06 November 2012

Replacement is not a guarantee

You’ll love it, or we’ll replace it. Guaranteed.

That is not a guarantee. That is the minimum that any business should do.†

If you tout this as a “guarantee”, I don't want a replacement. You’ve made me suspect the flaw is endemic rather than a fluke.

†As with any generalization, there are exceptions.


Anonymous said...

Maybe there's at least a little bit of responsibility on the purchaser to think about his purchase and decide whether he really would want this thing.

Like, if I buy a car and it doesn't make me feel as manly and good-looking as the ads suggested I would, the problem is not with the car.

If I look at a slice of pie under a dish and buy it, and find that it just didn't hit the spot, I don't expect the restaurant to keep giving me different pie slices until I'm satisfied.

There's a point where you just say "I spent $30 on this cheap pair of shoes, I tried them on and thought they were okay, but it's a month later and they're wearing out and gross. Maybe I should be a more savvy customer".

Then again I agree that sellers often sell garbage that they lie about to make it seem better. This is called Marketing, and the illusory quality of the goods is Perceived Value. Which is to say, they spend money to bamboozle you into thinking those shoes are better than they are, and hope to make that money back and more in extra sales.

As far as I can tell, companies make a choice when they do customer service: they have to put out money to make you happy, but will you end up coming back and giving them more money than that in the future? This is why you never tell the manager that he just lost a customer! You say "I really like coming back here all the time and bring my business here, but this issue might make me reconsider." If he knows he's lost you as a customer anyway, he's going to tell you to screw off because anything nice he does for you is cash out of his pocket.

Robert Fisher said...

I don’t disagree with the responsibility of the purchaser. I, myself, don’t expect to be able to get my money back on the vast majority of purchases I make. And there certainly are cases where a money-back guarantee or even replacement isn’t practical.

The point is that promising a replacement is not a meaningful “guarantee”. And that, for me, it creates the impression that you want to appear to stand behind your product without actually standing behind your product.

Matthew James Stanham said...

Speaking of endemic flaws, the Sony Xperia tablet was recently recalled because of a manufacturing flaw that meant 60% (or so) of them were not water resistant. A courier came and picked up ours on Monday, Sony repaired the error, and the tablet was returned on Thursday. Excellent customer service!

You are right, though of course, a guarantee should take the form of "your money back". :D