Foster Refrigerator has vowed to remove the confusion and caveats that give manufacturer warranty plans a bad name by unveiling a series of supports packages that it insists are free of “hidden costs”.
The King’s Lynn refrigeration outfit created the packages after conducting a detailed survey of what customers want from a warranty, vowing that its proposition will “change the way aftercare works”.
Its new G2 Ultra Lifetime of Care Plan is one of four packages that it has devised and offers customers access to a straightforward plan for a fixed monthly fee, valid for up to 10 years or the “serviceable life” of the equipment.
For the price of £7.99 a month per unit, customers are guaranteed spare parts, labour and an annual health check by Foster-trained technicians, with no additional costs along the way.
The only things it excludes are everyday wear and tear items, or product misuse and abuse. To avoid ambiguity, it has listed what it means by wear and tear on the G2 Ultra page of its website.
Addressing the media in London this week, sales director Ashley Sword said that while most extended warranty packages are subject to operators carrying out annual maintenance checks, Foster’s plan includes the checks as part of the contract.
Foster said its studies revealed huge customer mistrust of aftercare and a demand for more transparency in warranty provision in the industry, while distributors were also calling for it to take greater control and management over the aftercare process.
The G2 Ultra Lifetime of Care Plan is part of what Foster is calling its ‘Choices’ brand. It also includes the ‘Assure’, ‘Assess’ and ‘Assist’ care packages.
The Assure extended warranty is based on either a five-day, 48-hour response or a seven-day, 24-hour response, while the Assess package is a 30-point inspection and maintenance plan available through one annual payment.
Foster Assist, meanwhile, is a pay-as-you-go repair service, offering pre-agreed prices and access to technicians for customers that only want to pay for maintenance when they feel they need it.
Foster’s after-sales manager, Andy Rasberry, who has led the team of after-sales specialists that devised the packages, said it was often very complicated and time-consuming for customers to wade through the myriad of warranty polices and get to grips with terms and conditions.
“For that reason people can often sign up to a plan which isn’t right for them and it is this which can lead to the mistrust of aftercare sales and their associated costs,” he said. “We want aftercare plans which our customers understand and trust and for which all the information is presented up-front – it is that simple.”
Rasberry insists that Foster Choices is a “break from market norms” when it comes to aftercare. “It gives our customers exactly that — a clear, transparent choice. Customers are able to choose whether they would rather pay a small monthly fee, choose a pay-as-you-go repair option, or select an extended warranty, and they can select how they pay — monthly, a once a year fee, as they need it — an important factor where month on month costs are concerned.”