Ethics question?

See, I’m not really sure if this is an ethics question, an honesty question, or simply a logistical question.

Here’s the deal.

A satellite TV provider came to my home to install their product about 3 months ago. The installer didn’t speak English. He left my home without the product performing as expected. After numerous calls to tech support and customer service, I made the decision that because I wasting so much time with getting it resolved, it wasn’t worth it for me to have it. So I cancelled the service and returned the equipment well within their established return window.

Then I get the bill: $370. This apparently encompassed the first month’s bill and early cancellation fee. So I called them up. Again. I was told that to rectify this situation that I’d have to write a letter to their customer service department detailing everything that transpired up until this point. It would be reviewed and they’d get back to me. Sigh. So I spent the next 2 hours carefully writing a letter to their customer service department. Six weeks had gone by without a word, then I received a bill from them last week: “No Payment Required” and I actually have a credit of $135. Now, I haven’t sent them a dime, so I have no idea how I actually received a credit.

Nevertheless, I called and inquired about it. They asked me, because I was no longer a customer, how I’d like the credit returned to me. I said, kinda caught off guard, “Uh… check?” They said they’d mail it out to me.

So what do I do? The way I see it, I’m not going to lose any sleep after the ordeal (making me take MORE time to write a letter, etc., after explaining the entire situation countless times to different CSRs) if I cash the check. But then again, it’s an obvious mistake on their part.

Well, the honest thing to do is to ring them up and query why there is a credit on your account, given that you’ve never paid them any money at all.

Personally, I’m a bit too lazy to go through that, so I’d just never cash the cheque.

Well, that’s certainly the obvious answer. But let’s say that I’m a little more than pissed off about the entire situation. If things went smoothly and they delivered what they promised, I wouldn’t hesitate to point out their mistake. Hell, if they sent me a bill with the credit the first time with this mistake (pre-letter), I would have also pointed out the mistake.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not so anxious to point out the mistake now.

The old adage “two wrongs don’t make a right” comes into play here. The fact that you’re pissed off at their bad behavior doesn’t give you the right to take what is not rightfully yours. Send the check back. It’s the right thing to do.

**Kalhoun ** posted what I was going to say. You don’t get to keep the cash because they gave you a hard time.

So, 37 people have viewed this and only four responses. I’m thinking the other 33 people, like me, are thinking fuck 'em. We get screwed over by businesses and service providers on almost a daily basis. Cash the cheque and have a nice meal on them for a change.

Hey, I’m a pretty decent, honest father of two who does the right thing 99% of the time. In this one instance I would feel no remorse; like the company’s going to miss, or care about $135. I don’t think so.

I can’t speak for the other 32 but I’m thinking that the correct, ethical answer has already been given and I don’t have anything to add. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” is about as straightforward an answer as you can expect to get.

I guess my answer to “two wrongs don’t make a right” is “how can I get my wrong righted?”

Your wrong has been righted. They let you out of the contract and waived the cancellation fee. You’re right back where you started. Why should you profit from it?

Cash the cheque already! The books have already been balanced at the company. They don’t care: neither should you. They were ready to stick you with a first month bill plus cancellation fees, and would have, if you didn’t take the time to complain. You think they cared about you in the first place? How many other customers have been hit with this bill? Screw 'em.

Actually, no, my wrong hasn’t been righted. That’s the entire point of this thread. It took 3 months to get this resolved without so much as an apology. So to get this situation resovled finally, I have to call them AGAIN to tell them they made another mistake?

I guess the point is they don’t care in the least. Every step along this satellite installation they’ve caused me stress. I am not back where I started.

Even the law recognizes stress caused by others as actionable.

This is what I’m thinking about. I wrote a nice letter with all sorts of politeness and asked them to kindly send me a letter back declaring that the situation has been resolved. Instead I got a computer-spewed bill with a credit.

Whatever. Okay, so you had to deal with the headache of customer service. It was about a satellite bill. Not exactly a life or death situation. Life is all about stress, and we all go through it. Big deal.

And I know how annoying cusomer “service” can be, but that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to money that doesn’t belong to you.

I guess what I’m looking for is someone to convince me that what I’m about to do is clearly wrong; morally, ethically, and legally. (notice the “and”).

“Two wrongs don’t make a right” isn’t cutting it.

You spent at least 135.00 worth of your time to get the problem that they caused corrected right? If so, cash the check and call it even. :slight_smile:

Well, it is a big deal, to me. I like a lead a pretty stress-free life. When I cause others stress, I apologize and express remorse. Sometimes I’ll make sure that they’ve gotten something extra for their trouble.

I’m not looking for you to minimize the situation. Do you have something to add other than sharing cliche and being dismissive?

That’s the crux. Who says it doesn’t belong to me?

Ok, I’ll try. How’s this:

Morally: It is not morally right to take money that does not belong to you. You know this.
Ethically: It is not ethically right to take money that does not belong to you. You know THIS.
Legally: It is not legally ok to take money that does not belong to you. And you darn well know THIS.

Where’s the hang up?

The money isn’t yours. It was given to you by mistake. It’s really as simple as that. If you don’t mind stealing, because you were stressed, or because “they won’t miss it anyway” then nothing’s going to convince you that it’s wrong.

I added my opinion in the my first post. If they apologize are you really saying you’d have no problem returning what doesn’t belong to you?

Oh I definitely do. And then some.

Like I said, if I didn’t have to write the letter and they took care of it then and there with a, “Oh, that’s a mistake. You shouldn’t be charged anything. We’ll fix that and we’re sorry that it didn’t work out for you.” – this would have never been an issue.