Any shopper that buys a product and later discovers that it is defective is unsure what the best course of action to take. Usually reimbursement or replacement with a working product would satisfy the customer. The defective product can sometimes be replaced with a product that is without flaws.
Contact the Producer of the Defective Product
Contact the manufacturer and report the issue when the product has only been in your possession for a few days or is still under warranty. This is the first step the consumer should take. If an 800 number is included on the packaging or is available in the directory, use it to contact the manufacturer. Explain the problem, take pictures of the issue when the product is a high ticket item to illustrate the problem. Include the serial number of the item and an image of the receipt in the photos.
Manufacturer’s Remedies for Defective Products
The manufacturer will often replace the defective part or the whole product with a new unblemished product. Sometimes they will send you a refurbished product to replace yours when the style is no longer being produced. At other times they will ask you to send it to their technicians to be repaired. Usually when that occurs they will reimburse you for shipping or pay for shipping. If the matter is disputed, there may be a problem proving your position. If this cannot be resolved you may not be able to get any reimbursement or replacement. If you still disagree, try reporting it to the Better Business Bureau. Some companies cave in to pressure of having a blemish on their BBB report.
- Manufacturing Defects
- Broken knobs and non-working buttons
- Cracked or Broken Screens on Laptops and Flat screens
- Design Defect
- Baby Cribs that have dangerously tight rails
- Failure to Warn
Products that have the appearance of being safe
Alternatives When Contacting the Manufacturer Doesn’t Work After trying the BBB, the nest best thing to do is contact the retailer that sold the product. Many larger retailers would prefer to keep your business than lose it over one flawed product. They may take an exchange. Some retailers have gained prominence because they accept exchanges for so many months after an original purchase especially if you can produce the receipt.
When defects are discovered it usually creates a moment of discomfort because most of us do not enjoy disagreeable situations. Manufacturers and retailers are commonly thought to be unwilling to accept returns or the give out refunds or replacement products. Good business ethics keep the consumer returning to buy more of your products year after year. It’s good practice to indemnify consumers with a replacement product or a reimbursement when the product is defective. When this cannot be done when its truly warranted, the consumer’s best choice of action is to buy a different brand and establish loyalty with another manufacturer.
Finally, if you’ve been significanltly affected by a defective product, it is wise to consult the services of a personal injury lawyer to determine if you are eligible for any compensation.
Gizelle Shulby is a freelance writer and consultant. She has focuses on fraud and faulty products and helps customers get the justice they deserve (see here, for instance).