When Saving Money Goes Against Your Morals

by David@MoneyNing.com · 17 comments

saving money and morals

The other day, my friend told me she called customer support and complained about their service because she can get a 15% off coupon every time she does this.  In many levels, I felt that it was wrong but couldn’t exactly point out to her at the time why I felt that way because she did get bad service.  Was it because of her motivation for the call or was it more because it’s not the first time she’s done this?

An even more interesting (and complicated) question to answer is whether my friend felt it was wrong to do it.  If she did, does it make the decision to call worst?  Was it because she just didn’t know that it was wrong or was she just not thinking about whether it was wrong or not?

What about those people that return a gift that they receive even if they don’t have a receipt?  Before you answer yes, what if they have a gift receipt?  Why does this change things?

Let me ask you this:

[poll id=”18″]

Don’t worry, the poll is done anonymously so just answer truthfully.

What do you think?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Evie says:

    Excellent site.,

  • Lyndsay says:

    we better get on the tinatic because sinking is rising on saturday morning.,

  • Coupon shipping says:

    Interesting topic.


  • Rickena says:

    I feel like a complete blank, but what can I say?,

  • larbi abdelouahab says:


  • Andrew Chilton says:

    I can’t comment on whether it’s right or wrong. Maybe it’s just playing the system, I’m not sure.

    When it comes down to whether I would do it, I’d say “No, definitely not”. It just doesn’t sound like something I’d do.

  • Compare CD Rates says:

    I’m not so sure the 67% is too high. It only takes a few to do a lot of damamge.

    Even in Germany’s darkest hours it was a few doing wrong to the many.

    Or just maybe David has an exceptionally high number of readers who wouldn’t want to profit from immoral/unethical behavior. :O)

    I must say though I do believe a few of the items you listed don’t compare to calling and complaining to customer service when it isn’t warranted. :O)

  • meredith says:

    P.S. outstanding blog.

  • meredith says:

    I am very skeptical about that 67%. All one has to do is look at the genocides through the ages, soldiers behaviour during war, and ordinanry people in deep poverty. When you can afford not to be immoral it is very different than when you are in survivial mode. I believe that all people are capable of wrong doing. From televagelists to politicians, bookkeepers to CEOs, the courts of the world would be empty if only 25% were willing to do wrong……

  • Jenna says:

    My husband used to work a second job at McDonalds. Apparently, at a corporate (not privately owned)McD’s they will accept even competitors coupons, and if you call and complain they will give you a free meal.

    We haven’t taken advantage of this just because I think it’s sort of working the system now that we know. But, there ya go. For anyone who feels comfortable enough doing it.

  • Compare CD Rates says:

    I don’t believe it is right to call and complain if you don’t have a complaint.

    If the only reason you are calling is becaues of the 15%, than it does bring the motives into question. If the “bad” service wouldn’t have otherwise warranted a call, then it probably would have been better to not call.

    When it comes to returning gifts, if you don’t like the gift and have a receipt there is nothing wrong with that.

    If you don’t have a receipt and the item isn’t damaged, and again, you don’t want the gift, go ahead and try to return it. Without a receipt most stores make you take store credit. We even dealt with one that made you use the credit in the same dept the item came from. Just keep in mind, without a receipt, the store is under no obligation to take it.

  • marci says:

    Each of us has our own sense of morals and decency (hopefully). Often they do not match mine – for better or for worse. However, I only have to live with the moral decisions I make. Altho it can be said that I also have to live with the results of the moral decisions that others make.

    I could go once for the 15% coupon if the service was bad – as that’s what it’s for – to keep customers who they gave lousy service to. Kind of a make-it-better gift. A second time? – no. But that’s my decision. I’d be looking for another source of whatever service it was that was so lousy – or doing without. That’s my question – WHY is she staying with that service provider?

    Life it too short and I don’t need the extra stress in my life. And I need to be able to sleep nights and not let the decisions I’ve made gnaw at me during the night 🙂 Old Fashioned morals in this day and age, I know – but I’m ok with it. I sleep well.

    About the receipts or not – if it’s still new in the box and is an honest return, (from that store/chain) that’s what the return policy is for. The store policy allows returns. It’s their game – so follow their rules. Returns keep the person happy and they usually buy something else.

  • paid reviews says:

    I am split half and half, if the service provider can provide a service for 15% less then they should already do it at that price. But then people phoning to complain only creates more work and probably as said before gets someone into trouble and it may be because they are trying to improve customer and don’t want people to leave as they still need to make money.

  • Danielle says:

    I think that you SHOULD call and compain because usually all these cable, phone companies and internet providers screw you up without even blinking. You don’t even know when it happens. So yeah, I do it too. I sometimes call my internet provider and compain. I always find out, while compaining, that there is a better deal on internet connection, or even a free ipod…

    Trust me, noone will give you 15% discount if it isn’t allowed.

  • Shadox says:

    This is just wrong. For one thing, your friend may be causing someone direct damange – maybe the company is monitoring who is providing service to her and the person in charge of her account is getting penalized for providing bad service?

    Even if that is not the case, your friend is essentially increasing the cost or reducing the profit of the company providing service to her (probably both – reducing profit, because she pays less; increasing costs because she is making frivolous customer service calls that the company must answer). The company passes on these increased cost to other customers in the form of higher prices.

    THis is simply the wrong thing to do.

  • Sandy says:

    Opps clicked submit too quickly and forgot to reply.

    I think it’s not moral based on your friend’s motives. Other than that I think what she is doing is fine.

  • Sandy says:

    This is a tough question to answer but it’s very insightful. Thanks for stimulating my mind tonight.

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