Juries sometimes do strange things, and one in Missouri has ordered a company that buys up consumer debts to pay an astounding $83 million to Maria Guadalupe Mejia of Kansas City. Why, you may ask? The jury said the credit company wrongly tried to collect an erroneous $1,000 credit card bill. Credit.com has an extensive story about this shocker, the woman who sues a debt collector, and then wins $83 Million. KCUR reported the verdict and the jury finding that the defendant–Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC–was guilty of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
That law contains many safeguards for borrowers. With the small $1,000 disputed debt, as you might imagine, most of the verdict was for allegedly bad conduct, The verdict called for $250,000 in damages plus a few dollars shy of $83 million in punitive damages. The verdict calls it malicious prosecution, the debt not being hers to begin with.
PRA Group Inc., which owns Portfolio Recovery Associates, sent an email statement to Credit.com: “This outlandish verdict defies all common sense,” wrote spokesman Michael McKeon. “We hope and expect the judge will set aside this inappropriate award, and we plan to file motions to make that request formally in the near term. Any fair reading of the facts of this case makes plain that a verdict of this size is not justice by any means, and cannot stand.”
Do you like salespeople? If you answered yes, you might be a salesperson. In The Sales Bible, Jeffrey Gitomer discusses the reputation problem faced by salespeople—and how to solve it.
Why is this? Sadly, ever since the days of snake oil, the craft has been heavily associated with lying. Years of advertising have hardened consumers and trained them to be skeptical above all else, and no one is more suspect than a salesperson. A salesperson is, first and foremost, interested in getting you to buy what they’re selling, and usually only secondarily interested in your enjoyment of or satisfaction with the product.
Recently, however, some brands have seized upon an interesting strategy for dealing with this issue: get someone else to sell the product. Though professional salespeople struggle with trust, there is one employee who still retains it: the person who engineered, developed, or created it in the first place! Let’s call these people “Product experts.”
CINDY LEE GARCIA said she’d been had. The actress claimed that she thought she was acting in an action-adventure thriller called Desert Warrior, but her performance was co-opted into five seconds of Innocence of Muslims, a 14-minute trailer mocking the Islamic prophet Mohammed that sparked an anti-American backlash in the Middle East and led to death threats for the actors involved. The inflammatory clip was first uploaded to Google-owned YouTube in June 2012, and a few months later Garcia sued Google demanding that what she called the “hateful anti-Islamic production” be taken down.
Garcia first filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, but a judge refused to have it removed, even as she claimed she was receiving death threats. She then filed a suit in federal court, yielding the same response. After all, video creators own the rights to their creations, not actors. Last year, however, a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals shocked First Amendment and copyright attorneys around the country when it found in Garcia’s favor, determining that her performance was “independently copyrightable.” Google removed the video.
Netflix confirms today that it will roll out a new user interface on the web to all users worldwide beginning next month. A number of Netflix customers are already seeing the updated look-and-feel, however, according to various reports. The interface, which was previously demonstrated at CES and Mobile World Congress, brings the design of Netflix’s website more in line with what users today see on mobile phones, tablets, on gaming consoles and on other streaming media players, like Roku.
The most notable aspect to the new design is that it eliminates the slower, scrolling carousels for content discovery in favor of an updated look with larger thumbnails in each section which can be clicked on in order to expand a detail screen showing additional information about the title in question.
Food and beverage giants are shrinking their offerings. Why? Consumers view sugar and fat to be the new tobacco, according to new research by Havas Worldwide, which found that in the last year 42 percent of consumers have reduced their sugar intake while 38 percent of consumers have decreased fat consumption. “Smaller sizes have always been appealing for products perceived as indulgent,” explained Tim Maleeny, Havas’ chief strategy officer, managing partner. “Somehow the smaller serving offsets a sense of guilt.” For brands, going small may be key to their business, noted Allen Adamson, North American chairman at brand consulting firm Landor Associates. “The alternative—if they don’t do this—is consumers will drop them off the shopping list, and that’s deadly for a brand,” he said.
The Biggest Marketing Challenge WE All Face
The biggest challenge we’re dealing with today is change. Things are changing so fast. As a result of this rapid pace of change people do not know who to trust!
There are six questions your prospects want answered before they will buy from you. These questions are designed to allow you to think like your buyer and speak with them so they know you are the right and safe choice.
Why the Six Questions are Important
When I started my business back in 2001, I lacked trust. What I really mean is that I did not know who could help me get clear on my ideal client. Every time I ask someone they said things I did not understand. I was confused and a confused mind does not take action. This is what we’re dealing with.
Stick with me as I talk about things you may not have thought about before. Keep an open mind because, to grow your business, you need to find someone you can trust.
Remember we stated earlier that “trust” is the biggest marketing issue we need to address. This is what marketing is about – helping our prospects to trust us so we can start the sales process.
Let’s jump right in.
Eric Ryan vividly recalls the origin of his rigorous hiring philosophy. It was 2005, and his sustainable cleaning-products business, Method, was growing fast. “I heard someone say, ‘We just need a warm body,'” recalls Ryan. “It scared the crap out of me.”
Mediocre hires are like empty calories: They make you bigger but less healthy. At Method, which has 158 employees, and at his new vitamin and nutrition business, Olly, which has 12, Ryan approaches each hire as though the company’s future depended on getting it right. Landing a job at Method is hard. Ryan estimates that the process takes twice as long as at many other companies. “We maintain a very high standard, and if it takes a while to find the perfect person, that’s OK,” says Ryan.