Charlie Kanet, of Kanet Advertising, shares the website they’ve just created for a new client:

The site is nice enough (maybe too much like a blog template I can create for free), but it’s the theft replacement policy that intrigues me the most.

The concept is simple:  If someone steals your Eternal Light, they’ll replace it.

The execution is not so simple.  And by the time you finish reading the webpage that describes the policy, any goodwill you’ve felt toward a company that would offer such a guarantee has been sapped away by terms and conditions.

Here’s an example of the kind of soul-sapping, angry-sounding phrases in the policy:

ETERNAL LIGHT may request a Police Incident Report if multiple crosses are stolen in the same incident; and if it occurs repeatedly to the same ORIGINAL Consumer. This requirement is solely at the discretion of ETERNAL LIGHT, whose decision is final.

This THEFT REPLACEMENT OFFER is extended to Consumers ONLY.

The THEFT REPLACEMENT OFFER is not available to merchants, stores, shops, cemeteries, or Funeral industry establishments.

The THEFT REPLACEMENT OFFER is not an insurance policy of any kind, specifically, not aimed at replacing any ones inventory of any kind due to theft.

This THEFT REPLACEMENT OFFER may be withdrawn, or CONDITIONS modified, at any time at the sole discretion of ETERNAL LIGHT CROSS, whose decision is final.

In further detail, they describe the way to claim the replacement, a process which requires the original retail receipt (good luck finding that in your box of tax junk!), a return address (but no PO boxes!) and at least $18.90 to cover the replacement light and shipping.

I’m guessing that the Theft Replacement Offer came about this way:

Eternal Light Employee #1:  These things might be easy to steal.

Eternal Light Employee #2:  You’re right, maybe we should add a lock or something?

ELE #1:  Even better, let’s offer a replacement guarantee!

ELE #2:  Perfect.  Our customers will love that.  And they’ll see that we care about them!

ELE #1:  Yeah, but some people will just say their light was stolen to get a free one.

ELE #2:  We’ll just make it time-consuming and frustrating to get the replacement.

ELE #1:  Good thinking.  Let’s put lotsa absolute words like ‘final’ and ‘only’ in there so it discourages people from ever asking for the replacement.

Of course, that might be stretching it, but you get my point:  a Theft Replacement Offer is a nice idea, but only if it’s executed properly.

That means making it sound like a real benefit, rather than a punative arrangement.

While it might not be lawyer-speak, how about this on the site:

As providers of Eternal Lights to thousands of grieving families across the country, we know how important your loved one is to you and the heartbreak that can result when an Eternal Light is stolen.

That’s why we extend a Theft Replacement Offer.  Our goal is to lessen the pain caused by the theft and speed the replacement of your Eternal Light.

If your light is stolen, please contact us for replacement instructions.  As with similar programs, our Theft Replacement Offer has certain conditions and minimum requirements designed to prevent fraud. 

In keeping with smart business practices, we reserve the right to withdraw or modify this offer.

For a full description of the offer, please contact us at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

Now isn’t that a lot better?  It doesn’t give up any rights but it also doesn’t say “If you try to redeem this offer we’ll make it really hard on you!” like the current stuff does.

Solar Light Angel

Editor’s Note:  Charlie didn’t pay me to review this site (not that he’d have paid for this kinda review anyway!) and I don’t have anything against the folks at Eternal Light.  In fact, I love their designs and I think they’d do a lot better if they stopped telling everyone about their Theft Replacement and simply give instructions to get more information for those who are concerned about theft.