*Disclaimer: The names of companies, persons, and products have been omitted as the purpose of this post is to provide guidance on how to handle similar situations.*
I consider myself a very stand-up woman: I say what I mean and I mean what I say. If you knew my father, you’d probably say that I’m just hardheaded like he was. Tomato, tomato.
A few weeks ago I paid to attend a weekend long event, hosted by a very well-known entrepreneur and life coach. Despite there being information on the internet about this person having some questionable business practices, no new claims had been published in the last few years, so I trusted that all had been resolved. I paid my registration fee in full and couldn’t wait to get more details on the location and itinerary for this event. So I waited…and waited…and waited. In over a 30-day period, there was only one attempt made to share details of this “life-changing” weekend. The closer we got to the event kick-off, the harder it was to make contact with the host. My internal alarm system immediately went off, “Scam!! You just got GOT, Rayna. You paid all this money and there will be no event!” Now, I work 40+ hours a week as a career counselor so all of my money is earned. I give in church, I give to the homeless, but I do NOT give to able-bodied con artists. After asking for a refund and being ignored, I decided to reach out to higher powers. I filed claims with PayPal, Chase Bank, Fraud.org, The Better Business Bureau, the Internet Crime Complaint Center, and the Federal Trade Commission. Excessive? Maybe. But I come from a family of business owners so I don’t take fraud lightly. Plus, as the saying goes, “ain’t nothing slick to a can of oil”. No one will be taking my money while I hide in the corner.
After filing these claims, the host miraculously decided to reach out to attendees to apologize for the miscommunication and to step in personally to take control over this event. I have since learned that after some major changes to the original promise, this event did in fact take place. I didn’t know, because I refused to go.
I usually say things like, “Well, it’s the principle of the matter” or, “I’m not angry, it’s about principle!”. But that’s too easy. We should take ownership of our standards. When my boyfriend asked why I was still filing claims against the event host, I responded, “Because it’s about principle! You can’t just take people’s money.” But the truth is, it’s about integrity. I have been taught to have enough integrity and self-respect that I have zero-tolerance for being taken advantage of and I believe that people should care enough about their brands that they also act with integrity.
My advice to you if ever in a similar situation?
- Stand firm. Be who you say you are, even when it’s easier to just follow the masses.
- Don’t’ accept less than what you’d give. If Walmart gave you a faulty appliance, you’d be all in the customer service line, receipt in hand, ready to voice your dissatisfaction. So why not have that same standard of expectation with people around you?
- Understand that while there is good in everyone, not everyone is good. And choosing to walk away from someone or something doesn’t make you a bad person.
- Don’t stop at “no” because there’s always a way around it. Go get what you know is owed to you.
- Then, let it go. Take care of your business but don’t let life’s ugly harden your heart. I missed that event, but I spent my weekend enjoying outings with people I love.