By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Audiovox said its Jensen, RCA, XM Satellite Radio and Audiovox products will use the SIRAS.com system of tracking merchandise to reduce fraudulent returns.
Under the SIRAS.com system, a unique "fingerprint" is assigned each product based on its UPC code and serial number, which is stored in a database. If the product is returned, the retailer scans the UPC and serial numbers on the box to determine if the product is under warranty.
A spokesman said the system solves one of the biggest causes of return losses, which is that the start date for warrantees is difficult to establish if the customer does not have a receipt.
Tom Malone, president of Audiovox Electronics said, "SIRAS' programs have proven to be especially effective in reducing retail shrinkage and fraudulent returns."
Audiovox will initially activate select portable DVD players, two-way radios, in-car entertainment products and MP3 players under the SIRAS system.
SIRAS said it has worked with suppliers including Sony, Nintendo, Hewlett-Packard, Philips, RCA and retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Toys "R" Us, Circuit City and Best Buy.
The idea for SIRAS.com was sparked in the 1990s when Nintendo found that profits from its video game sales were curtailed by returns. Customers often returned products after the warranty had expired, or they returned old products that were placed in new boxes.
Nintendo created a POS Electronic Registration, which reduced its returns by 72 percent and then spun SIRAS off as a wholly owned subsidiary.
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