Saturday, January 19, 2013

How to Make a Cloth Diaper Return

Many cloth diapering companies were born from small work-at-home operations, and have grown into million dollar industries.  These companies are eager to keep satisfied customers, and stand behind their products with good warranties.  Unfortunately, some individuals have taken to praying on diaper manufactures, and abusing the system to make money.  Cloth diaper retailers are aware of these scams, and are prepared to send thieves to the authorities.

The scam:
Purchase used cloth diapers, return cloth diapers to manufacturers because of "defects", sell new replacement product for profit.

Scam artists may be purchasing used diapers from Ebay or Diaper swappers and intentionally damaging the products, falsifying cloth diaper receipts, or using a host of other mechanisms.  Scammers report the problem to the company, sometimes berating the company for their terrible products and customer service, and are often receiving new product in exchange for damaged product.  The owner of BumGenius recently commented that one scam artist had exchanged over 300 diapers for new replacements- she was caught and prosecuted.

Because of scam artists, cloth diaper manufactures have had to become careful about how they process damaged returns.  While most companies have the primary goal of keeping satisfied customers coming back, they must also take care to follow protocols to minimize opportunities for theft.

There are a few things we as customers can do to make a legitimate damage return go smoothly:

1. Understand what is covered in the warranty
If you have a damaged diaper that is outside of the warranty period, don't expect a new product.  If your product is only a few weeks or a month outside the warranty, you may still try for an exchange, but understand that the company has no obligation to fulfill your request.

2. Be professional
God bless the people who work in customer service, because they have taken a lot of unnecessary flack from overly emotional customers.  Treat your return like it should be treated: as a business deal.  If you aren't satisfied with the answers you get from customer service, take a moment to assess if you're in the wrong.  You will get much further with a calm, professional attitude, than by being argumentative and confrontational.

3. Keep your receipts
If you don't have a receipt, or your haven't registered your product, you may not be able to exchange damaged goods.  Most companies require receipts for returns, so keep your receipts organized in one place.  Note: if you've received your product as a gift or as a contest prize and don't have a receipt, you may not be eligible for an exchange.

4. Answer customer service questions
Sometimes it can seem like customer service is trying to give you the run-around. However with theft on the rise it's easy to see why you many need to offer some explanation about the damage (when did damage occur, how have you laundered the product?).  If your cloth diaper issue isn't covered by the warranty (such as leaks, or repelling), customer service may be able to help you fix the problem.

5. Show thanks
I've made several cloth diaper exchanges, and I have always thanked the company and the service agents for their assistance.  There have been several times where replacement products arrived at my door quicker than expected, or with free gifts.  A simple thank you can go along way, especially if you ever find yourself having to replace another product (yes, many manufacturers do keep track of returns).

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