Here at Team CHEAPIOSITY, we constantly wonder what's happened to Customer Service. We're old enough to remember the good old days...before so many jobs were outsourced to foreign countries, when customer representatives spoke American English as their native language, and when common courtesy was common.
Oh sure, someone somewhere still answers your phone call identifying themselves as Customer Service, but they've long forgotten the meaning of the words. It sometimes seems that the voice on the other end of the phone no longer cares that you are the CUSTOMER and you're asking for SERVICE. We don't want an unpleasant exchange and we don't enjoy repeating ourselves over and over again and still feeling misunderstood. Whatever happened to customer service reps being nice and helpful? Whatever happened to the faceless voice on the other end of your call genuinely and politely trying to help you resolve your issue?
Recently, a member of Team CHEAPIOSITY endured a four night hospital stay. After the insurance company reduced his $39,000 bill to $6,000 for him to pay, he got a bill from the hospital, with just a total, no details. Apparently our increasingly impatient patient was supposed to trust that this bill was accurate. (Perfectly acceptable because hospitals don't have a reputation for overcharging or charging for things that were never administered? Yeah, right.) He called and asked for a detailed bill and got back some gobblety gook replete with undecipherable abbreviations. When he asked for an English translation, he was told to fill out forms and request his medical records. On the medical records site, he was informed that they charge per page for copies. Now he's waiting for that phone call, fully loaded for bear. They charge you $39,000 and they expect you to pay to see your medical records by the page???? Get serious. Obviously, the game here is to wear him down. Not gonna happen this time. They're messing with the wrong guy.
Our motto is: We're Mad As Hell And We're Not Gonna Take It Any More.....and why should we? Don't these Corporations realize that by outsourcing overseas and giving customers a hard time, they are losing business? Apparently not. What happened to 'The Customer Is Always Right?'
We all know the obvious places to go: your local Consumer Protection Agency, the Better Business Bureau, The Federal Trade Commission and hopefully, the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency. However, before you go there and get caught up in more red tape, here are some tips we hope you'll find useful.
According to The New York Times, one very successful method is to a write a letter to the CEO or other higher-ups in the company with your complaints. You should write with a civil tone, but don’t be afraid to imply threats, like noting that “you’ve sent a copy of the letter to a government agency, like the Federal Trade Commission.” Alternatively, you can try talking it over with a representative on the phone. In this case, the Times has two tips: Ask the person what they would do in your shoes in order to get real substantive help, and ride out the clock, since the representative isn’t permitted to hang up on you and will feel more compelled to resolve your issue. In a previous post we advised you on how to get a human on the phone (http://cheapiosity.blogspot.com/2009/01/talking-to-human.html).
If you're still unsuccessful, go to the web and check out these sites:
RipoffReport.com is the place to complain about and uncover scams across the country, and to do so without holding back. According to the site, law firms often use the information entered on Rip Off Report to help with lawsuits against particular businesses. So not only do you get the satisfaction of complaining and having people read your complaints, but you may also help to change the way companies operate down the road.
ComplaintsBoard.com is a good forum for venting at companies, plus it features stories about recalls and companies in the news and even offers useful tips for consumers and businesses alike. Also, for better or worse, users on this site
PissedConsumer.com offers several incredibly useful features. Like ComplaintsBoard, they provide a good outlet to vent and a long list of consumer tips. The site also offers its own Customer Satisfaction Index, which tallies up all the complaints PissedConsumer receives by company and industry to illustrate which businesses are the most reviled.
PlanetFeedback.com is one of the more civil places for consumers to turn to when they feel like complaining. The site refers to all complaints as “letters” and features company responses to many of the complaints. In that way, the site really seems to be trying to foster a dialogue between the consumer and the company, rather than just a ranting session.
MeasuredUp.com essentially acts as an intermediary between you and the companies you hate. Big name business like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Orbitz and Best Buy have signed up with MeasuredUp to respond to consumer complaints on the site. Consider it a way to get around talking to representatives on the phone.
Bottom line. Don't take 'NO' for an answer. Get Satisfaction.