Beware of undue reliance on a warranty

Warranties are only as good as the company backing them. Savvy con artists and shoddy contractors know that homeowners let down their guard when they hear that there is a warranty. A warranty is a marketing tool. When used by a good contractor it can provide assurance that they will stand behind their work. When used by a con artist, it is used to lure you into a deal they have no real intent on honoring. How do you know the difference? It is not on that paper with a big label...."this is a real warranty". Research and due diligence up front is the only way. A warranty should never be a substitute for doing your due diligence in selecting a contractor and monitoring the project through completion. Making sure the work is performed by a quality contractor is the best warranty you can get. Quality contractors are more likely to stand behind their warranties and to be in business if an issue comes up. If that contractor is a poor contractor, the contractor is unlikely to stand behind a warranty and if they actually do, they will take the same bad shortcuts they did in the initial project.
For those of you who have had warranty claim nightmares, share some of your story as a warning to others, especially if you have any tips on what you might have done to differently.
  9 answers
  • JP S JP S on Jan 20, 2012
    Thank you,Kevin!!!

  • 3po3 3po3 on Jan 20, 2012
    It's a bit of a tangent, but I would warn against most extended warranties as well. This image I borrowed from is the best explanation I have seen for why they are largely a ripoff. Sorry it's so small.

  • Steve, I would agree generally. And remember some credit cards offer "extended warranties" if you use them when purchasing products, but that is not likely to help you in all remodeling situations.

  • I can't say for sure about other states, but here in Florida any contractor is required by law to offer a 1 year warranty on all work done. What do other staes have (from those who live there)?

  • You find lifetime warranties on water proofing companies all the time. Only to find out their out of business in less then one. I think they are the worse offenders of pretty much any contracting business out there.

  • Dan, Georgia also requires a "written warranty" but does not specify a length and appears to accept "no warranty" in the contract as "written". But that rule only applies to residential and general contractors and not exempt specialty contractors. As I tell my clients, despite the statement of a few Board members about their particular interpretation of the law, there has been no official ruling and there has been no court interpretation of the law. For most clients, offering a warranty is one of their competititve marketing necessities.

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Jan 21, 2012
    The best way to insure that you get a good warranty is to refer your "good" contractor to others that can benefit from the same service. I have seen many good companies go out of business since they did they did not ask for more work from their past clients.

  • Woodbridge makes a good point. Many homeowners don't understand that many times the "lifetime" part of a "lifetime warranty" is actually referring to the lifetime of the business, not of a person's entire life. When the business goes under, so does the warranty.

  • Whatever the the fine and very fine print. Good companies have simple, easy to understand warranties. HandyANDY offers a lifetime warranty on hardiplank siding fully transferable & a lifetime of warranty or 10-years transferable on 2-coats of exterior hand paint work. Most of the rest of what we do is 1 to 3 year warranties.