You don't want get any surprise visits from the people from the FTC (US Federal Trade Commission) or equivalent.
We have already looked at the fundamental expectations a customer is entitled to, including the expectation that your products or services are of a marketable quality. This is also referred to as merchantible quality.
So what does that mean?
Basically, it means your goods are of the quality that a reasonable customer would expect having regard to the nature of the goods or services and the price that you are asking.
Lets use a chair as an example.
If you drive down the road past the local thrift shop, you might find a couple of old wooden chairs for sale for $5 each. You probably wouldn't be surprised if those chairs were a little rickety and needed some work before you felt comfortable with having your great, big, basketball playing nephew sit on one. So even though the chairs may not be in great condition, they are still of marketable quality. As a customer, you know they are second hand and need work and you are prepared to pay a few dollars to get them.
At the other end of the scale, you might go to a designer furniture show and see a funny shaped, bright coloured an odd looking thing described as "Chair by Albert Brett". You might absolutely love it and be prepared to pay several hundred dollars to have it, whether it is comfortable as a chair or not. In this example, the "Chair" may only be something that you can comfortably sit on for very short periods, and the main reason for having it is to add that designer touch to your room. It is still of marketable quality, because a reasonable person who would buy that sort of thing would be quite happy with it. (I'm a comfort person. My husband is a asthetic person. We don't have a sofa because we can't agree on what we both want!)
So, how can you tell if something you are selling is not of marketable quality? Consider your answers to the following questions for each product or service that you sell or give away:
- How many complaints do you get?
- How many returns do you get?
- What are the most common replacement parts people order?
- What do you get requests for exchanges or refunds for?
- What do you get warranty claims for?
The answers to those questions might help you work out what is not be of marketable quality. This next group of questions might help you work out what is not only of marketable quality, but find out what is good marketable quality according to your customers.
- What do you get compliments about?
- What is your highest seller, in quantity?
- What do your customers say lasts and lasts?
- What do your customers recommend to their family and friends?
- What do your customers say you give away too cheap, or don't charge enough for?