Lost job? We'll help -- if you buy our stuff
Wake up and good morning. Is this the new face of Recession Marketing? Everyone's jumping on the bandwagon to offer a deal these days that works like this:
Buy my (house, car, clothing) and I'll help you if you lose your job and can't afford to pay for it.
I guess it sounds compelling, certainly for those folks -- and there are a lot of us out there -- who are worried about their jobs in this economy. Be sure to read the fine print! Here's just a sampler of who's offering such deals:
HOUSING: Miami-based homebuilder Lennar has teamed up with Universal American Mortgage Co. to provide homebuyers with a "Peace of Mind" mortgage protection program. It offers homebuyers the security that, if they suffer a job loss, the payments on their new home will be made for up to six months and up to $1,800 a month. There are restrictions and a few other homebuilders have similar deals.
CARS: Among the first wave to jump on this marketing idea in this recession, Hyundai promises it will take back cars from people who lose their jobs, suffer a physical disability or are self-employed and forced into bankruptcy. The carmaker said it will let customers return cars within a year of the purchase, and the company will cover $7,500 worth of depreciation. And AutoNation, operating as AutoWay in the Tampa Bay area, rolled out a new incentive program on Wednesday that covers up to six months of car payments on new or used vehicles for consumers who lose their jobs.
CLOTHING: The Jos. A. Bank clothing chain will give refunds to customers who buy a suit and then lose their jobs. And those customers will get to keep the suit. Under the program, the suits must be purchased during the retailer's $199 sale, which runs until April 9. Customers have to show proof that they lost their job between April 16 and July 1 to get the refund. Jos. A. Bank will pay a refund up to $199.
TRAVEL: JetBlue Airways Corp. says it will offer a full refund to people who book flights between February 1 and June 1 and then lose their job. Not quite free, Norwegian Cruise Line offers "travel protection" starting at $29 per person that will provide a cash reimbursement of cancellation fees to guests who cancel because they lose their job.
Hey, in these uncertain times, stuff like this helps. Again, read the fine print!. Happy shopping.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist