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Fight Big Businesses: The Basics

Posted By Jim On 02/13/2006 @ 8:30 am In Personal Finance,Shopping | No Comments

CNNMoney released a six part series teaching you how to fight back against different big business industries that will try every underhanded trick in the book to separate you from your hard earned money. The first part in the series involves laying the groundwork and figuring out a strategy for dealing with these businesses. The four basic parts of your strategy are:

1. Know the rules and speak the language.
Before you start, know the keywords that customer service representatives (CSRs) key in on to know what to do. For example, “can I speak to your manager or supervisor” usually perks their ears up if the conversation turns combative (CSRs have bad days too, probably more than most if they have to deal with grief and complaints all day) and cell phone CSRs hate to hear the words “I want to cancel.” Knowing how the business operates, what codes on the paperwork mean and the like, is also critical. With Google, you can probably find all the information you need.

2. Keep a paper trail.
Always write down who you talk to (full name!), the time, the date, and their ID or badge number. If they won’t reveal their full name, ask them why. If they’ve given you their badge number, don’t push it because you can already track them and if they lied about that, they’re going to lie about their name so it’s not worth fighting over a name. These records will be important down the line when you talk to someone new and the prior CSR failed to keep adequate notes in your file. It’s important to document any grief too because it could mean a few bucks off your service or more.

3. Write a killer letter.
When it’s in writing, it’s suddenly much more significant to the company you’re dealing with. Consider sending it certified mail because then you have a record of it reaching the company (they can’t claim they never received it) and make sure you send it to the right person. If you feel it’s necessary, send it to your local chamber of commerce or the Better Business Bureau. Act quickly because they warn that companies have a 30-60 day window.

4. “Can I Speak To Your Manager?”
Everyone has a manager or a supervisor and everyone hates it when you, an upset customer, want to talk to them. Maybe it’ll change the CSR’s tune or, more likely, you’ll just be speaking to someone else who might be more helpful than the first person.

via CNN Money [3].


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[3] CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/06/pf/fightback_money_0603/index.htm

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