I have heard from several PR folks that we're in a league of our own. Mom bloggers tend not to return high-priced products like electronics and jewelry, but newspaper reporters and magazines return merchandise all of the time.
Do you think mom bloggers should adopt a similar policy; that product samples worth over, say $150, should be returned to companies?
I've been asked to return electronics and also sign a "borrow" contract to review a bigger item. Personally, I think it's perferable to give it to the blogger or donate it for a giveaway - since they are getting use of our "buzz" and it IS a service - we deserve a bit of compensation!
I wondered - when I did return the products - what the companies would do with them - since I rec'd a NIB item (which I had to open) - and obviously they wouldn't send it out again as a reviewer.
I haven't run into this problem but I would say that products should absolutely not be returned especially when the blogger is not being paid to do the review. Mom Bloggers do create a lot of buzz and get products and companies a lot of attention. Our time has to be worth something.
Returned to the company? NO way. I wouldn't accept a product review if the company requested I return the product. Can you imagine Mercedes giving me a car for the week and asking me to give it back? LOL
I would be so spoiled, I would CRY if I had to give it back!
I haven't run into this, either, but I tend to review "smaller" products. I'd have to say "no" to the return policy. It's payment for advertising, after all. Perhaps if the review were going to be negative, you might return a product instead, but generally speaking... no.
Newspaper and magazines are paid by their outlets, so it makes sense that they return merchandise. However, they get passes to see movies and attend events, and food writers get wine and food to sample. Those types of things can't be returned, of course. However, I do know that restaurant reviewers usually pay for the meals they eat, but I believe much of the time they're reimbursed by their publication. And no one gets to keep a car, of course.
I've talked to magazine writers who do keep tech products because some companies don't want them back, though some do. And I know of a local consumer advocate with a radio show who gets all kinds of free stuff, like loaner cars. Companies are given free rooms at hotels and resorts in hopes that they will book a big event or conference there.
Everyone gets freebies, and some stuff gets returned. Some bloggers refuse to take samples, and won't work with companies or publicists. It depends on what the writer or blogger is comfortable with and the policies of the PR firm or company. If you feel that a freebie is payment for your time and effort, then clearly state that upfront. Nothing wrong with it. Make your own policy and be flexible.
I say no, in the beginning I did a few that I returned and it got to be too much keeping track of where everything was and when it needed to go back. I have since stopped doing so because the time it takes to write the review, crop and size photos and get it all together deserves some compensation. Besides most things never cost to make what they are selling it for ;)
I absolutely do not think we should return products. Even if they are higher priced items. I am currently reviewing a Casio keyboard valued at almost $200 but how could I return that? I have to use it, read the manual, utilize the music learning program to see how it all shakes down. So I can give an honest, thorough and personal review. What would the company do with my used keyboard? I think companies must realize this is the price they are paying. Now if I were getting monetary compensation for the product, that would be a different story. For now the product itself and increasing traffic flow to my site are the benefits.
I love these product review discussions because it's obviously a field that is busting wide open...