I recently received an e-mail from Sharon, a Non-Consumer Advocate reader who needs some help with a delicate situation. She’s hoping you might steer her in a direction of how to best deal with her issue. (By the way I’ve changed a few details, to protect her anonymity.)
Here’s her question:
We know some people that are in hard times like us, and to help them out we lent them an expensive useful item. Unfortunately part of it was nearly broken and there were some dents. However, my question is this: in lending, loaning and/or renting our items to share, where do we draw the line? I do not ever want to let anyone use our things again.
This a hard one. I too make my belongings available to friends and family as needed, and so far I haven’t had anyone abuse the privilege.
My mother has a phrase she uses when she’s broaching difficult subjects, which is to say to the person, “I have an issue I need your help with,” and she then asks the guilty party what she should do. This technique puts the person in the role of problem solver rather than a place of defense. It also lets the person know that you take the situation seriously.
I would also suggest that she goes into any conversation with an idea of what she wants, whether it’s monetary compensation or just an apology. But she would also need to go into that conversation knowing that neither might happen.
How about you, have you dealt with a similar situation or have any advice for Sharon? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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