When making a decision on hiring a basement waterproofing contractor, most homeowners consider reputation, process, price and warranty. Why an entire blog post dedicated to understanding a basement waterproofing 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, typically at no charge. A warranty, on the other hand, acts more like an insurance policy. It basically is a promise to provide service if something goes wrong.
Let’s put this in the context of basement waterproofing. If you contract a basement waterproofing contractor to repair a foundation crack or install a drain tile system, 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 of business (like most of our competitors have over the past 10-20 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 five years, how comfortable are you with their “lifetime 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 water seepage”. Remember this is not a guarantee. If you need to use your warranty, the repair didn’t work, so 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 a warranty is a recipe for disaster. Hire the right company with the best solution and everything else will fall into place.
Just so you know, we offer a lifetime warranty on residential drain tile systems and crack repairs. Our business continues to grow year after year. “Lifetime” really means something when you’ve been in business since 1957.