My mentor Mitch Axelrod has a saying - the world has changed from caveat emptor to caveat venditor - so if you are not a grade A student of Latin, that means the world has changed from "let the buyer beware" to "let the seller beware".
I can't find the exact statistics but it was something like - the average number of people told by someone who had a great experience is 8 and the average number of people told about bad service is 15.
But developments in social media have made it worse...much, much worse.
The Power of Blogging
If you irritate an influential blogger with high page rank, you can have a critical comment on page 1 of searches for Google.
Or if you annoy an arty type, you may find that a YouTube video is seen by millions of people.
That's exactly what happened to United Airlines when they mistreated the guitars of the Dave Carroll and hi band, the Sons of Maxwell.
I will let the video tell the story but it has been watched by over 3.6 million people and I suspect that is only the beginning.
The story has crossed the Atlantic and been picked up by The Times who have put together a list of other revenge videos and give the full story of revenge on United Airlines. Credit must go to the Sturgeon's Law blog which is where I picked it up thanks to Twitter.
Forums Like The Rip Off Report
But you don't need to have a big blog with thousands of readers or the musical and video talent of Dave Carroll to fight back with social media against companies who don't take customer service and complaints seriously.
There is a site called ripoffreport.com - a website where consumers can file a complaint and over 466,000 have been filed so far, making ripoffreports.com about the 3,500th most popular website on the Internet.
Message To Every Business
Take customer service seriously and respond quickly to customer complaints.
The problem may not seem important to you but if your customers has gone to the time and trouble to complain, it is to them - and thanks to social media, you don't know just how powerful they can be.
The United Airline video is funny - although Dave Carroll is promising two more - and it certainly gets their name about.
A more serious case which completely compromised a product was the story of how the Kryptonite lock for bicycles could be unpicked in seconds with nothing more complicated than a Bic pen.
It really is a world of seller beware.