What do you do, when swindled by a “Christian company”?

An interesting ethical question reached me today, and although it has never happened to me — mostly because I don’t do much business with Christian businesses, I suspect, it raises all sorts of issues.

Someone purchased a subscription for a service from a Christian company back in February. But he finds, now the first month’s materials have been delivered, that they aren’t fit for purpose, because of a condition unmentioned in the advertising. Basically he’s lost his money, and what they are sending him, although perhaps useful to someone else, is no use to him.

He could perhaps go to the credit card company, and ask for redress.  He could also go to the Advertising Standards Authority and complain that he wasn’t told.  (The ASA is the body that recently decided that mainstream Christian group Healing on the Streets were not allowed to say on their website that God can heal, by the way).  In short he could bring the Christian company before the authorities.  If he was dealing with someone like Amazon, he would do just that.

But should he do this for a business which provides Christian services for Christians?  What about 1 Corinthians 6:7:

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

ἤδη μὲν οὖν ὅλως ἥττημα ὑμῖν ἐστιν ὅτι κρίματα ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν. διὰ τί οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἀδικεῖσθε; διὰ τί οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἀποστερεῖσθε;

Perhaps so.  Perhaps the best thing to do is ask politely for a refund; and to bear the loss patiently if necessary; and to hand the company over to God and think no more about it.  The sum is large, but bearable.

Or does this verse refer to circumstances rather different than those envisaged here; more to disputes between individuals rather than modern  business methods?  Or is there some other reason not to take this view?

Note that possibly there are extenuating circumstances also that have not reached me.  But  imagine that there are not, just for the sake of argument; and that the Christian company has got greedy.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “What do you do, when swindled by a “Christian company”?

  1. Just because a company labels itself as Christian (or Catholic, or Anglican or Baptist or whatever other epithet) doesn’t make it so. In fact, what is a ‘Christian company’ anyway?

    My advice: use judgement. Attempt to resolve amicably direct with the company; point out their misleading advertising, ask for (partial) refund. If unsatisfied with the outcome, and one thinks there is potential to mislead other customers, take it to the authorities.

  2. I think Paul is saying that Christians should not wash their dirty linen in public, because it gives pagans the opportunity to argue that Christians are no better than anybody else. Indeed, the pagans made just such a claim when the Christians started executing fellow-Christians for heresy in the fifth century. I am reminded of how the captive Christian Churches under Muslim rule tried desperately to keep inter-Christian disputes ‘within the family’. The synods of the Nestorian Church regularly condemned Christians who took their lawsuits to the Muslim authorities; and the loser in a dispute with a fellow-Christian was sometimes tempted to convert to Islam to win a higher social status and perhaps turn the tables on the winner.

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