Connecticut Governor Vetoes Warranty BillJuly 10th, 2017 by Editor
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy vetoed a bill on Friday that would have forced window manufacturers to include replacement and labor costs in product warranties. The legislation was strongly opposed by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).
“WDMA commends Gov. Malloy for vetoing this unprecedented and problematically vague legislation,” said Michael O’Brien, WDMA president and CEO. “The bill would have changed existing law without any justification or public hearing, harmed manufacturers, dealers and consumers and created legal uncertainty and needless litigation.”
The bill, which was passed by the Connecticut House of Representatives in June, would have forced window, roofing and siding manufacturers that offer warranties to pay any claim made for materials and labor, and to repay the full price of materials and labor the consumer was charged. In addition, manufacturers would have been required to act on claims within 30 days. After that, the claim would have automatically been considered approved, and manufacturers would have been forced to pay the claim within the following 30 days.
WDMA had argued that the new law wasn’t needed because consumers are already covered by product warranties that protect them from legitimate product defects or failures. In addition, manufacturers provide specific instructions for the installation of products, along with maintenance and other important documents. The association also said that making all warranties cover all labor costs for product defects is unreasonable because products can fail for many reasons, such as improper installation, misuse or modification after installation, or improper maintenance.
Many WDMA members contacted the governor’s office and asked him to consider a veto. It was only one of three bills he has vetoed out of 199 sent to his desk during the 2017 legislative session.
“This bill, while intended to add additional layers of consumer protections to the warranty process, would instead harm consumers due to its detrimental impact to the marketplace,” Malloy said. “The inherent difficulty created by putting this requirement upon manufacturers is that often a product will fail not because of a manufacturer’s defect, but because of improper installation. … To require manufacturers to conduct all inspections, review all attendant documents and to make fully informed claims decisions within 30 days is simply unworkable.”
Malloy, a Democrat, also said the legislation would harm homeowners in his state.
“The detrimental impact of this bill would be very real to Connecticut consumers; businesses could decide to not offer their products in our state, or to tailor their warranties in Connecticut by adding in extra fees and adjustments in order to comply with the 30-day requirement.”
WDMA says it will continue to advocate against the bill in the upcoming veto session of the legislature.
“WDMA would like to thank all members who have weighed in on this bill thus far,” added O’Brien.