Outraged consumers take on a cable company and win

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If a company is not treating you right, what can you do about it?

I’ve got a story to tell you about a family in Northeast Pennsylvania. You may have seen the news reports about a natural gas explosion that blew up an entire neighborhood in Allentown. Several people sadly lost their lives in this explosion. The survivors of the blast lost their homes and all possessions.

Well, the cable operator RCN was really was so sympathetic to these poor souls. They sent huge bills to the people in the neighborhood saying, “You owe us $170 for every cable box that was incinerated by the explosion.” (I’m not making this stuff up.)

One of the families got fired up and called newspapers and every other media outlet they could; they called the mayor; and then they started posting on social media sites about RCN.

RCN would not even let them talk to a supervisor when they called up to talk about the $170, according to Consumerist.com. So after thing blows up in the public eye, finally RCN relents and decides to make an exception for extenuating circumstances. Wow.

The moral of this story? When you are treated badly, don’t go away quietly. Use every guerrilla tactic at your disposal. It is unclear if was the newspaper coverage, Facebook or the mayor that made the difference. The point is you push every button you can when you’re being wronged.

You have to be your own advocate. But don’t be looney tunes. If you write an email, don’t write War and Peace. What you write needs to be short, to the point and polite. Brevity and respect enhance credibility. Rage and length undermine it. Even somebody who could help you resolved a problem will instead start to think you’re loco as your story gets longer and longer and your vitriol gets greater and greater.

So be polite, but assertive. That combo wins most of the time.

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