Oliver Desofi, a 77-year old retired bank executive, has won a battle with Cingular…thanks to the efforts of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Cingular refused to remove more than $31,000 in roaming charges for calls that he said he never made.
Desofi couldn’t have made these calls…as all the over 4,000 calls were made in Nicaragua…a place he has never been. He complained of fraud…Cingular disagreed. We wonder they assumed Mr. Desofi was sleepwalking…or suffers from amnesia about his trip to Nicaragua. They cancelled his account when their fraud department could not find any problems.
While now, the bill has been credited, and an additional $120 added for the inconvenience…should he wish to return…Mr. Desofi does not plan to return to Cingular. We don’t blame him.
We are not sure which is harder…trying to get yourself declared not dead when an organization thinks you are, or trying to convince an organization that your loved one has died and thus will not need them anymore…
- Sprint refuses to cancel the account of a man’s brother, who died suddenly in December. After over forty minutes, the best he could get was a $5.95 a month vacation hold. He had all the information and passwords, but no death certificate for eight to ten weeks, since he passed in his sleep with no apparent cause of death. There is no indication they even informed him they would do so when such a document was available.
- Verizon has done just the opposite, declaring Catherine McCall, a Verizon retiree, deceased, even though she is not. In August, she lost her husband, and in early November, notified the company to stop sending a stipend to pay her husband’s medical costs. Not long after, a letter arrived addressed to her estate, demanding the return of the September through November pension checks, and a letter to her husband, advising that since his wife was dead, he was no longer eligible for the stipend. Despite vows to repair the problem, she did not receive a December or January pension check…as this Philadelphia Inquirer suggested, perhaps the slogan, “We Never Stop Working for You,” is inaccurate.
Generally, the attendance of a father at his child’s birth is not optional. This potentially put Chicago Bears superfan Mark Pavelka in a bind. Pavelka had scored much coveted tickets to Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against eh New Orleans Saints, but with his wife pregnant and due on Monday, the prospect of birth and sport colliding put him in a quandry.
His wife, Colleen Pavelka, perhaps fearing what Mark’s decision might be, opted to be induced on Friday to avoid the conflict. Said Mrs. Pavelka: “I thought, how could [Mark] miss this one opportunity that he might never have again in his life?”
It is unclear whether Mrs. Pavelka was referring to the game or the miracle of his son being born.
Our blood is as red as that of the next American, but we think this calls for some perspective. Are sports entertaining? Yes. Is it an electrifying experience to be in a stadium full of myriads of fans cheering on a team to which they have arbitrarily pledged allegiance despite having absolutely no real connection? Yes. Is its importance even remotely comparable to attending the birth of one’s child? Not even close… though we might be more understanding if it were a Yankees game.
We bring you another part of the Consumerist’s series on tips on exercising your rights as a consumer, with our comments
- Use a speaker phone – recording helps too
- Set aside at least 30 minutes – On hold time alone can take that away
- Get a human – Gethuman is very useful. And you can’t argue with an interactive voice response system
- Gather your evidence – keep all written correspondence, recordings of conversations, financial statements, etc.
- Act like a human – Acting like a rampaging animal won’t make someone want to help you.
- Don’t think the world revolves around you – any corporation has a lot of customers…things shouldn’t be slow…but don’t expect instant results
- Know your enemy – Become intimately familiar with the people you are fighting
- Take notes – Writing down important information is a great way of organizing your thoughts and plan of attack
- Don’t be afraid to hang up and try another operator – not everyone is as helpful or competent as you’d like
- Run out the clock – Be patient…triumph takes time
- Be firm – Don’t give up
- Keep calmly repeating your story
- Say exactly what you want – Have an idea of your desired course of action and/or compensation
- Don’t ask for yes from someone who can only say no – don’t just ask for a supervisor…ask for someone who has the authority to act
- Make a business case for your wants – don’t just say what you want…say why it is a good idea to give it to you
- Honesty begets honesty – If they catch you in a lie, they won’t help you at all.
- There’s sometimes more freebies to give out early in the day, or early in the quarter
- Email a company executive, then print it out and mail it
The next ten tips are from the customer service representative side, courtesy who run CustomersSuck.com…with our notes, of course.
- Be civil – they are human beings(hopefully)
- Let the rep talk – nothing gets down when two people are talking at once
- Don’t ramble – it undermines your position
- Don’t blame reps for corporate policies – they aren’t management, and cannot change them
- Remember the other person is a person – they don’t deserve your abuse
- Demanding a supervisor will not always work – they often don’t have any authority either
- Be reasonable and keep perspective
- Consider seeing a therapist if you’re screaming at a powerless rep
- Sometimes you just can’t be helped
- Don’t tell them how long you’ve been on hold – It may have made you angrier…but the clock starts when they start talking to you
You go on vacation with your family to Disney World…one of the ‘Most Wonderful Places on Earth’, and a costumed man dressed as Tigger sucker punches your fourteen year old son. But at least you capture it on video.
Tigger claims it was “self-defense”…and exactly what led up to the event in front of his parent’s camera is unclear. Was he deserving of violence? Tigger has been suspended, and rightly so. The general manager apologized, and offered compensation…all Jerry Monaco claims he wants is an apology from Tigger.
As proof the Internet is a dangerous place…someone harvested a woman’s blog to produce pictures and details about her apartment and used them to post an ad on Craiglist advertising an apartment for rent.
The blogger, Beth, found out about it when a stranger called about the apartment. Beth contacted ‘Beth’, the one who wanted to rent the apartment, and was told she was in Fremont, CA and could not show it. Instead, ‘Beth’ would overnight the keys if Beth sent her $1500, and if she didn’t like it, ‘Beth’ would send her the money back. Beth couldn’t speak to ‘Beth’ over the phone because she was a ‘deaf-mute.’
The lesson…be careful what you reveal about yourself online. Honesty is good, but personal information should be avoided.
WFTV Florida reports that an angry woman is accused of setting a Walgreens on fire. One moment…she was angry about receiving incorrect change, and the next, she was going up and down the aisles lighting things on fire with a lit cigarette.
In the Walgreens TV commercials, they recount the story of the town of Perfect. The idea being that if you can’t be in ‘Perfect’, why not try Walgreens? Nobody is perfect…of course, most of us don’t burn down the house to protest imperfection.
Another bit of advice from the Consumerist, on how to get satisfaction.
- Ask for what you want really nicely.
- Hone in on solutions, not on how bad it makes you feel.
- Cut to the Chase…expect solutions now…not at some indefinite time in the future.
- Volunteer Mediators are your friend.
- Complain to the relevant organizations…consumer advocacy, state attorney, licensing authorities…
- Take it to Small Claims Court
- File a Civil Lawsuit
We understand that it’s not unusual for passionate people to argue. However, a recent fight between Dan Gulley Jr. and David James Brooks Jr. reminds us of Henry Kissenger’s oft-quoted dictum “University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.”
The men, who were friends, were at another friend’s house recently when they began to discuss the height of the recently late Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Their discussion became an argument, and Gulley, unwilling to concede his point, drew his gun and shot Brooks twice in the abdomen. Brooks fled to his car, got his own gun and returned fire, missing Gulley. They then both separately went to the police station where Brooks was taken to the hospital and Gulley was arrested.
To us, the question of Mr. Brown’s height is trivial, but perhaps we misjudge its importance. A recent poster(perhaps Mr. Brooks) recently asked the question on Yahoo Answers, saying “Does Anyone Know How Tall The Late R&B Legend Was? I Have Been Dying To Know.” The answer, as that questioner discovered, is 5 foot 6 inches tall. Though we suppose it would be more accurate to describe Mr. Brown’s current height as six feet under.
We recently decided here at Giving up The Ship to add to the focus of this blog with stories of consumers fighting against corporate illogic and insanity. In that vein, we refer you to this post from the Consumerist…their guide to fighting companies and winning.
- Get Screwed by a Company – It happens all the time
- Start a Blog
- Post Your Initial Complaint
- Enable comments
- Stock Smoking Guns
- Include contact information for the company
- Embed a sitemeter
- Insert Google Ads
- Set Up Google Alerts
- Submit to Clearinghouses
- Actively pursue and post
- Ignore the haters
- Be prepared for the press
We intend to follow their advice.