How to get yourself blacklisted by a consumer advocate

Getting blacklisted by a consumer advocate will lead to a dead end.

Someone got herself blacklisted by this consumer advocate last week.

She knows who she is. She knows what she did. And she knows I’m done talking to her — for good.

Blacklisting may have a somewhat vague meaning in the world of business, from a car rental company’s “do not rent” list to a cell phone provider’s blacklist of stolen handsets. But for me, “blacklist” means something specific. It means that for whatever reason, I’ve chosen not to receive messages from you. You’re permanently silenced.

I’m telling you about it because I suspect many companies are like me. They have a threshold when it comes to interacting with consumers. Cross it and you’re on a blacklist. I’d like to help you avoid it.

She kept hounding me until I hit the “mute” button

In the most recent blacklisting case, the cause was simple: A publicist emailed me about a benign comment I’d made about her client in a story. I thanked her and politely told her we’d have to agree to disagree on the sentiment I was expressing.

She would have none of it.

Over the period of several hours, she shot me a barrage of increasingly desperate messages, trying to vindicate her client. The volume of mail became unbearable after a short while, and she was wasting valuable advocacy time, so I pushed the “mute” button.

Technically, I blocked her emails in Gmail.

Lesson learned: Don’t waste people’s time when you’re asking for help. Get to the point and if you receive a hard “no,” then be on your way. Otherwise, you’ll get on the blacklist … or blocklist.

Threats, threats, threats — and then she’s added to the blacklist

Besides harassment, there’s another form of behavior that’s guaranteed to land you on a blacklist: threats.

A few weeks ago, I penned a story about a woman who had failed to read the terms on an opaque travel site. She’d filled out our help form, which gives me the right to publish her name and other details of her case.

You can probably guess where this is going.

Not only had she failed to read the fine print on the travel site, she’d also neglected to read the details on my help form. So, of course, she was shocked to see her name in print.

First, she demanded I delete the entire story. I refused, politely pointing out that she’d filled out the form. Then she scaled down her request to just removing her last name. No, that’s not happening either, I said.

Finally, she threatened to take me down. She said she’d contact all of my media outlets and tell them how terrible I was. She suggested that if that didn’t work, she’d see me in court.

I blocked her.

There’s no point in continuing that kind of conversation.

Lesson learned: Don’t make threats unless you are prepared to follow through. Better yet, don’t threaten — do.

The King of Credit Card Internet Trolls shows how to get yourself blacklisted by a consumer advocate

There’s one more way to get yourself blacklisted. You can troll. I mean hard.

I’m thinking about one particular troll who I’ve known for years. He started as a third-rate airline blogger and one day discovered points-earning credit cards. His site, inelegantly modeled after Fox News, is filled with hateful ad hominem attacks against anyone who disagrees with his ill-considered Libertarian views on government regulation.

This blogger has repeatedly baited me with invitations to engage in the comments of his blog or to speak at mileage-hacking conventions. Yet, whenever I extend my hand in friendship, it’s bitten by a thousand bile-filled disciples who have been programmed to despise my egalitarian approach to problem-solving. That’s no accident. Someone is giving these lemmings their marching orders.

I’m done with it. Not only is this blogger blacklisted, but I’ve also blocked all traffic from his site and the blog network he writes for. His toxins have infected a number of otherwise reasonable bloggers. I want nothing to do with them.

Lesson learned: Everyone has his limits, even the guy who is supposed to be helping everyone. Be careful that you don’t push someone’s button too often. Otherwise you could end up on permanent “mute.”

To be clear, my personal blacklist is short. For readers who don’t harass, threaten or troll, my patience is as long as a summer day. But you should know where the line is, and now I’ve told you.

Companies also have a line, and at some point, they’ll ignore you. Difference between them and me? They’ll never tell you that you’ve been blacklisted.

Editor’s note: Talk about a coincidence! On the day this post appeared, our forums developed a glitch after a software update. Quite a few of our regular contributors can’t post as a result. Rest assured, you’re not blacklisted.

Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.