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How To Fight Back As An Unhappy Consumer

January 9, 2012

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt wronged as a consumer but didn’t quite know how to fight back? After all, you are just a single customer. What could you possibly achieve by trying to go up against that big company?

I found this great article by La Velle Goodwin, who is a consumer advocate who has played an active role in bringing an end to fraudulent practices and businesses. She has worked in cooperation with Service Alberta, the RCMP, the Alberta Law Society in bringing an end to one of this Provinces largest fraud schemes on record.

Taking On A Corporate Bully – 5 Rules of Engagement

In every Province and Territory in Canada there is a Provincial government office that is responsible to deal with unfair trading practices. These provincial laws are in place to protect consumers from unfair trading practices however, they are not proactive bodies. There are no agents going from business to business checking into the day-to-day operations or corporations or checking up on how those corporations are dealing with consumers.

Consumer Affairs offices are reactive bodies. These investigators don’t check into anything until they receive a complaint from a consumer who is unhappy with the way they were dealt with.

Shady corporations are aware of how this game works and so, they often will engage in unfair practices as a matter of course. Should a complaint be filed with an authority, handled well, they can deal with the single complaint to the satisfaction of the single consumer and the office of oversight on the matter – but continue to  use the shady tactics with the other consumers who often are never aware of the sham.

So what can a consumer do if they suspect they are being taken advantage of?

There are five rules of engagement that I strongly recommend you follow if you want to make it end.

#1) keep records of every communication with the offending company and their staff.

If you can deal with the company strictly through email, that is very helpful as it provides a written record of who said what. It is time-stamped. Emails are typically admissable in court and are very helpful to investigators from consumer protection offices. Do not hesitate to demand that any further contact be made via email – and request read receipts on the emails you send. Before moving onto the next step, be sure to send a letter of complaint clearly outlining the problem along with evidence to the CEO or President of the company via registered mail (be sure that receipt of the letter requires a signature).

#2) If you have exhausted your options within the company you are having trouble with (that is, if you have spoken with supervisors and managers and even the CEO of the corporation) contact your local consumer reporter and ask for help. Consumer reporters are often eager to assist if you are genuinely being wronged.

Be prepared to provide the reporter with succinct details and copies of your evidence including emails and a copy of the registered letter send to the company head.

#3) File a complaint with the BBB. This can be helpful. The BBB does take steps to resolve matters between consumers and corporations. Often, they can bring the matter to a resolution without it having to go further. You will need to provide the BBB with details including a copy of the registered letter sent to the company head.

#4) If the corporation is unwilling to play ball at this point, file a formal complaint with the consumer protection branch of government. Again, details and evidence should be provided in a clear and understandable manner.

#5) If you are tempted to post complaints about the company on line or if you intend to set up a website to warn other consumers,

there are certain things you will want to be very careful about:

a) Don’t exaggerate or post anything that you can not prove.

b) Begin statements about the conduct of the company with “I think” or “I believe”; “It seems to me that” etc. You have free speech however, you are only free to state your honest opinions and facts you can back up. If you post anything that is untrue, that you can not prove or that is stated as a fact and not simply your opinion, you could leave yourself open to a libel suit.

In general, when companies are doing something wrong, and they know it is wrong, they will try to make that consumer feel as though they are just too uninformed to understand. Don’t fall for it. As a general rule, it it doesn’t make sense, it is not true. And if someone at a  company tells you that the law protects them or that they are operating within the law, take time to ask them what laws govern the conduct in question and then look it up and see if they are telling you the truth. Many people would be surprised at how far some will take a lie to make a consumer accept a bogus story in hopes they will go away.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com?expert=La_Velle_Goodwin

If you don’t have a security system or don’t have it monitored, call me for a free, no-obligation consultation.  You will be glad you did!

 

Ulli Robson, Security Specialist, (780) 288-2986
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2 Comments
  1. I was just watching the CBC’s marketplace this weekend, and they were awarding Canada’s Worst Customer Service “Retail Edition.” A few people did all the right things, but were still met with brutal or ignorant treatment from the offending companies. Some of them had to resort to very public methods to get anything back. It was difficult to watch at some points simply because you know where there is one victim, there are thousands more across the country. 😦

  2. Thanks for your comment Idris. I find it mind-boggling how some companies can reoffend over and over again and still manage to stay in business.

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