The Log Cabin

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Log Cabin Warrantees - Buyer Beware

Most log manufacturers provide a limited warranty with the sale of their log home packages. Having read a number of them, the value of their warranty is not entirely clear. ‘Limited’ seems to me that they not only do not cover all the costs related to their defects, their coverage is subject to interpretation. In other words, you need a lawyer to figure out what you’ve got.

The warranty typically states that the company will replace any logs that develop manufacturing related defects. There is, of course, no definition of what is considered a manufacturing defect. For example, insufficiently dried logs are naturally susceptible to shrinking, settling, checking, warping and twisting as they dry. Are these considered manufacturing defects? It’s not clear to me.

Honestly being unsure, I recently asked a log cabin manufacturing company representative, what constitutes a manufacturing defect? His response via e-mail was contradicted by his company’s written warranty. Even the company representative wasn’t clear on the warranty. The warranty specifically excluded checking, warping and twisting. He didn’t exclude those conditions. Shrinking and settling were not specifically excluded. So maybe they were covered. Maybe they weren’t. I, as the buyer, should know.

The warrantees also specifically exclude ‘labor, installation and shipping costs related to their manufacturing defect. Give me a break. I’ve got to pay anything because of your bad quality work? Fortunately, some states wisely have laws that will take precedence over the limitation or exclusion of consequential damages. Check your state law. If your state law doesn’t protect you in a situation like this when you’re not at fault, you have my sympathy.

One condition to these warrantees that I fully endorse is the proper maintenance of the logs by the owner. You are required to follow a recommended ongoing preservation treatment of the logs. If you don’t comply, the warranty is voided. Hey, if you don’t want to maintain it as required, you shouldn’t buy it.

Many log cabin warranteess are lifetime. Some are for limited terms. If the coverage is not clear, does the term really matter?

There are a lot of log home manufacturers out there. Apparently there are not quite enough. Warranty provisions seem to me to be less than customer friendly. Under these conditions, I would want to be satisfied that my log cabin manufacturer is providing quality logs. It’s all the more reason to verify claims with customers. You will once again hear my battle cry! Do your research!

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