How Warranties Work: Who is Responsible? The Seller or the Manufacturer?

Posted on Apr 28th 2022 by David — Comments ↓

I mentioned a scenario in the first warranty post where customer Oswald had two businesses fighting over who didn’t have to honor the warranty on his damaged floor. I've also written about a situation where a retailer might take over a warranty and extend it. To whom do you go, then, if your warranty has any complexity? Let’s say the manufacturer has given one, the company that sold it to you has extended it, and then you had it installed by professionals who made their own guarantees. Where do you go? Let’s look at these in some detail.


[caption id="attachment_3078" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Flooring Manufacturers"]Flooring Manufacturers[/caption]

The manufacturer can only guarantee that the product will be free from defects at the time it is sold, and will function normally for a reasonable amount of time. Their express warranty will be set for a specified minimum time of their choosing. That's how it protects you, the buyer, but it also needs to protect the manufacturer from improper applications of the implied warranty for fitness for a particular use. So not only will the flooring packaging just not say “Good for use on ceilings as well,” it might actually bear a warning, “Not to be install on ceilings!” This seems silly, perhaps even a little insulting, but once you've been on the receiving end of

a lawsuit from some bonehead for whom installing engineered hardwood flooring on the ceiling not only didn't seem silly, but seemed to have been implied to be possible, you'll go ahead and put it in writing. Expect to see some pretty obvious things listed as exclusions, and then let your mind wander the stories which could have lead to them. (The most famous example I know of is “Cape will not enable the wearer to fly” put on some superhero Halloween costumes in the 1980’s.)


Often their warranties will be an extension of the manufacturer’s warrantied time. If that is the case, then if a defect is found during the manufacturer’s warranty time period, you would normally contact the manufacturer for resolution. If the defect is found afterwards, in the extended period offered by the retailer, then you would contact the retailer to solve your problem.

[caption id="attachment_3087" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Clicking this image takes you to a little tour of our store."]Floors To Your Home's Store[/caption]

The other thing a retailer can do is just add their own warranty to the manufacturer’s, one with better options for you, closer to a full warranty. Usually this is an extended warranty as described in the previous piece, and usually it will at the very least replicate, and most often go beyond the coverages in the manufacturer’s warranty. In this case you would start with the retailer for resolutions, even if their coverage time period overlaps the manufacturer's. Example - You get the 'Anything Goes' super warranty from the store on a new laptop, and later you drop it. Even though Apple has warrantied the device, you just go back to the store and do the automatic swap you pre-paid for, because it's the better warranty of the two.  

Next time: What about the installers?    


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?

- - - - 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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