Shopping online for office furniture can be intimidating for inexperienced or uninformed customers. We are often asked, “Is there some type of guarantee with this?” This is a very valid question; you are spending a lot of money and most of the time you do not have the opportunity to see or use the furniture beforehand. Almost all office furniture sold online will come with a “guarantee” which is referred to as a warranty.
A warranty is the manufacturer’s way of displaying confidence in their product by giving the customer a specific time frame in which their furniture can be repaired or replaced should the item become defective or unusable. The specifics of the warranty can often be complicated and confusing. In this article, we hope to shed some light on how office furniture warranties work and what you should expect if you need to file a claim.
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Table of Contents
- 5 Important Warranty Limitations
- Warranty Time Frame
- Labor and Shipping
- Non-intended Use
- Normal Wear and Tear
- What to Expect When Filing a Warranty Claim
- Final Thoughts
The Truth About Office Furniture Warranties Video
5 Important Warranty Limitations
It is important to understand that manufacturer’s do not want to have to be replacing parts or entire products under warranty claims. The more warranty claims a manufacturer has to settle, the more profit they lose to the cost of parts and space they lose due to warehousing the parts. Many conditions will often be written into the fine print of the warranty that will exclude items from being covered. Here are the 5 most frequent things to look for when considering a warranty’s limitations:
1. Warranty Time Frame
Most warranties are labeled by the longest time frame offered on a portion of the furniture. An example would be, “Limited Lifetime Warranty”. This is the most common type of warranty we see on office furniture. The “lifetime” will only apply to certain parts of the warranty. For instance, an office chair may have a limited lifetime warranty in which chair parts like: casters, cylinder and arms will be covered for the lifetime of the chair but other things like the foam and fabric will only be covered for a few years. It is important to read the full warranty details so you are aware of the time period covered for the entire piece of furniture.
In our experience, it is very rare to find a piece of office furniture that is sold with a warranty that transfers to someone else if the item is resold or given away. This means that most of the time, the warranty is only valid for the original purchaser. Make sure to keep your original receipt in a safe place so that it can be given to the manufacturer just in case they require it to file a claim. Relying on the merchant who sold you the furniture to send you a new receipt may not be reliable since a warranty will often outlast the amount of time a company keeps records.
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3. Labor and Shipping
Some warranties do not cover the costs of labor and/or shipping. This could mean an added cost to have the parts or entire item shipped to you. This may also mean that an added cost may be applied should the manufacturer need to perform labor or hire someone else to perform the labor. Many manufacturers do not offer labor services at all which means that replacements would need to be completed by the customer.
4. Non-intended Use
Any use or modification to the furniture will immediately void the warranty. This would apply to things such as: exceeding the weight rating, standing on a seating surface or adding and removing parts. We recommend that customers avoid performing repairs or trying to replace parts without first contacting the manufacturer. They will be able to provide proper instructions for repairs or replacements if it is allowed under their terms.
5. Normal Wear and Tear
A warranty will not cover occurrences from normal wear and tear. Wear and tear is damage that will eventually occur as a result of using the furniture repetitively and competently. This type of stipulation most typically applies to leather surfaces and foam padding. We recommend that customers are always using their furniture as intended and performing any maintenance necessary to prolong the life of the furniture. This may include things such as buffing or cleaning upholstery or routinely tightening screws and bolts.
What to Expect When Filing a Warranty Claim
If damage or a defect becomes present with your furniture, it is important to contact the manufacturer or dealer that sold you the furniture immediately to get the process started on filing a claim. Filing a claim will often include filling out a simple form or sending an email to the manufacturer’s warranty department. You will also need to take pictures that clearly display the damage or defect. If the defect is something that cannot be sent in a photo, like an excessively loud height adjustable table motor, then a video would be recommended.
Once the warranty is approved, the items will either be repaired or replaced. Depending on the specifics of the warranty, as discussed above, repairs and replacements may or may not be the responsibility of the customer in the field. If the repairs/replacements cannot be performed by the customer in the field, then the customer will need to ship the item back to the manufacturer to be worked on. The shipping costs to the manufacturer and back to the customer will often be the responsibility of the customer.
It is always our recommendation that customers request replacement parts and attempt to replace the parts themselves, if possible. Most manufacturers are willing to send something like an office chair cylinder out for no charge. A part like this can be replaced very easily with the right tools and help from tutorial videos, which greatly reduces the time that the chair will be out of service. If the warranty claim is denied, then your best option may be to pay for replacement parts if they are available. This can often be far less costly than having to replace an entire piece of furniture.
A warranty is often one of the strongest indicators of product quality. Furniture with a long length of time that lacks a ton of confusing conditions is almost always of higher quality than one with a short time span with a bunch of exclusions. A warranty is very valuable to a customer and should not be overlooked. It is our hope that you will be better informed on what to expect out of a warranty and what red flags to look for.