Sunday, February 3, 2013

Employers are Consumers: Learn how to Fight Back and Office Politics: the game everyone plays

By Franke James, author, Dear Office-Politics

When Ellen Roseman, author and consumer-advocate columnist for The Toronto Star, invited me to contribute to her new book, Fight Back, I was delighted. As you’ll read in my excerpted article below, Ellen was an instrumental pair of “eyes” in helping me fight back — and win!  FIGHT BACK 

I WAS FIGHTING A COMPANY over the faulty installation of a gas furnace and ductwork, which had caused major structural damage to our home. I wanted them to pay for repairs. The company had deep pockets and no fear of going to court. Its lawyer said in a surly email, “Go ahead. Sue us.”

Going to court could have amounted to financial suicide for our family, or at the very least, hardship. There was no way I wanted to fight this battle in court, or even in an arbitration hearing.

I wanted to fight it where the odds were more in my favour: the court of public opinion. And for most people that’s a good strategy. It’s a lot cheaper than hiring lawyers but it does depend on having good communication skills.

In my experience most companies will do the right thing – but only under threat of having their behavior (which often amounts to bullying) exposed to the world. Everyone – from private enterprises, to public companies, to local and federal governments, is sensitive to public opinion.

Excerpted from Fight Back: 81 Ways to Save Money and Protect Yourselffrom Corporate Trickery. Copyright (c) 2012 by Ellen Roseman. Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.

About Franke James:

Franke James, MFA is the author/inventor of Dear Office-Politics: the game everyone plays and the Founder of Franke is also the author/artist of Bothered by My Green ConscienceFranke brings over 20 years of real-world business experience to her role as an adviser on See her 2012 quiz for CNN’s Global Office show. Franke has been quoted and featured in print, radio and TV on the topic of office-politics by the New York Times, Chatelaine Magazine, Inc. Magazine,  the Globe and Mail, Job Postings Magazine, CBC Radio, CTV News and other media.  (Follow her on Twitter @officepolitics and @frankejames) 

About Ellen Roseman and ‘Fight Back’:

Ellen Roseman is a journalist who sticks up for ordinary Canadians. As a long-time advocate for consumer rights, she’s become a brand name for activism and a champion at helping consumers fight back against injustices. Her columns appear three times a week in the Toronto Star and her popular blog,, has been online since 2007. She’s the author of seven books, including Money 101: Every Canadian’s Guide to Personal Finance and Money 201: More Personal Finance Advice for Every Canadian. She teaches investing and personal finance at the University of Toronto’s continuing studies department and Ryerson University’s Chang School, and is on the board of FAIR (Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights) and Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).

In Fight Back, Ellen Roseman distills the financial advice she gives in her columns and blogs into 81 quick tips that all Canadians can use to help them spend sensibly, save money, and avoid costly consumer traps. This book of “personal finance greatest hits” is filled with illustrative examples and cautionary advice from Roseman and stories from her faithful readers. Filled with a wealth of information, the book includes the low-down on dealing with banks and car dealers, cutting costs of communication services, improving your credit, buying and renovating a home, fighting online fraud, ensuring you have the right insurance, and more.

Ellen Roseman has assisted HRNC to fight back!

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