How far is too far in our quest to save? At what point does our behavior change from being frugal to being cheap, and in some cases, to stealing?
This has been a pretty big focus lately in some of the articles I’ve enjoyed and I think it’s time we delve in and figure out what’s ok and what’s taking advantage of lenient policies. This will be the first of several questionable situations and I’d like to get your feedback about how each situation should be handled.
Let’s take Lazy Man and Money’s dilemma:
He bought a TV 4 years ago from Costco, knowing that if something were to happen, he could always return it. That’s their policy, and when it broke a little while ago, he knew that was an option.
If it happened a year after purchasing the TV, I think almost everyone would say that returning it is acceptable, because we expect a TV to last more than a year. After 2 years, and that’s still within a reasonable time range, in my eyes.
After 3 years? 4 years? Where’s the limit? Does anyone think 7-8 years is ok? That would mean buying a TV now and then getting your money back after all that time, and then turning around and buying a new one with that money. So if you buy a TV now, you’ll be able to basically upgrade for the rest of your life. How wrong is that?
On the other hand, the people at Costco instituted this rule. They knew that some people would use the policy and they thought that overall, it would be good for business. They had to assume that while some people would take advantage of it, others would forget about it and not use it when they could (and probably should). If it evens out in the end, it ok to be one of those people who uses their policy to your advantage?
My take is that it’s still acceptable to return the tv, especially in this case. The TV had a known defect, so I don’t think it’s much of a question here. If the TV was simply old, I think it depends on the standard life of the TV, and at a certain point, it does get ridiculous to expect to get a full refund. In my opinion, the standard should be the length of an extended warranty. What’s the longest warranty you can get on a similar product? That’s the length of time you have to return it.
A quick look on Best Buy indicates that for TVs, 4 years is their longest warranty. He was within that time frame, so I absolve lazy man of any wrongdoing and he should be able to clear his conscience.
What do you think? Was he taking advantage of the rule or was he within his rights? I love hearing your feedback, so let me know what you think in the comments below!