Wed 28 Feb 2007
Comments Off on Problems Post-purchase – Consumer Abuses, and Potential Fixes
Here are some problems we’ve identified, and a first shot at some possible solutions. Please post your pet peeve – and what you think should the solution is, and feel free to comment on anything else you find here.
Problem: Customer Service. When a customer tries to reach customer service to resolve a problem, no toll-free phone number is provided on the bill. There may be no phone number at all. Or, customer service may be outsourced to overseas locations where the staff is inexperienced or not fluent in the consumer’s language. Customer service personnel may be rude or disinterested.
Solution: Require all companies to provide a telephone number for customer service; companies doing business interstate must provide a toll-free number. Customer service must be provided by persons fluent in English and Spanish. Companies must provide opportunity for immediate escalation to a supervisor if the dispute is not resolved satisfactorily.
Problem: Some stores no longer permit returns for individuals reported to a database as frequent “returners.”
Solution: Return policy must always be printed on receipt. All companies must accept returns for full refund without re-stocking or other fee if the product is defective.
Problem: Standardized, fine-print contracts drafted by companies allow the company to change the terms of the contract at any time, sometimes without notice.
Solution: Companies may not change the terms of the contract without a customer’s independent written approval and may not penalize the consumer for failing to agree to the change. Independent written approval means that the consumer has been properly notified of the proposed change and may accept or reject the change without retribution and only by way of a written signature on a document modifying the contract.
What is this about? Read the explanation here.