Connecticut Passes Onerous Window Warranty Bill

June 9th, 2017 by Trey Barrineau

The Connecticut House of Representatives approved a bill this week that forces window manufacturers to include replacement and labor costs in product warranties. The bill now goes to Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, for approval. The legislation was strongly opposed by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).

S.B. 821, which passed by a vote of 80 to 70, requires 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 must act on claims within 30 days. After that, the claim is automatically considered approved, and manufacturers must pay the claim within the following 30 days.

“WDMA is strongly opposed to this legislation and is extremely concerned about the circumstances surrounding its passage,” said Michael O’Brien, WDMA president and CEO.  “The bill is problematically vague and unfair to manufacturers.  Its passage confirms Connecticut’s reputation of being hostile to business and manufacturing in particular.  Furthermore, the bill and its ramifications were not given adequate scrutiny during the committee process and the fiscal impact is grossly understated.”

According to WDMA, the vague language of the bill opens the door for warranty coverage of improper installation or use of a product.

WDMA argues that the new law is unnecessary because consumers are already covered by product warranties that protect them from legitimate product defects or failures. Many of those warranties will cover replacement costs. In addition, manufacturers provide specific instructions for the installation of products, along with maintenance and other important documents.

The association says 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.

“WDMA thanks all members who contacted the General Assembly in opposition to the bill and we call on Governor Malloy to immediately veto this misguided legislation,” said O’Brien.

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4 comments
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  1. Not sure of the overall volume of the window market in Connecticut but it may be a good time for manufacturers to vacate the state and let them sink. Much shorter warranty coverage and a double to triple the price on windows would also send a message to these infinitely wise lawmakers.

  2. Another bad bill that will result in more lawsuits and drive up costs.

  3. Given the comment that “The association says 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.” is very true.
    However, it’s long over due that window manufacturers take a major stake in protecting the products they sell by also vesting training and education in the contractors that buy and install their products and create a “qualified contractor program” very similar to the engineered roofing market. Only these contractors are allowed to install the manufacturer’s products and “must” use the “approved” accessories as noted by the manufacturer. This type program will only improve the overall market and eliminate foriegn competition (who have greater manufacturing capacity) from eventually “dumping” their window products in the US.

  4. Educating the consumer and offering mfg labor warranties as an option is the way to go. Adding value does increase costs, but let the consumer decide. I agree with WDMA. It’s impossible to “fairly” enforce this law without an inordinate burden placed upon the manufacturer as well as the consumer.

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