When I think of warranties, I think of health insurance. I’m not going to read the coverage because I don’t know what half of it means and I think (hope) nothing will happen. As a result, I don’t really know what’s covered until something happens. (Hello, Achilles tendon.) And then I have no idea what it will cost me. (Please don’t tear, Achilles. I hear you’re worth $6K. No idea on the out-of-pocket.)
So, I understand the dread of reading a warranty. But I also know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Warranties can and should be written in plain language, they should cover the things you care about, and they should guarantee a high level of service. In fact, I believe that a solid warranty is a top indicator of a company’s confidence in its products and level of service.
Our team at Xybix worked hard to structure a warranty that takes care of our customers without gouging them on cost. In the process, I learned a lot about technical furniture warranties. I want to share the details with you to make sure you get a fair deal, whether or not you purchase from us. Read on for my thoughts then use the handy worksheet below to evaluate warranties.
- Define “Lifetime”
The word “lifetime” gets thrown around a lot in warranties. Whose lifetime does this cover—mine, yours, the furniture’s? In general, the lifetime is the amount of time the buyer owns the furniture. Technical furniture tends to last 15 to 20 years before it becomes outdated or succumbs to normal wear and tear. If a company is offering a lifetime warranty, be sure you understand what “lifetime” means to them.
Note: It’s important to understand why a company might not offer a lifetime warranty. If they do not manufacture the product themselves, they are reliant on the supplier’s quality and the supplier remaining in business. If a supplier goes out of business, the company may be left with no remedy for warranty issues. In general, avoid warranties that do not include “lifetime” on the products they manufacture.
- Understand Your Limits
A lot of times, “limited” sneaks into those lifetime warranties. The limits in a lifetime limited warranty are the tricky part. The vendor may cover only what they manufacture, such as the frame and desktop. Parts manufactured by other companies, such as the lift columns and lighting, may be covered by different warranties and require different service agreements (see OEM below). Unfortunately, these are the items that often require repair. Look for a company that warranties the complete end product so you’re not juggling multiple warranties and service providers.
- Watch Out for OEM
OEM refers to the manufacturer of the various components like lights, fans and lift columns. (OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and also may be called a “buyout.”) If one of these components breaks down, the warranty may require you to work with the OEM rather than the technical furniture manufacturer. This can also mean that various components have different warranties, such as 2 years for the lights and 6 years for the fans. Labor may or may not be covered, requiring the customer to handle repairs. The important thing to know is this: If the technical furniture manufacturer has confidence in the suppliers they select, they will warranty the complete end product—and you only need to make one call for service.
- Consider Customer Service
A warranty doesn’t do any good if you can’t get anyone to help you. When you’re providing service 24/7, you can’t afford to have a console out of commission for an extended time. A few things to look for:
- Contact: One point of contact, available when you need it (that is, 24/7), is crucial. And being able to talk the problem over with a live person? All the better.
- Parts: Another consideration is parts. Will the manufacturer decide that a desk is obsolete—long before you do—and no longer make parts?
- Simple Replacements: If the warranty offers to ship parts for “simple replacements,” that means you need to do the work. Do you have the tools, know-how and desire to fix your own furniture that is under warranty?
- Timing: How soon can the company get to you for on-site repairs? Will they charge if you need service that is faster or more convenient for you, the customer?
See what the warranty promises and then give the customer service contact number a try yourself.
- Find Out What Happens When the Warranty Runs Out
Before you take comfort in warranty protection, find out what happens the day after. If the warranty on a key component (such as the lift columns) expires, will the company still help you with repairs? Are parts, labor and shipping affordable? Are replacement parts available? Ask to speak to customers whose product has outlived the warranty program. Another option is an extended warranty program. You may be able to purchase an extended warranty from a manufacturer or the extended coverage (and cost) may be included with the product.
Xybix Keeps It Simple
Xybix provides a lifetime warranty on all components we manufacture, 10 years on all other parts, and 10 years free labor and shipping—all under one point of contact. We are confident that all our components are made to last. If something fails, we’re here to fix it. See the details here, and feel free to give us a call for details.
We don’t build in the cost of an extended warranty because we know some customers will keep their products in good working order and not want the extra cost. If your business or employees tend to be hard on furniture, you can purchase the extended warranty up-front.
I know this is a lot to think about, so we developed a worksheet that will guide you through the warranty evaluation process. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your salesperson for help.
Download a handy printable Warranty Evaluation Worksheet below