3 Fine Examples of How Big Corporations Try to Make You Their Bitch

1.
“Martin, can you have a look at this please? I don’t understand Spanish.”

Rupert is a 70-ish friend from the UK, who owns an apartment next door where he likes to spend a few weeks now and again, since his retirement.

He shows me a slip from the utility company: Unpaid bills, pay or we’ll disconnect your electricity, etc etc.

Then he shows me a print of his bank statements: Several direct debit payments had gone unpaid, for some inexplicable reason.

“I don’t know, Rupert. You’ll need to talk to your bank to see what’s happened”, and off he goes to La Caixa.

I’ll get back to him later on.

2.
“Hi I’m calling from your ISP Jazztel. We’re offering you a completely free smartphone+a bunch of free SMS and call minutes, to add to your existing ADSL contract”.

I ask what the conditions are.

“It’ll be a 24-month contract, no other obligations”.

I can live with that: 24 months tied to something that doesn’t cost me anything…

Yet, I sensed something fishy was going on, so I call my savvy friend Clau.

“Whatcha think?”

Clau: “Don’t do it, you can’t trust them. They’ll change the terms on your ADSL contract in the process.”

Jazztel calls back: “Let’s proceed and get you your free Samsung Galaxy 3S Light!”.

Me: “Not so fast, partner. Will there also be ‘permanencia’ added to my ADSL contract line?”

Permanencia is what it means in Spain when you’re bound to a specific duration of contract.

I got my ADSL without any contract duration, see? I can walk any time I want, no obligation.

“Yes, there will be a 12-month permanencia added to your ADSL contract.”

“No me jodas. And you didn’t even tell me that? You offer me something that, by accepting, willf undamentally alter the terms of an existing contract – AND YOU DON’T TELL ME UNTIL I ASK?”

I explain that I consider that unethical, that it’s probably illegal, and that it makes me feel cheated and manipulated.

“I don’t want the smartphone, or indeed any further offer from Jazztel. Thank you”.

I ring off.

3.
LinkedIn email: “Hey Martin, do you now these 8 people?”

I know Brandon, the first on the list – a client from back when I did copywriting work.

I click the button by his name, which says ‘Connect’, and go to the LinkedIn page.

There, I see: “Congratulations, your contacts upload was successful”.

And I explode in fury.

A bait and switch?

For real, LinkedIn?

Oh no you don’t.

Look for the link, close profile.

Goodbye LinkedIn.

I’m not going to be anybody’s boitch.

No matter how useful the platform may be.

I’ll carve my own path, thank you very much.

Stealing my contacts under a false pretext… idiots.

1. – Continued
That night, Rupert and I meet at a restaurant.

“Did you get it sorted?”

“Yes”, he beams, and pulls out some plastic.

“They even gave me a credit card!”

“What, on the spot? They actually issued you a credit card right then and there? Never heard that before…”

“Yes, he says, ”the bank manager says it was the only way to execute the missed payments.”

I sigh, and lament the sorry state of the world.

And especially the complete lack of ethics and morality of big corporations.

They foisted an expensive credit card on him to make a few payments???

A guy with more money than god can count?

I don’t know if they deliberately blocked the payments to manipulate him, it’s not likely, but I sure wouldn’t put it past them.

It’s the same bank that *lost* 200 euros on an international transfer a friend made, a few years ago.

No trace, just lost. Gone.

No explanation, and nope, no refund.

Rupert has been had.

LinkedIn, the conniving bastards, got me.

Jazztel almost did, but I got away.

What can we learn from this?

Several things.

1: If a service is free, you are the product – not the customer.

2: Be wary, very wary. Get things in writing, and if your gut tells you something is wrong, something probably is. Trust your intuition.

3: Those who do have ethics have an easier life and a healthier business. And they don’t get guys like me tearing them down in public.

Be your own boss, don’t let anybody rule you – no matter how good their offer may appear.

4: Like my teacher says: In the end, doing the right thing is ultimately the most profitable.

I mean, I imagine La Caixa headquarters weren’t too happy with our local branch, when my friend removed all his checking accounts, credit cards, savings accounts and his mortgage, and took the whole lot to another bank.

Do right by people: Make a profit because you earned it – not because of sly and conniving tactics.

Also: email marketing mentorship, anyone?

‘sGot ethics built right in.

–> http://martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/

To your morals,

Cheers.

Martin

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