First make sure you're right, then focus on being polite and firm. In the end, it's all about standing up to the bully who is trying to take advantage of you.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone over-bills me—be it at a restaurant, the auto shop, or even just routine monthly household bills. At some point in your life I’m sure that you too have been the victim of a scam or a mistake.
For example, the other day my lovely (and completely crooked) cable company wrongfully over-billed me by $12. Apparently I "signed up" for a service. News to me! Had I just glanced at the bill, I may not have realized the over-charge. An extra $12 may not have raised any red flags. Luckily—or unfortunately—I don't trust this company at all, and since they have a monopoly in my town, I always investigate the bill in detail. So, how do you handle this scenario?
For starters, first make sure you’re right. Were you wrongfully billed or did you really agree to something and simply forgot? I'm guilty of both sometimes. In this case however, I was right. That led me to the next step which is to call the offending company and discuss your case as calmly as possible. I recommend always being polite but firm.
Does this mean you have to be rude? No! Does this mean you have to curse them out until your lungs give in? No way! The proper thing to do is to lay it out straight with your supporting facts and stand firm. If the person you’re speaking to doesn't have the answers, ask for someone higher up who does, a manager perhaps. And if they don't, go higher. There is always a next person in this awful chain, trust me. And when you finally have that person’s ear, lay out your case in detail. Don't make small talk, don't ask to hear about their new offerings, just get to your point as professionally and calmly as possible.
In the end, it's all about standing up to the bully who is trying to take advantage of you. And, when it comes to dealing with bullies, you should never, ever back down, regardless of how intimidating they may appear.
Angry phone conversation photo from Shutterstock