Shop easy: More companies offering peace of mind to layoff-wary consumers

Buying peace of mind is getting easier by the day for shoppers afraid of losing their jobs.

With more people saving money and not spending as much as they used to because they fear losing their jobs, more American businesses are offering guaranteed financial help in the event of a job loss, according to a New York Times story.

WalletPop has reported extensively on this marketing method, which companies admit doesn't cost them much because not many people take advantage of it. It's also a great way to attract long-term customer loyalty. And the positive PR doesn't hurt either.

From Hyundai offering to buy back your car if you lose your job, to cell phone companies willing to pay for part of your service during unemployment, to Walgreens offering health care for the newly unemployed, plenty of companies are offering help in an economy where the national unemployment rate is 8.5%.

Builder Bigelow Homes sold six "recession-proof" homes last month to Chicago-area residents by promising to pay the mortgage while the homeowner is out job hunting, according to the Times story.

Desiree Miller had been renting for about a decade but the offer, along with home prices falling 20% in Illinois in the year that ended in February, prompted her to buy a Bigelow home. Bigelow also offered a price guarantee by promising that if the value of her home fell, it would pay her the difference.

"It really is a good time to buy a house, and with everything else they put behind it, it just made it a good decision," Miller said of low prices and interest rates. "Those guarantees just helped solidify that decision."

These deals and others -- such as JetBlue refunding tickets to customers who are laid off, and Jos. A. Bank refunding the price of a suit, and allowing the customer to keep the suit -- may increase in the coming months if unemployment figures rise into double digits, as they are in California, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at

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