Have you ever been treated unfairly and found that there
was nothing you could do about it? My suggestion: be assertive
and don't give up.
My friend, Barbara, ordered a special light for her new condo,
specifying that she wanted a dimmer switch on the light. The
salesman at the lighting store confirmed this. However, when
Barbara installed the light, there was no dimmer. She checked
back with the store and, sure enough, they had not ordered
the dimmer. What's more, they informed her that this particular
light does not come with a dimmer. Why hadn't they told her
in the first place?
So Barbara ordered a different light. It cost an additional
eighty dollars for her contractor to re-install it.
"Should I ask the store for an eighty dollar credit?" Barbara
asked her contractor, who originally had recommended the lighting
"No," the contractor replied, "don't bother. That store NEVER
refunds labor costs."
Most people would have given up at this point. Not Barbara.
In spite of the contractor's advice, Barbara went back to
the store and asked the clerk on duty. "No," replied the clerk.
"We never refund labor costs." Apparently the contractor was
"That's not fair." Barbara was not conceding. "I incurred
an eighty dollar charge only because your store ordered the
"I'm sorry," said the clerk, "but I don't have the authority
to give you a refund. We don't do that."
Fortunately, Barbara still did not give up. She found the
salesman who took the original order and confronted him with
the situation. "I think I am entitled to a refund or at least
a credit," Barbara insisted.
"You're right," he said. "We normally don't agree to refund
labor. I'm not sure how I am going to do this," he added,
"but we'll give you a credit."
He went over to the clerk and told her to "take care of it."
A refund, not a credit, was immediately applied to Barbara's
The lesson: Negotiators are assertive and challenge what they
are told. They don't accept the negative opinions of other
people (such as a contractor). If they are told, "I don't
have the authority," they seek out the person who does. They
never give up. Persistence is their middle name.