What's the role of 14 day guarantee-When is it unfair to stores?

Neil S.

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Hi all,
This is a subject near and very much not dear to my heart.
I find that this is the main factor contributing to the us (sellers) vs them (buyers) mentality that is becoming pervasive in this hobby, I believe, to the detriment of all.

So here's a recent situation.
Customer buys 3 tangs (yellow, purple, gem).
Was actually local so picked up, no shipping stress.

No issues, all good.
day 12, he goes to work. Comes back and all 3 are dead in his QT.
No worries before that.
Of course, customer insists everything in his tank checked out perfectly (like always).
I opine that if it were 1, could be almost anything. If it were 2, still possibly a couple explanations. But the fact that all 3 all of a sudden drop dead out of nowhere, to me, says something went wrong in the tank. Most likely oxygen (pump down or misdirected, etc). Possibly temp. Stray current. Something.

He wants credit for losses.
I stand behind my policy, but feels he's abusing it.

I'm very curious what others feel

And again, I've already issued the credit.
This isn't about that.
Not going to take it away
But I've informed him that since I feel he's unfairly utilizing the policy, if he chooses to buy in the future, I won't offer him 14 days.

If any other vendors want to chime in, that's fine with me. Mods please don't delete.

I'm just hoping to start a dialogue between at least 1 vendor (me) and customers to see how people view 14 days guarantee.
Each situation has unique parameters when retailing livestock. I completely understand what your concerns are. A possible solution to this would be along the following; 1) A 14 day store credit will be issued if the purchaser provides a testable sample of their current tank water, (this could provide the opportunity to both educate and correct a possible water imbalance), at the time of purchase. 2) Upon return of the now dead 'livestock', the customer also brings in a sample of the current tank water. 3) If both the pre-purchase and post-death samples are provided then a store credit for 100% would be issued, however if the pre-purchase sample is not available then the store credit would be for 50%. 4) Some form of a long term club membership could be initiated where store credits would be automatically set to 100% after being a member for a term of two years+....basically does the customer have a reliable long term history of good livestock husbandry.

Point 1 above may not be possible if you're running a really busy operation as there are time issues when water testing, howevr this may also provide unique sales opportunities.

Point 2 above seems to be common in my area with the large LFS. They have always been good with 'dead'-stock returns.

Point 4 above is also useful for customer tracking and as incentive for purchase if some form of a point program is tied into it.

One side point, the smaller LFS in my area, which specializes in marine aquariums does not have any return policy but is willing to discuss returns and generally will work to make the customer happy.

Hope that helps....a bit.....
 

Reefpro

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I'm' not sure what you're disagreeing about?
14 day guarantee is exactly an insurance policy.
And if you crash your car every week, after a few accidents, guess what? Your insurance company will drop you like a hot potato.
Policy is on our website.
I don't believe out and out fraud is common.
sure a customer could buy a fish from company A who doesn't offer guarantee and it dies. Then buy another from company B and it comes in "dead" with the old switcharoo. But I like to think that's extremely rare.

When I talk about abusing the policy, it's having claims over and over again, without fixing the problem on the customer's end, or filing a claim when the the customer is so obviously responsible, but refused to see that so again won't fix the problem on their end.
Was not disagreeing with NYaquatics. I was responding to the post I quoted. I support your position 100%
 
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NYAquatic

NYAquatic

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thank you, sorry I misunderstood

thanks all for the helpful comments/suggestions
Always looking at ways to better serve our customers (while not going out of business lol)
 

jsvand5

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If one ran copper 24/7, and never going below the 2.0 level (say .45 for cupramine) and fish sat in there for the minimum of 7 days, wouldn’t the copper act as a shield allow ich/velvet to drop off but never return? And prazi 1 time per week wouldncontinuall break the cycle of flukes?
That would be tough to do as well though as dropping some fish straight into a tank with that copper level can be worse on the fish than ich.
 

Wildreefs

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That would be tough to do as well though as dropping some fish straight into a tank with that copper level can be worse on the fish than ich.

Do you think people lower it to introduce them to it? Maybe some do, but few places I know of first hand keep it steady
 

Calebb8133

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I have about 10 FS near me and only one guarantees their fish. While I don't like it I understand that a guarantee can be abused, like in your case. At this point u should honor your guarantee but after that reduce it to a few days to a week.

Edit: didn't read anything else on the forum until after I posted. Good for u for honoring it but I would still reduce the guarantee because a fish can easily be effected by someones tank within just a few hours. Guaranteeing (idk if that is spelled right :p) saltwater fish is hard.
 
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Dan Watson

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You may lose the customer but 14 days on infamously delicate tangs is a bargain. Id also vote flow/oxygen/new tank syndrome. some customers think they can botch a single high priority parameter and then blame you. 3 tangs dying the same day is?extremely suspicious. did they overdose their QT? was oxygen present? did they monitor pH after dosing the QT? what supplements did they use and at what amount on how many gallons? what filtration? 1 fish dying is alarming, 2 fish incredibly suspicious, but 3 of 3 dying within 24 hours of eachother is certainly the buyers fault in 99% of cases. if its a repeat customer, walk them through every aspect of the QT system they used to identify their problem spots and help them prevent making the same mistake in the future. if its a valued customer, do the same and identify to your best ability what you think went wrong, offer a small reimbursement or 2x-3x more valuable in store credit. if its entirely their fault, and theyre dumb as a stump, offer advice (they wont listen) and send them off to the next tank extinction.
 

MichaelE

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Well, to my knowledge not a single lfs here in Sweden offers any kind of guarantee after the fish has left their tanks, a 14 day guarantee is borderline insanity in my eyes. That said, if you’ve stated that you will cover losses within 14 days you have to stand by that if a customer makes a claim.
 

Badilac

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Last week on FB I saw someone talking about their heater failed and cooked their tank. They were talking about how much they lost in fish and then said "at least my most expense fish is still under a 14 day guarantee" Like what the heck! Seriously you are going to make a shop replace your fish because your crappy heater failed??? That isn't their fault!
 

svogun

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I’ve always been a fan of your store and you honor your guarantees. I think I had 3 DOAs in a row from you (not your fault) I suspected issues with FedEx but I keep coming back to you because of your integrity and the quality of your fish. I think a 14 day guarantee is more than generous. If a fish is unhealthy that will likely rear it’s head in a matter of days. Two weeks from a business standpoint sounds like too much. Maybe go down to 7? I think it takes out way more hobbyist potential error that you could be on the hook for.
 

drstardust

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Thank you for this thought-provoking thread.

I think the issue of whether a vendor should offer a 14 day guarantee is complicated based on what's a reasonable expectation vs the fact that such a warranty will likely draw customers in.

However, once it is offered, I feel that it has to be firmly enforced as per the terms that are clearly outlined. Otherwise, inconsistency could hurt the vendor's image. This unfortunately means honoring warranties on losses that were no fault of the vendor.
.....but I see the other side of this too, i.e., where do you then draw the line? Do you give a refund to the dingus who put a yellow tang in an uncycled 10 gallon tank? lol
 
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NYAquatic

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Thank you for this thought-provoking thread.

I think the issue of whether a vendor should offer a 14 day guarantee is complicated based on what's a reasonable expectation vs the fact that such a warranty will likely draw customers in.

However, once it is offered, I feel that it has to be firmly enforced as per the terms that are clearly outlined. Otherwise, inconsistency could hurt the vendor's image. This unfortunately means honoring warranties on losses that were no fault of the vendor.
.....but I see the other side of this too, i.e., where do you then draw the line? Do you give a refund to the dingus who put a yellow tang in an uncycled 10 gallon tank? lol
I only wish that were the worst case scenario
 
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NYAquatic

NYAquatic

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Is it practical to somehow verify before a sale that a hobbyist has the appropriate QT setup to qualify for the guarantee?
I don't think so
95% of orders people just order, no communication needed
I don't know how you'd go about vetting every single customer
 

gobble

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I can't imagine asking a fish store to pickup the cost of the fish if it died 7-10-14 day after I bought it, unless there was a problem when it arrived. I'd rather that guarantee not be built into the price.
 
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NYAquatic

NYAquatic

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I agree with that
the problem is, most of the major suppliers offer 14 days
I think it's a really hard sell to not do so.
Why wouldn't you buy with the 14 days if given the choice
puts me at a competitive disadvantage
 

hyeclass

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Hi all,
This is a subject near and very much not dear to my heart.
I find that this is the main factor contributing to the us (sellers) vs them (buyers) mentality that is becoming pervasive in this hobby, I believe, to the detriment of all.

So here's a recent situation.
Customer buys 3 tangs (yellow, purple, gem).
Was actually local so picked up, no shipping stress.

No issues, all good.
day 12, he goes to work. Comes back and all 3 are dead in his QT.
No worries before that.
Of course, customer insists everything in his tank checked out perfectly (like always).
I opine that if it were 1, could be almost anything. If it were 2, still possibly a couple explanations. But the fact that all 3 all of a sudden drop dead out of nowhere, to me, says something went wrong in the tank. Most likely oxygen (pump down or misdirected, etc). Possibly temp. Stray current. Something.

He wants credit for losses.
I stand behind my policy, but feels he's abusing it.

I'm very curious what others feel

And again, I've already issued the credit.
This isn't about that.
Not going to take it away
But I've informed him that since I feel he's unfairly utilizing the policy, if he chooses to buy in the future, I won't offer him 14 days.

If any other vendors want to chime in, that's fine with me. Mods please don't delete.

I'm just hoping to start a dialogue between at least 1 vendor (me) and customers to see how people view 14 days guarantee.

I would give him a credit or replace the fish, one time only next time : there is no NEXT time. what can you do, 3 drop dead highly unlikely
 

iReefer12

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I’ve always gotten healthy fish from you. 14 day guarantee allows for a lot of things that the aquarist can F#%k up, especially in a QT with medication mixed in, especially with 3 fish like that all going into QT presumably together, ammonia would be my guess on how these 3 died.

Maybe you could do a 7 day guarantee, with some kind of extended guarantee if the aquarist feels the fish came in unhealthy, lethargic, not eating etc (never had this issue with fish I’ve bought from you) but from other vendors, it’s pretty clear after about 4-5 days if the fish is healthy and gonna make it. If they notify you that the fish is not eating, lethargic etc then you extend the guarantee to see whether the fish pulls through or not. I would hope all aquarist would do there very best to treat and help the fish make a recovery.
 

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