I’m trying to save the world, but I need your help!

You’ve probably heard about Twitter suspending the account of Guy Adams, the Los Angeles bureau chief of the Independent. His offense? Posting the email address for Gary Zenkel, an NBC vice president in charge of the network’s Olympic coverage.

Naming names is not a crime, and in a new syndicated consumer advocacy column that launches tomorrow, that’s exactly what I do.

When consumers don’t get the product or service they deserve, I offer the email addresses and phone numbers for the managers in charge of customer service.

The column runs on a simple, yet powerful idea: Each week, I try to mediate a seemingly intractable consumer problem for any industry, not just travel. But I dispense more than advice; I also get results.

In my debut columns, I score refunds and product replacements for real people.

If you’re a regular reader of my site, you probably already know that this formula makes for a great read that entertains, educates and advocates. You know I can do this beyond the travel industry.

But I can’t do it alone — I need your help.

Here’s what you can do: Please contact your favorite newspaper, website, or blog and tell them about this new feature. (I’ve posted the full press release below.)

Encourage them to pick up this column as a service to their readers. It will run on this site every Wednesday. The next installment will appear tomorrow.

Together, we can improve customer service beyond the travel industry. Thank you for your help in getting the word out!

Nationally syndicated feature created just for consumers launches today

Aug. 1, 2012


Consumers who feel no one is listening to them — especially the big companies they deal with every day — have a new place to turn.

Beginning Aug. 1, a weekly column is coming to your local newspaper and favorite blog, penned by longtime consumer advocate, author and nationally-syndicated columnist Christopher Elliott.

In his debut columns, Elliott tracks down a lost e-gift card for a Target customer; persuades AT&T to honor a discount from a phone consultation; and negotiates a replacement computer for a Best Buy visitor.

Audiences won’t just appreciate Elliott’s helpful strategies for finding better service; they’ll also become fans of his feature’s irreverent attitude and wholly interactive format, which includes online polls and heavy social media engagement. Editors are sure to like the way the column attracts and retains audiences, both online and offline.

Elliott, who wrote the acclaimed book “Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals,” promises to go beyond offering tips in his column. Each week he’ll find a just resolution to a seemingly intractable dispute between company and customer — be it a refund, repair, product replacement, apology, or putting the company out of business.

“Consumers want more than advice, which they can get from their friends,” Elliott explains. “They want action. My book was a manifesto for customer empowerment and the new column, written with the consumer in mind, will demonstrate the way to get the service everyone deserves.”

The concept: elevate reader engagement online and instigate a vibrant discussion about the frustration of customer service, which is no longer an oxymoron in the U.S. Elliott’s blogs are among the favorites of shoppers everywhere because they’re designed to get what is deserved from a heretofore numb corporate American culture.

Elliott is unafraid to name the executives who manage (or mismanage) customer service divisions and will go so far as to give emails and phone number for those getting the runaround.

Elliott writes the nationally syndicated Travel Troubleshooter column for Tribune Media Services. He’s a weekly columnist in the Washington Post and is editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler. His hard-hitting consumer stories have also run in Newsweek, the Huffington Post and Mint.com.

The 600-word column is available for a free one-month trial at http://bit.ly/MOIPxZ

For more information about Elliott, go to http://www.elliott.org/about/christopher-elliott-biography/ or email him at chris@elliott.org.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    You are so AWESOME!!!!!!! Go 1st Amendment!!!!!!!!!!

  • Thanks! I’ve been publishing executive email address for a while, but the Guy Adams incident has inspired me.

  • This is going to be great! I’m following!

  • M Sarkar

    Outing email addresses on one’s own blog is one thing. It’s freedom of speech.
    Doing it via a service like Twitter – well, Twitter gets to choose what to do about it.
    Good idea, Chris!

  • cjr001

    Twitter didn’t shut down the accounts of the likes of Justin Beiber a couple of years ago for posting somebody’s private e-mail address, or Spike Lee for incorrectly giving out the address of a George Zimmerman.

    Yeah, Twitter can do what it wants… and it can get called out for being a hypocrite and becoming just another corporate whore.

  • plodder

    As a private company Twitter can do business with whoever they choose. As long as they aren’t discriminating based on sex, race, or religion, I see nothing wrong with them exerting that authority. I may not agree, but it isn’t “wrong.”

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