I have always been the type of person who becomes an advocate for people who are unable, for whatever reason, to get things resolved on their own, or who just don’t understand their rights. I hate seeing people being taken advantage of.
I have fought for the rights of people for various reasons. One such reason was for a friend who wanted to keep their beloved, well behaved dog in their rental apartment – this was not a condominium. Did you know that the lease you sign with your landlord is between you and the landlord, and even if the lease states NO PETS, that does not mean it is illegal to keep a dog in your unit? You will need the support of your neighbours though, on both sides, above and below you. But, just to clarify, if your dog is not well behaved, barking all the time, not house broken, then your case to keep your dog would not be very strong. Your neighbours will most definitely not be on your side if your dog is loud and obnoxious. I had to take on a very well known property management company, and I won because they could see that I knew my rights.
Another time I had to deal with a tennis club when they have refused to release someone from their contract due to injury. Someone I knew joined a tennis club, obviously for the purpose of playing tennis. They broke their arm, (not playing tennis), received a doctors letter stating that they would not be able to play for at least one year. The tennis club still refused to release them from their contract. They said that they would defer their membership for one year, but they would not return their money. I could not believe that they would not allow an injured person to get their money back, especially since they could not play tennis, and possibly would not want to play tennis even after they healed. Well to make a long story short, I was able to change their minds, the contract was cancelled and the money, less the administrative fee, was returned to the injured person.
These are the kinds of things that drive me crazy. Contracts certainly can be broken under certain circumstances. I always say that if you are savvy, and you understand your rights, or if you at least seek assistance to help you understand your rights, you are less likely to be taken advantage of. Some businesses need to understand that it is easier to deal in a positive, realistic manner with their clients then to be steadfast in their convictions that a signed contract cannot be revoked, changed, updated, etc. That kind of attitude ends up losing them business and tarnishing their reputation. I believe that there are always exceptions to the rule, and believe me so do the businesses, they just don’t want you to know that.
That is why when I decided to start my own company, I wanted it to be geared to helping, educating, and advocating for people who really needed my help. The new home construction industry was the perfect place for me to start, because I worked for new home construction builders for over 14 years. I found that not only do we make sure that our clients are well informed by understanding their rights and responsibilities as new homeowners, but the builder now has a purchaser/homeowner who isn’t giving them a hard time, all because they are well educated. Its just human nature to feel more comfortable when you understand a process or procedure because then you know what to expect, which alleviates so much undue stress and anxiety.
I always stress to my clients, that they have the right to ask questions, and to be as informed as possible. I do however tell them that to get the results that they want, they must be diplomatic, respectful (as best as they can), and LISTEN. Sometimes things are said that are to their advantage, but if they are in anger mode they may miss the important parts of the conversation. The parts that are important to achieving full understanding of the situation.
Believe me when I say, even if you don’t like the idea of having to be an advocate for yourself, don’t give up and walk away. Chances are if you take the time to get educated, do your homework to know your rights, you will most likely be able to resolve or understand anything.