Whether or not you believe the old adage, “they don’t make them like they used to,” it’s true all the way around that the products and services you pay for should deliver on their promises. When they don’t, consumers have a resource to protect their purchase: a manufacturer warranty. What do they cover, and how do they work? Here’s your basic manufacturer warranty guide.
Have more questions after reading this post? Don't hesitate to contact the LAS Shutters + Windows team for information!
How does a manufacturer's warranty work?
A basic manufacturer warranty begins on the day of purchase or date of installation. If you are buying a new refrigerator, for example, your warranty activates on the day you buy it (not the day of delivery). For something related to home improvement, like getting new shutters or siding, warranties for both parts and labor activate on installation day, no matter when you paid for the actual product or service.
If the product fails, consumers can contact the company about the issue. This could trigger a few different options:
- A company rep comes to inspect the issue
- The company asks that you take pictures or send the product to them (if feasible)
- You may be required to provide proof of purchase
Once this process is put into place and depending on the manufacturer warranty you have, you may be offered a repair, a replacement, or a refund.
For warranties on labor, the company will usually send a representative out or ask for pictures before completing a repair. For example, if you had a roof installed and the flashing comes loose in the first big windstorm, your roofing company should send a crew out to make that repair.
The process varies from company to company, but the end result is the same: your product or service is repaired or replaced.
How do manufacturer warranties protect consumers?
In a perfect world, every company you do business with would be honest and upfront about their products and services. But let’s face it: sometimes even the best products fail, or an installer misses the mark, and this can affect how your product functions.
When this happens, even a basic manufacturer warranty protects you and your family. You won’t have to pay out of pocket for reinstallation or a replacement product if it fails through no fault of your own.
Keep in mind that a manufacturer’s warranty usually only specifies that it covers a product when it is used as intended. If a product fails when used in a different manner than intended, a warranty may not cover it. Think about when someone rocks back on two chair legs and the legs break. That's not how a chair should be used, and a manufacturer would not cover that repair.
In addition, products that are not properly maintained may also see their warranty voided. For example, a warranty on an HVAC system can be voided if the consumer does not regularly change the filters and have them cleaned as recommended.
Finally, be aware of who is providing the product warranty and how many companies are involved with its fulfillment. With replacement windows, for example, many manufacturers will limit warranty coverage to the performance of the window system itself—not installation. Since many more issues arise due to faulty installation, this effectively limits your protection.
Aside from those caveats, a manufacturer warranty is a good idea for major purchases and products that you intend to use for years to come, and every reputable company is proud to warranty their products and services.
What does a manufacturer warranty mean?
There are actually three basic types of manufacturer warranties: implied, written, and express. Here's what they mean for you.
Implied manufacturer warranties
Implied warranties are the commonsense version of a warranty. This means that the product (or service) you are purchasing should do what it is intended to do. A toaster should toast bread. A door should open and close.
Every state in the U.S. has some version of implied warranty. Even if your actual purchase does not come with a written warranty, it is covered by law under an implied one. Even if sold “as-is,” the seller has to guarantee that your purchase will perform as intended. If your freezer barely cools food to room temperature, it is covered under an implied warranty.
A written warranty comes with most major purchases, either as part of the purchase price or for an additional cost. Typically written warranties will include the following important provisions:
- How long the warranty lasts
- What it covers
- Who to contact for service or defects
- Coverage for consequential damage (e.g., water damage if a pipe bursts)
- How the company handles product failure
- Warranty limitations
A basic manufacturer warranty (written) can often be extended for an additional cost.
Express manufacturer warranty
An express manufacturer warranty sets a covered time limit on the functionality of an item. It “expressly” states how long something should work as intended. For example, if your vacuum loses suction in three years but is supposed to function for at least five, the express manufacturer warranty should cover replacement, repair, or refund of your money.
Consider larger purchases like a roof warranty. Manufacturers of all kinds of roofing material offer an express warranty as to how long that material should hold up.
A less common warranty, and one that is challenging to enforce, is a spoken warranty. This includes any promises a salesperson might make about covered parts or service. Getting these promises in writing protects both companies and consumers.
You might also see products with a “lifetime warranty,” but these aren’t exactly as they appear. A lifetime warranty is usually for the natural life of the product. If you have shoes for 25 years and the soles wear out in that time, they have exceeded the product’s natural life and are usually not replaced for free. Likewise, if a product has a lifetime warranty but the product is discontinued, the warranty is usually discontinued too.
Our warranties at LAS Shutters + Windows
At LAS Shutters + Windows, we offer warranties on both our parts and our labor.
As per all government regulations, we make our warranties clear and easy to understand. Terms of each of our warranties may change simply because there are different parts to a window versus a shutter, but they all clearly state what’s covered, the process for obtaining repairs or service, when we would replace a part, and what is considered normal and regular use.
Another part of our user guides and warranties offers tips and suggestions for getting the best performance from your windows, doors, shutters, and other products and services we offer. We don’t want your new shutters, doors, and windows to just look great – we want them to last!
As noted earlier, it's important to recognize who is providing your products’ warranty and how many companies were involved in the fulfillment of the contract. This especially matters when it comes to your windows.
The typical setup for a replacement window company is to sell a product that was bought wholesale from a national mass manufacturer. The company selling you the window will advertise a lifetime warranty, which is simply the manufacturer’s warranty forwarded to you.
Unfortunately, most mass manufacturers limit their coverage to the performance of the window system, in regard to manufacturing defects only, and usually in the very first paragraph of their warranty.
Very rarely does a window itself actually leak. Substantial testing is performed and regularly verified in order to comply with industry regulations. Virtually all issues throughout the life of window and door products come from improper installation.
Therefore, in most cases, the “lifetime” warranty from the window manufacturer is not that useful to you because a separate company and entity simply purchased that window wholesale, and then installed it themselves. Most issues will be the responsibility of the retailer who may or may not offer a warranty at all.
At LAS, we provide full and complete warranty coverage, from pane to placement. That is what truly sets LAS apart from the rest. Our windows are manufactured, installed, and warrantied by one single entity so you get the protection you deserve.
Parts and labor
If we include parts from other companies in our work, those parts are covered by warranties from that company as well.
We also fully warranty our labor. This kicks in on the date of installation. Our customer service team will explain what that means, how long that warranty is in place, and answer any questions you have. We will also provide you with a written explanation of everything we discuss so you know you’re covered!
The LAS team is here to help
We know that your home is your biggest investment. When you are ready to make some changes, we are here from start to finish, ensuring that you have as much trusted support as you need to make a decision.
After your job is done, we’re still with you, offering a comprehensive warranty program to protect your investment.
To learn more about what we do, the terms of our warranties, and why we work so hard for you, get in touch today!