Stores get away from their obligations to consumers because of the ignorance of our rights and the laws. Many stores can get away from exchanging goods they have sold even when these goods prove to be defective because the consumers don’t know their rights. Do you want to return a defective coffeemaker after six months? The store manager will tell you that the warranty covers only the first three months of its use, but your rights may be telling you something else.
Unless a store has a warranty management system that can check for the store and manufacturer’s warranty of an item, you would need to deal with the store itself whenever there’s an item that you need to return or exchange. In many countries, a store or a manufacturer is not legally required to exchange an item just because the consumer wants a different color. But when it comes to defective items, the laws provide consumers with a great deal of leeway.
Keep Receipts and Warranty Cards
While it may sound tedious and even space-consuming, you might want to make it a habit to store warranty cards and official receipts. This will make the return and exchange of the items more seamless. If you have a receipt or a warranty card, the store and manufacturer can easily find the record of the sale. But if you lose the receipt, you can still have a lot of options to claim that the store needs to either replace the item or give you back your money. You can present a copy of your credit or debit card statement, a lay-by agreement, a reference number given to those who have made a purchase online or via phone, a serial production number or the IMEI for phones, or a copy or photograph of the receipt.
Talk to the Store Manager
A store clerk will ask for your receipt or warranty card. That’s how they are trained. But if you can’t present either of these two documents, you can ask to talk to the store manager who can deal with the matter at hand. Explain when the item was purchased, how many times you have used it and for what functions, and when it started to show signs of damage.
Normally, the store manager will refer you to the manufacturer of the item. This is to shift the blame to someone else. In many states and countries, this approach is an incorrect one. The buyer did not purchase the items directly from the manufacturer. The seller is the mediator. The buyer trusts the seller to choose products that are made of quality materials. The “contract,” therefore, exists between the consumer and the store. It is the store’s responsibility to mediate between the seller and the manufacturer.
Contact the Manufacturer
When all else fails, contact the manufacturer of the item directly. Usually, these companies are easier to talk to than the store from where you bought the item. The manufacturer will need only the serial number of the item—so take note of this—so that they can identify from which batch it came from. After an internal investigation that usually takes a day or two, the manufacturer should call you for the recall and replacement of the item. Although it’s not always that easy, it’s worth a shot to call the manufacturer directly and voice out your concerns about their defective items.
When purchasing goods, choose a store that has a good return-exchange policy. Be mindful also of the brand that you’re going to purchase. It is always better to check whether the store and the manufacturer provide good customer service.