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Column: 2 percent want something for nothing
by Dale Cardwell
August 01, 2012 02:12 PM | 6683 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dale Cardwell
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I’ve got to hand it to Janet. She is incredibly persistent. She wrote me more than a year ago, complaining about one of the 150 Georgia-based companies I’ve checked out and recommended on

Her first entry came in through my TrustDale Make It Right email. Janet told me she’d acted on my recommendation and done business with one of my certified companies. She claimed in her email that the company had delivered a classic “bait and switch.” She says she was offered one level of product and service, but given a disappointing substitute.

I immediately went to my data base to confirm Janet had truly acted on my recommendation. There was no record of Janet’s phone number or email in my database. I checked with the certified partner and discovered that Janet had actually purchased the company’s product months before I had certified the company. Therefore, Janet was not truthful in telling me that she had acted on my recommendation. Even so, I am always concerned when a consumer is unhappy, so I investigated further. I discovered that Janet had purchased a top line product that would enhance the value of her home for years to come. When it came time to install the product, she realized that she had not purchased enough of the product to protect her entire home. At this point, she decided to cut corners. She told the sales representative that she wanted a lesser form of the product, so that she could have enough of it to cover her entire home. The sales representative made it very clear to Janet that she could get “more for less,” but that it would not be the same level of quality she had agreed to purchase in the original contract. The salesperson duly noted the changes in the contract, Janet initialed the changes, and the company installed the product — exactly as Janet had requested.

One month later, Janet realized she would not receive the energy savings credit from the government that she would have — if she would have stuck to her original decision. This apparently made Janet furious. Instead of taking responsibility for her desire to get “something for nothing,” she decided to do everything in her power to ruin the reputation of the company that delivered exactly what Janet paid for.

Her first act was to complain to the Better Business Bureau. Janet’s next step was posting complaints on every web-based rating service at her disposal including Janet is wrong. Janet bought a product, changed her mind at the last minute, and got less quality than she wanted. Last week, I received a certified letter. I was copied on Janet’s threat of suing a good company, because Janet made a bad choice.

Here’s my point. The customer — is not — always right. Part of my seven-step investigative process for is labeled WWCD? What would Cardwell do? As a consumer investigator, I’ve negotiated thousands of settlements between parties. In my book, vendors have a moral responsibility to deliver the product they promised, and consumers have a moral responsibility to pay for services rendered. It’s that simple. It’s also my experience that about 2 percent of consumers concentrate incredible effort toward getting something for nothing. When you read bad references, take them them with a grain of salt. If you don’t find a pattern, you’ve found a 2 percent-er.

For more consumer advice and companies you can trust, visit, watch TrustDale TV weekends on WXIA, and listen to TrustDale Radio Sundays at five on Newstalk WSB and 95.5 FM.

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