In November of 2017, JVZoo announced that they would no longer allow lifetime products. Since that time, the JVZoo compliance team has not approved sales pages that include the words ‘lifetime’. This means you may not make the promise of ‘lifetime guarantee’, ‘lifetime warranty’ or even ‘lifetime access’.
For many consumers, the term ‘lifetime’ has led to a lot of confusion. Lack of clarity as to whose life actually dictates the length of the guarantee or warranty has often made it pretty difficult to determine the intentions of the seller. Because of this, customers may end up confused, frustrated and/or dissatisfied when requesting support for products purchased under such claims.
What Does Lifetime Guarantee Mean?
Whose life, exactly, determines the period of coverage? The customer’s life? The product’s life? The Seller’s life? Or, does ‘lifetime’ pertain to how long the original purchaser owns the product? What if the original purchaser gives ownership to another person? What if the company closes? These are the questions that have led to so much confusion. Unfortunately, any of these things can define a lifetime guarantee. It is up to the Seller to make their exact meaning perfectly clear when they use such claims.
For example, you decide that you are in need of a new laptop to use for your online business. Off you go to your favorite electronics store and begin browsing through their available inventory. You see several options advertised using the words ‘lifetime guarantee’. But, when you inspect the fine print on each one you discover that they all have differing specifications.
The first laptop’s guarantee claims that should you have any problem whatsoever during the entire time you own the laptop, you may return it for repair or a full refund. However, that guarantee would cease to be effective should you decide to give the laptop to your neighbor in a few years when you decide to upgrade.
The second laptop’s guarantee specifies that only particular hardware problems are covered. Any other damage or malfunction is solely your responsibility. Certain parts of the computer are covered in this example, but not the entire thing.
The third laptop’s guarantee promises to repair only original parts to the laptop while in your ownership. Should you alter the original state of the computer in any way, such as adding, removing or changing any internal components, your guarantee will be null and void. If you sell the laptop to another person, even in its original condition, the guarantee would also be canceled.
All three laptops are advertised with Lifetime Guarantees, yet each guarantee is specifically defined by the manufacturer. Without reading the fine print, you would only be assuming that your definition of ‘lifetime’ is what the guarantee actually meant.
What Is The Difference Between a Guarantee and a Warranty?
Simply put, the answer is not much. The Magnuson-Moss Act, the federal law governing warranties on consumer products, uses the terms interchangeably. According to FindLaw, the difference between a guarantee and a warranty boils down to one thing – the choice of words to describe it.
What actually might be different is the general perception between the two terms. When a typical person hears the word ‘guarantee’, they think along the lines of getting a full refund or replacement. On the other hand, someone hearing the word ‘warranty’ might associate it more with repairs and maintenance.
Both words make a promise to the buyer that the product will meet certain conditions. If they aren’t, some type of reparation will be made. One is not necessarily better than the other except in sales copy due to the reader’s perception of which is better. Regardless of perception, though, the limitations of either term must be made known in clear, concise language so that the consumer understands what they are.
What About 100% Satisfaction Guarantees?
Another guarantee that is often seen in sales copy is the Satisfaction Guarantee or Money Back Guarantee. These two terms promise a full refund for a product for any reason, at any time. Like any other guarantee or warranty, if there are no limitations specified, the Seller must abide by their 100% claim. Sellers who offer 100% Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantees must give the person requesting a refund of their money back, no matter what.
The Seller may impose restrictions and limitations on a satisfaction or money back guarantee. But, if there are any limitations to the offer, they must be clearly and plainly stated on the sales page.
Such restrictions might include, but are not limited to:
- requesting within a dedicated time limit
- providing proof of purchase
- deduction of specified fees.
Money back guarantees are approved by the JVZoo compliance team provided that they fully disclose any limitations attached to them.
Wherever You Purchase A Product, Be Sure To Read The Fine Print In Lifetime Guarantees
According to the Businessperson’s Guide to Federal Warranty Law, the term ‘lifetime’ can be used to describe a warranty in at least three ways.
At least three ways.
Which means that ‘lifetime guarantee’ may not mean what you think it means when you purchase a product. This is a situation JVZoo has decided to avoid by discouraging the use of lifetime promises in sales copy.
The only way to know the specifics of the Lifetime Guarantee associated with a particular product is to familiarize yourself with the fine print. Unfortunately, most people neglect to do that.
Failure to do so, though, may impact your ability to receive assistance with repairs, updates, replacement, or a refund.
Lifetime warranties or guarantees should be:
- clearly stated,
- easily understood
- specific as to which “life” measures the guarantee’s duration.
Please know that deceptive advertising in a guarantee is against the law and violates the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides for the Advertising of Warranties and Guarantees.
Digital Sellers Are Not The Only Ones Doing Away With Lifetime Guarantees
Those making digital purchases online are not the only ones feeling confused about lifetime guarantees. Sales of physical products pose the same problem. The tendency to misinterpret the word ‘lifetime’ hasn’t only caused problems for customers. A small but growing percentage of consumers have taken advantage of lifetime guarantees. This behavior happens often enough that established brands and business have been forced to take action. In fact, L.L.Bean discontinued their lifetime guarantee earlier this year with an open letter to their customers explaining the reason for their decision. And they aren’t the only ones.
More and more retailers are scaling back on their return and refund policies. Chrysler, Silpada, and Costco are just a few that have made the decision to modify, replace or do away with open-ended policies concerning their products. This is, in no small part, due to the increasing abuse of the Lifetime Guarantee.
Intentional Abuse Of Lifetime Guarantees
As is true in most cases, it is the actions of a few who dictate the punishment of the masses. The same can be said when it comes to people trying to get things for free. Their dishonesty has led to an increasing number of companies, both online and off, who are adding restrictions to their guarantees.
In the beginning, manufacturers put 100% Lifetime Guarantees on their products as a verification of their confidence in the product. Quality craftsmanship ensured that most purchases would last. That a product would be used in the fashion it was intended and stand up to normal wear and tear was generally accepted. Making plans to buy something with the sole intention of proving that it was defective in some way in order to get it for free was all but unheard of. Sadly, that is not the case anymore.
In the case of L.L. Bean mentioned above, it was a small, but growing number of people requesting full-price refunds on items picked up at yard sales. This type of refund-seeker led them to modify their return policy and risk angering some of their customers. Other retailers have decided that the percentage of abuse cases are too small to worry about changing their long-standing refund and guarantee policies. At the end of the day, it is the manufacturer or Seller, who must make the decision about whether or not any type of guarantee is really worth it.
JVZoo Sales Pages & Lifetime Guarantees
When it comes to online sales done through the JVZoo affiliate platform, we decided to disallow any reference to lifetime promises on sales pages. This choice was not made in order to make things more difficult for our Sellers, but instead to protect them. We also feel that this will reduce the confusion for customers as they go through the buying process. This helps to avoid any conflicts resulting from misinterpretation of the word ‘lifetime’. We regularly review sites during compliance spot checks and flag those that promise ‘lifetime’ access, guarantees, warranties, or promises. We also strongly recommend that Sellers who choose to use these types of ‘lifetime’ promises in their swipes or promotional emails clarify this term to the consumer in accordance to the guidelines provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Should you have a pre-existing branded product that includes ‘lifetime’ as part of the name, there is something you might do. You may request a special review of the product to determine if it may be exempt. Please refer to this article for more information about our decision to do away with lifetime guarantees on JVZoo.
If There Is No Promise Of Lifetime Access, How Long Will My Purchase Be Available?
The question of product availability without the promise of lifetime access has been addressed many times since the decision last year to remove ‘lifetime’ promises. We recommend that you download all purchases immediately after purchase and saved locally on your device. You can access your purchased products within your customer account.
JVZoo never removes or shuts off access to a customer’s purchased products. However, the owner of a product may remove it after a period of time. Individual Sellers own the products, so JVZoo has no control over this.
To get support for a product you have purchased, please contact the product owner directly. You will find their support contact information in your JVZoo purchase receipt. It will be located above the download link.
What’s Better Than A Lifetime Guarantee? Lifetime Customers!
We realize that many Sellers used a Lifetime Guarantee as a selling point. Perhaps you’ve used them as a way to build trust with customers and sharpen your competitive edge. Any guarantee reduces the perceived risk of making a purchase and encourages sales. But, as we’ve already discussed, JVZoo no longer allows lifetime products.
So what can you do instead? Learn how to increase the lifetime value of your customers!
Repeat customers are worth more to your business than anything else. They’re loyal to you in the same way sports fans are loyal to their favorite team. They don’t need fancy guarantees or outlandish claims to trust you. They expect excellence from you because that is what you consistently deliver.
Here are some ways in which you can encourage repeat sales from happily satisfied customers:
Avoid The Hype – Potential customers have already been exposed to so many false claims that your sales page can be a breath of fresh air to those that are suffocating on all the too-good-to-be-true, get-rich-by-tomorrow tactics they are used to. Be honest in the estimation of the product you are selling or promoting. Don’t over-exaggerate results and be perfectly clear on what the customer can expect if they decide to make the purchase.
Only Use Legitimate Reviews – You’d be surprised how many sales pages your customers have seen. Chances are, they’ve been on Fiverr, too. Don’t think for a moment that they haven’t seen the same person giving reviews of different products. They’re just wearing different clothes and standing in front of a different green screen background. If you’re unsure about the power of quality reviews, be sure to read our blog post on Getting Reviews The Right Way.
Always Over-Deliver – It is often said that the more you give, the more you get. This is as much a fact in the business world as it is in your personal life. When you make it a point to go above and beyond for your customers, they notice it. They appreciate it. And they tell their friends about it.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service – Keeping your current customers happy is just as important as finding new ones. Respond to support tickets promptly, be helpful, and remember to always treat your customers with respect and consideration.
Disallowing ‘lifetime’ products is a way for JVZoo to make things easier for both the Seller and the Customer. Clearly defined guarantees and easily understood sales pages make customers feel more secure in their decision to buy. Additionally, Sellers have a straightforward point of reference should any disputes arise. Use of the term ‘lifetime’ has proven to be a constant source of confusion to consumers both on and offline. Removing ‘lifetime’ promises from sales pages helps to ensure that all customer transactions are made as an informed decision.