The Chicago Tribune’s problem-solving advocate hacks through the bureaucratic roadblocks of the contemporary customer experience.
Yates admits that he’s come a long way from his roots as a sheepish kid and reticent college student to becoming Chicago’s solutions guru. He effectively distills his years as the Tribune’s “consumer conscience” in a book that tackles a variety of thorny and universal buyer-beware issues. As a common consumer, Yates sympathizes with those given the circuitous company runaround when simply seeking problem resolution. Refreshingly, the author doesn’t mince words about today’s fiercely competitive marketplace. Companies are in business to make money, they routinely avoid confrontation and being nice only goes so far when aiming for real results. The author dispenses pages of practical information on how consumers can avoid being taken advantage of whether by circumnavigating circuitous call centers, initiating small-claims court cases or battling utility providers and banks. He provides cautionary counsel on too-good-to-be-true product deals, service contracts and automobile financing, exposes cunning scamming operations and, perhaps most importantly, provides a definitive listing of “consumer commandments.” Elsewhere, Yates directs readers to resources like junk-mail removal websites and offers counsel on the most effective way to complain, and he reiterates that dogged determination is often the key to a successful negotiation. Rather than solve consumer problems, as in his newspaper column, the guidebook supplies the necessary tools to empower consumers to help themselves. “At some point,” Yates writes, “we all must become our own best advocates.”
A goldmine of hand-picked information for those trying to navigate today’s tough consumer terrain.