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When to turn to consumer law to protect your rights

When to turn to consumer law to protect your rights

By Bo Bigelow

Eventually, every household experiences some kind of mess involving a business or company. It could be a bill for something we never received, medical charges that never got submitted to our insurance company, or any number of complicated situations that might leave us on the hook for hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars.

To straighten out the mess, we get on the phone. But a lot of companies aren’t listening. The call may be recorded for “quality assurance,” but customer service centers have gotten worse–they aren’t fixing these problems, we rarely get the same person twice, and each time we call, we have to start over, as if we’ve never called before. Doing all this work can feel like a part-time job. I often think that some of these companies assume we will give up and just pay if they ignore us for long enough and keep sending bills.

My own family had an issue recently with a rental-car company. They threatened to charge my wife thousands of dollars unless she returned the car she had rented to the rental location in Illinois. Problem was, my wife has never been to Illinois. The rental never happened. Somehow another person had used my wife’s name and credit card to rent a car several states away and then hadn’t returned it.

It took me over a year, contacting fifteen different employees at the company, including their in-house attorneys, to resolve this issue and get their assurance that they would stop harassing my wife and trying to charge her for the rental.

It is time for us to let these companies know that we won’t back down. Often their behavior violates state and federal laws about fraudulent practices and credit reporting. Sometimes a letter from an attorney can bypass the customer service maze and get their attention. If this story sounds familiar, and if you have one or two messes like this of your own, I’d like to help you.

Please take a look at our consumer law page to see which types of situations might be covered, and reach out using the form on that page to find out if we can help support you. I know firsthand what a challenging time this can be, and I look forward to supporting you in finding a solution.