Everyone wants to save some money. Not everyone goes about it the right way. Just as there’s bad companies out there that will look to take your money there’s lots of bad consumers as well. In your pursuit of being financially responsible, and in your efforts to get the best deal possible, don’t be a bad consumer. Here’s a couple of situations I’ve come across that make me shake my head, sigh, and think to myself, “now that’s a bad consumer”.
Don’t lie in order to get a financial advantage. If you broke your expensive electronic device, then it’s not covered under a regular warranty. You should know that, and by lying about how it broke, you’re becoming a bad consumer. If you make an agreement with a company, then when you change your mind and want to back out of it, don’t lie. Don’t tell people that someone else told you something different, and keep pressing the issue even though you’re repeatedly told that no, that was never the agreement.
Don’t Haggle Beyond What is Reasonable
I’ve seen a couple of personal finance blogs that advocate haggling in all circumstances. Car repairs, cell phone bills, at the grocery store – always ask for a discount. While I do understand and recognize that you’ll never get what you don’t ask for, if you do ask but someone says no – then please respect that decision. Don’t keep asking over and over and over again. A lot of the time, if the person said no, there’s a reason for it. They can’t afford to give that lower price, the company policies forbid it, whatever it may be, don’t press the issue.
Wait Until It’s Too Late
I’ve seen far too many consumers wait until it is too late to contact a company. For example, let’s say that you can’t afford your monthly cell phone bill. Instead of recognizing that, hey, I can’t pay my bill this month, I better call my cell phone company and let them know, they wait until they are two or three months behind on their billing. Then they’re call in, complain that their cell phone bill is too high, and demand for it to be lowered. If you wait until it is too late, there’s a lot less of a chance that the company will work with you. Instead, if you pro actively contact those companies and say, “hey, I can’t pay my bill this month, but I’ve been a good consumer in the past – can you help me out?” they’ll be far more likely to help you figure something out.
Assume the Company Works for You
When you sign up for services with a company, whether that’s on a contract or on a one time basis, there’s an agreement that goes in both directions. Yes, you are paying them for services that they are to render you. But, there is also a responsibility on the customer to ensure that they are getting the services they paid for, at the price that they agreed at. If something is wrong, make sure you make the company aware of what is wrong – they may assume everything is okay otherwise. If you are getting over billed or under billed, make the company aware – they may assume everything is okay otherwise. Companies, while often employing the aid of computers, are also made up of humans and can make mistakes. If something goes wrong, pursue action with the company, don’t just sit and fume – that won’t solve anything.
No matter how poorly you’ve been treated, you’ll be treated worse if you don’t handle it with class. If you feel that you can’t control yourself, end the conversation and contact the company when you’ve had a chance to cool down. If your stuck in a long, drawn out conversation that’s going nowhere, do the same thing, arrange for another time to contact each other. No matter what, keep your cool. Stay calm, but be firm, and make your position clear without resorting to a temper tantrum. As soon as you lose control over yourself, you lose control over the conversation.
What examples of people being a bad consumer have you come across?