A Consumer Revolt

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Editor:

Recently I called, the Arizona Corporation Commission, and the Phoenix Better Business Bureau to get a number for the Phoenix supplier of a product sold locally. No one could help. Not even the local retailer from whom I bought the product could (or would) provide the supplier’s phone number. For all practical purposes, the company didn’t exist.

It wasn’t until I did some computer research that I found the supplier in question operating under an alias. And, that reminds me: I think I’ll start a revolt and call it Consumers Revolting Against Predators, or C.R.A.P.

C.R.A.P. would require transparency in all business dealings. No longer would companies be allowed to escape accountability by operating under one name while selling their products under another. The same goes for “fine print,” where a company buries its disclaimers. C.R.A.P. would require companies to be up front about both the pros and cons of the business deal.

In short, C.R.A.P. would put an end to businesses that treat consumers like prey. Car dealerships and mechanics come to mind first. But, C.R.A.P. also would boycott businesses that use a wall of voice mail to keep us at arms length, or tell us something is “free,” when, really, it isn’t, or begin a sales call by asking us questions, or refuse to make good on their products or services, or use seductive, but false advertising to part us from our money.

And how about those businesses that withhold their services altogether until we sign away our right to seek a legal remedy and agree to arbitration instead?

C.R.A.P also would push back against businesses that bully us just because they can. I’m thinking, of course, of the big conglomerates that include not only airlines and banks, but also insurance, gas, cable, telephone, and utility companies.

In truth, it is the job of Congress to make business behave. And, I’m a decade or more too old to start a revolt. Still, maybe you can. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep writing.

Anna Ryan

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