Sales Talk, Cancellation Terms, and the Role of Consumer Protection
This 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).
|Date of creation:||2012|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy)|
Web page: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/
|Order Information:|| Web: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/en/papers/index.htm Email: |
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.:
- Johnson, Justin P & Waldman, Michael, 2003. " Leasing, Lemons, and Buybacks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 247-265, Summer.
- Che, Yeon-Koo, 1996.
"Customer Return Policies for Experience Goods,"
Journal of Industrial Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 17-24, March.
- Che, Y.K., 1995. "Customer Return Policies for Experience Goods," Working papers 9509, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1209-1248.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2004. "Contract Design and Self-Control: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 353-402.
- Malmendier, Ulrike M. & Della Vigna, Stefano, 2003. "Contract Design and Self Control: Theory and Evidence," Research Papers 1801, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- 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.
- Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 1998. "The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 6577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- I. Hendel & A. Lizzeri, 1999. "The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f7, Economics Department, Princeton University.
- 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 461-483, 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.
- Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cuñat, 2010. "Information Gathering and Marketing," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 375-401, 06.
- Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cunat, 2008. "Information Gathering and Marketing," Working Papers 08-17, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- 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.
- Marco Ottaviani & Francesco Squintani, 2006. "Naive audience and communication bias," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(1), pages 129-150, December.
- Pascal Courty & Li Hao, 2000. "Sequential Screening," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 697-717.
- Pascal Courty & Li Hao, 1997. "Sequential screening," Economics Working Papers 224, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Michael Spence, 1977. "Consumer Misperceptions, Product Failure and Producer Liability," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 561-572.
- Pitchik, Carolyn & Schotter, Andrew, 1987. "Honesty in a Model of Strategic Information Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1032-1036, December.
- Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)