Friday, December 11, 2009

Sometimes It Pays To Be A Pain In The Ass

I've blogged about a variation of this topic before (being assertive when you think you've been wronged in some sort of transaction) but I guess it's time to bring it up again. Why? Because lately, it seems, there are all sorts of traps out there set for people to get nickled and dimed if they are either not paying attention or don't feel like dealing with it if they are. Also, in a related vein; when you get crappy customer service/don't get what you paid for and just letting it go.
I don't know if it's because a) I was raised to be somewhat assertive (or at least the foundation was there and life and circumstances developed this trait) b) I learned while working to write a pretty decent "Don't Screw With ME" letter c) as of next week, I'll officially be pushing 50 (OLD BROAD TAKES SHIT FROM NO ONE) or d) all of the above; but, well, I don't usually let too much get past me unless I decide to let it go.
My advice, then, to others out there who, perhaps, haven't quite reached this frame of mind is: GET THERE.
Ok, here are the recent opportunities I had to be A PAIN IN THE ASS (at least from someone's perspective, I'm sure):
1. Doctor's office attempted to charge me the difference between their normal billing rate and the negotiated rate for a recent office visit. I DON'T THINK SO!
2. Our carpets are buckling in a bad way. More than they should be after only 3 years of being in the house. The guy who cleaned our carpets said he's never seen it quite so bad in such a new house. We contacted the builder and got the usual, "Well, your warranty is up". I really don't care; you guys did a crappy job so you'd better fix it. Mr. B added, "Or, you may as well give us the number to JD Powers (KB is always trying to achieve a rating of 10 for customer satisfaction on EVERYTHING they do) and we'll raise a stink with them". Remember the whole hardwood floor fiasco? We've got a similar situation here; drag feet, postpone, hem and haw. We finally got them to agree to DO it; now, we've just got to get it scheduled. If they think we'll forget about it...well, you know the end to that statement!
3. Mom and I went to Firebirds (a chain restaurant in the local mall) a few weeks ago for lunch. We had gone three or so weeks before and they gave us each one of those cards that you are supposed to bring back, unopened, by the expiration date and you'll get some sort of prize (usually 5% of your bill; sometimes a fairly decent prize like a flat screen TV). Anyway, we went back and handed the waitress the cards. "Oh, let me go get our manager to open those up for you!" Off she went and returned with the manager (some scrappy looking guy who seemed hardly old enough to be a manager of anything). "Sorry, ladies, those have expired", he said. Say what? We both looked; sure enough, they had...the day before. We had each thought it expired 11/30 but it expired 11/03 (ok, talk about a dumb expiration date). Ok, fine, so it's expired, here we are, can't you honor them anyway? We were only ONE day late, after all. "Nope, can't do it. It's not that we don't like you, though" he said with a (I thought) smirk and walked off. Well, we walked off, too; across the way to another restaurant. After thinking about it, though, I got even more highly annoyed and sent off an email to their corporate office complaining about the half-assed way we were treated. I immediately received a reply from their marketing department apologizing and explaining WHY the manager couldn't honor it (some legalese; whatever). She went on to say she was going to send me a few VIP cards and she sure hoped we'd give Firebirds another chance. Which we did, the other day. So, why couldn't the dumb dumb manager have explained this to us? We certainly would have understood.
4. We have several accounts with a regional bank, including our small business account. We've banked with them going on six years. Lately, I've noticed strange glitches with their bill pay system. A few months ago, it changed the address of one of our billers from what I'd put into the system to what they had in the system for that biller. I changed it back. The other day, it paid a fairly large bill three days earlier than I'd scheduled it for. Who knows why, but, it did; causing us to be temporarily overdrawn in our account (there was a reason, after all, why I scheduled it for the day I did; Mr. B's pay day!) Anyway, I noticed this negative amount in our account and immediately transferred money over from another account (why they didn't do this on their own is beyond me as is why they paid the bill three days early). By late afternoon, the transfer was "pending" (usually it is effective immediately) and they'd assessed a $36 insufficient funds fee on our account. I went ape shit over that one and sent a snot o gram to their customer service department telling them what happened and that if they didn't reverse the fee, we'd close all of our accounts and go else were. I meant it, too. In this economy in particular, who the you know what do they think they are pulling this stuff? Luckily, I received an email from them this morning assuring me they'd reverse the charge.
Man, this type of thing makes my blood BOIL; and, even though I get agitated, irritated, annoyed, etc., I do something about it, which, in the end, suits me far more than feeling like I just bent over and got royally screwed.
Mrs. B


Margot said...

I hope that the Burling Corp. will give you a big fat bonus for keeping on top of this stuff. Of course it will!

Don't let This Stuff play havoc w/your blood pressure. Just congratulate yourself for keeping on top of it.!!!

Doc said...

I'd love to see someone try this on you. I'm sure you'd get arrested for a different reason than not paying a tip.

Mrs. B said...

Holy cow, Doc. I can't believe the restaurant actually called the police!

Had it been me, I would have paid for the bill/tip on my credit card and then called the credit card company and canceled the tip portion. I'm passive-aggressive that way :-)