You've just spent two hours on hold. You're holding a bill will an unfair $35 penalty fee. You're cell phone bill jumped from $65 to $400. Your cable bill is suddenly triple-digits.You're fed up. You can't take it any more....and I want your help.
Like anyone, you want to kick, scream, and wring someone's neck. But you want something even more valuable. You want justice. You want your money back. So you scour the Internet to find an e-mail address to contact a company executive. You fire off letters to state regulators, the attorney general, your local newspaper. You start a blog and torture the company. And eventually, you get satisfaction.
You are special. You know how to do something much more effective than complaint. You know how to find solutions.
And now, I ask you to take your expertise and help others.
This is a new experiment called the Red Tape Raiders. We all know companies have thousands of ways to cheat you, and thousands of ways to frustrate you. For three years, I've written stories attempting to untangle much of this Red Tape for you, one frustration at a time. I have constantly been impressed by the quality of the contributions that arrive through the comment submissions to my blog. In many cases, people write in just to get a sense of emotional support, a sense that they're not alone. But often, people with special knowledge write in, offering specific solutions: precise internal company phone numbers for tracking down wayward rebates; company insiders with precise phrases that work with difficult customer service phone calls; fax numbers that get results.
I want to put you to work.
The Red Tape Raiders is a new place for you to share your success stories and your acquired knowledge to the rest of the world. This space is your space to be a hero to someone else. It's also a way to get the most of your hours-long crusade. After you've gotten justice, your work can live on and help others.
It's undeniable that the past decade has been brutal for consumers. There's only one way to fight back -- to organize. Consumers who have the special knack of getting their way through persistence and pushiness need to share their methods with others. My hope is that you'll be eager to join the Red Tape Raiders and make a difference. Together, we can help restore fairness to the American marketplace, one click at a time.
To contribute an article to the Red Tape Raiders, you'll have to join Newsvine and the Raiders group, but that only takes a moment. Just click "join" on the main page. Then, write an article on your Newsvine page using the "write article" link. When you're finished, make sure it appears on the Red Tape Raiders page by selecting the "Publish to:" option at the bottom. Finally, add a tag from the list below so your article appears in the right sub-section and it's easier to find.
The tags are:
Here are a few other ground rules:
*This is not a place to whine. It's a place to share success stories and help each other. "Me too" thoughts should be include as comments on others' articles
*Information that is publicly available is fine to post -- such as customer service numbers -- but no violations of privacy will be tolerated
*Articles posted to the group should generally consist of first person accounts, not stories about others' experiences
*While nearly everyone who posts here will be frustrated, keep the language professional. Remember, this group is not about being angry, it's about being effective.