No we are not speaking about the teenager who is spending way too much time on video games. That is not the type of gamer we address in this blog. Our gamer has selfish intentions, often a blurred sense of reality and seeks to make trouble in business and other relationships as a result of their own failings or internal dissatisfaction. Some examples:
- The son has been charged criminally. Mom pays a $5,000.00 retainer to the attorney. The case goes to trial. Son is found guilty, albeit of a lesser charge and every observer agrees the defense was aggressive and on-point. Trial over. Mom decides not to pay anything else that is owed to the defense attorney because a few weeks ago the attorney did not return one of my calls. Plus my son is headed to prison. I didn’t get what I want, therefore, I am not going to pay anymore. Its the creation of artificial circumstances to satisfy a wound or deflect personal pain onto others.
- Next is the one who has discovered unauthorized charges on their credit card. He lives in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and someone has used the card out of Barbados. He knows he used his card to pay a copay at the dentist’s office so it must have been them who created this vulnerability. With no proof, he accuses the dentist office of fraud, calls the credit card company and refuses the legitimate charges for dental work with no real motive except to get a freebie to help soothe the pain the real problem is causing.
- Next is the potential real estate buyer. The public listing clearly states the asking price is $330,000.00. The customer insists you said $303,000.00 when you did not and it would not have mattered if you did; here is the listing! That “gamer” garbage comes out and for many of them, they are smarter than the rest of us.
- Then comes the customer who just stops paying you or creates a situation where communication has become strained and you cannot do the job you would like to do. Suddenly they have lost the potential of a truly valuable relationship, finances are low so they look to any possible pocket to make themselves whole again financially by poking illegitimate holes in your prior performance, even though every legal requirement was met. It happens to attorneys, medical case managers, consultants, medical practices, skilled tradesmen and many more.
We know of a recent situation wherein a family of a former group home resident heard that maybe one of the staff had a felony conviction. At no time was the resident in any danger. Licensing cleared the home after investigating. However, the family member sued in small claims court to recoup the last month’s payment. They lost.
Here is another: One of our clients in the private duty home care business hired employees who had worked for a competitor. He made no effort to learn of their client base, let alone mount a campaign to steal clients. This irrational owner sued our client claiming they stole from his company, a totally unfounded accusation. Guess what? They learned he has done the same to other home care providers. Nothing but a shakedown artist, out for quick, unearned cash. They slammed him.
With a world full of ‘gamers’ who either lack an understanding of the tenets of contract law or a lack of respect for it, or who simply have lived their entire lives trying to take advantage by playing the victim, how can you stay prepared? It might not be as hard as you think. Here are some pointers:
Document Everything: Be thorough. Every communication, every task completed, every written complaint, every attempt at resolution. Keep it all organized and reasonably concise. When they make a bogus compliant to your state attorney general, sue you in small claims, etc. you have a nice package to prove they are out of line and can likely be done with the matter expeditiously.
Stick to Written Agreements: It can be tempting just to be nice and provide products or services not required in your written agreement. Don’t! Some cannot stop at one favor and will begin to expect if not demand more until they hold a perceived obligation against you.
Be Nice to Your Lawyer: In these instances it can be easy for the entrepreneur to become distracted with the foolishness associated with these shakedown artists. Let your lawyer take the lead, handle all communications and stand tall for your efforts. You have productive things to do.
Do Not Back Down: Very often this is bullying behavior. You must bark louder and bark longer, even if through your counsel. A bully must be figuratively ‘hit between the eyes’ or the behavior never stops.
It will happen. People detached from reality, their own obligations or who want to victimize themselves into getting money out of your pocket will arrive. Some see the error of their way, apologize and things improve.
For others, just be sure and feel no discouragement, stand tall, fight back and preserve your fine name.
Tell us your thoughts or share your experience with a “gamer”.
Another Blog Post by Direct Care Training & Resource Center, Inc. Photos used are to complement the written material. They do not imply an endorsement by or affiliation with any organization nor individual.