Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Did it Break Too Soon? How to Send Back Defective Products

I just got a Federal Express delivery. It was a brand new queen size mattress pad from Louisville Bedding Company! I had one from them that I purchased from Kohl's some time ago and washed it regularly, nothing hard core. The last time I washed it, the bottom part came out shredded. The label was still attached, had the address of corporate headquarters and I mailed it to them.

Yes, instead of throwing it out and buying a new one, I mailed it back. I've been doing this for a few years now. Mailing back broken, ripped or if I have felt that the product should have lasted much longer than I had it, I mail it back. I grew tired of defective merchandise and thought that the manufacturers should be made aware of it.

I always received a replacement and a letter from the quality department or product development. I have done this with a Swiffer. The handle broke, I mailed back the broken handle and got a gift certificate from Procter & Gamble for a Swiffer starter kit. I mailed back FIVE Cover Girl eye pencils, because when I sharpened them, the tips kept breaking so I never got to use the whole pencil properly. Cover Girl mailed me FIVE coupons valued up to $10 each for anything in their line. I've mailed back Burton snowboarding gloves that the stitching started falling apart on one of the fingers after one season. They mailed back a brand new pair from the next season. I've mailed back a pillow sham with a broken zipper to Target's headquarters that I used only once! Put it on for the summer change in my living room and the zipper broke right off! They sent me back two coupons because they didn't have a replacement sham in that pattern any more. I did the same thing with a sleeping bag that a zipper broke off. Had it only one season. They sent back a new sleeping bag.

When I mail something, I don't do it for a replacement. If nothing else I just want them to better their products. I always thought I'd chalk it up as an experience if I never get a response and go looking for a better made one next time. Like Columbia Sportswear. I sent a pair of defective gloves to them and never heard anything from them. Oh well, maybe it got lost in the mail. But I won't buy from them again. I'm team Burton all the way.

Why should I fill my landfill up with their trash? I'd rather send it to the CEO and have them have to dispose of it. Maybe I'm not the only person doing this, but if I was the CEO of XYZ Company, I'd hate to see my broken product sitting on my desk. To think that someone spent money on postage to let me know my product has failed them, would send a message.

So if you have something sitting around that you can't bear to throw out and yet you can't use it, here's what you do:

  • I'm starting to save receipts for big ticket items now. I keep with with the owner's manuals that I've started a file for. Usually if it's within 3 years, they will replace it.
  • If you don't have a receipt, see if there's a label with the manufacturer's address on it. If you get to the website of the company, see if you can find a site map that will have the people working in product development or quality control. If you can't find one, address it: CEO or Defective Merchandise Department
  • Write a NICE letter. Don't forget to add your address, phone number, e-mail. I always rave about how much I love their product and how it has improved my life. It's true, that's why I bought it. My hands stayed warm, my floors were dust free and I love my eye makeup.
  • Salutation should be: Dear Sir or Madam. Unless you have names, say Mr, Mrs or Miss
  • State what is wrong with the product. What happened to it? Why did it fail you? Put Post-It notes to point out where it's defective. I will say how bummed I am that it broke, ripped or tore. I always ask them to please repair it and to please to send it back. They never repair it, they always send a new replacement.
  • Always end with Kindest regards or Most sincerely.
  • Send it well packaged. If you send something flying around unprotected in a large box, it's going to look like it broke on the way there. Package it nice, show respect.
These are large companies that churn out product by the trillions from all over the world. I'd like to think if I paid good money for it, that they stand behind it and 99% of the time they do. I want better made products that we don't have to throw out after a few uses without thinking about it. I do think about it. I will buy from companies that will better improve their products and satisfy me.

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