Why you should think twice before agreeing to share your story with Global or CBC.
Quite often, consumers expect companies to give in to their demands, even if/when they (the consumers) know that their demands are not necessarily reasonable or fully vetted.
The anticipation is that the company will want to preserve its reputation so they will pay out just to avoid bad publicity as the bad publicity will surely cost the company more in lost business than the payout will cost.
It's kind of like how people settle law suits when the cost of defending one can be more than what it costs to settle it.
That kind of anti-business thinking was part of a poignant comment made by Adam Christie, one of O'Shea's followers on his twitter account, and he (Christie) couldn't have made a more obvious statement.
Christie suggested that WLGO should have just paid everyone their grant, even if the grant is not merited, just so that they (WLGO) could avoid bad publicity.
O'Shea could show that his intervention saved the day and the consumer could revel in an undeserved payoff. Hero slays villain...makes for great TV.
Well to us, it was nothing more than an attempted 'shake-down'.
Many consumers that audition for these kinds of shows expect the companies to give in and quickly write cheques, hoping they will do so to avoid bad publicity.
The problem is that sometimes, consumers know they are in the wrong, but still elect to use these kinds of shows, more as a weapon than as a shield.
It's a fast-track way to getting something you don't deserve. All you need to do is 'audition'. Why else would anyone risk giving up their privacy if not for a fast payoff?
But wait, what if the company decides to push back and not give in to the shakedown?
That's when the poop hits the fan for the consumer as they suddenly realizes that evidence has been posted online connecting their names to a story about their bad-faith attempt to get something for nothing.
Like one person said "That's not fair! I wouldn't have gone to the media if I knew you were going to show proof why my grant was denied."
Well that's what happened recently when the CBC and/or Global TV trolled BBB complainants looking for subject matter.
We were contacted by both stations to give 'our side of the story', which seemed like a friendly way of saying 'you have until our deadline to admit you're a bad company and give these people money so we can look like superstars'.
We felt confident about our position regarding the consumer complaints because we were certain of one thing: Anyone that qualified for a grant, got it! (We have paid out over $733,000)
We acknowledge that:
1. There was a lot of fraud and abuse so we temporarily suspended payments until we got a handle on where/how the abuse was happening; and,
2. Once we realized that a lot of the bad behavior was due to the rules being stretched, we had no choice but to begin strictly enforcing them. (We didn't change our rules, we began to enforce them)
We gave this information to CBC and Global as well as a fulsome accounting as to the reason(s) why the names they submitted did not qualify for a grant.
The reasons were valid and bona fide and in some circumstances, we offered to pay the grant if some missing documents were provided, but neither CBC nor Global seemed interested in helping any of those people.
The 'Customer' is not always right
Just because an applicant says they lost their weight (Honest!, I lost my weight - My friends will vouch for me!) we still need un-equivocal proof.
Let's be frank here. Applicants are not our 'clients or customers' and we are not here to make their experience delightful. They are asking us for money, just like an insurance claim, and we have the right to expect them to support their facts.
Consumer fraud accounts for about 20% of the cost of pretty much everything, and we are all implicated even though we may not think so. We all cheat and game the system, and the greater the stakes, the more aggressive the behavior.
It takes a lot of coordination and resources to reliably verify the weight of people we never met that live hundreds or thousands of miles away. We need to rely on our processes and enforce the rules accordingly.
That can take time and effort, especially when resources are taxed and doctor's offices take their time to respond.
Our advice: If you have claim for a grant, contact us in a calm manner and present your required documents. Saying something like 'I want my money because the BBB and CBC say you are a scam' is not going to help you.
If your weight loss is real and you played within the rules, you will get your grant. Ask the hundreds of other people that have received over $733,000.
One of Sean O'Shea's followers, Adam Christie, in a response to Sean O'Shea, summed it all up in his twitter post.
Christie clearly suggests that a company should pay up no matter what if Sean O'Shea is doing a story on them.