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Consumers Find CE Industry OK In Return, Repair Policies

ARLINGTON, VA. — Consumers are generally satisfied with existing mechanisms for the repair and return of products in the consumer electronics industry, according to the results of a study released by eBrain Market Research.

The company’s “Repair and Return Issues in the CE Industry” report, which surveyed 1,000 Americans during August, revealed that more than

8 million households have returned at least one CE product within the past two years shortly after purchasing it or receiving it as a gift.

The most common reasons cited for returning these products were that “the product was broken” or “it did not work like I thought it would.”

However, many of these returns are not actually due to faulty products, but rather “operator error,” meaning that consumers did not know enough about their product to operate it properly. Reports from manufacturers indicate that as much as 75 percent of returned merchandise said to be broken was found to be defect free.

Consumers generally expressed a great deal of satisfaction with the mechanisms in place to remedy a problem with a product.

Overall, 78 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the return process, with 60 percent claiming they were very satisfied.

The one area noted as a problem was a desire to reduce the time necessary to deal with a return. In cases where a product actually did fail, consumers were almost as likely to purchase a replacement as to attempt to get the original repaired, with 39 percent opting for the former course of action and 44 percent choosing the latter.

The cost of the repair plays a role in that decision. It was only when the repair value of the product was nearly one-third of the replacement value that most consumers expressed a willingness to pay for a repair.