Economic Protection Plans

July 10, 2009 12:33:44 AM PDT
Taking a cue from car companies, more industries are offering incentives for people who lose their job. From apartments to appliances, companies are trying to make up for economic losses by giving their customers an easy way out.Mike Bannon just signed a one-year lease for this two bedroom apartment in Northeast Fresno. Fortunately for Bannon, he has a job. But if that were to suddenly change, his lease would be safeguarded thanks to the layoff protection plan.

Adam Goldfarb with Manco Abbott Incorporated said, "If you were laid off from your job, it's already in your lease paperwork that you would be let out of your lease."

"Well, I think it's a good idea, a good plan. It didn't really affect where I chose to live but it sounds like a pretty good policy," said Bannon.

Appliance retailer Sears is now offering their customers the same piece of mind. If you lose your job within 60 days of a 399-dollar purchase, your account will be credited and you get to keep the item.

Plans like these were first offered by car companies. Hyundai lets its customers return a car if they lose their job within 12 months of the initial purchase. Sales Manager Michael Smith says it's a win-win situation.

"It brings more customers. It gives them more market share, gives it a customer to come out and look at Hyundai as a possibility for their car needs," said Smith.

With the rental market plummeting and car sales down about thirty percent, companies say offering more incentives may be their only way out. And for some, it seems to be paying off.

"We offered the program to all of our current residents in June. It was one of our strongest renewal months we've ever had, so it's obviously taken greatly with our current residents and with our new prospects," said Goldfarb.

The apartment complex we visited says they will continue their plan for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Hyundai's assurance program will expire within a year and Sears will end on August first.

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