From the Latin phrase “caveat emptor,” meaning “Let the buyer beware,” specifically of hidden things, what we would call the fine print, caveats still exist with warranties.
There is the already discussed issue of transfer of ownership. While understandable, it is something to consider if you are planning something down the road like selling a car or the house to one of your kids. Keep that in mind when you buy large ticket items, and when you buy anything used or something from a friend. Most warranties don’t transfer.
Another thing to consider is the health and reputation of the company providing the guarantees. Not all companies stay in business for the 50 year lengths of some of their warranties. There are buyouts, mergers and just failures. Any of these may void a warranty. Buyouts and mergers shouldn’t, but sometimes they do, and apparently it’s legal. Being a big fan of integrity myself, I can say that one of the things that makes me proud to work for Floors To Your Home is its longevity. Floors To Your Home is basically our new name as the internet business has become our focus. The parent company, called Irvin Kahn & Son, Inc. has been in the flooring business for 91 years now, and remains in the hands of the same family. Also, being a flooring company selling mostly to homeowners, we have survived pretty well during the housing bust and the economic crisis of the past few years.
If there are strict and detailed maintenance guidelines for a product, you must pay attention to them and follow them closely. For the most part, companies cannot use a warranty to create what is often called “tie-in sales.” That’s when they make you use their products to maintain their stuff, otherwise they’ll void the warranty. It’s a big no-no. You should never find any disclaimer like the following in a warranty:
“In order to keep your A.C.M.E. Exploding Tennis Balls from detonating when not in use, you must store them in a genuine, A.C.M.E. Wonder Fridge, available only from Acme Rocket-Powered Products, Inc., a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary Of Roadrunner Corporation. Failure to do so voids the Unintended Explosions While In Stasis guarantee, and voids all warranties including those which guarantee detonation upon contact with birds.”
This is a tie-in – your product is only guaranteed if you buy another product (or service) from the same company. They may not do this. They may not rope you into an unwelcome arrangement forcing you to keep buying from them to maintain their warranties.
On the other hand, the warranty does not have to cover the cost of just any old maintenance situation. They don’t have to guarantee repairs or parts that are inappropriate for the product. So the following could pass legal muster:
“While the necessary repairs and maintenance of your A.C.M.E. Anvil can be performed by any blacksmith or aerospace engineer, we recommend that you only use authorized A.C.M.E. professionals and genuine A.C.M.E. Anvil Replacement Parts. Any incorrectly performed repair or maintenance will void the warranty.”
The full series:
pt.1: What is a Warranty?
pt.2: Which Law Governs Warranties?
pt.3: The Express Warranty
pt.4: Implied Warranty #1
pt.5: Implied Warranty #2
pt.6: Full and Extended Warranties
pt.7: The Limited Warranty
pt.8: The Caveats (the “bewares”)
pt.9: Used and “As Is” Sales
pt.10: Who is Responsible?
pt.11: How Warranties Work: Who is Responsible? The Installer? The Shipper?
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David is a Writer at Floors To Your Home (.com), as well as the PPC Manager, a Marketing Strategy Team member, a Researcher, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jitō. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, explore film history, mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’) and write non-fiction for my friends. Connect with me on W. David Lichty’s Google+
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