the dark ages. 

  • Yes because it is our responsibility to provide only those products that meet specified classifications. It is also our responsibility to educate the distributor, the installer and the consumer with accurate and timely information. 

  • Warranty purposes 

  • It begins to educate the consumer on the importance of the API classifications.  Ultimately the consumer needs to be aware.  If they begin asking questions as to why it’s on their receipt, the installer should be able to back it up with a reasonable explanation. 

  • This information should be provided on the label and shipping containers so customers can purchase the correct product for their applications. 

  • It is always good to educate the consumer so they do not get ripped off by other oil changers and possibly have problems. 

  • The API service classification is something the "normal" consumer would not know. This is more technical. However, consumers should have an expectation that the lube shop use the correct API classification for their vehicle. I'm not sure how you police that unless Weights and Measures could audit it. 

  • Keeping the consumer properly informed of the requirements of their engines and the oils that meet these requirements is important to ensuring that all consumers have the proper understanding of the quality of engine oils today.  Through the requirement to clearly state this in all documentation, the consumer will have the chance to know whether the installer is properly taking care of them and their vehicle. 

  • We provide the brand and product name on every invoice but not the API specs.  Our reputation means that we only provide products that meet current specs 

  • There are higher costs associated with the most current classifications for oil. I would want to make sure I am getting what I paid for and have the best quality oil for our customers. 

  • Everyone should provide at least a Product Data Sheet stating that information. It is part of the right to know what you are buying! 

  • Because it’s the right thing to do! 

  • Consumer has a right to know and a responsible producer should gladly provide the data. 

  • When a buyer chooses certain oil they do not want inferior oil. Making the installer specify the details of the oil that is used will make them more accountable for the oil that is sold to them. It should be done for the same reason as the API donut appears on the package product. To make the industry more accountable. 

  • Provides proof that can be shown to the consumer 

  • This allows consumers like me, who research different lubricants to make an educated and informed decision in regards to which oil(s) to use for their specific application. This information is of vital importance. 

  • Yes, because a warranty usually requires the use of a specific grade and API rating of oil. 

  • My experience as a customer and salesman I've noticed many small garages who do oil changes are afraid to let the customer know what brand oil they are using. Most of them buy the cheapest oil and many times of different brands. Who will enforce if the documentation is correct.  

  • I have sold lubricants into the Detroit market for over 25 years. Enforcement is your problem! The people who sell these inferior products in this market WILL falsify documents. 

  • This is in the best interest, not only of the customer, but also the installer. Usually location and quality of service drive customers to installers. But if an installer uses a high quality name brand lube, it’s another attribute they can use to attract customers and differentiate themselves from their competitors. It indicates they care what goes inside of the customer's car. And it may enable them to charge a premium for their services over competitors who use low quality lubricant brands. 

  • There are many sellers at service stations and quick lube shops that only worry about profits and sell the lowest quality oil to their customers at the highest possible price not regarding the fact that the oil spec offered is not the correct type for that vehicle 

  • Let's make full disclosure the default option 

  • How, as a business, in an environment of increasing customer awareness, are you supposed to keep your doors open without customer trust? How can you have customer trust if you can't tell them what you are using in their vehicles? It has to start with the suppliers. 

  • How does the customer know what they are getting in bulk? How does a quick lube really know what they are buying from an oil distributor? If, for example, I order and pay for Castrol, how do I know it's not brand X!! How do I know a 0W-20 is not 5W-W20, 10W-30 etc. I know what it says on an invoice, but is that what the installer got? All it takes is one time for someone to make some extra cash. 

  • Good paper trail for the shop showing that it provided the proper product. Also good for a customer with a car under warranty to show the proper lubricant was installed. Could work against everyone if the wrong lubricant was installed. 

  • To educate your customers, while building customer loyalty<

     

    COMMENTS OTHER THAN "YES"

  • Need to know basis
  • As requested if other notification exists
  • Maybe
  • Supply info only to the customer buying that product
  • They don't need the brand; they do need to supply the viscosity and API service.
  • On delivery receipt
  • Conditional YES