Defending your online reputation: Why I hate Internet Crybabies and Liars.

In the beginning, there was the Internet, and it was good.  I mean, it was mostly good if you put aside all the scam companies, disorganized startups and miscellaneous charlatans who grabbed land in those early days.  Real companies struggled to understand the landscape, compile technology resources and evolve traditional businesses to fit this new marketplace.  I don’t know anyone that went through this metamorphosis who would question how easy it looked, but how difficult it really was.  Learning was all about trial and error and we quickly learned that any mistake you made will follow you around like scars you accumulate from the battles you been in.    

While that in and of itself isn’t all together a bad thing, what is bad is the scars you accumulate from the tales told by people whose only real claim to knowledge is their vivid imagination of events that have never really transpired.  That is right my friends, many Internet reviews, testimonials and condemnations are full blown, concocted lies, fabricated to support events which have NEVER really transpired.  It seems that people will do and say just about anything to help them in supporting positions of complete and utter illegitimacy.  These Internet consumers seem to feel that character assassination is their legitimate right as long as they end up with the desired result that suits their needs.  I wish I had a dollar for every email I have fielded that said, “if you don’t do this, I will write a negative review on every Internet site I can find”.  Usually, these complaints gravitate around people who through their own actions ended up in a physical place or a financial place they didn’t want to be in.  Is the phrase, “non-refundable and non-changeable really arbitrary”?   Do you really expect compensation when you buy clothes and then don’t like how you look in them?  Would you go to a store and stomp your feet when that box of cornflakes just didn’t blow your mind at breakfast?  Yet, this is what we deal with all the time and to make matters worse these email strong-men freely lie to us, to online complaint sites and to arbitrary, “consumer rights” sites like the BBB.  Like the boy who cried wolf, they have truly destroyed any and all credibility these sites have ever had.  The only word that comes to mind in the way of description is, extortion, holding your very reputation hostage to get something they want when they truly aren’t entitled to it.

The point of my rant isn’t to say that there aren’t legitimate complaints that good people post to help others who will follow in their stead.  There are, and every company, no matter who, makes mistakes and mistreats customers and should be held to a reasonable standard of quality assurance.  It is the job of every commercial company to strive to please customers, communicate clearly and to present an ethical, morally correct policy of simply treating others as they would be treated in their place, in my humble opinion.  It is the obligation of consumers not to buy into the old credo, “the customer is always right”, even if they know they are simply lying to get something they aren’t entitled to.  Don’t feel that lying to get something you want is ever right or fair or legitimate, simply because it is a company you are dealing with.  Treat others as you would have them treat you in their place and you will never go wrong.

I have stack of emails I have compiled over 15 years that I have long threatened to make into a coffee table book of actual, factual statements made to my company that would blow the mind of even the most creative storyteller.  People will say anything to support the end result desired.  I have read about things about people’s personal lives that should never be put in writing and I know things about medical conditions that I didn’t think were physically possible, all in the name of a refund.  Some customers were victimized by fictitious storms and acts of nature, while other have had issues with the fact that there were “too many Latinos” on the island of Puerto Rico.  These customers, disguised behind legitimate registration screen names, have bashed our company on “complaint” sites and with credit card companies telling tales of “misrepresentation” and “services not delivered” while repeatedly warning us of their “campaign of complaint and reputation assassination” if not granted their desire for returned money.   Of course, we always win our battle with credit card companies because we can display every single step taken during the purchase process and we always return funds when we make mistakes, which since we are human beings, does happen from time to time.

Now there are steps companies can take to shield themselves from some of these “negative reviews”, things like purchasing a membership to the BBB, which keeps hidden the number of complaints you receive.  You can also “defend your reputation” by overwriting the negative reviews with a barrage of positive ones which in my opinion is just as illegitimate as customers who lie. You can always tell the honest companies as the ones where the reviews aren’t all positive but continue to do business and aren’t afraid of the comments they receive.

So read on my friends, don’t let the Internet muscles of some stop you from making value judgments based on your own instincts.  Do you really think that even the most legitimate and honest companies don’t have a few pissed customers?  Wouldn’t we all like a means to getting our money back on any purchase for any reason, be it subjective or objective?  All of us would like that option but most would not resort to lies and character assassination to achieve that goal, in fact most people, customers display integrity even when experiencing legitimate problems.  It is those people who give me hope, and keep us going when we suffer the injustice perpetrated by a few, dishonest Internet Crybabies.  

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