When it comes to getting money back from a global corporation, I’ve learned that dozens of scattershot phone calls from an exasperated ex-customer are far less effective than one well-placed call from one intrepid blogger. It’s a lesson I won’t forget.
I have been wrestling with AT&T and DISH Network for months to retrieve money for an overpayment I made on a bill. (Long story — you can read it all here.) At wit’s end, I decided to take my struggle to the Web. I e-mailed several media outlets. I posted on AT&T’s Facebook page. I basically told my story to folks who I thought might be willing and able to help — and I did so without using inflammatory language, which I thought might cast me in a negative light and, thus, make the company less likely to help me.
“I am owed a credit of $275 for an overpayment on my AT&T DISH Network account,” I wrote. “Neither AT&T nor DISH disputes that I am owed the money; however, due to massive, persistent communication failures between DISH and AT&T and poor customer service toward me by both parties, I still have not received my credit.”
I heard from a few of the people who I contacted, but only Mitch Lipka at Walletpop.com decided to join the battle with me. Within a day or so, I had been contacted by AT&T’s Executive Appeals Office, and the ball really got rolling. Soon after that, I was told that my check was in the mail.
Now, I’m not celebrating yet — I still don’t have the check in hand, though it should arrive within about a week — but I am grateful to Mitch for his efforts. (Full disclosure: Walletpop and CreditCards.com have shared content through a partnership. However, I never told Mitch who I worked for until after the issue had already been resolved.)
The lesson from all of this: Don’t wait, like I did, to get help in situations like these. Whether dealing with a credit card issuer, cable company or anyone else, tell your story — forcefully and succinctly, but respectfully — and enlist others in your fight. Sometimes they can do in two minutes what you couldn’t do in two months.