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BUSINESS ETHICS:

FUTURE SHOP.ca®

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Sponsored link.

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Suggestions:

We recommend that potential Canadian purchasers computers, television sets, digital cameras, printers, etc. from Future Shop use extreme caution in evaluating whether to purchase the extended warranty that they offer for expensive products. The company has an excellent reputation for low prices, variety of products, friendliness and helpfulness of their staff. But their warranty may not be particularly helpful if your machine needs repairs.

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Our experience:

A Canadian staff member associated with this website purchased a large Samsung TV set on 2002-NOV-30 from the local Future Shop store in Kingston, ON. At that time, he purchased Future Shop "Product Service Plan" for $79.99. Together with the manufacturer's warranty, this covers any needed repairs on the TV set for an interval of six years until late 2008. One of the features of the plan that helped convince him to purchase it was the "lemon" policy:

bulletA Future Shop pamphlet issued in 1999-MAR which described their "Customer Satisfaction Plan" (CSP) states: "If your product requires a third identical hardware repair covered under CSP, 1 Future Shop will replace your product with a similar-featured model, possibly a refurbished item."
bulletA more recent pamphlet, issued in 2003-JUL, describes their Product Service Plan that apparently replaced the more generous CSP. It raises the stakes somewhat. It states: "Don't get stuck with a lemon. If your product requires more than three major repairs, we'll provide you with a replacement product."
bulletIn the very fine print on the back of the 2003 pamphlet, they state that "The original product and purchase receipts must be returned to us along with authorized service repair receipts from three separate service repair incidents to quality. One service request number, requiring functional part(s) repair / replacement is the equivalent of one repair."

The machine did fail in 2004-AUG. The colors became inverted. Images of red stop lights became green; pink faces were green; black asphalt appeared white.

bulletFirst repair attempt: The repair depot took it into their shop, did some minor maintenance and returned it to us a week or so later. Unfortunately, the problem was intermittent. The technicians were not able to determine exactly what was causing the malfunction. They re-soldered some suspicious looking connections, cleaned the set's internals, and returned it to us.
bulletSecond repair attempt: The set lasted about a week until it failed again with the exact same symptoms. It happened at the worst possible time: Friday evening of a long weekend. The repair depot took it back to the shop the following Tuesday, replaced a relay and returned it to us about a week later.
bulletThird repair attempt: On 2004-SEP-20, it failed again was returned to the shop again on SEP-21.

We assumed that, in the event that the set failed for the fourth time, that Future Shop would replace the set under its lemon guarantee. Their definition of the word "repair" in the lemon policy is not necessarily what the customer would define as a repair. The three sessions in the shop apparently only counts as one "repair," since all three repair attempts were made under the same "service request number." A set could go into the shop on a weekly basis for months, and still only count as a single repair.

The folks at the Product Service Plan office confirmed that multiple trips to the shop to repair the same problem is still counted as one repair. However they did add a new rule: that if the unit cannot be repaired within 90 days, then the lemon plan will kick in. This appears to conflict with the Product Service Plan contract which states "...your product will be replaced if we are unable to repair it, or if the repair will take longer than 60 days."

The purchaser's opinion is that the current repair attempt is the third in the series. Future Shop's is that it is still part of the first repair. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking towards the 60 day or 90 day limit, whichever Future Shop honors.

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Recommendations:

We recommend that if you are considering purchasing an expensive item from Future Shop that you discuss with the sales personnel the exact conditions under which the lemon guarantee will be implemented before you purchase the Product Service Plan. It may not be worth the paper it is printed upon.

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References:

  1. "Relax...You're Covered," Future Shop brochure, 1999-MAR.

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Site navigation:

Home page > Morality and ethics > here

Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2004-SEP-21
Latest update: 2004-SEP-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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