Want That Refund? Learn How to Get It Without Getting Mad

Lets set up the scenario. Suppose you got a new cellular phone for Christmas and, after receiving the bill, you notice there are a bunch of charges you don’t feel are appropriate or you’re ready to switch from your old AOL account to something faster. We’ve all heard what a pain it can be and you’re not looking forward to the imminent confrontation. Now there’s something you can do to tip the odds in your favor, be informed.

Bob Sullivan over at MSNBC’s Red Tape Chronicles has some tips and insight that just might make the difference between getting that $34 for text messages refunded or getting nothing.

Red Tape Chronicles: Know your enemy. Picture this: You’re a college student earning extra money at night dealing with a steady stream of manic customers upset about cell phone text message rates. And you must take 50 to 100 calls a shift. To give you an idea of their perspective, here’s what one cell phone customer service representative wrote to the Red Tape Chronicles recently: “I say ‘no’ because its fun,” he said (picture David Spade in the Capital One credit card commercials). “If somebody wants to be rude with me, I’ll step down to their level because my company allows it as long as I don’t use profanity.”

You may think ill of this operator, who perhaps suffers a bit from a Napoleon complex. But neither frustration nor psychological diagnoses help you get your money. In fact, with someone like him, extra “pleases” and “thank yous” are likely more effective.

For an even better picture of what “they” think of “us,” visit CustomersSuck.com. At this site, frustrated agents tell stories of greedy, cheating and uneducated consumers, which they refer to as “SCs,” for “sucky customers.” Here’s one example of what they think of us: A recent post on the site is titled: “I Didn’t Kill You. You’re Welcome.” Here’s another: “No, I cannot stay on the line while you hold another conversation!” You can probably guess where that post is going, but here’s a flavor of it:

“I had a gentleman today who needed help setting up his Internet connection, yet I had to repeat the instructions almost five times before he got it right. Every time I told him what links to click and what to type in, he always ended up with errors. Yet, I got to listen to he and his wife bicker about the car insurance rates, how much the gas cost them that they put into their car earlier, when this man’s mother was coming for a visit, how Junior’s diaper needed to be changed. …”