For many New Jersey businesses making sure their customers stay happy is a major priority. Without their customers, businesses obviously will have a difficult time making money and staying open in this competitive economy. However, there are times when businesses and customers have disputes. Like corporate disputes, disputes with customers can easily lead to business litigation.
This has been the situation for national retailer and pharmacy CVS. Earlier this month, the retailer was sued by a New Jersey woman. The Asian-American woman claims to have ordered photographs through the store. However, she noticed shortly after picking her photos up that the store had listed her name as “Ching Chong” which she took as a racial slur. The woman says that she knows she had put the right name down when ordering the pictures, since the e-mail the company sent to alert her that the pictures were ready for pickup used the right name. Therefore, the woman concluded that an employee changed the name in store.
The woman says that seeing this slur caused her to remember times when she faced discrimination as a child and made her fearful that her children would face similar discrimination. The woman brought her suit in federal court in Camden. She is seeking emotional and mental damages of $1 million.
CVS has not commented specifically about this litigation; however, it maintains that it has a strong non-discrimination policy.
When a business faces commercial litigation because of a dispute with a customer, the business may want to consider alternative forms of dispute resolution. The court system can be time consuming and expensive for businesses. Furthermore, generally all court hearings are open to the public which could cause public relations issues for a business. Settlement, on the other hand, often offers a private, quick and cheaper way to reach an agreement with a disgruntled customer.
Source: The Boston Globe, “NJ woman ‘horrified’ over phrase mocking Asians,” Rema Rahman, April 18, 2013