Most of us have trouble scratching a simple customer service call off our to-do list, but The Red Tape Chronicles profiles a college kid who has turned taking companies to small claims court into a bit of a hobby. And he’s won 10 out of 12 times.
Need to report an unscrupulous business practice to your state’s attorney general? Here’s all of their phone numbers, listed by state, so you can look them up and file your complaint.
Consumer action reporter hero Bob Sullivan is doing a neat thing today, it’s called the “Red Tape Fight Pledge!” Just pledge to spend one hour this month standing up for your rights by publicly posting your commitment here. Then do it and come back and tell everyone how you did. The stories will be used in an upcoming MSNBC Red Tape Chronicles story. Cool, I have a few fees that I’ve been meaning to get around to fighting, this could be the perfect little kick in the pants to get me started.
Red Tape Fight Pledge [Facebook]
“It’s much more interesting to find out how I can get a delicious and safe tomato for myself than how all tomatoes can be made delicious and safe.” — Good consumer journalism is dead, says Trudy Lieberman in a September/October ’08 Columbia Journalism Review article. The perp? Journalism.
Here’s how Stephanie saved $230 on her cable and phone bills after following the tips in “3 Ways To Lower Your Out Of Control Cable, Internet And Phone Bills“
David used the classic Threaten To Cancel method to save big time on his cable bill, $238.92 per year. Better yet, he did it in the face of Comcast trying to raise his bill. Granted, it was by less than a dollar. But why pay more if you don’t have to? Here’s how he did it.
Credit cards are so much worse than you thought, according to the 2008 Consumer Action credit card survey. Creditors have carte blanche to do pretty much whatever they want, including randomly changing terms, conditions, and rates, even to cardholders with perfect payment histories and pristine credit scores.
Verizon has agreed to pay $21 million in a California class action lawsuit brought over early termination fees. The plaintiffs alleged that the fees violated California state laws. Next case: Sprint, which Californians are suing for the same reason.
My Reader’s Digest article on getting consumer satisfaction is up online. It’s chock-full of tips for being a savvy consumer, illustrated with real world success stories you first read on this site, stories like Mona “Hammer Granny” Shaw, Lona “I have a situation that you are going to fix for me today” Nicholle, Anne “Give me a reason to stick around” Braswell, and the little old lady WaMu hit with 20 overdraft fees. I break down techniques like Town Crier, Executive Email Carpet Bomb, Threaten to cancel, Dictate the Options, and Calling the Executive Suite as escalated customer service problem solving options when traditional methods fail. Check it out!
The GOOD magazine article on online consumer justice I was interviewed for is now online. [GOOD]
“There’s only one leverage any consumer has with a company. And that’s financial.” So says Ron Burley, author of UNSCREWED: The Consumer’s Guide To Getting What You Paid For. I got to interview Ron Burley to plumb his brain about his customer satisfaction hacks, and the current state of affairs of customer service. His techniques are bold and make no apologies. We’re not talking letters, and forms, and complaint departments. These are real methods for real people that work real fast. He also goes into the mindset that you need to develop if you’re going to get results. Bookmark this post, it’s an epic barnburner. Transcript, inside…
You’re probably being ripped off at this very moment and you don’t even know it. Do you have frequent flyer miles? Have you checked lately to see what they’re worth? Probably a lot less than when you signed up. Everywhere we turn, companies are pulling back from the value they offered when you signed the contract and handed over your payment, and leaving fees and restrictions in their wake. Gift cards whose value dwindles over time. Credit card payment due dates getting shorter and shorter. Credit card interest rates shooting up for no reason. Impossible to fulfill warranty repairs. Overdraft fees completely disproportionate to their cost. Health insurance coverage denied for the flimsiest of reasons. The list goes on.
Taking a big company to small claims court sounds like a big hassle but reader Bill has done it successfully three times. He says the time and effort spent on taking a company to small claims court is far less then how it long it takes to get companies to fix above-average in complexity problems.
“I woke up this morning particularly frustrated and decided today was the day I was chaining myself to the local t-mobile counter. You know they make you feel like you could be capable of these things. I thought if I wore my best shoes and handbag, people would know I wasn’t crazy :). Deciding against this course of action after about 3 coffee’s, I searched on the internet. After about 30 minutes, I found your article.”
If you have a problem with Circuit City, and you’ve called customer service, and you’ve escalated to a supervisor, and maybe even hung up and tried a different person, and you’re still getting nowhere, here are some executive email addresses you could use to launch an Executive Email Carpet Bomb against Circuit City.