What Makes a Good Claim?
Help your claim get settled quickly and fairly by including these items when submitting
1. What the Company Did Wrong
Big companies often mistreat their customers in many different ways. A good claim will be specific about how the company mistreated you.
Some common things companies do wrong include breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, or an intentional bad acton the part of the company.
If your complaint falls into one (or more) of these categories, it will be easier to resolve your claim more quickly.
Breach of contract
Breach of contract means that the company made a you a promise (either verbally, through a contract, or implied in their actions), and then did not live up to that promise. For example, the company promised a certain service level (25mbps) but delivered a lower one (5mbps), or a company promised that a charge would be removed from a bill but didn’t remove the charge. Breach of contract can also include making it hard for you to receive some benefit of a deal or promotion with the company. For example, a company allows you to cancel a subscription whenever you want, but makes it really hard to do so. Breach of contract can even cover situations where the company tries to charge fees, or impose requirements, that were hidden in the fine print so you wouldn’t know they were there.
Example: Customer claims Altice Mobile applies an “activation fee” on top of agreed upon price.
Breach of warranty
Breach of warranty means that a product or service did not live up to the quality that you would expect of that product or service. For instance, a phone’s battery cannot hold a charge, or a landline connection is constantly crackling and hard to hear. Think of it as a claim for a defective product or service.
Example: Customer claims Cox internet speeds are not as fast as promised.
Negligence means that the company did not live up to an ordinary standard of care in a way that caused you damage. Every company is obligated to act in a reasonable way to protect their customers from harm. If a company fails to take normal precautions to prevent harm, then it’s responsible for the harm it caused you.
Example: Customer claims Venmo locked an account instead of handling an account breach.
An intentional bad act
An intentional bad act is when the company – or a company representative – knowingly does something wrong for some personal gain. This usually involves lying for financial gain (which is called “fraud” or “false advertising”), but can also include things like theft of personal property, identity theft, physical harm, verbal abuse or discrimination.
Example: Customer claims Chase charged higher interest rates and fees for Black customer.
2. The Harm or Damages You Experienced
Explaining what the company did wrong is only the first step in submitting a quality claim. It is important that you also include how what the company did wrong caused you harm or damage. In most cases, there needs to be at least a small amount of financial harm – the company’s actions must have cost you money, or resulted in some sort of debt. Even if this financial harm is very small, it’s important to include it in your claim.
Example: A company’s website is down, preventing you from paying your bill online. In order to make sure your bill is paid on time, you have to drive to a physical branch of the company. This causes you to spend 3 hours of your day trying to pay your bill, and costs you gas money.
Example: You were told that your subscription would never be more than $120, but with hidden fees, your bill is consistently over $150 a month. The extra $30 a month you were not planning on paying is damages you could claim from the company.
3. What You Want the Company to Do
Your claim should also include a detailed request for what you’d like the company to do to make up for the harm they’ve caused you. Be clear about what the company can do to resolve your issue. You should refer to specific amounts of compensation and any actions the company needs to do for you to consider your complaint resolved.
Example: You want the company to reduce your bill to the price you were promised, $120 per month, and you want the company to reimburse you for what you paid over that amount for the last year, totaling $360.
When big companies mistreat you, it is completely understandable that you’d want them to pay for it. Make sure that what you are asking for is truly based on the harm the company caused you, and not an attempt at punishing the company for their wrong doings (as tempting as that might be). In general, if you are asking for more than 3x the cost of the harm done to you, your claim will not be considered a reasonable request for relief.
Example: If the company cost you $360 in damages, but you ask for $2000 in relief, your claim is likely unreasonable because you are requesting more than 3x the actual financial harm done to you.
4. Details and Identifiable Information
Including as much information as you can about your account and service will help the company quickly find your account details and resolve your claim.