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Old 02-18-2010, 08:39 PM   #1
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"Money back guarantee" policy: What do companies do with returns?

If you buy from an online store that offers "30 days money back guarantee" policy, are you at risk of actually receiving a used product?

Say if customers return the ebook readers after using them for 29 days, would it be a regular practice for companies to just repackage them with new boxes and re-sell them to the next customers as new?
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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I believe in most states (and it may be federal law) that's illegal - usually the goods get sold as 'refurbished'.
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:46 PM   #3
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Thanks. It's good to know. It is something that worries me a little.. I always thought refurbished products are items that have been fixed for problems.

Another thing, how do they get these used goods off their hands? They don't seem to sell them on their sites.
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:44 AM   #4
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Another thing, how do they get these used goods off their hands? They don't seem to sell them on their sites.
They will often be sent out as replacements for broken products sent for warranty repair. Sony do that, for example.
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:22 PM   #5
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I believe in most states (and it may be federal law) that's illegal - usually the goods get sold as 'refurbished'.
I believe you are incorrect. This debate has happened on some boards related to photography and the answer seems to be contrary to what conventional wisdom might suggest, that once an item is sold at retail it can no longer be considered "new"...I do not recall any standards on returned items when returned under such a policy.

Often camera lens retailers have exactly the return policy you mention. In the case of a lens, there are reasons a lens might be returned but in as-new condition and within factory specs yet the lens did not work properly on the given copy of the camera body the consumer owns. So, a given consumer can sometimes go through 5 (or even more!! EEEK!!) copies of a lens...the reason for it is complicated but lets just call it a case where the camera is in spec but not perfectly centered and the lens is also perfectly within spec but slightly off as well...these variations from perfect will often work like the way the winds took out the Tacoma Narrows bridge...each component makes the whole function incorrectly. So, a consumer returns for another copy (smart ones record the serial number to make sure they don't get the same copy back...hehehe...it happens) but the returned lens is in no way defective, just it does not match up with the camera body of the consumer...so, as long as everything in the box and what not are indeed in as-new condition (a requirement of the return policy) there is no way the retailer or the mfg is going to eat the cost of a $1000+ lens every time one is returned for another copy. Sure they will check it out to make sure, if it works in house it usually will go back into "new stock". There is nothing wrong with this...if you feel there is, what is your feeling on the whole trying clothes on before buying idea? Well, except for trying on socks and underwear that is...hehehe...

So, not all products are put on the shelf as a potential replacement or even an "open box" product...they are, as you mention, inspected to make sure they are in working condition, settings are restored to factory settings and then they are return to new stock.

I know this sounds wrong, but retailers are OK to do just this...and, as I mentioned, the reason retailers require all packaging and what not to be perfect and in as-new condition...because there is a lot of abuse of these system of no-questions returns policies...and yes, of course some devices are either defective or, if there are really no questions asked, then those probably go to be refurb'd or sold as "open box".

Refurbished would seem, the key word here, to imply the device/item was restored to like-new working condition by either the mfg or an authorized agent of the original mfg. In the US it would likely be illegal to advertise or sell an item as refurbished when it is had not actually been refurbished...it could, however be sold as a "open box return" or even an "open box" item. Simple inspection at the store probably does not qualify as "refurbishing". But it will depend on the LEGAL definition of what constitutes refurbishing a product as well as what can be considered a NEW product.

I believe the actual info is somewhere in the Universal Commercial Code (UCC), but I sure don't want to wade through it...I doubt most retailers do more than glance at it either...the smaller the retailer the less likely they will adhere strictly either.

Here is a Google for the code:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&r...q=f&aqi=g9&oq=

knock yourself out...
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by brecklundin View Post
... Sure they will check it out to make sure, if it works in house it usually will go back into "new stock". ...


I know this sounds wrong, but retailers are OK to do just this...and, as I mentioned, the reason retailers require all packaging and what not to be perfect and in as-new condition...because there is a lot of abuse of these system of no-questions returns policies...and yes, of course some devices are either defective or, if there are really no questions asked, then those probably go to be refurb'd or sold as "open box".

Refurbished would seem, the key word here, to imply the device/item was restored to like-new working condition by either the mfg or an authorized agent of the original mfg. In the US it would likely be illegal to advertise or sell an item as refurbished when it is had not actually been refurbished...it could, however be sold as a "open box return" or even an "open box" item. Simple inspection at the store probably does not qualify as "refurbishing". But it will depend on the LEGAL definition of what constitutes refurbishing a product as well as what can be considered a NEW product.

...
That doesn't sound like it makes sense? Why not just label all returns as "new stock" and then you (the retailer) don't even need to worry open open box, refurbs, ...?
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