With the pace at which technology changes and improves today, it’s quite possible consumers could replace newly bought electronics by returning them before the warranty expires and upgrading to the newest models, thereby never having to pay the full price again. In fact, many people do.
But that’s just one of the problems Tony Sciarrotta, Philips’ director of returns management, was grappling with eight years ago. Millions of Philips SKUs that consumers returned to the manufacturer never should have been accepted by the retailer, either because the warranty or return period expired, the item wasn’t originally purchased at that store, or the item in the box being returned wasn’t the item that was in the box when it was sold.
“This was happening a lot about eight years ago when digital products were changing faster than an egg hatches and consumers were taking advantage of that at retail,” Sciarrotta said. “Primarily you had a lot of consumers who were buying product, holding it for a while, bringing it back and getting a new one.”