Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Don’t Fall For These 3 Nefarious Business Practices — Pandemic or Not

Companies of all types, kinds, and sizes have been using the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic as a marketing opportunity to overuse a plethora of catchy phrases which are designed to deceive you into thinking that they actually care about you and everyone else who has been adversely impacted by it, which can be bad enough…

Don’t Fall For These 3 Nefarious Business Practices — Pandemic or Not

…but when some of these companies go further to the point where they place themselves first over you as a customer under the guise of caring about you more than anything, that can be more than a mere insult to you…

…it can cost you money.

1. We Are All in This Together.

The statement of we are all in this together is one of the aforementioned overused catchphrases which was originally used as a marketing tool to convince you that everyone — with no exception — is actually suffering through the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic…

…but that statement seems to increasingly be used transitionally to also mean that you should accept any degraded anomalies in products and services as well because…

…well…you know…

we are all in this together.

As an example, you might be asked to accept food of a lower quality than usual from a restaurant or supermarket — or downgraded service at a retail store — at the same price as before the pandemic and also be thankful that the products or services have not yet increased in cost…

…or perhaps you should be thankful that any products or services are available to you at all — given the substantial interruption of the supply chains of companies.

Pandemic or not, you are entitled to the products and services for which you have paid; and you should not settle for anything less, as that should not do. The business should be doing everything possible to attract — and keep — you as a customer.

In fact, doing everything possible — within reason, of course — is what companies should do for their customers anyway at all times.

2. Waivers or Vouchers Instead of Full Refunds.

If a flight is canceled by an airline through no fault of your own — or, for that matter, if a product or service for which you already paid becomes unavailable for reasons which are beyond your control — you are entitled to a full refund.

In fact, you have always been entitled for a full refund with regard to the aforementioned scenario. The airline does have a right to retain your money and offer you a waiver if changes are implemented in your itinerary because of you.

On a lesser note, supermarkets and other retail establishments have instituted stricter refund policies — whether temporarily or permanently — through which returning an item may be a lot more trouble to you than the effort is worth.

Do not let a company keep your money even a single second longer than possible — especially when it is done through inequitable means.

3. Paying Superfluous Fees — Such as a 2019 Novel Coronavirus Pandemic Surcharge.

Some companies have increased prices for products and services in an effort to attempt to recover some of the money which was lost during the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic. Although companies have indeed lost money, millions of people lost their jobs — and, in many cases, health insurance — and thus suddenly have a difficult time figuring out how to pay for basic expenses. Although keeping the wants and needs of the customer in mind should be of the utmost importance — such as launching a promotion, discount coupon, or some sort of added value to a product or service to give customers an added incentive to patronize the business — increasing prices is indeed understandable; and companies have the right to do so whenever they so choose…

…but companies cross the line of ethics when they decide to add fees and surcharges to keep marketing what inadvertently become artificially low prices for their products and services. Worse is when those fees and surcharges are implemented with no advance notice or warning for customers — especially as they navigate uncharted waters in terms of finances — which then becomes deceptive and renders the legality of such a practice questionable at best.

One example of companies which gambled on attracting customers by eliminating resort fees and parking fees — albeit temporarily — includes a list of at least 13 hotel and resort casino properties in Las Vegas; and based on that gesture alone ceteris paribus, customers should consider rewarding them by patronizing them…

…while one example of companies which choose instead to extract as much money out of its customers as possible includes restaurants which not only impose mandatory surcharges on their patrons in an attempt to recover from their financial losses during the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic; but also will secretly and stealthily skimp on quality or the amount of the products or services which customers purchase from them.

Of those examples, with which companies would you prefer to conduct business?


How many times have frequent fliers complained about the nefarious practices of companies within the travel industry in recent years — devaluing the benefits of frequent travel loyalty programs and increasing the restrictions of policies which were perceived to be unfriendly to customers as two of many examples — citing “wait until the next time they are hurting due to the economy” when they believed that they will once again have the edge in the business relationship to the point at which these travel companies will accede to their demands?

Yet, travel companies have not done so in general for the most part, instead citing financial hardship due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — some of whom accepted financial aid from their respective governments. Yes, airlines have eased restrictions in terms of refund policies and cancellation policies — as have lodging companies implementing the similar easing of restrictions — but some of those policies do not seem to be eased enough for consumers.

If we were truly “all in this together”, our society would not be in such a divided state today on so many different issues. I believe even more than ever that the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated and exposed many of the fallacies of humanity along many different lines — and instead of trying to correct them, many entities are playing “every man for himself” in order to not only survive…

…but to get ahead — no matter what is the cost; and with seemingly no regard for you, the customer. If you find that you are being treated unfairly as a customer — regardless of whether the current 2019 Novle Coronavirus pandemic is being used as a reason or excuse — speak up. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself; and do not back down until the company with whom you are dealing relents partially or completely in your favor. Vote with your wallet and continue to support which entities you believe deserve your patronage.

After all — we should be “all in this together”; but reality is that that is simply not true…

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

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