Wannabe influencer threatens to 'make or break' family-run business online unless he gets free car exhaust... only for garage boss to turn the tables and shame HIM on social media insteadby Jemma Carr For Mailonline
- Dave Aspden asked specialist garage in Darwen, Lancashire, for free exhaust
- Promised to promote them in his 22,000-member Facebook group in exchange
- Owner Gary Faulkner agreed and said he could have the free work in February
- Mr Aspden never booked and was angry when they said he must wait until March
An influencer who threatened to 'make or break' a family-run garage by shaming them online for not fitting his exhaust for free was left red-faced when the owner shared his aggressive messages on Facebook.
Dave Aspden asked Gary Faulkner, 52 - owner of garage Zaustworx in Darwen, Lancashire - for a free exhaust to be fitted on his Vauxhall Cavalier.
In exchange for the free work, he promised to promote them in his 22,000-member Facebook car group.
The garage were happy to agree and said he could bring his car in for the work in February.
But Mr Aspden never booked an appointment and when he asked again a few weeks later, he was told they were now booked up until March but he could still have the work for free then.
'You’ll regret messing me about!' The heated messages from wannabe influencer Dave Aspden to garage owner Gary Faulkner
Mr Aspden wrote: 'This is the car I want you to do an exhaust on for me in exchange for me drumming you up some free advertising on my car group of 22,000 and also all my friends on Facebook that are into cars.'
Mr Faulkner replied: 'Yeah bring it down so I can have a look mate and we will sort something out.'
Mr Aspden [two months later] wrote: 'Are you still good to do the exhaust on the Cavalier in Feb?'
Mr Faulkner replied: 'Did we book it in?'
Mr Aspden said: 'You said you was booked until February and is when you could do it when I brought it over.'
Mr Faulkner said: 'OK, if we didn’t book it in, it will be March. We are booked up until 10th March now.'
Mr Aspden replied: 'Really? You told me February, doesn’t look good on you really. I could make or break your business on social media.
'Don’t appreciate being told February when you are now messing me about.'
The business owner hit back, saying: 'Doesn’t look good on me ?? And me messing you about for a free exhaust???
'If you didn’t book it in that's not my fault mate. We book stuff in all the time. When people ask me when is available I give them the earliest date.
'If you wait a month to book it in, that date is not going to be available is it?”
But Mr Aspden didn’t back down and said: 'Free exhaust when I could drum you up a lot of business? You mad?
'You told me you could fit it in February if you didnt book it in that isn’t my fault is it!
'As I say either stand by your word or you’ll be all over social media.
'Would cost you what £100 max to do me an exhaust and with my social media following I could make you a lot of cash so hardly a free exhaust is it!
'P*** take that you say bring it in February and don’t stand by your word.
'Says a lot. So are you going to stand by your word and get it done February?
'If not let me know and I’ll sort something out but trust me you’ll regret messing me about with my social media following.
'Fair enough, I’ve given you a chance to stand by your word and rectify the situation. Watch this space.'
He then sent Mr Faulkner a screenshot of Zaustworx’s Facebook page, featuring a review he appeared to have just left that read: 'Bunch of f****** cowboys.
'Said they’d do my exhaust on the Cav in February now they are booked up until March. Anyone uses these f****** morons need their head checking.'
Mr Aspden was furious that he had to wait longer and warned them he could 'make or break their business on social media'.
Mr Faulkner, 52, explained that Mr Aspden hadn't booked the work in so there was nothing they could do as March was the earliest date.
The wannabe social media mogul said the garage would 'regret messing' with him.
Minutes later, Mr Aspden left them a review on Zaustworx's Facebook page branding them 'cowboys' and 'f****** morons' for making him wait for the free job.
Undeterred, garage boss Mr Faulkner posted their entire exchange - including the negative review - on the firm's own Facebook page to expose Mr Aspden's behaviour and warned they 'would not tolerate threats'.
Mr Aspden admitted that he shouldn't have 'lost his temper' but claimed that Zaustworx should have 'honoured' what they said they would and it could have been 'avoided'.
Mr Faulkner said: 'I had to protect the business, being threatened like that. But the response that it got was unbelievable.
'It blew up, but it blew up in his face, and that could have so easily been the other way round if I hadn't posted the conversation.
'The phone didn't stop ringing, with people booking jobs in and people just ringing with support.
'I booked quite a few jobs in just purely because people had seen that and thought "I'm going to use him".'
The garage's social media following trebled from 5,700 likes to more than 16,300.
Less than two hours after posting their exchange with Mr Aspden on their Facebook page, the garage put up another post saying 'Oops Dave, I think your plan has backfired'.
Mr Faulkner's original post read 'That's it! No more free work for anyone and you can thank Dave Aspden for that' which he shared with screenshots of their exchange.
The post has now been liked, shared and commented on more than 10,000 times.
Mr Faulkner has been in the industry for 27 years and opened Zaustworx two-and-a-half years ago.
Mr Faulkner said: 'I just think he's been a complete idiot. Because he couldn't have it done in February he spat his dummy out and kicked off.
'He was fully intent on ruining my business and if it had gone the opposite way to what it did then I would imagine he'd have been pretty happy about that.
'You can't use social media to manipulate what people are going to do for you. It's not fair.
'Trying to jeopardise a small business just for the sake of a few hundred quid is not really on, is it? It just causes more hassle and more aggro than it's worth.'
Mr Aspden first contacted Zaustworx in October via Facebook Messenger and said: 'This is the car I want you to do an exhaust on for me in exchange for me drumming you up some free advertising on my car group of 22,000 and also all my friends on Facebook that are into cars.'
Mr Faulkner replied saying: 'Yeah bring it down so I can have a look mate and we will sort something out.'
Mr Aspden claims he brought the car into the garage and there was a 'handshake' on it - though Mr Faulkner claims the customer never actually booked the car in for the work to be done.
Mr Faulkner said: 'When he came in, I told him the earliest [we could do it] was February and then when he got in his car, I said "let us know when you want it doing".
'He said, "yep, I will do" and then drove off.
'So he never contacted us to let us know what date he wanted or anything, and then messaged us [months later] saying are we still alright for February.'
When Mr Faulkner told him they were now booked up in February and it would need to be March, the customer flew into a rage and said: 'Are you going to stand by your word and get it done February?'
'If not let me know and I'll sort something out but trust me you'll regret messing me about with my social media following.'
After the garage exposed the row online, Mr Aspden discussed it with other social media users and admitted he was 'wrong to lose his temper' but still maintained that the garage were at fault.
Mr Aspden wrote: 'That is the thing, people only know half the story. Zaustworx and I had shaken hands on a deal and when I went to see him about seven weeks ago but as usual only half the story ends up on social media.
'If you ask me to do a job and I shake your hand that is my word it'll be done on the day we agreed whether it's a free job or you're paying me £10,000.
'If he couldn't do it when he said then he shouldn't have agreed the deal with me after talking in person.
'I shouldn't have lost my temper granted but at the same time he should have also honoured his handshake or just say he can't do it and all this would have been avoided.'
Thousands of social media users flocked to leave praise for the garage.
Arthur Guy wrote: 'Dave was right, he does have a huge social media influence. Unfortunately for him, it's exactly the opposite of what he thought it was.'
Mark Wise wrote: 'Thanks goodness that real businesses like this one are built on hard work, word of mouth and building trust and reputation with their customers, not by the number of social media followers.
'This tool needs a lesson in the reality of what it means to make a genuine living.'
When approached for comment, Mr Aspden said: 'There was a deal made between myself and Zaustworx in person that we shook hands on.'