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Consumer Attack! Taking on Corporations and Winning

Consumer Attack! Taking on Corporations and Winning

    Companies are replacing the old adage “the customer is always right” with “the customer is right, as long as it does not cost the company money or extra effort.” Customers are facing new policies that hamper, frustrate, and limit a customer’s ability and determination to process a complaint, request additional assistance, validate a warranty or receive support for services they have purchased.

    Overcome these barriers, by doing the necessary research, creating an action plan, and by presenting your case in a resolute and concise manner.

    Research

    Before doing anything, be realistic about the seriousness of your complaint. Do not spend days researching and preparing your case, when it is obvious that pursuing a resolution is a waste of your time.

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    If the issue is minor, or major, treat it as such. Your expectations can range from registering a complaint without any expectations of compensation, to the extreme of pursuing a legal settlement.

    Either way, all the relevant information you need will be available on the internet.

    Use the following sites to support your case:

    Resources to review:

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    • Internet forums – Use Google to search out references to similar complaints; these searches will usually lead you to online forums. Use the forums to ask for advice and learn how to resolve your complaint.
    • Disclosures – Some companies must offer a verbal or written disclosure to consumers. Both governments and industry groups can institute these policies and they are in place to protect the consumer, the company, and the industry. Ultimately, if a company does not offer a mandatory disclosure, they can be fined or shutdown for non-compliance
    • Contracts – Your contract will stipulate the specific details of your purchase. They outline the minimum responsibilities and restrictions a company and a client needs to adhere to when they enter into a legal agreement.
    • Government Customer Affairs / Customer Advocacy Groups – These sites list consumer protection polices for the individual States and Provinces in North America. These can include the maximum interest a company can charge on a loan or credit card, examples of dishonest business practices, and contact information to register an official complaint.
    • Class Action Suit – you may be one of hundreds of wronged customers. Moreover, there may be no other alternative other than becoming a plaintive in a mass suit and hope for the best.
    • Corporate Websites – Review what commitments the company has made to   their consumers, the community and shareholders. Also, compare the policies of the retailer and the manufacturer; then decide who is more likely to resolve your complaint.

    Depending on the region, there may be laws that give consumers a period of time in which they can review a contract and cancel the agreement without the fear of incurring any penalties or fees.

    In addition, omitting a necessary written or verbal disclosure during a purchase can invalidate a signed contract.

    It is critical that you create a secure folder that contains all your valid and current warranties, contracts, receipts and disclosures. Do not count on businesses to keep these types of documents on file.

    Plan of Action

    Take a moment to decide how you will present your case. Start by listing your strongest arguments and support your facts with any relevant information you have gathered from your research.

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    A written plan of action will keep you focused, calm, and keep your arguments concise and steadfast. Keeping your story straight is important, because you might have to repeat your story to several different people during the escalation of your complaint.

    Follow these tips before presenting your complaint to a company:

    • Present your argument to your friends and family. Ask for honest feedback and then use that information to decide if you are ready to move forward.
    • Construct a timeline by adding every relevant action taken by you, or the company since you made your complaint.
    • Show your appreciation to anyone at the company who offers to assist you, even if it does not resolve the issue. As you move forward with your complaint, they can become key contacts.
    • Create a list of two or three satisfactory resolution options and present them to the company.  The less wiggle room you give the company the better. Force them to work within your parameters.
    • Remind yourself over and over again of why you deserve a fair and equitable resolution

    Build up your immunity to corporate excuses:

    • Believe that you count, and your business is important to the company.
    • There is no harm in trying, and it is your responsibility as a consumer to fight for your rights
    • Ask for support from your friends or family. Receive moral support by having people sit beside you during a phone call and ask them to assist you in writing a letter.
    • Try to stay calm and strive not to take it personally. Getting upset will only make it harder to get a good outcome.

    Increasing profits and stock prices has become the driving force used in structuring a company’s philosophy and policies. As a result, resolving complaints can now become a form of trench warfare.

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    Counter these obstacles by presenting a case that demonstrates that you are dedicated, knowledgeable, and ready to negotiate a fair settlement.

    (Photo credit: consumers from Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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