Companies Cheat

Ask The Readers: When A Company Cheats You

Companies CheatMost of us have had it happen.  More often than not, it’s a cable company, Internet company or cell phone company. There is something wrong with your bill, an erroneous charge of some sort. What do you do about it?

I remember in college when Blockbuster was running a promotion, selling discounted tickets to a local amusement park. My friends and I purchased them, but when we got to the park, we found they hadn’t been properly activated by Blockbuster. After frantic phone calls and Blockbuster telling us that we MUST have stolen the cards, the amusement park (Carowinds for those who are curious) decided to let us in – but no thanks to Blockbuster. From that day forward, one of my friends in particular vowed never to go back to a Blockbuster and had a little celebration when they finally went out of business.

More recently, you may have noticed that The New York Budget homepage, which was recently updated, has reverted back to its old look. I purchased a theme – a pre-made design for my site – from ThemeForest.com (I’m not linking to their site on purpose), which is owned by a company called Envato. About a week after I purchased the theme, it became no longer supported, which means no new updates would ever come through.

This was fine for a while. I hired someone from oDesk.com to customize the front page and the theme still worked. Until one day, when it didn’t. Some WordPress update must have come through and it didn’t play nice with the theme anymore. My front page looked like trash. What a pain. But I promptly contacted Envato about getting credit towards a new theme, since, you know, the product that they had sold me was now worthless.

Guess what? No dice. They refused to give me that credit. In my mind, not only was I out the $45 I spent on that theme, but the customization job that cost me $133.33 was now worthless as well! And Envato wouldn’t even allow me to replace the theme (let alone the additional money I would have to pay to get it customized again).

So when a company does something like this to a customer, there are a lot of thoughts that circle in my head, including:

  • Money: Obviously, first and foremost, I am out money, which is frustrating.
  • Time: I get angry that I have to take the time to take action to correct the problem. My time is valuable to me and taking the time to go through the channels to get reimbursed AND taking the time to correct the issue is, at best, annoying.
  • Mood: I don’t like being angry and having that creep into the rest of my life. I do my best to remain positive outside of the situation.
  • Principle: The principle of a company making a situation right has driven me to spend far more time than I probably should have in the past contacting a company. When do I close the door on an issue and move on?

In terms of strategy, I generally contact them through Customer Support first. Then I try Twitter (I have contacted them through my personal Twitter account since I don’t want to crowd The New York Budget followers’ feeds with this nonsense. Finally, I won’t lie, I wanted to write this blog post as simply a rant about my Envato problem and send it to them, but I took a step back and tried to make it valuable to the readers as well and open it up as a discussion. Hopefully I succeeded in that.

So, on to the question. How do you deal with situations in which a company takes your money and then under-delivers?


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7 thoughts on “Ask The Readers: When A Company Cheats You

  1. Aldo@MDN July 31, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I really haven’t had anything like that happen to me, but I feel for you. You can file a complaint at the BBB, but I’m not sure what good that will do. Just keep bothering them and spreading the word that Envato is a terrible company. I’ll try to remember this name when I try to buy a new theme.
    Aldo@MDN recently posted: 1 in 3 Americans Have Debt in CollectionsMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget July 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Thanks Aldo for the support!

  2. Ryan @ Impersonal Finance August 6, 2014 at 11:35 am

    That really sucks Dave, I’m sorry to hear it. On a related note, I had a mini celebration when Blockbuster went out of business, because they are terrible and I will never even use one of their rental kiosks. I had purchased an xbox 360 from them for a Christmas gift to… myself. But about 2.5 years later, I got the red ring of death. I called microsoft, because it was still under warranty, only to have them them tell me the warranty had expired. Turns out Blockbuster had sold me a returned console, and didn’t reset the purchase date, so they cost me about 8 months of warranty coverage. I hate them with a burning passion I can’t even begin to describe. But thanks for the heads up on Envato. I’ll be sure to avoid them like the plague. If it helps, I still really like the current design.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted: truly passive incomeMy Profile

  3. FI Fighter August 8, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Sorry to hear about that buddy, that does suck.

    Same here, I’m digging the current theme you have going on. All is not lost 🙂
    FI Fighter recently posted: Leaving for Japan Today! (August 08, 2014)My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget August 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks! It feels as though I have been out of touch with the whole FI community since my email address went down as well. Hopefully I will get things back up and running on all cylinders soon, though!

  4. BCB August 11, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I have found that the better business bureau (BBB) can provide a lot of help in this scenario. No one wants a F on their BBB report. I have used this strategy against the Comcast crooks when they overcharged me over $400 as well as with student loan companies with reasonably good results. On the other hand, you have already spent a lot of time on the situation so investing more energy and emotion may not be worth. On the other, other hand, it is great to let other consumers know about bad businesses so you will be providing a service for others.

    I appreciate this post because I will know not to use this company for my current or future websites.

    • Mr NYBudget August 11, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks – good tips. That’s a very good point about paying it forward and making sure that others don’t make the same mistake. That tips the scales in favor of taking the time to fix the issue.

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