Are you a cheatin’ customer?

A customer who cheats a company out of rightfully-earned revenue is the ultimate “man-bites-dog” story for consumer reporters. But what would you do if you could cheat — and get away with it? That’s the question I ask in this week’s column. (Well, what would you do?)

Before getting to the rest of this week’s newsletter, I wanted to thank several folks for last week’s excellent trip to New York. I stayed at two terrific hotels, the Bryant Park Hotel and the New York Palace. I met with friends and colleagues — too many to mention in this newsletter — and was given a very warm welcome, despite the cold weather (well, cold for this Florida boy).

I’m also grateful to my underwriter, which not only provides affordable, private and fully customizable China tour packages — it also cares about you, the customer.

Also …

• Harry Kopy has a secret, and because of it, his cruise vacation is sunk. What does the cruise line owe him? Does it owe him anything? Maybe you know the answer.

• Disney promised her fireworks, but the pyrotechnics fizzled. Should it refund her premium room, which assured her a prime viewing spot — or is she out of luck? It’s your call.

• And I can’t not include a little something about the TSA. Here’s a little memo I wrote to our friends at the agency after they were unable to tell the difference between an insulin pump and a gun.

And finally, I’m coming to you this week from St. George Island, Fla. Please follow our adventure on Away is Home and track us on Facebook and Twitter to find out what we’re doing!

(Photo: Brother O’Mara/Flickr)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Bill Armstrong

    I don’t see the big issue here.  Always be fair.  If they give you too much change, then give it back.  If they don’t give you enough, point it out.  If they miss charging you for something, go to the customer service desk and pay for it.

    As for price tags, if it is a fair price and they could have put it on sale for that price at a profit, then hold them to it  If it is something you’ve pointed out to them, then hold them to it.  If they consistently don’t know their grammer, they need a kick in the butt.  Stores need to take more care in pricing.

    On another note, do you know how many items at my local wal mart are priced at ”  .99 cents”?  For those of you who are grammatically challenged, that’s less than a penny.  That’s a hundred of them for 99 cents.  Take the decimal point away if you’re going to call it cents.  If you use the decimal point then use the term “dollars”.

    Although I think it is unethical to force a price on that issue, if they keep the prices at “point nine nine cents” for months, maybe they deserve to be forced to sell their stock for that.

    However, generally, I believe in being fair.