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Fight for Your Right or We’re Not Going to Take It!

I am now trying to mentally put together a mash-up of the songs whose names contribute to the post title … not really relevant.

Being Thrifty isn’t always easy but there are some things that might seem difficult that are simply worth your while (actually there is a school of thought that nothing worthwhile is easy).

One of the obstacles to getting your money’s worth  I have observed in today’s world is that many people and companies will try to get away with not doing the job they are paid to do, or if they do actually do the job saying “Oh I didn’t know you wanted me to actually do the job to a satisfactory standard and because I actually had to do some work there are substantial extra costs involved.” A lot of people encounter this from tradespeople but I have found that although once seen as the realm of slightly shonky plumbers and mechanics, no service sector is immune to this attitude.

Insurance companies (particularly home insurance) and banks are ones to watch for too. Hundreds and thousands of dollars are being spent unnecessarily because people aren’t questioning quotes and refusals to pay out and extra fees. Maybe they will do it once or twice and be told no but you’ve got to ask HARD (no, not in a leg-breaker sort of way- we don’t condone that even for mechanics, insurance companies and banks … maybe).

My motto on this comes from Winston Churchill:

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Thank you Sir Winston – that’s why we won the war! It frustrates me to see people careful with money to the point of total self denial and being really thrifty when it comes to the small stuff but they won’t practice their standing up for themselves skills and then large chunks of money goes down the drain.

I won’t pretend it is easy, I spent a lot of my younger days crippled with anxiety, not being able to talk to strangers on the phone or go into a bank to ask for some of my own money without full blown panic attacks but you can file a lot of official complaints online these days or via email and letter which starts to ease you into it and it does get easier.

I am able to stand up for myself and be a bit firm (or nasty if needed!). At first you may be a bit shoutier than needed as you get into the swing of things  – hard to avoid as a sort of right of passage but you catch more flies with firm, insistent, evenhanded honey than shouty diva-esque vinegar.

In the morning we are in court as we are suing our former property managers in Queensland. Not the first time, it seems that the property managers we hire don’t actually want to collect rent, find tenants or check that the properties are being kept in reasonable order – oh and they like to release the bond before doing proper inspections. The last lot settled. Don’t be afraid of a bit of small claims court, if you have a solid claim there is nothing to be worried about and most small court cases don’t even get to that point. Further, if someone is threatening you with legal action over an unpaid bill or invoice please don’t pay them straight away as many people (Mother In Law I am looking in your direction here) – please get some advice before forking over cash you don’t think you should be!

So exercise your rights as a consumer, don’t be afraid to keep asking if your insurance claim gets rejected (they all seem to on the first ask!) or your service provider is trying to get away with a substandard job or wants too much money, find out about the appropriate Ombudsman or Office of Fair Trading or Small Claims court…but never yield to the enemy except in matters of honour or good sense!

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