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Product reliability, consumers’ complaints and market performance: the case of consumers’ associations

Joaquin Coleff

UC3M Working papers. Economics from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía

Abstract: In their dealings with retailers and suppliers, regulations and warranties ensure that consumers can seek a repair, a replacement or a refund if the good they have purchased is faulty. The evidence, however, indicates that few consumers pursue any form of compensation, suggesting that, for most consumers, transaction costs are high and providing a rationale for the role that consumers’ associations play. In this paper, we analyze the monopolist’s pricing and product reliability problem when consumers are entitled to product replacement and assess the implications of a decrease in consumers’ transaction costs. Our results suggest that the appearance of the consumers’ associations could, instead, lower product reliability. We draw empirical evidence from the pattern of recalls and complaints in the U.S. car market around 1995 (the year in which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) incorporated on-line filings) and find that it appears consistent with this prediction.

Keywords: Product; reliability; Consumers’; association; Consumers’; claims; Liability; cost (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D21 D42 D71 K42 L12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law and nep-mkt
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc

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