There is not a general requirement or right for customers to return or exchange goods to a retailer, however, will you buy from a retailer that does not have a good return policy? A lot of retailers have established satisfaction guaranteed and generous return policies to solidify sales and develop customer relationships. Generally these policies range from 5 days to 90 days, as a way for retailers to give consumer confidence to buy from them, as well as for accounting purposes to record the revenue. Similarly, manufacturers can offer warranties on products they offer to develop consumer confidence, and solidifying their products to be of choice.
A warranty is a commitment by the establishment to repair or replace a defective item for a period of time after the purchase. This a promise that the product being offered is free of defects and will perform under normal use from the buyer. Consumers can purchase the product with confidence and trust that dollars are well spent.
Warranties have multiple social-economical benefits in addition to consumer protection. For example, a manufacturer that offers a warranty would have invested in designing, developing and manufacturing a quality product that can defend its warranty offer. The length and extent of the warranty would be correlated with this effort. This would be an indicator and measure of focus of what a manufacturer has placed on quality.
Developing quality product have benefits to the environment as the result would be having products with longer useful lives, therefore reducing waste for the environment and landfill sites. This should be the social norm for manufacturers as we are living in a continuously consuming society, a thriving culture with the urge for innovation, and the business landscape that drives manufacturing to meet consumer needs. By doing so, we can live in a sustainable society that still have growth, innovation, and offsetting waste in the long term.
The concept of warranty will have reciprocal benefits as it will foster a culture of manufacturing discipline and continuous improvement in quality development. If one manufacturer offers a solid warranty and increases sales, other manufacturers will naturally follow suit. As a result, we will have a vintage of manufacturers focusing on quality with direct and indirect benefits to the social economy.
Consumers can re-enforce this need by inquiring about warranties for the products that they are thinking of purchasing, and rewarding manufacturers on their commitment to quality with their sale. The benefit for the consumer is having piece of mind, contributing to sustainable manufacturing, and increasing lifetime value of the product they are purchasing. This would be a win for all.