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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Purchasing PCs and Components | Vendor and Order Problems and Solutions | Dealing With Vendor Abuses and Deceptive Practices ]

Dealing With Emotional Issues

If you discover a company blatantly abusing your trust or trying to defraud you, you are likely to be quite upset about this, and rightly so! There's nothing wrong with being angry at those who treat you poorly. However, you must keep control of your emotions if you are to have any chance of resolving the situations to your benefit. (I personally often have trouble with this; in some ways I might be writing this section more for my own benefit than for yours. :^) )

If you are angry, you should make sure to tell the company that you are, but you should do it in a controlled way. Always keep your cool. Screaming at employees on the phone, writing letters filled with cursing, or making threats against the company may give you a brief feeling of satisfaction, but will ultimately make resolving the matter just that much more difficult.

The reason is that if you lose your temper, you give the company a reason to dismiss you. When a conflict escalates, you put the employees of the company in a difficult situation. If you are calm and rational, they are forced to address the issue at hand. But if you fly off the handle, they can and will instead pay attention to your behavior. Some companies have specific policies in place that allow a representative to hang up on you if you swear at them or behave in an abusive way. Even if they don't do this, from that point on you will be fighting an uphill battle, because the company will consider you a hothead, and so will anyone else you involve in the matter, even if they are outside the company and want to help.

Similarly, some people are quick to write open public letters, on Usenet, in print, or on web site forums, to tell their personal horror story about a particular vendor. Certainly, feedback has an important place when dealing with a vendor issue. However, you need to approach the matter carefully. Always stick strictly to the facts, and don't resort to abuse or name-calling. Ranting and raving is likely to cause most people to disagree with you rather than support you. You will also find that more people than you might imagine are very quick to "blame the victim" in such a circumstance. In addition, if you do this before you have the matter resolved, you may in fact make things worse. There's plenty of time for providing feedback later on.

Also remember not to become too stubborn about the issue. Be willing to accept a legitimate gesture of reconciliation from the company if they decide to cooperate and resolve the matter. Sometimes an angry customer "declares war" on the company and from that point on refuses to consider any efforts that the firm makes to right the wrong.

A good way to avoid problems related to emotions is simply to avoid dealing with the company when you are in an agitated state. If the discussion becomes heated and you find yourself losing patience, call back at another time. If you write an email or letter when you are angry, set it aside for 24 hours before sending it and then re-read it. You may find the next day that you are glad you waited!

Next: Disputing A Credit Card Charge

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