Advocating for Yourself

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Today I want to talk about advocating for yourself. When you get screwed over by your credit card company or your cell phone company or your cable company, you don’t have to just take it. There are some things you can do to protect yourself.

Often people don’t even realize it or if they do, they don’t do anything about it because they figure “what can I do?” If people do anything, the first thing they tend to do is go to the web portal and send something online to customer service. If I’ve learned anything in 30 years of law practice, it’s this: online inquiries don’t really get you anywhere. Here’s how I do it:

1. If you send a physical, old school letter, that tends to get results. Why? Because letters get stamp received, get moved through the chain, get acted upon, and get filed.
2. Send the letter to customer service for sure but I also send my letters to the Chief Legal Officer of the company and the CEO.
3. I send my letters via certified mail with return receipt requested. That’s good for a couple reasons. One, I know they got it. And second, they know that I know they got it.
4. In the letter, you describe the problem and you make a reasonable, sensible ask for what you had to go through – your money back or some kind of accommodation.

Here’s a quick example of how this worked for me. A couple years ago, my wife and mother-in-law flew somewhere and the connection was botched. They landed at one gate and the connection was somewhere else and they couldn’t make it. They were stuck in Chicago at O’Hare for a day and a half and when they got to their destination, their luggage never made it. It was just a whole mess. I wrote a letter as I just described to the airline. By the time it was over, I had gotten them each a travel voucher for $1,000. I kid you not, it took me 10 minutes. That’s something you can do too.

It’s important to advocate for yourself and stand up for your rights when you need to. For me, that’s been an effective way to do it and I hope it works for you too.

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