Furniture warranties and guarantees.

It’s easy to get confused with warranties in general and trying to work out what is and what’s not covered can be very difficult to work out. You can be left in the same situation with office furniture if you are not careful. So hopefully the following will clear up some of the grey areas.

First of all most office furniture guarantees are for 5 years but many of the furniture “pile it high and sell it cheap” dealers, exclude any moving parts and upholstery from this warranty, if not from the beginning, then after one year.

But in most cases it is the moving parts which fail within the warranty period. Things like drawer runners, chair wheels, cupboard locks, operating mechanisms, chair gas rams, adjustable armrests, are the items which tend to fail and need replacing. Occasionally the desk top or desk frame will fail – laminate or edging separates from the main desk – but this is quite rare.

The other area which causes problems for the customer is the fabric, which is in real terms not covered by some reseller guarantees. Most fabrics are tested for wear by the manufacturer and will last for many more than 5 years, if subjected to normal levels of use. So if the right chair is ordered for the job then the fabric should never be a warranty issue unless the chair is abused or more importantly over- used.  For example if you purchased a budget office chair and used it in a reception area where the staff operated on a 24 hour shift, 7 days a week, the office chair would soon become the subject of a warranty claim which would be rejected on the basis of “incorrect use”.

The same would apply if that office chair was given to a larger than average employee for normal office use.  Many of the lower end office chairs have a gas ram and mechanism which is only suitable for persons weighing up to 11 stone or about 70 kilos.  So when this chairs fails, any repair or replacement under warranty would be refused on the basis of incorrect use.

We try to avoid leaving our customers in such a sticky situation by offering a full manufacturer guarantee for all of our office desks and chairs, including all moving parts. This is further backed up by a full commercial guarantee of 5 years from date of purchase for all furniture items.
We also try very hard to make sure that our customers are sold the right products for the job, as we don’t want to be dealing with warranty work any more than you do.

As with all things in life you do get what you pay for. Just recently we discovered that a high profile company like Olympus was risking damage to their reputation from dealers who were selling Olympus cameras which had been purchased for sale in Non EEC countries. These dealers were selling them on in the EEC. This wouldn’t normally be a problem except that the Olympus warranty for cameras destined for the EEC is 2 years, but only 1 year for the rest of the world.

So the unsuspecting customer in the UK buys an Olympus camera from one of the many online sites offering cheap prices, having read a review on one of the many online review sites, where the guarantee is listed as 2 years, only to find out 1 year later when a defect occurs that he might as well throw the camera in the bin.

This did happen to us, and when we pointed this out to Olympus they just acknowledged the problem, but didn’t really offer any positive solutions. Could it be that  they are more concerned with sales volume that customer care. Also they would not tell us why they have a two tier warranty system in place.