“Lifetime” warranty can be slippery, especially when a dealer is carrying out the warranty on behalf of the manufacturer. When you buy a new spa, read the warranty carefully, so you know what to expect.
In this case, a Cal Spas dealer told a spa owner that the spa part that failed was no longer under warranty, and she paid full price for the new spa heater.
Glad to see that Cal Spas did the right thing by this customer. Dealers may make less money on a warranty repair than on selling a new replacement spa part – should also do the right thing, and Cal Spas needs to see to that.
Here’s the Story:
When Bridget DeZiel’s hot tub turned cold earlier this fall, she figured the lifetime warranty meant she would get a new heater gratis. Yet the Bloomington woman paid $250 to replace the unit because she was told that “lifetime” on her eight-year-old Cal Spas hot tub meant seven years.
The definition of lifetime is slippery when it comes to product warranties. Manufacturers often mean the expected lifespan of the product, or they could mean the time it’s owned by its original buyer, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The least common usage is the lifetime of the owner, the FTC says.
In DeZiel’s case, the dealer made a mistake, because lifetime really meant lifetime and DeZiel should have paid only the labor cost, according to Cal Spas spokeswoman Courtney Salas. The Pomona, Calif.-based company has contacted its Minnesota distributors to correct these misinterpretations, Salas said.
As for DeZiel’s overpayment, “we’ll take care of it,” Salas said.
What surprises have you encountered with lifetime warranties? Most lifetime warranties are not transferable, or they may only be for the “expected life” of the product. Or, is it for the lifetime of the original purchaser? Many questions – read the warranty carefully before purchase, and ask questions if unclear.
And, if a dealer gives you an unsatisfactory response, take your warranty claim directly to the manufacturer.