[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Know When to Hold ‘Em, When to Fold ‘Em | 11-23-2012
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
65°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 21
1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]


Commentary by Carl Kanowsky Esq.
| Friday, Nov 23, 2012

Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

Sometimes my clients do exactly the wrong thing to infuriate their customers. They’ll put up a big fight over $75, or they won’t apologize when they’ve done something wrong.

On the other hand, some of my clients have an innate sense of how to keep their customers happy, returning for more business, and offering them glowing recommendations to other potential customers.

I always counsel my clients before we begin any kind of battle: “Are you sure it’s worth it? Which would you rather do, send some money to your customer or spend more with me?”

Yes, there are some fights worth the battle.  But eventually, most cases settle before they go to trial.  So chose your wars carefully, and be aware of their unintended impact.

I’ve had the pleasure and the annoyance of being on both sides of this type of confrontation recently.

Our Cuisinart coffee maker stopped working. Clearly, the wife had abused our home kitchen device to point where it rebelled. So I wrapped it up and took it back to Bed, Bath & Beyond (or “3B”), where we had bought it two years earlier.  I no longer had my receipt.

I walked up to the customer service counter and laid down the deceased pot.  I explained what had happened and waited for the service rep’s response.  She could have said, “Well, since you don’t have the receipt, we can’t help you.”  Instead, she showed me where the new models were displayed and instructed me to select a replacement.  I did that and brought it back to her.  She gave me current value credit for my failed Cuisinart, without deduction for age.

I left, a very satisfied customer.  Terry and I will be returning frequently to 3B because of how well they treat us.

On the flip side, the Kanowsky household has enjoyed DirecTV for more than four years.  We spend way too much money for our channels. Thankfully, we’ve had few problems.  But we ran into problems when I recorded one of the Kings’ Stanley Cup playoff games.  When we got home from the Boys & Girls Club Auction, I was set to enjoy the Kings’ second victory on their way to the Cup.

But everything was on the fritz.  We’d experienced similar problems a few days earlier.  DirecTV guided us over the phone on how to repair their equipment.  However, my efforts only worked for a few days.

So I called their customer service department.  They suggested I take the same steps I had taken earlier in the week.  I told them I had tried those steps without success.  I requested that they send out a technician to handle the problem.  They agreed and were about the schedule the visit.  I asked, just being cautious, “There’s no charge for this, right?”  The reply: “Oh, yes, there is.”

The rep explained that since I had spent only about $6,000 with them over the past four years, I had failed to pay them an additional $6 per month to cover their equipment.  She told me it would be another $50 to have someone come out.

I asked to speak to her supervisor.  I explained to the supervisor what had transpired.  The best she could offer was to cut the service call cost to $25.  When I explained that Time Warner did not charge for such repairs, her response was that I could have gotten the same protection by paying an additional $72 per year.

I asked if she wanted to lose a customer who faithfully sent in over $100 every month, over a $25 dispute.  She said her hands were tied. She said they had remotely tested my receiver and it was functioning properly. If that had not been the case, the service call would have been free. I told her the other receivers in the house worked, but not this one. She insisted I would have to pay the $25.  I asked to speak to her supervisor.

I went through the same routine with this third DirecTV rep. She divined that I had lost my patience, so she got to the point. If I would agree to the $6 monthly protection for one year, she would credit me $10 each month and make the call no-charge. Finally, someone more interested in customer service than making a point. By the way, the repairman came out and said that my receiver was shot.

The lesson is that companies sometimes ask for their own headaches. A policy like DirecTV’s leads to people filing class-action lawsuits, which, of course, cost the company a great deal more than $25. Pick your battles carefully.

 

Carl Kanowsky is an attorney in Santa Clarita. He can be reached at cjk@kanowskylaw.com. Visit him online at www.kanowskylaw.com.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017
If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to some really bad outcomes, including kidney problems, glaucoma and other eye disorders, foot ulcers, amputation of feet or legs, stroke, diabetic coma, and even death.
Friday, Aug 11, 2017
There is no doubt the vast majority of Democrats and liberals loathe Trump. Certainly all of the leftists thoroughly hate him, and they have some company. They’re called Republicans.
Wednesday, Aug 2, 2017
In his August message to the community, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin details the city's emergency preparedness resources.
Tuesday, Aug 1, 2017
As our first president George Washington said, “We must consult our means rather than our wishes.”
Sunday, Jul 30, 2017
Many shocking surprises have shown up around the world as the ice melts. We’ve found a perfectly preserved baby woolly mammoth, a field of dead reindeer that died of anthrax, and then last year, infected people in Russia, and in Alaska, an Air Force plane that disappeared was finally found in the Colony Glacier. It had crashed in 1952, killing everyone on board.
Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017
When President Donald Trump ordered Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review the status of 27 national monuments created by three former presidents, many across the nation took it as a call to action to advocate on behalf of the monuments closest to their homes, and their hearts.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]
The Santa Clarita Public Library invites residents to view the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 at the Old Town Newhall Library starting at 10 a.m.
August 21: Solar Eclipse Viewing at Newhall Library
1967 - New Town of Valencia dedicated; homes sell for $25,000 [story]
1879 - Newhall civic leader Charles Henry Kingsburry born in Missouri [story]
Alerted by a concerned citizen Friday, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies once again rescued dogs the owner left in a car with the windows rolled up and no water.
Deputies Break Window, Rescue Dogs Locked in Car
40 oz. to Freedom arrives in Santa Clarita as part of its anniversary tour at Concerts in the Park at Central Park on Saturday, August 19, with showtime at 7 p.m.
August 19: 40 Oz. to Freedom Rocks Central Park
Two local environmental groups filed a complaint in L.A. Superior Court Thursday regarding the approved plan to provide water to the Newhall Ranch development, set to break ground in 2018.
Environmental Groups File Complaint Against Newhall Ranch Water Plan
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has provided $143,000 in funding to extend the season of youth and adult swim programs offered at the Castaic Aquatic Center through October 31.
Castaic Aquatic Center Programs Extended to October 31
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Los Angeles County firefighters and government leaders welcomed back the Super Scoopers Friday morning. Plus, the Old Town Newhall Library helped get the community ready for it as well by handing out free eclipse viewing glasses. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, August 18, 2017
CalArts alumna Audrey Chan (Art MFA 07) will host a free, all-ages interactive arts workshop in Little Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20, as part of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center’s 2017 Nisei Week activities.
August 19-20: Nisei Week Arts Workshop with CalArts Alum Audrey Chan
Western singer and songwriter John Zipperer headlines the next episode of "SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series" at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall the evening of Friday, August 25.
August 25: John Zipperer Headlines ‘SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series’
Habitat for Humanity SFV/SCV is honored to have received a $25,000 grant from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, which will fund trauma workshops.
Habitat for Humanity Receives $25K Grant from Disabled Veterans
Here are agenda highlights for the next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, set for Tuesday, August 22, starting at 9:30 a.m..
August 22: Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda
Ashley Olivier, a student worker at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, summited Mt. Whitney with her dad, a lieutenant at LASD's Monterey Park station.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Student Worker, LASD Dad Top Mt. Whitney
Looking to enter the win column for the first time in 2017 on day two of the Summer Slam volleyball tournament, the TMU Mustangs squared off against 11th-ranked Eastern Oregon but lost in straight sets.
Mountaineers Spike Mustangs at Summer Slam
Caltrans has released "Rail and the California Economy," a research report investigating how the state’s vast passenger and freight rail system contribute to California’s economy, as well as an overview of opportunities for rail to address the state’s needs and challenges in the future.
New Report Details Rail Role in State Economy
The Master’s University women’s soccer team soared to a 7-0 victory over the visiting Eagles from Sierra Nevada College Thursday.
Lady Mustangs Soccer Win Opener 7-0
The Master’s University women's volleyball team concluded their first day of HIU Summer Slam tournament play with a five-set thriller against the Southern Oregon University Raiders on Wednesday evening, dropping the fifth set 15-9.
Lady Mustangs Fall in 5 to Raiders at HIU
A federal judge on Wednesday ruled against claims by a state workers’ union that California’s pension system unfairly changed the terms of a pre-existing collective bargaining agreement.
Court Upholds Increase in CalPERS Retirement Age
Friday's alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District that air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley has been extended through Saturday.
Updated: SCV Air Quality Unhealthy Saturday
Four annual crime reports, which provide law enforcement agencies and the public with statewide data on crime statistics, were released Friday by California's Attorney General.
AG Releases 4 California Crime Reports for 2016
The Master’s University women’s volleyball team lost their 2017 season opener Wednesday at the HIU Summer Slam in straight sets against the Warriors from national powerhouse Corban University (OR).
Warriors Drop TMU Lady Mustangs in Straight Sets
Here's the Castaic/Val Verde (Zone 2) Crime Information and Public Safety Report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for the week of August 7 to August 13.
Crime Blotter: Assault, Theft in Castaic-Val Verde
Two Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station employees will be recognized at the City Council meeting to be held on August 22 at 6 p.m.
City Council to Honor 2 SCV Sheriff’s Station Employees
The city of Santa Clarita’s Youth Sports program has seen measured success thus far in 2017.
Santa Clarita Youth Sports Program Sees Spike in Participation
The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center’s new building campaign now only has $1.3 million remaining to raise before groundbreaking on the site can begin.
New SCV Senior Center Needs $1.3M to Break Ground
Sacramento County sued the California Department of Water Resources on Thursday over DWR's certification of the California 'WaterFix' delta tunnels project’s “dizzying” and “shifting” environmental review.
Sacramento County Sues to Freeze California ‘WaterFix’
1946 - Pioneering Placerita Canyon movie producer Trem Carr dies in San Diego [story]
' style=
The storewide remodel of the Walmart Supercenter at 26471 Carl Boyer Drive is complete and, in addition to the many physical changes inside, Santa Clarita residents now have access to Online Grocery Pickup.
Walmart on Carl Boyer Drive Celebrates Grand Reopening Friday
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, two people have been hospitalized after a major collision. Plus, an acquisition of land near the 14. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday August 17, 2017
Le Chene French Cuisine, a long-time Santa Clarita local favorite restaurant along Sierra Highway, has announced that they will be hosting a thrilling Murder Mystery Dinner on Saturday, November 4th, 2017.
Nov. 4: Le Chene Murder Mystery Dinner
Senator Scott Wilk, R- Antelope Valley, today announces that he is one of the 2017 inductees into the Antelope Valley High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
Sept. 22: Wilk to be Inducted into AV High School Hall of Fame
Signups are under way for the Santa Clarita Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which offers participants an opportunity to take a healthy stroll, experience outstanding live entertainment, honor loved ones who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and raise funds to battle the debilitating disease.
Oct. 7: Walk to End Alzheimer’s; Signups Under Way
Trammell Crow Company (TCC) andand Clarion Partners are pleased to announce the acquisition of 54 acres of land for the development of The Center at Needham Ranch, a state-of-the-art business park in the city of Santa Clarita, CA.
TCC, Clarion Partners Acquire More Than 50 Acres of SCV Real Estate