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Volume 7   Issue 5               May 2006

From the Publisher

Warranties—Still a 
Semi-Secretive Topic

by Tara Taffera

When I interviewed manufacturers … sorry, let me rephrase that … when I tried to interview manufacturers in 2002 for an article in DWM on door and window warranties, most were tight-lipped. The majority of mouths are still closed, but I’m proud to report that when we reopened the topic recently for an industry survey, more manufacturers were willing to talk than in past years.

The article on page 44 and the survey DWM commissioned (results on page 44) are very insightful. There were, however, things that couldn’t make it into that feature, so I wanted to share a few additional warranty insights here based on conversations with both industry experts and consumers. 

At DWM magazine, we often get calls from homeowners about a variety of topics. Following are a few things consumers have told me or asked on the subject of warranties:

• I have heard several versions of “I can’t figure out who manufactured my window. There is no label.”
• “It seems the consumers have very little protection in the window industry. Hopefully we can find a window company with more integrity in the future.”
• “All of my new windows are fogging. Aren’t there some sort of standards the industry must follow?” (In this case, again there was no label on the window.)

In my conversation with industry experts for the warranty article, most agreed that that the above statements are all too common. They agreed that its even difficult for someone in the industry to determine who made a particular window let alone a consumer. 

But, thankfully, Marlin Clausner, president of WeatherVane Windows, believes this non-labeling may be common on older homes but most manufacturers are now labeling windows clearly. 

What about the issue of “foggy windows” and other workmanship issues? Many agree that for some manufacturers, a better job needs to be done. But what about the units that are made correctly? That are quadrupled checked? 

Clausner says that sometimes, no matter how much inspection or testing is conducted, a particular unit may fail. He reports that sometimes a dealer or distributor will say to him “There is no reason that window should have failed.”

“But it’s the customer’s perception that matters,” he adds.

And if a negative perception exists about a particular window company, it could be a negative perception exists for the window industry as a whole. 

Perhaps this is why the American Architectural Manu-facturers Association (AAMA) is embarking on a promotional campaign to publicize the AAMA certification label to architects, builders and even consumers. Maybe if they knew to look for a certification program by industry associations they’d have some help in their fight. Then maybe, in the future, people would be saying that all manufacturers do have integrity. 

© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.