If It’s Broken, Have It Fixed

In this economic environment, it is not surprising that people are trying to get more mileage out of the cars they already own rather than buying new ones.  In contrast to car dealerships, auto repair shops actually reported a sales growth over the past year, as noted by the private firm Sageworks in a recent article to the WSJ.  The same is happening on the home front, Sageworks added: companies related to remodeling and home repairs experienced a 4.6% sales increase over the last 12 months.

But big ticket items like cars and housing are not the only ones that can be remodeled and fixed for less than it takes to replace them.  Look around for broken items you might have lying around the house that you would like to replace for sentimental or financial reasons, and chances are the store and/or manufacturer might be able to help you out.  As part of their customer service, several companies offer to repair and/or replace items even without a warranty or after it has expired.  A few years back, for example, I snapped the plastic wrist band of a Nike watch I had had for a while.  I checked online and found that they offer a watch repair/replacement service, which is covered under a 2-year warranty.  Of course, I didn’t have the receipt anymore, but I sent it to them anyway for an estimate.  Ultimately, the band could not be mended and had to be replaced, but even without the warranty my total cost came out to $7 plus the postage I paid to mail it to them, much less that what I would have paid for a brand new watch.

My latest experience in getting more years out of an item, however, does not even involve a company guarantee.  A few weeks ago I noticed a hole on the bottom of a purse I bought just last year.  I checked Longchamp’s website to find their guarantee policy, but did not find anything besides a recommendation to visit the store in which the item was purchased.  Because I bought my purse at an airport and have no plans to be there again anytime soon, I left a message on their website explaining that I had bought the purse a year ago and expected it to last longer.  Within a couple of hours a Longchamp’s representative wrote me back promising to send me a return authorization so that I can send my purse to a repair center.  The only cost I will incur: mailing it to them.

As stated above, many companies offer similar repair/replacement services, so definitely look around.  Some of them even make that part of their core promotion strategy.  Birkenstock, for example, lists affiliated and mail-in repair stores in the “store location” section of its website.  I haven’t used them yet, but it looks like my Birks will have to re-soled soon…

Have you had any successful (or unsuccessful) experience trying to get items repaired or replaced?  Please share in our comments section.

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