Do The Right Thing

Full disclosure: I do not have any stake in this claim. I am simply observing what appears to be evidence of severe negligence (in the very least) on the part of Acteva. I offer my advice as a reputation manager to Acteva strictly because I think it would help them take a step in the right direction to resolve their current imbroglio.

It is sad to see this kind of thing happens to non-profits, even worse when it goes ignored by the perpetrator of said negligence. I try to keep an open mind about clients who want for me to manage their online reputations. I am selective of my clients based on one sole criteria: accountability. An attorney would generally prefer to remain ignorant of his client’s guilt or innocence. It is the job of the attorney to counsel and zealously advocate for his client. This is currently not a legal matter, to my knowledge. If I were contacted by this company to mitigate the negativity surrounding it’s brand, I would decline to take them on as a client. For me, one thing is clear; Acteva does not handle complaints against it very well. This shows obstinance on the part of Acteva. If by now you have yet to notice, this thing isn’t going away anytime soon. Continuing to ignore these claims is not an option if Acteva wants to regain a fair reputation. Believe me when I say that we all understand you cannot possibly please everyone all the time. But here is what we can observe from this situation: Acteva does not appear to respond to negativity. They accept no culpability in the way their customers are satisfactorily serviced, and they do not appear to have any intentions of making things right with the people who feel they’ve been wronged. Mounting complaints from BBB, negative user reviews, and even employee reviews stating how incompetent their management is, should get the full attention of any shareholder of a company. They apparently even scammed a Bar Association in Maryland according to one Yelper/currently satisfied EventBrite user. So far all we’ve seen are crude remarks and no action towards repairing the relationships of scorned users. One would think at this point, they’d know they are given no quarter in the arena of public opinion.

Speaking of arenas, let’s talk baseball for a minute here. I love the game, and I like to argue that our generation has witnessed some of the most awesome players in history. Guys like Cal Ripken, Mariano Rivera, Vlad Guererro and Miguel Cabrera are anyone’s hero because they have class and respect the game and it’s rules. Then we’ve got guys like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Pete Rose and Manny Ramirez who all amputated their fanbase with allegations of steroid abuse or gambling. Further still, there are some who are smart enough to recognize the big picture of their legacies. Let’s take a look at  Andy Pettitte, for example. He was implicated in the BALCO investigation and admitted to using HGH in 2002, a substance later banned by Major League Baseball and strictly available for prescriptions in the US. Andy went on to pitch for the New York Yankees for a few more seasons, and the fans and team supported his decision to accept responsibility for his actions. His teammate and mentor, Roger Clemens continues to deny the use of any performance enhancing drugs despite copious evidence to the contrary. Rocket Man may never see his name in the halls of Cooperstown because he chooses to dispute what everyone else can see. I’m not saying that Clemens is guilty, but it sure looks that way. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, Clemens would be better served by coming clean, so to speak. A simple gesture to the public that shows a bit of humility would go a long way in repairing his tattered image.

That’s just baseball, so it really has no tangible bearing on our lives. But this is a real life situation that has hurt many non-profit organizations and it doesn’t look like they care. I’m no consumer advocate in the sense that I feel people and businesses should be able to operate how they see fit so long as it constrains itself to the law. Perhaps Acteva is doing just that, and they actually aren’t doing anything illegal – but let’s be honest with ourselves, they are refusing to pay organizations to keep their “revenue” up. Growing up ‘hood we called it kiting checks. On Wall Street they call it a ponzi scheme. On the internet, we can be who we say we are until we prove otherwise. The capitals for Acteva should look into these claims and do their part to ensure this doesn’t continue to happen. They are the ones from that company who stand to lose the most. For those keeping score at home, Acteva operates as a subsidiary of zDegree, according to Bloomberg Business. Mr. Pankaj Gupta, with all due respect, please address these grievances. Is there some fine print with a caveat emptor these claimants have failed to read? Is it your policy to withhold payments until the customers complain? Do you wish to settle these claims of unpaid organizations? Is there a customer care center in the US who can personally audit these claims and not read from a flowchart? Do you think you have a reputation problem? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you must give the order for your operation to mend itself by owning the good and the bad. You might be surprised to find this could all work in your favor, if you would just do the right thing. In my experience, it really doesn’t matter if your screwed up. What does matter is how you handle the situation. Also in my experience, ignoring claims goes a long way in developing people’s obsession with your demise. Do you really need that kind of enemy? This site is proof that you cannot hide from consumers if you burn them. A few other sites that have not yet been approached with this story are RipOff Report, The Consumerist, and Pissed Consumer. These sites can inflict a permanent stain on a company’s image. Is this the route you want to take? I can tell you the objectors on this site are relentless, and refuse to be ignored any longer. Do the right thing, it cannot possibly hurt your image any more than ignoring requests for payments due. This is my professional advice to your company, take it or leave it. I only hope you can learn from this.

 

Sincerely,

Don Rhoades

Online Reputation Manager

 

One thought on “Do The Right Thing

  1. Wow, Kudos to Mr Rhoades for this great post. Its hard to believe that Acteva could bounce back from this fiasco. We think a lot of the non-profits would not like to see them recover. It is a great position for Acteva to be in, Own up to what they have done in an effort to repair their brand and image or choose to ignore the advice and continue on this downward spiral.

    Its pretty hard to image that things could actually get worse, but that is always the case. Had Acteva just come forward and responded to the initial inquiry from my friends company, I would never have had Acteva on my radar. Had they applied that same simple tactic, there would have been the numerous complaints on several forums.

    Instead Acteva chose to ignore their customers and thus this site was created. The Road less traveled comes to mind along with these lyrics from Stairway to Heaven: “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
    There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”

    Acteva’s refusal to address their clients emails and phone calls took themselves out of the driver seat. The non-profits are now in the driver’s seat and are making a mess of the lawn. I see the scene from The toy when Richard Pryor and the boy are on the go-carts destroying the party.

    It is a mess and it can always get worse unless Acteva starts to take charge and publicly address this and apologize to the non-profits. This is the time to be in full damage control mode and alter their strategy. Time will tell if Acteva is learning from this experience or if exceptional advice, mounting pressure is following on deaf ears.

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