What Is Your Warranty Worth?

Photo of a wrapped van When creating and installing adhesive-backed vinyl or film graphics, it is important to understand what warranty coverage is available. Everyone expects the products they purchase to perform to their expectations, but understanding which companies provide warranties, and what those warranties are, is important should you have a product issue. The following covers some basic elements of warranties, and how end-use performance is typically covered by a digital media manufacturer.

Converting or Printing Equipment
Typically equipment manufacturers provide a standard limited coverage warranty. The warranty typically will state that the product will conform to the manufacturer’s specifications and will be free from defects in workmanship and materials for a period of one year from the date of original purchase (proof of purchase required).

With regard to printing equipment, the manufacturer will likely warrant that the ink shipped with or purchased with the print engine will perform to the manufacturer’s specified usage, which usage may expire before the expiration of the limited warranty for the printer. Many manufacturers will offer premium subscription warranty plans, or extended coverage for an additional fee.

It is not usual for equipment manufacturers to provide coverage for output, fitness for use, or end use applications.

Adhesive Backed Media and Laminates
Historically, adhesive backed product manufacturers have assumed the liability for end use performance of color change, sign cut, or digitally printed graphics. Each manufacturer has its own specific levels of warranty coverage based on a specific product and its expected performance.

Level 1: “Product Warranty”
Most manufacturers offer a basic warranty. This warranty typically states products are covered to be free from defects and deliver consistent high quality and performance for sign materials, screen print films, digital media, and reflective products as dictated by the manufacturer. Basically, the product will be free from defects when shipped, and if there is a defect, material may be replaced, or purchase price refunded.

Level 2: “Performance Guarantee”
Some manufacturers will provide a next-level warranty, which includes the Product Warranty coverage and adds coverage for durability, image quality, and end use performance. These warranties provide confidence that print media has been tested and qualified for compatibility, and give estimates for durability. Like the Product Warranty, this level of warranty only provides replacement costs for the adhesive backed films value.

Level 3: “Premium Warranty”
This warranty level includes the coverage offered by the previous levels, and is only offered by a few adhesive backed film manufacturers. This warranty specifies the inks, processes, application procedures, and usually requires job registration and certification of the convertor and installer.

Level 3 warranty coverage provides protection for defects in the graphics, such as excessive fading, discoloration, cracking, crazing, peeling, blistering, excessive dimensional change, loss of adhesion, and loss of reflectivity. It also includes those defects attributed to recommended ink, which made the finish graphic visually unsuitable for its intended purpose when viewed with the intended lighting angle and distance for such a graphic, and determined by customary industry standards, taking into account normal wear and tear.

What’s Next?
Understanding the warranty available to you and your customers is key to success and positive outcomes if a failure occurs. There are more details around the warranty process and offerings from various adhesive backed product manufacturers available from their websites.

Next Wednesday, July 29, 7-8 pm ET, PRINTING United Alliance will be hosting the PDAA Shop Talk – Happy Hour webinar, which will explore pertinent topics, including warranty programs and how to successfully navigate the process when necessary. Register today!

Image courtesy of VectorStock.com.