Sales Talk, Cancellation Terms, and the Role of Consumer Protection
AbstractThis paper analyses contract cancellation and product return policies in markets in which sellers advise customers about the suitability of their offering. When customers are fully rational, it is optimal for sellers to offer the right to cancel or return on favorable terms. A generous return policy makes the seller's "cheap talk" at the point of sale credible. This observation provides a possible explanation for the excess refund puzzle and also has implications for the management of customer reviews. When customers are credulous, instead, sellers have an incentive to set unfavorable terms to exploit the inflated beliefs they induce in their customers. The imposition of a minimum statutory standard improves welfare and consumer surplus when customers are credulous. In contrast, competition policy reduces contractual inefficiencies with rational customers, but it is not effective with credulous customers. Keywords: Cheap talk, advice, marketing, credulity, contract cancellation, refund, return policy, consumer protection. JEL Classi?cation: D18 (Consumer Protection), D83 (Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge), L15 (Information and Product Quality), L51 (Economics of Regulation).
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 465.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy)
Web page: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/
Other versions of this item:
- Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2013. "Sales Talk, Cancellation Terms and the Role of Consumer Protection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 1002-1026.
- D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
- L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-01-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-CTA-2013-01-19 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-MKT-2013-01-19 (Marketing)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cunat, 2008.
"Information Gathering and Marketing,"
08-17, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
- George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003.
"Projection Bias In Predicting Future Utility,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1209-1248, November.
- Loewenstein, George & O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2000. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5qh6142m, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- George Loewenstein, Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Economics Working Papers E00-284, University of California at Berkeley.
- Loewenstein, George & O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Working Papers 02-11, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
- George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," General Economics and Teaching 0012003, EconWPA.
- Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2002.
"The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 113-143, February.
- I. Hendel & A. Lizzeri, 1999. "The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f7, Economics Department, Princeton University.
- Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 1998. "The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 6577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stefano Della Vigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2004.
"Contract Design and Self-control: Theory and Evidence,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 353-402, May.
- Malmendier, Ulrike M. & Della Vigna, Stefano, 2003. "Contract Design and Self Control: Theory and Evidence," Research Papers 1801, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Inderst, Roman & Ottaviani, Marco, 2012. "How (not) to pay for advice: A framework for consumer financial protection," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 393-411.
- repec:att:wimass:9509 is not listed on IDEAS
- Pitchik, Carolyn & Schotter, Andrew, 1987. "Honesty in a Model of Strategic Information Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1032-36, December.
- Pascal Courty & Li Hao, 1997.
Economics Working Papers
224, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Marco Ottaviani & Francesco Squintani, 2006. "Naive audience and communication bias," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 129-150, December.
- Chrysanthos Dellarocas, 2006. "Strategic Manipulation of Internet Opinion Forums: Implications for Consumers and Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(10), pages 1577-1593, October.
- Eric T. Anderson & Karsten Hansen & Duncan Simester, 2009. "The Option Value of Returns: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(3), pages 405-423, 05-06.
- Johnson, Justin P & Waldman, Michael, 2003. " Leasing, Lemons, and Buybacks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 247-65, Summer.
- Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-83, December.
- Che, Yeon-Koo, 1996.
"Customer Return Policies for Experience Goods,"
Journal of Industrial Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 17-24, March.
- Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
- Spence, A Michael, 1977. "Consumer Misperceptions, Product Failure and Producer Liability," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 561-72, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.