Anyone with an internet connection has had a horrible experience with an ISP. Same goes for phones - and honestly, just about any other type of customer service. When you get a random charge on your card, receive a terrible product, or get tricked into an expensive contract, the usual advice is to just be as polite to the customer rep as possible and try to escalate.
This advice generally doesn’t work. Best case scenario, customer reps will play hot potato with you before they set fire to your wallet.
What does work is reminding the business that you, the customer, have a secret weapon…
Social media outrage.
I’ll give a clear example of how to do this using my own personal experience, but first a case study: Brad’s Wife.
An excerpt from Know Your Meme:
Brad’s Wife refers to the massive trolling of the social media accounts for American casual-dining chain Cracker Barrel after a man named Brad wrote a post on the Cracker Barrel Facebook page asking why his wife, Nanette, had been fired. It was later discovered that his wife had worked there for 11 years, and as the story spread, it was falsely understood that she was fired on his birthday. The spread lead to massive, semi-sincere support of Brad and his wife.
Even now, 2 years later, almost every single post Cracker Barrel makes on social media gets comments from people demanding to know why they fired Brad’s wife.
Thanks to one man, Cracker Barrel is no longer known as a breakfast chain: they’re the monsters who fired Brad’s wife.
Businesses know the power you have, and they fear it.
And while your case might not have the same memeic potential as Brad’s wife, you can still make them listen to you by threatening to go public.
I was in the process of canceling my month-to-month Adobe Stock subscription, when Adobe offered me two months free of Stock subscription. Sure, why not! I pressed the “okay” button immediately. I thought about it a bit, realised I wasn’t going to use it - free or not - and navigated back to the plan cancellation menu.
Only this time, when trying to cancel the plan, I saw that they had put me on a yearly subscription to the plan, and I’d have to pay half of the rest of the contract ($138) to cancel it.
Fuck, right? I thought I must have been an absolute idiot, but after googling the problem I found a lot of other users were tricked into this too.
I spent about 15 minutes waiting to get connected to a customer rep, who then spent another 10 minutes silent before he replied to my concerns. The whole thing was looking pretty bleak, until I had the idea to forward him these screenshots.
It only took the rep a few minutes to tell me my plan would be canceled with the cancellation fee waived. I didn’t even need to post anything!
So - that’s how you do it! I can’t guarantee it’ll always work - but it’s worth giving a try next time you find yourself in this situation.