Consumer Alert

With poor customer service, exercise your power

Who hasn’t had a bad customer service experience? Readers share theirs with me all the time. I’ve had plenty myself. A recent encounter reminded me that it was time to once again remind consumers of their power.

At some point or another most consumers experience a moment of incredulity over how our requests or comments to a business are handled.

Here was my recent run-in: A business that I’ve been using for quite a few years took an item that was in great shape and returned it in poor condition. Since it was given to them to restore to as close to perfect as possible and came back all messed up, it was truly an epic failure.


Instead of apologizing or trying to find a solution, excuses and accusations were returned.

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It was intensely disappointing to find that years of commitment as a customer was worth nothing to the business. Ultimately, it shouldn’t have mattered whether I was a longtime customer or a new one, the response should have been apologetic with an effort toward mending the broken trust.

There was simply no question in my mind about what happened while the item was in their possession. But they doubted my version and instead of setting a tone acknowledging how it looked from where I sit, they hurled accusations at me about the original condition of the item.

Seriously? It probably wasn’t the best idea to suggest to an angry and disappointed customer that the item must have been flawed from the start. It wasn’t.

So, rather than deal with a business that offended my sense of good customer service, I went to a competitor, which quickly remedied all that the other establishment had failed at. I exercised my power as a consumer and urge you to do the same. If you aren’t happy with a product or service, take your money elsewhere. When you spend your hard-earned money, it feels a lot better when you have a positive feeling about whom you’re doing business with.

Mitch Lipka has been helping consumers for two decades. He also writes the Consumer Alert blog on Mitch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mitchlipka.