Dear John….

A lot of days I struggle with what I’m going to share with everyone. I know, you’re all shocked considering how ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS I am, but even I experience the occasional blogger’s block. Some days I even have commenter’s block, unsure of just what to say when I read the hilarity on everyone else’s blogs. Yesterday I came across someone who has clearly never experienced a loss for words.

As some of you may remember, I had some trouble with my fan awhile back. Here’s what John had to say about it.

Regarding the proof of purchase issue, that is standard policy of any store (including the computer store I have operated since 1989). The proof of purchase not only proves that the item was legitimately purchased but also gives the date of purchase for warranty verification. This same model of fan has been sold for about two years now (from what I can tell based on my research) and, thus, verifying that the person is entitled to warranty coverage is appropriate and proper.

Though you appear to be in the majority of those who would not abuse the system, there are those out there who would and, thus, require the adherence to that policy. Remember that the manufacturers give the owners of their products only a limited amount of time during which they have warranty coverage. (In the case of the CH-V9 fans I bought awhile back, it is one year.) Thus, to make sure that someone who bought his fan 18 months ago doesn’t try to claim warranty coverage, they need to verify the purchase date.

Now, one argument that I have heard from people in the past is, “But how big a deal is it just to let someone get it fixed for free whether it is under warranty or not?” The problem is that if one person does it, the impact is miniscule but if that is permitted, then that sets precedent and others will expect (and may be legally entitled to) the same treatment, essentially giving lifetime warranties to everyone who has possession of the manufacturer’s products. This will cause the business to lose money and potentially bankrupt the enterprise.

Think about it this way: cars often stay on the road for 20 years or more (I still see my old 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu driving around, for example) yet the manufacturers give “bumper to bumper” warranties for 36 months/36,000 miles (whichever comes first) for free. This can be extended for significant cost to 60 months/75,000 miles (once again, whichever comes first) but that is as far as they are willing to go.

Warranty coverage is kind of like an insurance policy: the manufacturer is gambling on whether it will be needed. If you are the manufacturer, then you look at the statistics and figure out at what point the equipment will generally be sure to work and, thus, minimize the cost of warranty repair/replacement but still give the customers an adequate amount of coverage and provide them confidence in your products. For cars, that is 3 years typically. If the customer wants more assurance, he pays for it. (I paid $1500 to extend my Durango’s warranty to 72 mo./75K with no deductible.) For these fans (at least the model I bought), it is one year.

It is ludicrous to think that just because one lays claim to having a product for only a few months that the manufacturer should just accept this. The company knows nothing about the person making the claim and, thus, has no reason to believe anything that is said other than the claim that the product doesn’t work. This is why it is necessary to save receipts for anything that you feel you might wish to have covered by warranty if it does fail.

Also, you are right that Target (who is the sole distributor of the Hawaiian Breeze fans, by the way; it is a Target Brands, Inc. line) will not bother to help you re-print your receipt. Not only is it store policy not to do that but it would also be too time-consuming and labor-intensive to try to track down a single receipt among hundreds (or thousands) that are printed each day. Given an average Target in a medium-sized community, let’s say there are 1000 receipts printed each day. Trying to track down a single receipt would take quite awhile since it is doubtful that you would know the exact time (according to the cash register’s internal clock) and exact register lane you were in when you made the purchase. Thus, all the receipts for that single day would have to be checked. If you couldn’t remember anything more specific than a week, then 7000 receipts (given 0ur assumption above) would have to be checked rather than just 1000. Beyond that, even if they were willing to try to find the receipt, what sort of proof is there that the receipt is actually yours? Anyone could walk in off the street and say, “Yeah, um, I need a copy of my receipt for a fan I bought back on May 99th (fake date intended). Could you get that for me?” A scammer could say, “Yeah, that looks my receipt” whenever one that shows the right model number shows up and then use that to fool the manufacturer into providing service.

The typical consumer does not think about these issues from the retailer’s or manufacturer’s side: he usually looks at the small picture–his own issue against the “big corporation.” There is a reason that these policies are in place: it is not just to keep the money that the consumers choose to give for the products but it is to insure that the companies actually are still able to provide products and warranty coverage for those products to everyone. After all, the way that companies continue to stay in business is by maintaining a reputation of presumed quality and providing customer service.

(Presumed quality is stated because a company such as a certain direct-market computer manufacturer can spend endless amounts of money on marketing to maintain its public image of high quality when, in fact, such as is the case with the four-letter computer manufacturer of which I am currently thinking, they keep my service bays full and make me lots of money due to their abysmal quality.)

You’ll note that this comment is longer than the post itself. I couldn’t even come up with anything to say back. I mean, I could say…

Thanks for taking the time to write such a lengthy explanation for me. Your comment is actually longer than my post and THAT is a first! And no one has ever researched my blog. Since you went so in-depth, I suppose I’ll comment back with equal depth. While I am not expecting Target or the HB people to just freebie a new fan over to me, I am expecting some responsibility for their product. If I have a perfectly working product which moves with me and then inexplicably breaks, I don’t really feel I should be punished for trusting that the product would remain in working order and thus not packing the receipt. To your point of scammers, as I mentioned in my post, who is going to acquire a malfunctioning fan and go through all of this hassle to just to get a new one? It seems both silly and unlikely. As far as Target not reprinting receipts, I have personal experience that says they will go to other ridiculous lengths for customer service, even going so far as to check video tapes to check whether or not a product actually was placed in a bag (for the record, it wasn’t and was immediately given to the customer).

I’m sorry that I couldn’t address more of your concerns with my blog but I do have a job, a life, and other things to spend my time on instead of researching the ramblings of 20-something girls.

But thanks for reading!

…but who has the time?  After all, I have a blog to keep up with people.  Sheesh.

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14 thoughts on “Dear John….

  1. Remember the dude on my blog who got all upset about my ignorance of cross walk laws?

    It started a two day flame war.

    People are unfuckingbelievable.

    Can I say unfuckingbelievable here?

  2. I wonder if he’s this passionate in all areas of his life, like if his friend wants pizza and he doesn’t, do you think he launches into a forty minute speech about how he’d rather have a burger?

    I bet he does.

  3. I think that would go something like:
    Duder1: “You guys want to get a pizza?”
    Duder2: “Hey man, maybe we should ask John?”
    Duder1: “NO WAY! I want to eat today! Last time I got a History Channel documentory and 3 books on the subject of pork! I just wanted bacon on my burger!!!”
    Duder2: “Dude….”

  4. Kristen: Oh I remember. And you can say it. Because some people totally are.

    Apollo: I hope he IS this passionate about everything. Mainly b/c it doesn’t sound like he’s got much else going on.

    Boo: Sounds about right babe….

  5. Matt: Can you do that? I mean, is that even possible? Cuz that would be kind of hilarious. Granted he gets his recognition with me posting this today but, whatever.

  6. Wow. Just wow…he must have a lot of time on his hands. Do you think he just sits around all day searching the internet for people pissed off about not being able to return stuff and educates them? Maybe it’s his life goal to teach people the reasons for store policies.

  7. Meg: I kind of wondered that. I also found it very interesting that he’s owned his computer store since 1989. I’m not sure why, but I feel like that’s important to this guy’s character…

    Matt: Oh reeeeeally? That is interesting. PS, I just noticed that I’m on your blog roll. Thanks for the love!

  8. John is obviously and appropriately named for the fixture but is clearly not as time efficient.

    Fans should work for decades – not months. If Target sells goods that turn out to be defective it behooves them to help with a claim – it’s called customer service. Most importantly – warranties are written to protect the manufacturer – not the consumer. Manufacturers can laser ID products at virtually no cost – the receipt requirement is a hurdle designed to derail legitimate complaints.

    Hey John – how’s the mileage on that Durango?

  9. My Target will swipe the credit/debit card I purchased the product with and pull the receipt that way. Maybe it’s a California Target thing but I don’t worry about saving my receipts from there. I wish yours did the same thing…. :(

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