When making a decision on hiring a company to install your new generator, the saying ” the warranty is only as good as the company offering it ” is really true.
When making a decision on hiring a company to install your new generator, most homeowners consider reputation, process, price and warranty. Why an entire blog post dedicated to understanding warranty? Because it is one of the most misunderstood things in our industry.
One common misconception is that a warranty is the same thing as a guarantee. While both serve as protection for the consumer, there is a big difference. A guarantee is an assurance that if a product or service doesn’t work, it will be replaced or repaired, typically at no charge. A warranty, on the other hand, acts more like an insurance policy It basically is a promise to provide service or repair, if something goes wrong. A common misconception is that everything is covered by the warranty, even if it is not part of the manufactured shipped assembly. Making sure you have a knowledgeable generator installer will insure that your generator is installed correctly, and that all the parts have been tested. I can not tell you the number of times, ” X-Y-Z Electric Company ” told the owner that they ” knew what they were doing” and have ” installed a few before ” when at times parts, pressures, and electrical systems are set up completely incorrect. The wrong size fuel line, electrical wires, no cold weather kit, no anti-vibration line, the list goes on, and on. Imagine the customer’s dismay, when it is stated there will be a charge for this.
Let’s put this in the context of home generators. If you decide to have a new generator installed, you get a warranty, not a guarantee. So if it fails, you don’t get your money back. Instead, you are given a promise that the company will come back and take care of the problem.
This might be obvious to some of you – especially for those who went to law school or are frequent watchers of the People’s Court or Judge Judy. But now let’s talk about the not-so-obvious:
- A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. If they go out business (like most of our competitors have over the past 5-10 years), your warranty means nothing.
- Companies often use a warranty as a marketing tool, to “one up” their competition. If they are a lesser known company, or even worse, have a poor reputation, this sales tactic is probably the only thing keeping them in business. You may be in your house longer than they actually stay in business!
- Do not be afraid to question a contractor on how long the company has used a certain process. If they have only used a process for a short time, how comfortable are you with their “5 year warranty”?
- Make sure to read the fine print. Every company has a clause that basically says “We are not responsible for damage to property caused by an electrical outage”. Remember this is not a guarantee. If you need to use your warranty, pick a company with a good reputation and many years of experience to solve your problem the FIRST time.
- The Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List are great resources for consumers. Understand, however, that neither organization has any legal authority to force a fly-by-night company to honor their warranty.
- A lawyer is always a last resort, but there is no guarantee you will prevail. Anyone who has first hand experience with our court system understands how exhausting and expensive a lawsuit can be.
- Tony Soprano is just a fictional character on HBO; he can’t make things right for you!
Bottom line: basing a purchase solely on “We have installed a few before, and no worries, it has a 5 year warranty” is a recipe for disaster. Hire the right company, with the best product lines, and have a proven record of installation and service. Everything else will fall into place, giving you a correctly sized, correctly installed, reliable generator unit.
We have 25 years of experience and carry lines such as Generac, GE, Kohler, and Cummins. We can offer you a competent installation, done correctly the first time. We will stand behind the warranty, in the unfortunate event you may need to use it, we will be here to help.
Midwest Electric & Generator, Inc 612-284-1550