Tuesday, February 22, 2011

General Statement about Returning #1

Let's assume you buy an item and it breaks down an unreasonably short while after the purchase. The 90-day warranty of the store you purchased it at is long over, so you can't return it. What to do? 
  1. Contact the store where you purchased the item and ask for a refund. This should have nothing to do with their return policy. If an item is defective, there is no reason why you should have to live with it.
  2. Next, contact the manufacturer of the product and tell them about your defective product. If they get nasty on you, you have my permission to act that way, too. Mention to the company that you don't understand how they ensure customer satisfaction. As a last resort, remind them that if they don't honor their product, you will never again buy their items.
  3. Either the store or the manufacturer might ask you to return the product so they can send you a new one. That is your goal. They usually won't, especially if it's a heavy item and they rather not go through shipping fees. If they ask you to pay for return shipping, ask them why it's your fault that the item broke. 
  4. Sometimes, if you play this right, you may get a reimbursement and a new product (instead of just a new product - which you had originally paid for at one point). 
True example of this in action: I bought a nice, sleek digital scale on Amazon using gift cards (see this post about maximizing gift cards). It broke after 6 months of light use (we aren't a family of elephants), much to my dismay. I sent identical emails to Amazon and to Ozeri (the maker of the scale) saying: 

I purchased this scale and understand that this is out of the return period, however, I really do not think that a scale of such caliber should just stop working after about 6 months! We keep it perfectly safe and out of harm's reach and suddenly the scale began to go haywire. The numbers just dance on the screen and it turns on by itself and reads really weird amounts. If you stand on it, it either says EEEEE or just keeps flitting through numbers. I think it's ridiculous that this should happen so fast. It is not a battery issue because I have replaced them with brand new ones. 

Please let me know what you can do about this.

Within 24 hours I received an email from Amazon that they credited my account with the full $16.58 and another email from Ozeri that the sensor was broken and they'll ship me a new one. So in essence, I got a scale for free :)