Are On Line Return Policy’s Good or Bad?
Ink & Toner Solutions is in the business of selling eco-friendly remanufactured ink and toner cartridges in Northampton, Ma. We have been doing it now for 9 years and we have a very easy to understand return policy. Our ink & toner products carry a one year warranty from date of purchase. Your cartridge is defective, we replace it, bought the wrong cartridge, we trade it for the right one, the cartridge you bought for the printer you had just died, bring it in, we will either give you store credit or refund the cost of the cartridge. No gimmicks, no small print, no hidden cost, 12 month warranty, period. Now lets look at typical on-line return policy’s.
Quite a few of the on-line vendors we looked at claimed to have a one year warranty, but upon future reading there were a lot of stipulations. Things like “replacements will be shipped out upon receipt of the defective cartridge”. “All returns or exchanges are processed or reshipped within 7-10 business day’s”. Think about this for a minute. You find out that you bought the wrong cartridge or you have a defective cartridge on your hands. Most people don’t think of buying an extra cartridge so if one fails they have another one they can use until they get the other one replaced. So now your printer is down and you have to go online and figure out that you need to complete a form to get your RMA (return Merchandise Authorization) number and send it the vendor. Once they process that they notify you of the RMA number which allows you to return the item. You now have to pack it up and ship it out to them, 2 to 5 day’s depending on where you are and where they are. 7-10 days for them to process then another 2-5 day’s to get you the new cartridge. Wow, you can be without a cartridge for a whopping 11 to 20 day’s! Can you really go that long without printing?
But wait, there’s more! If you bought the wrong cartridge or the printer you have been using broke and you would like to return the cartridge to get the right one you’re in for a surprise. Statements like “as long as the box is unopened, has not been damaged and none of the seals are broken are common. So most of the time you don’t know that you have bought the wrong cartridge until you have opened the box and installed it in your printer. In this case you can’t return. Now let’s say that you opened the box, installed the cartridge in your printer and the next day the printer dies, you can’t return the cartridge.
Now here’s one that we found that I just can’t figure out. This vendor has all of the conditions stated above and then goes on to say “All returns will be tested and weighed to verify condition and usage before a replacement or refund is processed”. If the company won’t accept any cartridges unless it is in an unopened box that is not damaged or any seals broken why would they make this statement? If the box is opened they won’t refund or exchange the product. If the box is unopened they are saying they need to test and weigh to verify condition and usage. Well it can’t have been used if the damn box has not been opened!
How about a place that has a one year warranty but then in the return policy say’s “you may return any item for a refund for 60 day’s after the purchase date”. So after 61 day’s the customer can’t get a refund? Now on this one it goes on to say a returned product will be processed 1-14 day’s after they receive it. Holy Christmas, now you’re talking when you include shipping about 3 weeks before you get your new cartridge and only if it passes all of the above rules.
So yes you can find fantastic prices on-line but you need to read the return policy’s and understand what you will need to do to get a return or exchange. You also need to determine if you can live 2-3 weeks without a printer. I have had customers go this route only to return after they realized what a hassle it turned out to be compared to buying from a local business like Ink & Toner Solutions. A customer comes in and we can usually take care of the issue within 15 minutes. And if we don’t have the cartridge the customer needs in-house we can usually get it within 1-3 business day’s.
Buying local you may pay a few bucks more but it’s up to you to determine what is most important, price or service. Dealing with a real live person in your local area that you can drive to or trying to solve your problem through e-mails and phone calls to someone who is half way across the country. Sometimes the old way of doing business is just better, one on one with a local merchant that you get to know and knows you and really does care about you and your needs.