Here's my opinion: retailers and suppliers should consider non-defective product returns to be a GOOD thing. It means that sales and marketing have done a good job convincing people to buy things they don't need. Sure, some consumers realize their mistake and take the trouble to return the useless gewgaws, but most don't and that's lots of useless products sold that would not have been otherwise. JMO/YMMV
Very good return policy is confidence of vendor in product it sales. Exemplary example is Costco, they always support their products and consumer consider it very reliable source. In general we purchase around $12K per year. However, our return rate may around $500.
I always look at the return policy before making a purchase. If it doesn't work as expected, I want an out. If there is a no return policy, the store has to expect less sales. It is a trade off between high sales and low return costs.
Returning deffective products maybe a way to force retailers to buy from quality suppliers. They now combing the world for the cheapest and whimpest, knowning that shorter life time equals more future sales. They are killing America while creating mountains of junk. We have to say no and get our money back.
Why not just focus on making products that are inherently easier to use, instead of putting the burden on the customer and having him or her have to learn via DVDs, in-showroom instruction, training, and other methods? That seems more sensible to me.
We may be moving in that direction. In WSJ interview with Kazuo Hirai the newly named Sony president is laying the groundwork for it: "Hirai described his strategic goal as teaching the company's 168,000 employees that past successes in manufacturing must be replaced by selling the harder-to-quantify 'user experience.' The world has moved on, he said, "We can't just continue to be a great purveyor of hardware products, even though some people expect us to do that."
I can say that products not made with quality standards will be returned IF (and that is a big if) the products fail during the return period. I made the mistake of buying an Element tv that failed after 6months, returned for a fix, failed again in 5months, 2 days after 1yr warranty it failed again!!! They did take it back and "replaced it" but the unit they sent was a return / refurbished unit!!!! We are waiting for this to fail in another 5 or 6 months. If my experience is anything like the general consumer there will be trouble brewing. I will never by that brand again nor will my friends. At some point maybe the manufacturer will realize that consumers expect quality. The other experiences I have had with purchases were very pleasant, the digital unit from the cable company came, was plugged in and worked. That is how things can work.
I think Sony is a classic example of a once-great company that lost its way in terms of design and manufacturing quality. I used to look first at their products, the design and hardware quality was tops.
Then about 15 years ago, it really started to change. For example, a basic AM/FM tabletop radio I bought was junk—the knobs fell off, the case was junk, it just didn’t have the solid feel you used to associate with Sony name. Same for some other products of theirs I bought. They coasted on their name and hard-earned reputation, a common trajectory among companies that get big. I spoke to friends who bought Sony products and they had the same experience, often returned them due to early failures, too.