Planning for the Apes: Coping with Guerrilla Consumer Behavior When the Courts Won’t Help
The stakes are high for marketers when it comes to assuring consumer satisfaction, whether in a business-to-consumer or business-to-business setting. When consumer dissatisfaction results from an undesirable outcome, guerrilla consumer behavior, or consumers acting out beyond an expected or normative level, can result. Guerrilla consumer behavior can have immediate and longterm economic consequences for a firm. In a study of the legal environments in the states of California and New York, the authors of this article have determined that marketers can find little assistance from the court system, with even the most egregious consumer guerrilla actions protected by the First Amendment and anti-SLAPP laws, as well as the courts’ view of online communication as being of less legitimacy than print communication. The marketer’s best recourse remains allowing consumers to express their voice and find an unobstructed exit from an otherwise dissatisfying consumer experience.
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