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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: