A little while ago the subject of guarantee lengths came up on DGB. Some thought that a guarantee should reflect the projected lifespan of the product, some thought that the guarantee should be a reasonable commitment from the business to maintain their product for a realistic length of time. Now I have a couple of problems with this crop of extra long guarantees that seems to be springing up in places.

Compare To Other Products

Here’s one of my biggest gripes. Look at some of the other standard warranties out there:

  • Cars: 3-7 years depending on the manufacturer
  • Electronics: 12 months as standard with option to buy extended warranty
  • White goods: 1-3 years depending on the manufacturer

The double glazing industry has traditionally had a 10 year guarantee for quite a while now. So when you compare that, to those examples of other household purchases above, it’s already way longer. Yet we’re now seeing 15 and even 20 year guarantees on certain items. Is it necessary? No. So why are they becoming more popular?

Well, plain and simple it’s a sales ploy. What I have found amusing is that some companies locally to me are offering guarantees longer than they have actually been in business. Surely it would be seen as more credible to a customer for a 20 year old business to offer a 15 year guarantee? Would that not demonstrate better that their business is older than the warranties they are offering and that it peace of mind for the customer that the business plans to stick around? To me, a business less than 10 years old offering 15 or 20 year warranties does look a tad false. Just my opinion.

Extra Pressures?

A guarantee is of course a promise from the company to the customer that should any faults with the product or workmanship occur, or if there is to be any remedial work to be done, within a certain period of time, then the company will do that work free of charge. But that promise costs money. It costs wages to send an engineer out to rectify the issues. It costs to run the vehicle they use. It costs whatever spare parts or materials that are needed. This is a ten year promise that could get quite expensive should there be an installation with regular issues. So why would a business want to risk extending that promise even further, when our standard industry warranty is already longer than anything else.

The argument for longer guarantees would be that it’s a demonstration of faith in the product. But I would say to that, if we’re all so confident in the quality of the products we sell, why do we have to justify it with longer guarantees? Surely if they’re built to last then they’re built to last. It could be said that (if a customer was to be a tad inquisitive) a longer guarantee could imply that the product may need more attention. Why does it need a longer warranty? Is something going to go wrong with it?

I’m Not Against Guarantees

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of guarantees. Ten years is a very long time for any product, but my gripe is why are we having to resort to offering longer ones just to simply try and win the extra business. We already offer the longest warranties for any major home purchase. Why extend that promise and potential further cost?

Given that, I don’t see it as a wise move for businesses to be offering mammoth warranties. Saying that, I always wonder what sorts of terms and conditions homeowners have to abide with in order to qualify for these extra long guarantees. I would assume that the mega warranties are VERY subjective and in reality only a few installations would actually qualify for them.

What do you guys think? Are extra long guarantees a good thing? Do they show the industry as confident or desperate to clinch a sale? Do they just put extra pressure on businesses when perhaps they really don’t need to? All comments welcome in the section below.