I have been lied to by so many contractors, I would be surprised if there weren’t an internet course on how to swindle your customers.
Arguments, yelling, threats and just plain meanness over a few bucks makes me sick.
Luckily, there’s more than one way to take your power back.
Of course, Yelp and Google reviews offer a way to let others know about any trouble you’ve had. If you do write a negative review, keep it honest and unemotional. Just share the facts, because it’s the one star that really says it all. This is a venting process that is actually healthy and safe (although you may get some hate mail).
Alternatively, you can make a report to the contractors licensing board in your area. You can also sue in small claims court, but is that really worth your time?
Sending a letter/email to the person who burned you can also be a form of release. If you do this, avoid threatening or name-calling, so as not to escalate the negativity. Simply state your case and the reasons you see for returning your money or any other reparations you require. You may get an argument, but at least you have a clear record of what happened if you need it later.
But here’s the best suggestion I can offer. Pay the cheater’s bill and forget it.
The arguing is just going to steal your time away from you, and time is your most valuable commodity. Why give yourself a few bad days when a little bit of money can buy your peace of mind back? Honestly, when people are unwilling to own up to their mistakes, there’s no point in trying to get them to see it your way. I would just pay the bill and find someone else to fix or finish the work I need done.
Any time I spend feeling sorry for myself, because someone’s taken advantage of me, is a waste as well.
I like the idea that for a few bucks I can buy my freedom back from a crazy person, and that’s another reason to pay them. If they aren’t reasonable and you can’t have a conversation about the issue, this is not a person you can negotiate with. Period.
If you’re not sure you’ve been dealing with a crook, consider how they’ve responded to your requests. If you told them something wasn’t right or to your liking, and they got defensive and vile, that’s a pretty good sign you are dealing with a bully and a con artist.
Honest people listen; they don’t name-call or get defensive. They tell you they understand and usually offer to correct the problem.
Not being able to listen or respond properly is a personality flaw in many untrustworthy people. You will probably come across one or two if you haven’t already in this life. What I’m sharing is a psychological method for protecting yourself and your peace of mind: No one likes to be cheated, but sometimes it’s better to just take the loss and keep your sanity.
You can call the cops, call your lawyer, write letters to boards that take forever to do anything, or you can let it go and move on with your life.
If you dislike conflict, or if you hold on to these negative interactions, talk to your therapist. I truly believe that letting it go is a lot easier on the soul than fighting about it.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT, is an award-winning therapist and writer. He is a columnist, blogger and the author of seven books, including “Visualization For Success — 75 Psychological Empowerment Exercises To Get You What You Want In Life.” Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.