As queer folk, let’s face it: we do a lot of advocating. We advocate for equal marriage rights, for our ability to see our partner’s in the hospital, for recognition as human beings, and really, the list just goes on. Given all that, we should be familiar with advocating for ourselves as consumers. (Ok, yes, they’re on two totally different levels, just saying that we queer folk need to take that go-getter attitude and apply it to other aspects of our lives.) What I want to talk about is like remembering to take advantage of customer service, except this is the advanced version.

Get the Full Benefits of Your Purchase or Product By Being a Pain

As I mentioned in another post, when I submitted the third claim in three months for my dog, there were several issues that I began to notice when I saw my claim was denied. Step one of getting the reimbursement my policy dictated was calling the insurance provider to figure out why the claim was denied. Step two was calling the vet to make sure that the right documents needed for reimbursement were sent over–this meant that the simply billing information was insufficient and the vet needed to fax his medical records too. Step three was following up with both agencies because the vet was slow in getting the documents faxed off and I had to confirm with the insurance that they were following up. The payoff? I got $325 of the $380 back. That’s 86% of what I paid. Not too shabby.

When Your Plan Just Isn’t Enough

If your original warranty is expired–or if there was no warranty to start with–check other modes of recourse. Last month, my beloved Sony eReader bit the dust, a scant four months out of warranty.  Advanced savers will be way ahead of me in recognizing that this is where the credit card extended warranty comes into play. A quick call to the credit card company, printing a few pages and mailing a letter and then waiting for a response. The credit card company reimbursed the full cost (with tax) of the eReader, for a total of about $330. (Remember faithful readers, that insurance fraud is a big no-no and that I am in no way advocating falsifying reports in order to get refunded for a functional product. I’m talking about things not working they way they’re supposed to or being broken through a manufacturing flaw.)

Between just the two examples given above, I got a total of $750 back by being a pain and calling the vet and taking advantage of my credit card’s extended warranty. It all involved advocating for myself as a consumer, knowing what I was entitled to and what I could get. The reason this is the advanced version is because it involves more than just sending an email or making a phone call. This version can involve multiple phone calls to multiple organizations and providing supporting documentation. (Sometimes, it can work out in you favor and be even easier though!) This one may seem pretty obvious too, but sometimes it can be hard to assert ourselves when it comes to saving money, especially when it’s easier to just write the situation off as a loss. Most people I know seem much more inclined to favor this course of action than they do to cause trouble by trying to get their money back or the service they’re paying for. Resist the temptation! Remember, your money is much better spent doing things that feed your soul (or just buying groceries) than it is spent on replacing something you already have that stopped working. So go out there, be a pain. Advocate for yourself. Just remember, be persistent but don’t be rude.