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The Tufted Titmouse that could
The Tufted Titmouse that could

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10 Dec 2005, 6:20 pm

My hobby is fighting major corporations;

Have you noticed that the old staple, "the customer is always right." is no longer practiced.

I believe the reason for this is both, cooperation between rival companies (collusion), and the fact that there is limited competition in the marketplace (fewer companies have a larger market share, within a specific market).

And incidently, because people are too busy these days to fight and/or shop around these greedy leaders of industry feel like they can, so they do. But because of the lack of opposition, either from the customer or competition, the raping of the consumer is getting worse and worse each year.

My philosophy is simple and i learned it from my grandma, "watch the nickels and the dollars will take care of themselves." what this means is that i fight for every nickel that rightfully belongs to me. And that includes my time spent making things just and fair. For example; when i purchase anything i believe that i am buying more than a product, i am oft times purchasing a warranty (built into the pricetag) and customer service (built into the final cost). If there is a problem with the product, warranty, or customer service end i fight for my side, every time. If it is clear to me that i am due some compensation, either services or monetary, and the company drags their feet and i have to spend too much time recouping my value, i hold that the company owes me even more than what i origionally deemed that worth to be. "time is money" at best buy they charge a restocking fee, thus establishing the value of their 'paid time' to employeees who would have to restock the product. So if at first i am not successful in my quest, the next time i inquire about my value , the price went up. if after many repeated efforts without satisfaction my pricetag becomes seemingly unreasonable.

I have never, never lost in my puruit of expected value, and the key to winning is persistence. due to the fact that people rarely fight, i believe that the corporations initial reaction is denial of claim. Too bad for that policy, because now it costs more. Also, it is very important to leave a paper trail. Either by sending e-mail, snailmail or submitting your warrany information. Also, any time you talk to a representative over the phone, first ask them their name, title and employee ID number. Then state the date and time verbally, and request that the conversation WILL BE recorded (they can never guarantee that). And most importantly, keep a journal, if you make an agreement, write it down (make notes) and request the terms to be sent to you in writing. if the customer representative or supervisor says anything that raises a flag, make a note of the comment. time and experience will teach you how to ask the right (incriminating) questions. BUT TO BE SURE, KEEP A WRITTEN ACCOUNT OF THE ENTIRE PROCESS.


I have countless examples tp cite for you, to teach as examples of worthwhile pursuits and i will periodically retell the accounts of the story from inception to conflict finishing with resolution.

The goal of this excercise is to teach others, presumably with time on their hands, how to beat the corporations at their own games. Also, i believe, that if more people practiced this art then the major corporations would be held a little more accountable, and my personal campaign would be less exhausting.

Remember their are laws governing the practices of business and all you have to abide by is a contract, or term of agreement. Contracts ARE NOT always binding and likely their are far more loophole for you to utilize than the corporations.

All those nickels you save for yourself, compounded over a lifetime, i have estimated to be between tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. What else is their to do with all your free no social time and if time is worth money make your time work for you and fight everything.


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Larval
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10 Dec 2005, 7:11 pm

This is pretty good advice.

I'd say more but I'm feeling a little light headed right now. :/



SB2
The Tufted Titmouse that could
The Tufted Titmouse that could

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10 Dec 2005, 8:07 pm

TARGET LOWES;

let me begin with a few simple battles.

One day i bought $100.oo dollars worth of product at Lowes. Some items i needed the rest were for an electrical upgrade to my home.

When i paid i gave as compensation a $20.00 Lowes gift card and $80.00 cash.

When i got home i realized that i would likely kill myself with the electrical installation that was way above my head. So the following weekend i brought back $60.00 worth of electrical products. When they refunded my money they gave me a $20.00 Lowes giftcard and $40.00 cash.

my problem with this was; sure i'd spent the gift card, no problem. But, why couldn't the $40.00 worth of product that i still owned have been applied to my origional gift card purhase. In essence, they were dictating, to me, how i was going to spend my own money. And since i had to spend the $20.00 with them that was less money i had working for me, gaining interrest. Also, they maintained the $20.00 cash, having it working for them, as well as free money minus the 30% markup which is customary. Their policy about how i spent my money had huge advantages for them, times the shear volume of customers that they apply that to, with negative benefit to me. And we are talking about my money to begin with.

The solution is simple. I held up the line, and insisted on talking to a manager. I explained my views and discretely let him know that i felt entitled to not only my cash, but a FREE $5.00 gift card for my incionvenience.
It helped that i had my file of reciepts with me, and it was a mountain. Also, asking for more needs to be handled discretely, especially with other customers aroud. The last thing they want is to teach every customer to have a feeling of entitlement.


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SB2
The Tufted Titmouse that could
The Tufted Titmouse that could

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10 Dec 2005, 8:29 pm

All encompassing advice:


What do your favorite retailers sell?

short answer; SPACE.

they are simply a place for the manufacturer and the consumer to meet. They are a middleman who collect mark-up profit as compensation for convenience.

On the subject of clearance items given the previous argument;
Whenever an item is on clearance it is so because thay need to provide more space for the new models of said product, or even a new product line, or seasonal items after the season is gone.

I learned that it is much more costly for the manufacturer to hire labor and vehicle to p/u the item and sell it themselves. It would cost them more to transport it than it would to simply write it off on their taxes.
Due to the formation of monopolies in the retail sector the retailer has gained an advantage when negotiating terms with the manufaturer, and ther competition between manufacturers are a lot more pronounced than that of the middleman. Also, any manufacturer knows the importance of having shelf space at one of the retail giants. Thus the retailer is holding all the cards when it discusses terms with the manufacturer.
That being said, the retailer, as standard practice, recieves 100% credit for items that need to be clearanced out through their stores. And the fact that their is limited supply of space available, they understand the need to move these items as quickly as possible.

See where this is going?
All things are negotiable, but in particular, a clearance item is priced no where near what you can actually get it for.

Remind them of the fact that all they sell is space. The value that product is costiong them every minute it is sitting there taking up that space. Let them know that you know that if you only paid $1 for that $100.00 item then they would be making a large profit margin in terms of percentages. Also let them know that you don't really need it but are willing to do them a facor and take it off their hands. Your a great guy. 1% of asking price is extreme, but it serves as an example.

Make them a reasonable offer, generally 25-50 % off the marked down price tagged. You will almost always get your price iof you talk to the rigjht manager who is well learned in the business of retail. Because they realize that there is benefit in satisfying a custumer.
Also if there are 3 items that are the same, offer to take them all, at your price.

One final note, talk the product down. Note that it is sold AS IS and you don't even know if your going to find parts missing, and there is generally accesories that are missing including the manual. the same philosophy applies to floor models, but with them i offer even less.

Until they learn that auctioning clearance items is more profitable, you can benefit if you have disposable income to buy things on clearance.


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SB2
The Tufted Titmouse that could
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11 Dec 2005, 2:37 am

LOWES CONT...

i became so well known at Lowes that once cunsulted an Asst manager about a $250.00 over the range microwave oven which was on clearance for $100.00. I said i was interrested but...
he asked what i had in mind. i said how about $75.00. He said o.k. $50.00, its yours.

The reason for my success was because i was currently obsessed with learning all things manly. Home improvement was my current vice and i was re-modeling my kitchen.
I have no problem having long talks with knowledgeable people about my current interrest.

During the course of about 1 1/2 years i spent alot of time and money at Lowes. Once i developed some contacts i learned to seek them out, only after i was pushing around a full basket. Talking them up, i learned alot about product, tools and 'how to', and most importantly i became a pseudo VIP customer. These investment lend you a voice that is not only heard, but it comes with secondary perks.

A 50 CENT BATTLE:

On another trip to Lowes i noticed in the appliance section a cardboard box with marked down accessory items. On the bok written in Marks-a Lot was a price that read All items 50 cents or $1.00 each. I noticed a couple items that i didn't really need but may sometime in the future, whose regular prices were between $8-12.
I kept track at the register and of course they scanned at the regular price. The cashier called the appliance department head, and he confirmed those items were in fact $1.00.

Ahem, i disagreed, i felt like these items were only 50 cents each. he argued that the box also said $1.00. I agreed, but i reminded him that it stated this price or that price, since no item were individually priced and all items were in the same box, then that implies customer option. And i opt to pay only 50 cents each. Any other charge would in fact be misleading and i would certainly notify weights and measures about their scheme.
And besides i said, llok at me, i am just a regular joe just like you, trying to eke my way through life and support a family. Who needs that 50 cents in their pocket more? Mr. Lowes or me!

FREE HEAT GUN:
I bought a paint sprayer from Lowes which included a FREE Heat gun in its own box and taped to the paint sprayer box. The outside of the box read FREE HEAT GUN. Nowhere did it say, with purchase.
How lucky a find. When i got home i seperated the two by cutting the tape between the boxes. The next weekened i returned the sprayer. Of course they had to ask about the location of the heat gun. I told them i had it at home and that i was going to keep it. Since they could not prove to me that my interpretation of definition in the statement on the box was incorrect, i got a freebie.

Remember, the big corporation spends countless $$$$ devising new ways of fleecing the consumer out of the most it possibly can. To me fair is fair. What's acceptable practice for them is acceptible for me. A game of chess , if you will. Just an innocent game of one upsmanship. Unfortunately for them, they are at a disadvantage. Yes, they have the lawyers and $$$$, but i have a different, athough logical, way of reasoning. i have personally aided them in filling loopholes by exposing them. A $25.00 heat gun was a very good bargain for them, considering the alternative.


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GalileoAce
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11 Dec 2005, 3:15 am

Awesome!

I wish I could do stuff like that, but more often than not I tend to avoid conflict as it'd require effort on my part... And I'm a lazy person.

Right now my previous ISP owes my compensation for 2 calls I made to their customer service center on my mobile (cell) phone, that were in excess of 20min...

Out of curiosity I'll calculate that... It costs me 36c per 30sec blocks (or part thereof), so there'd be 40 30sec blocks in 20min. Which would cost me $14.40. So to be fair, I'd say that my ISP owes me $10.

Hmm...

GA



SB2
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11 Dec 2005, 4:23 am

Don't forget about your entitlements.

Fair is fair, right.

Don't put it past them to soak all they can dream up from you. And they will be relentless in their pursuit of your hard earned money. It seems like everytime you turn around there are hidden or new or increased charges.

I would start by asking for the exact amount due to you, plus a reasonable rate of interest on your money, compounded daily, not yearly. They compoound daily so why shouldn't you. They pay on interrest yielding accounts at a compounded yearly rate, but they like to charge interrest on a compounded daily rate.

I have no problem abiding by rules, just so long as they are applied equally in all situations. That would certainly give me a safe feeling and the consistency would put my mind at ease.

72c per minute times 40 minutes equals (assuming each call was excess of 20 min.)$28.80.
be nice and only char 5% interest per year but componded daily.
so multiply .0001369 * the # of days since the timeyou made the calls and present day, the resulting # would be the amount of interrest they would owe you on top of the $28.80.

if it was 3 months ago it would look like this 91*.0001369=.0124579 (or to be easy 1 1/4 %)

$28.80 * 1.25%= $36.00 on the button (that's your due)

if its 20 min total time then;
then only $18.00 is due you, but its one month free Internet service.

Also remember, if they make you work too hard, say 5 calls, the double it.

i doubt that there is much incentive for them to pay since you are not a current valued customer. But, You got nothing better to do (which of us does) call them every other day for a month, then every single day for the next month. Ask alot of creative questions and take notes. Give them creative arguments and notice their defenses. At some point start making suggestions about a class action law-suit that your considering.
by now they owe you ISP for life. Your time = their money.

It probably wont get to that point because, although you have nothing better to do, the person who's time your wasting is a valuable resourse for them and each minute you waste cost them money. They ultimately must pay, one way or another.

This will establish in you a good starting point and hopefully confidence in the pursuit of your just due. Hopefully that confidence will gain a head of steam and a life of its own. Each battle will yield new knowledge, increased confidence, and bring the playing field a little closer to the level desired position.

If you cannot win your money back you will win by costing them twice (at least) what they cost you. And if that becomes regular practice then they have been put on notice, that, they either satisfy the customer or the will be out of business.

THIS IS A GREAT EXAMPLE AND I FEEL YOU ARE DUE COMPENSATION!


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GalileoAce
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11 Dec 2005, 4:30 am

Yeah.. Though I will have to deduct $2.45 that I owe them in phone calls made on their service (net and phone package).

I paid my last account and emailed them (as I decided to no longer call them due to the mobile calls) that I wanted my account cancelled, then they sent the next month's bill. I told them I would not be paying it, and the $2.45 I made in calls should be rebated to me for compensation due the mobile calls I made.

So I feel justice is done enough for the effort expended... Though I am getting a $17.08 cheque from the teleco that was supplying my long distance at the time, because they'd charged for something I did not have... :)

GA



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11 Dec 2005, 4:58 am

symantics.

there is a larger issue here and that is about justice and YOUR nickel.

They must pay, one way or another. Don't the have a toll free number?

if not find out who their particular watch-dog is and sent an e-mail to them and CC your former ISP provider to the sent message so they know that your not going tpo accept their thieving tactics.

but first, e-mail them, often and state your case clearly, forget about concise.

the second step would be to post their name and e-mail address here. With support and likely other subscribers threatening to jump ship, perhaps they may see the light. or go out of business.

With the aid of others on this site we can send them a diluge of dissapontment e-mails on your behalf.

your cost= nada
our cost=nada
their cost=immeasurable

benefit for the regular joe= one step closer to fair play

why shouldn't they be accountable by the same set of rules that we are forced to abide by, because they have money? yes, your money, which is rightfully yours.


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GalileoAce
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11 Dec 2005, 5:01 am

I feel I've done my bit...

Plus, being in Australia I have no nickels...



SB2
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11 Dec 2005, 5:02 am

about the $17.08 cheque.

is that a fair number in regards to what is due to you?
or is it a peanut?


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GalileoAce
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11 Dec 2005, 5:05 am

This is a different company to my ISP. The $17.08 is fair...Considering they only owed my 15...
They had only credited my account to begin with, so I rang them up, and it took like 5 min if that...All very easy. :) Can't fault that company for that performance really.



SB2
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11 Dec 2005, 5:23 am

i appreciate the initiation on your part.

tou will be back. because now the seed has been planted and you will find it difficult not noticing your euros or kiwis or, What's the currency, being taken from you, slowly and methodically. likely obsess on it. well good, and good for you for raising the previous question in the first place, because it shows that you are aware of what belongs to you, by all rights.

you claim to be non-confrontational. that is a quality of behavior, a quality!

but i submit, if you learn to fight for your just due, there are so many secondary advantages that you cannot even imagine. The confidence is foremost. Your gullibility will supress itself leaving you more aware and less likely to be taken advantage of. you will become more keen to what belongs to you and more aware of your need to stand for something.

Besides most battles are played out in perfect arenas. Over the phone, through letter campaigns, or e-mail. You get to fight under the cloak of invisibility. The opponent is not a person it is an entity,, a corporation. the person you get to deal with is a peon (you will rarely get past the second level of management in a sytem that has hundreds of levels). And who cares what they think anyways, they do not know you, they cannot see you and likely will never even think of you or make ant utterance of you once you are through with them. and the next time, it will be some-one else, another peon, just like you, just like me, trying to eke by and support a family on the peanut that the rich elite allows us to have. They are so thoughtful, thank you master.


this is a nobel cause which is advantageous to all us peasants, putting them on notice and giving life for us new and fresh meaning.

i always quote;
"every difficult journey begins with one single step!"


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GalileoAce
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11 Dec 2005, 5:35 am

We have dollars. But not nickels, or dimes, or pennys, or whatever...

Dollars and Cents.

We called a 10 cent coin..a 10 cent coin. Etc



SB2
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11 Dec 2005, 3:02 pm

SIMILAR CELL PHONE DISPUTE:


I was involved in a dispute with Verizon over a billing issue on my home (land based) service.

During the course of this dispute (another topic) i was literally call blocked from verizon, denying me access to their customer service personell. Incidently, did you know that it is one of your consumer rights to have access to such numbers. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) & the FCC require them to have a number, which is required to be written somewhere on your phone bill, and agents are required to be available to process your dispute, BY LAW.
I assume they call blocked me as a result of my persistency in calling them in pursuit of my just due.
The reason i knew that i was call blocked by them, is because i tried calling the toll free number three times. Each call yielded the same result and recording; "we're sorry but your call cannot be completed as dialed, if tou feel you have reached this recording in error, please hang up and dial again."

Then my wife tried three times, same result.

And then i tried again, same result.

To be certain, i dialed the same number with my cell phone, while my wife tried again on our land based line. I got through, she received the error message.

After i was able to make a connection with their customer service department, i spent the next couple of hours on hold, being transferred repeatedly around the country. Apparently they were trying to teach me a lesson. Obviously they didn't know who they were dealing with. And i immeadiately made phone calls to both the PUC and FCC. informing them of the violation of my consumer rights, leaving a paper trail. Also, i made notes of the dates and specific times of each call made from us when we were blocked and reached the recording. Thanks to computers, this would never be a situation of 'he said, she said, since my claims will be supported with technology. Absolutely every type of connection made these days, is recorded and logged.

Each time i made a new contact on my journey around America, i would make note of the date, time, representatives Employee ID #, and location in which they were based. In an effort, by them, to connect me with absolutley the correct individual who might help me and my issue, i visited 9 total locations, 2 locations 3 seperate times, spent between 2-3 hours on the phone, but only 33 minutes in contact with seperate individuals. Finally, while on hold my cell battery life ran out. I received 0 satisfaction for my time.
This pissed me off, so as a result, each time i called them for the remainder of the month, at a pace of two times per day, i would call from my cell phone. Even after the ban on my home line was lifted. Apparently, i was trying to teach them a lesson.
The next month my cell phone bill was nearly 800 minutes over the plan limit, slightly over $300.00 in excess charges. And that was according to design, by me.
I refused to pay and why should i. The result of the overages on my cell phone minutes were because of their illegal violation of my consumer rights. If this, then that. Also, i was under the assumtion that a bulk of those minutes resulted because they opted to play games with me in an effort to wear me down.
It required three seperate inquiries on my part, and they finally relented, correcting the charges and crediting my account.

But due to the effort required on my part, i have also requested that, in addition to them doing what was clearly the right thing to do, i am also due compensation for all my wasted time. I have a pending request out for 1 FREE month of cell phone service, for the entire account, two #'s.
If they have bothered to notice my pattern of behavior, they will get on the ball and approve my request. The second time i request payment for my time i will tell them i expect 2 Free months, but will accept 1 FREE month, only if offered. The 3rd occasion will require 3 FREE months and the number is firm. After 6 requests, i will begin to drop hints as to my intentions of filing a complaint with the PUC and the FCC and will then follow that up with a Civil lawsuit, which will require damages, resulted from their violation of my consumer rights, in addition to the hefty fines levied by both commission. In total, it would likely cost them 100's of times more than it would to honor my request. Also, the negative advertisement would do immeasureable damage to this ambitious company.

Bottom line; my time=their money.
Or if they desire it doesn't have to come to that, if they would do what's right by the customer the first time.


Incidently, i have resolved the issue over my land based line dispute. And as promised by me to them from the inception of the matter i will not be required to pay 1 dime of the charge. I will relate the story another time. It is one of my favorite incidents. and the damages section of the dispute are also pending, but i anticipate that it will be my most fruitful. Once you know the specifics of the case, you will be in shock about their treatment of me, my wife and the case and you will believe that i have not asked for enough.

Its just that i have not been forced to persue legal recourse to date, and i like the concept of one man taking on the machine, with success, and without professional help.


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