Manufacturer Warranties: A Brief Guide for Homebuilders
As an experienced homebuilder, you’re probably familiar with manufacturer warranties, but in case you need a brief refresher — or if you wish to expand your knowledge beyond the surface level — we’ve pulled together a brief guide, just for you.
Read on to understand where you, the homebuilder, fit into the warranty repair equation, and how you can increase homebuyer satisfaction by providing the smoothest warranty claim experience possible.
What Is a Manufacturer Warranty and What’s Covered?
A manufacturer warranty is a guarantee that a product will work as intended, or the manufacturer will fix or replace it. A warranty can last anywhere from a month to a decade, depending on the expected life span of a product, and it covers anything that malfunctions as a result of defective materials or manufacturing errors. In some cases, individual components may be warrantied separately from the complete product. Generally, issues from improper use or missed maintenance are not covered, so it’s important to thoroughly understand and follow the user manual to avoid voiding the warranty.
How Does the Claim Process Work?
The claim process is typically detailed in the product manual, often with a phone number, email address, or website provided to start the claim process. Once something malfunctions, it’s important to submit a claim right away in order to get it fixed.
In some cases, the company will pay a professional to complete the repairs. In other cases, such as with small appliances, the product may need to be shipped to the manufacturer for repairs. If the damage is severe enough, the manufacturer may just send a replacement and dispose of the original.
Which Home Appliances and Systems Are Covered by a Manufacturer Warranty?
Typically, most large home appliances are covered by some kind of manufacturer warranty; this includes refrigerators, ovens, washers, dryers, and garbage disposals. Some systems installed as whole units, such as HVAC systems, may also be covered. Homeowners who are unsure of whether a product will be covered under warranty should check with the manufacturer before purchasing.
How Do Homeowners Register Products With the Manufacturer?
These days, most appliances can be registered through an online form on the manufacturer’s website. Less commonly, the homeowner may need to fill out a physical form and mail it in.
Proper registration typically requires proof of purchase, the serial number or identification number of the appliance, and some personal information about the owner, such as their name, address, and contact information. Other types of required information may vary by manufacturer, so a homeowner registering their product should make sure they have all the paperwork that accompanied the purchase. This is another reason homeowners should register home products sooner rather than later; that way, it’s less likely that important information will be misplaced.
How Often Are Homeowners Actually Registering Products?
Because registering home products has been cumbersome historically, new homeowners often aren’t as diligent about registering home products as they should be — even though the benefits to registering are undeniable.
Fortunately, tools like HomeKeep — a home maintenance app — facilitate product registration. With HomeKeep, users can:
- Easily upload the necessary documentation and automatically register all of their appliances at once
- Store important documents such as user manuals, warranty contracts, and proofs of purchase, in case they are needed to make a claim
- Begin the warranty claim process right in the app, rather than calling the manufacturer’s customer service line (and potentially spending hours on hold)
Who Is Responsible for Repairs: The Homebuilder or the Manufacturer?
When is a repair covered by a warranty claim, and when does it become your responsibility as the builder? If there’s an issue with the product itself, it will likely be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, so the claim would go there first. Issues related to installation, on the other hand, likely fall under your homebuilder’s warranty instead. Misuse by the homeowner is typically neither your responsibility nor the manufacturer’s.
Keep in mind that warranties sometimes do not transfer beyond the original owner, so if any appliances or materials are purchased secondhand, they may not be covered. Even if the warranty transfers, it may not be possible to prove the item was properly maintained or used as intended, which may void the warranty anyway. Make sure the homebuyer is aware of this so they aren’t blindsided if something breaks down.
What’s Required to Maintain a Warranty?
In some cases, upkeep may be required to keep a warranty active. If the homeowner fails to use or maintain the product as prescribed by the manual, that can void the warranty. This is one reason it’s critical for homeowners to stay on top of maintenance and keep records of services performed. Tools like HomeKeep can help homeowners manage maintenance to-dos so they aren’t forgotten — and product warranties aren’t voided as a result.
Make Warranty Claims a Breeze With HomeKeep
As just one of our home management and maintenance tools, HomeKeep makes the registration and warranty claim process easy. We partner with homebuilders to offer HomeKeep to new homebuyers. By simplifying and improving the experience of homeownership — including the product registration and warranty claim process — HomeKeep can help create more satisfied buyers. Find more information about our homebuilder partnerships here.