Quality means warranty. And warranties are not merely an abstract concept but a definite right, recognized by law, allowing every consumer to demand replacement or repair within two years of the purchase of a product that does not work or is damaged. This simple idea is the basis of Scontrinando.it, the photographic archive website of cash register receipts, an Italian creation that should spread like wildfire throughout Europe.
«It all started when my partner, who is 24, and interning in a law firm, started to study the system of purchase warranties at the European level» explains the co-inventor Andrea Elestici. «Stefano and I were sitting in a café talking about how our trade laws have excellent rules on the subject, which in many cases become unenforceable simply because our cash register receipts, which are printed with chemical ink, fade and become illegible». As we sat sipping coffee, the next question was inevitable: is the photo of a cash register receipt valid for the warranty? My intern friend, who doesn't want me to reveal his surname for the moment, did a quick check of this and soon had the answer. The photo of a cash register receipt is valid proof of purchase, the same as the original, because Italian law, like that of almost all the other European countries, only requires us to demonstrate that the product was purchased in a specific store or warehouse.
It does not place any conditions on how. That gave us our idea: to create a website for photographic filing of cash register receipts, turning them into valid proof of purchase that would last forever. The way it works is simple and free: after the purchase, you just take a picture of the cash register receipt with your mobile phone or whatever, and send it by mms or email. There is no need to register: the system automatically archives the image using the email or phone number as identification. Otherwise you can load it on the website. Registration is necessary only if you want to view your receipts and manage your archive. «A lot of dealers take advantage of people's ignorance on the subject and demand the original receipt, but a photocopy or photograph have the same value, as does the receipt from your credit card» says Elestici. «Also, it's a good idea to archive your receipts in order to obtain repayment from insurance companies in case of theft of the product».
End consumers are not the only clients who use the Scontrinando.it services: many stores also use them, signing up for the free or premium version; they then offer their clients the system of receipt filing and can use this database for marketing activities. «The dealers have advised us to develop an archive service for cash register records, which they are required to keep for 10 years» says Elestici, who is developing a special database for this purpose. Another opportunity comes from the producers themselves, to whom the company would like to offer a system for outsourcing warranty management, for example through management and digitalization of the documentation.