What’s in a Warranty?

What’s in a Warranty?
Photo Credit To Bacho Photo

Although extended warranties provide installers and their customers with an extra layer of protection, NVC UK explains why electricians should understand the terms of their warranty in order to avoid any nasty surprises at a later stage.

In the good old days of T5, T8, 2D and PL technology, product warranties were rarely discussed, and certainly never used to compare the relative merits of one brand or product versus another.

The LED market today, however, is full of competitors, most offering product warranties that are significantly longer than in the pre-LED world, and many offering a “site warranty”, not just providing product replacement, but a full replacement installation service as well. That obviously represents added value, and lowers risk.

“So that’s like a five year warranty on my car?” we hear you ask. In most cases the answer to this question is “no”, and that’s why it’s important to understand the warranty process associated with LEDs.

What’s ‘normal’?

In most cases, product warranties for LED lighting specify a ‘normal’ failure rate, below which the warranty is not valid, or is conditional on an annual operating time. An example of this might be where a figure of 0.2% per thousand hours is used, and the installation is 400 fittings. ‘Normal’ annual usage is often quoted as no more than 5,000 hours. On the basis of that scenario, 20 fitting failures over a five year period would be defined as being ‘normal’ and therefore outside the warranty terms.

Another example might be an environment that is in use for 16 hours per day, seven days a week – something that is not so unusual in today’s 24/7 business environment. A ‘normal’ daily operating time can be defined to be as little as eight hours per day (or about 3,000 hours per annum), half the actual usage in this example. On that basis, any kind of warranty claim could be rejected.

20 on/off cycles per day is also cited in many warranties as a maximum, though it’s difficult to identify how the manufacturer might measure that in the event of a disputed warranty claim.

In summary, therefore, if a car had an LED lighting warranty then it would only apply if you used the car below a specified annual mileage, below a specified number of start/stop cycles every day, and then the warranty would only apply above a certain defined number of failures or breakdowns!

Going for gold

‘Site warranties’ look to be the ‘gold standard’ warranty, offering not just replacement goods, but on-site installation as well. The first observation here is that the primary product warranty will always apply, so if, for example, any of the issues identified earlier applied, or any other exclusions, then the site warranty wouldn’t apply.

You should also remember that whilst the headline product claim may be a five year warranty, and a site warranty may be part of the offer, the site warranty element may actually be for a significantly shorter period.

Always read the ‘small print’

There’s no doubt that warranties are a good thing. They reassure installers and their clients as to the quality and reliability of the product being supplied. The increase in warranty periods is certainly a healthy development as contractors are afforded more protection than they’ve had in the past.

However, you should remember that there is ‘small print’ involved with most warranties and it always makes sense to read and understand it when making a buying decision..  

For more information about the range of LED lighting solutions available from NVC UK visit: www.nvcuk.com

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