3 sweet lies you should thank a company for

Ollyy/Shutterstock
Ollyy/Shutterstock
As far as rejection letters go, the one I almost never use is unfailingly polite.

It’s apologetic. It blames a “system” in which the deck is stacked against you, the consumer, for my failure to accept a case. And it offers several other options, including small-claims court or a credit-card dispute, as possible alternatives.

But a few weeks ago on this site, I confessed that I hate using the rejection letter when someone turns to me for help as a consumer advocate.
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Is your complaint being “form lettered”? Here are three ways to tell

Anaken/Shutterstock
Anaken/Shutterstock
It was just a matter of time before corporations created the perfect form letter, capable of fooling a veteran consumer advocate. Or you.

You know what I’m talking about: those emails that say “we’re sorry you feel that way,” but offering you nothing for a customer-service failure.

Spotting a form letter used to be super easy, which was helpful, because you could quickly appeal the boilerplate rejection to a supervisor. In the early days of email, when low-level agents didn’t understand the difference between text and HTML, you could actually see the cut-and-paste responses, because they were rendered in a different font. You knew you were being fed a line.

Now? Not so much.
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Is anyone really listening to your TSA complaints?

Champion Studio/Shutterstock
Champion Studio/Shutterstock
With only a few weeks left to leave your comments about the TSA’s controversial passenger screening methods, here’s a question worth asking: Is anyone listening?

If you said, “not really,” then maybe you know Theresa Putkey, a consultant from Vancouver. She had a run-in with a TSA agent recently after trying to opt out of a full-body scan, and sent a complaint letter to the agency assigned to protect America’s transportation systems.

Here’s the form response from the TSA:
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The smarter consumer: How to turn a “no” into a “yes”

You killed the bird,” the pet-store owner barked, pointing an accusatory finger at me.

“That’s not what the necropsy said,” I replied.

“Yes you did!”

“No I didn’t.”

Around and around we went in circles. But the pet store had my $900 and no intention of returning it. And my beloved African gray parrot named Scarlett, who I had adopted just a few days before, was gone.
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You said it: Virgin America is “thinking outside the box”

I‘ve written about Virgin America several times in the recent past, and have even had a chance to fly with it.

Despite the occasional glitch, I think it would be fair to call me a fan of the airline.

I’m not alone. Here’s a note from reader Jeff Allen. He works for an engineering firm in Boston, and decided to give Virgin America a try for his weekly commutes to LAX.

“I fly a lot,” he says. “These folks at Virgin seem to have figured some stuff out that is really interesting.”
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