Yesterday, Greg wrote in to ask his fellow Consumerist readers if he’d gone too far in his dealings with a local car wash and crossed the line into being a “Bad Consumer.” Well, the hive-mind voted in full force and Greg has listened to your verdict.
We often hear stories about beleaguered parents who continually dip into their bank accounts to keep their fiscally foolish offspring from ending up on Skid Row. But what about when the shoe is on the younger generation’s foot?
The workers who came to Matt’s house and installed new gutters did a great job, but they damaged the siding. He doesn’t want to pay their bill until the (very minor) damage to his house has been fixed. But he also doesn’t want the company to sic a collection agency on him. What would the consumerists do?
You get into the seats, place your hands on the wheel and sniff. That’s not new car smell you’re getting, but the faint notes of incinerated tobacco leaves. Perhaps they’re peaking out from a cloying cloud of freshener, like a bra strap from a tank top. Dangit. You thought you found a good contender and wasted all this time to come out and check the car out, and now it turns out someone used to smoke in it. Reader Ethan wonders if this isn’t something that dealers should have to disclose, or at least something that should show up on CarFax.
Emily isn’t sure what to do. Last summer, she and her fiancÃ© hired a photographer for their wedding in August. Earlier this month, about six weeks before the wedding, she tried to contact the photographer so she would be aware of some last-minute changes to the start time of the wedding. The photographer didn’t respond, no matter how they tried to contact her. More than two weeks went by, and they prepared to hire another photographer with a month to go before the wedding. Finally, they heard back from the photographer, who promised their “non-refundable” deposit of $700 back. Then changed her mind.
Susan and her husband recently made a decent-sized purchase from Raymour & Flanigan, a chain in the Northeast that sells nice quality furniture. On a return visit to make some changes to their order, they learned that the original person who helped them had to split his commission on the sale with another saleswoman who happened to key in Susan’s order while the original salesman was on a lunch break. Susan thinks this is unfair, and wants to defend the original salesman’s right to the entire commission. But is it her fight, or is that just the nature of commission sales?
Laura wants to get the opinion of the Consumerist hive mind. She recently got involved in a situation where a customer refused to pay for a relatively inexpensive service and was curious how others would have handled it.
Although the prevalence of online account access makes financial software tracking less crucial now than it was, say, a decade ago, a detailed record of your spending is still key to maintaining a budget.
D. hates her current apartment, and is looking for a new place to live. The catch? She works as a temp, and has had some credit problems. She has a steady work history, and also a decade-long history of on-time rent payments to the management company she currently rents from. She wonders: what advice does the Consumerist Hive Mind have for her as she looks for a new home?
Has anyone ever given you great customer service advice? You know, the kind that you have to rush out and tell all your friends so they won’t get ripped off (or that you send to our tipline immediately)? Here’s one we like: “Pretend you are the supervisor. Remain calm and walk the customer service person through the process of solving your problem.”
Anyone who’s worked on a wait staff looks at their dining out experiences in a totally different way than the uninitiated. Understanding the pressures and perspective of servers can give you a deeper understanding of how to handle disappointments. For starters, you realize that customers have just as significant a role as servers in making it a pleasant dining experience. That’s what I’m told, at least. Full disclosure: My food industry working experience is restricted to one hellish day working at a student union Chick-fil-A.
What do you do when you’ve received a product or service, but were never charged for it? Legally, in most cases you’re not required to do anything, but what about those pesky ethics? Rebecca was traveling to Europe for business, and the hotel had trouble processing the transaction on either her business or personal credit cards. The hotel clerk hauled an old-school carbon copy device out of, we assume, some kind of Museum of Antiquated But Still Functional Financial Devices and took an impression of Rebecca’s personal credit card. The bill was settled. Rebecca’s company reimbursed her for the hotel stay. But six weeks later, the hotel still hasn’t charged her card, and she isn’t sure what to do.
The diamond industry wants men to believe they should spend three months’ salary on engagement rings, but that’s just silly. Still, it’s tough to find a more reasonable measuring stick as to the appropriate amount to spend on such a bauble.
Mrgrammarperson has an upcoming airline trip planned, and he’s nervous that one of his flights will be canceled and throw his entire travel itinerary off. He asks the seasoned travelers of the Consumerist Hive Mind: what should he do if his flights are canceled to reach his destination on time?
No matter how old their children get, some parents feel responsible for doing everything they can to help them succeed. This can lead to parents treating their grown kids as though they are teenagers, and it’s tough to discern whether they’re helping or holding their children back.
T. ordered a replacement power adapter for his MacBook from an Amazon Marketplace seller. He was under the impression that it was a genuine Apple product, but the $35 price tag probably should have been an indication that it wasn’t. The item arrived, worked okay, and then T. accidentally broke it. Two months after he left a tepidly negative review, he heard from the seller, offering a refund to encourage him to remove his negative feedback. Coincidentally, the seller had received a huge increase in negative feedback in the period since T’s purchase. What would you do?
Tomorrow, Consumerist Executive Editor Meghann Marco will be sitting down for a chat with Jon Leibowitz, chair of the Federal Trade Commission. And after the two are done discussing the NBA playoffs, they’ll get around to more relevant issues. That’s where we’re seeking your guidance.