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Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Idea of A Costume Warranty ...

So, a friend of mine was kind enough to send me something he stumbled upon while viewing costumes from Tribal Knights for Caribana 2011. On their website they are offering a "Costume Warranty" which you can purchase for an extra $30.00 CND. This Warranty covers repairs to your costume in the event that after the Caribana Parade you wish to wear it again; I am guessing that they foresee the wearing of the costume at Hamilton Carnival and maybe some other Carnivals as well:

Now I  may be wrong but this offer, albeit one you pay for, of a "Costume Warranty" is the first I have seen anywhere at any Carnival for any band. Which got me to thinking, what if Carnival Bands in Trinidad offer a Costume Warranty? Just like they put a disclaimer that costume are custom made items and therefore there will be no "changing sizes/switching of sections/refund on deposit", how about if the Bands include a Costume Warranty for us  masqueraders?

The costume warranty would look something like this:


All costumes come with a standard 2 day natural Carnival wear warranty, which covers popped gems, loose beads, detaching parts, broken belts and bras. Warranty also covers variation from prototype, loss of costume, late delivery of costume or costume pieces and incorrect sizing if the error occurs from the Band.

In the event that the costume needs repairs before use you are entitled to free costume repair. If the costume varies from the prototype you are entitled to 50% refund. If the incorrect size of costume was given with the fault being the Band’s you are entitled to have the costume replaced with the correct sizing with free costume delivery. If your costume was lost or misplaced by the band you are entitled to a 50% refund, replacement of your costume in any section of your choice (excluding Frontline if your selection was backline/floor member) and free costume delivery. If your costume or any piece of it is not ready for collection on the assigned collection date you are entitled to free costume delivery.

Not covered are accidental damage, broken plumage, unnatural stains and damage due to excessive wining and jamishness.

Simple and straight to the point, I mean really I am not asking for much now am I ? And even though some bands do not advertise a Costume Warranty I have to give credit where credit is due and point out the "backpack fiasco" of Carnival 2008 when my backpack was not ready for collection the day I collected my costume. In fact I did not collect until Carnival Tuesday on the road. TRIBE offered me free costume delivery on Carnival Monday night (which I declined) and I also got a 50% refund for my inconvenience, this offer was also extended to all the other Frontliners in my section and  the Frontline from the section Mystique( who never got their winged back piece) got a 50% refund as well.

This year I know of a situation in Bliss where an Individual masquerader's costume  box was lost, never found. Bliss had to replace the missing pieces of the costume even though they were out of swimsuits so someone on staff gave up their costume  for the masquerader, of course this meant adjustments had to be made with the masquerader finally collecting their costume on Carnival Sunday. In addition to a refund, picking up the bar tab at Carlton Savannah while the masquerader waited to collect on Carnival Saturday Bliss also sent said masquerader a nice gift basket POST Carnival,  I guess you don't need a Costume Warranty when the service is on point! 

However as a masquerader wouldn't it be great to know that this type of customer service is not an anomaly or that it is only offered by some bands? Shouldn't all bands aim to please their customers especially in the event that the errors are the Band's fault? Now I am not saying that certain masqueraders cannot be highly demanding and unreasonable in their expectations, you know the ones that put down the wrong size at registration or will quibble over the fact that their feathers do not look just perfect. But for the rest of the rational thinking masqueraders all we  expect is that our costume should not be falling apart before use, that missing pieces are collected in a reasonable time frame, if there is a delay, that the costume should look as close to the prototype as possible and if there are any changes that we are informed of such beforehand.

I am thinking that in a perfect Carnival world a Costume Warranty would not be needed given the fact that what we are asking for is standard and all bands should ensure that these deliverables are met,but seeing as so many bands fall short in the Customer Service maybe a Warranty SHOULD become part of the costume agreement upon Registration. 

What do you think? Are you for or against a Costume Warranty and what would you like to see included in it? Do you think the Warranty should be an additional expense or should it be free as part of your costume purchase  contract with the band? Leave me a comment! 
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