How to Keep Track of Your Disputes
When you have a dispute, have a system for keeping careful complete records of everything that happens.
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Tip #4: Record the Contact Information for Everyone You Talk To
The company's 1,000-person call center is in another country, but they are trained to call themselves names like "Courtney" so you'll feel more comfortable (even if their real name is in fact Najiib). Ask the support representative for their name and operator number. Add it to your record of the conversation.
Let's say Courtney promises to send you a quart of glitter, if you can name the exact color you need. When you call back with the glitter designation, the person who answers asks, "Who exactly promised to send you glitter? This is a fountain pen company." You just say, "Courtney did. He is operator 9346." Then you can give Courtney 2 the glitter information, secure in the knowledge that he's taking care of you.
Also, ask for a phone number where you can reach them if you get disconnected. Of course, this is also the phone number where you can reach them if things go wrong. Jot down the number you called and the number they give you in your email message. Next time you need to call to follow up, you know the number's safely stored in your disputes account.
If either of you makes any promises on next steps, put that in the message as well. I like to collect the action promises in a list at the end of the dispute email, so it's easy to find.
Tip #5: Record All Actions You Take
When you take any action related to the dispute, send yourself a quick email record of it. If you sign and fax a form, email a note to yourself. If you talk to a lawyer, record the notes from the conversation. If you're sending back the damaged fountain pen, note when the overnight delivery person picks up the package. If you go to the local art store to find the right shade of glitter, put it in email: "Vishna at Bob Slate Stationers 617-547-7181 color-matched the glitter still stuck in my hair and said it looked like a burnt ochre." Next time your Courtney claims there's no replacement because you gave a color name that doesn't exist, a quick conference call gets Vishna on the line and the two of them can duke it out.
Tip #6: Scan and Save All Correspondence
When the local health department sends you a cease-and-desist letter, claiming your homemade glitter ink caused some people to break out in hives, scan that official notice into a PDF file and email it to your disputes address. If you need to refer to it in your court defense, you'll be able to pull it up directly from the disputes box.
Tip #7: Follow Up
You have the name and phone number of the people who helped you. If your dispute works out well, you can call their supervisor and praise them. If they give you bad advice, you can call their supervisor and helpfully recommend continuing education classes that will improve their ability to provide quality service in the future.
Being a much better negotiator than I, Bernice got Courtney at the pen company to send her replacement glitter so her invitations look extra sparkly. I don't know how she does it. But I know she keeps careful records, and uses her extra disputes account to take detailed notes effortlessly. You can too.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!
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