Refunds as a Metering Device
Firms frequently offer refunds, both when physical products are returned and when service contracts are terminated prematurely. We show how refunds act as a "metering device" when consumers learn about their personal valuation while experimenting with the product or service. Our theory predicts that low-quality firms offer inefficiently strict terms for refunds, while high-quality firms offer inefficiently generous terms. This may help to explain the observed variety in contractual terms. As in our model strict cancellation terms and low refunds are used to price discriminate, rather than to trap consumers into purchasing inferior products, the imposition of a statutory minimum refund policy would not, in general, improve consumer surplus or welfare.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Pascal Courty & Li Hao, 2000.
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 697-717.
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- Che, Y.K., 1995.
"Customer Return Policies for Experience Goods,"
9509, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Mann, Duncan P & Wissink, Jennifer P, 1990. "Money-Back Warranties vs. Replacement Warranties: A Simple Comparison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 432-36, May.
- 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.
- Péter Eső & Balázs Szentes, 2007. "Optimal Information Disclosure in Auctions and the Handicap Auction," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 705-731.
- Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
- Richard Schmalensee, 1981.
"Monopolistic Two-Part Pricing Arrangements,"
Bell Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 445-466, Autumn.
- 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.
- A. Michael Spence, 1975. "Monopoly, Quality, and Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 417-429, Autumn.
- Bonifield, Carolyn & Cole, Catherine & Schultz, Randall L., 2010. "Product returns on the Internet: A case of mixed signals?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(9-10), pages 1058-1065, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53846. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.