The Real Poop on Swimming Pool Warranties
Warranties are written by the best legal minds a manufacturer can afford to protect and distance themselves from any problem you may have with their product.
To demonstrate, I've selected the warranty of one of the best swimming pool products availalble today, the plaster material from SGM: Diamond Brite©. This exercise is not to belittle Diamond Brite; but only to decipher what a legitimate warranty actually offers you.
Let's paraphrase the legal language point by point:
(1)Will not cover any defects in workmanship.
(2)Will not cover any loss of aggregate.
to everyone except the Homeowner.
(3)Will not cover any variations in color.
(4)The contractor is authorized only to patch delaminated areas and whatever it looks like, looks fine from here.
(5) Will not cover any labor costs incidental to the repair.
(6) Will not cover any other costs incidental to the repair, such as draining or re-filling the pool.
(7) Will not cover anything if your water chemistry's been "off" at any time, including filling the pool.
(8) Will not cover anything unless you have the pool water computer- checked monthly and have the read-outs to prove it.
(9) SGM acrylic bond coat must be used on replasters; no 'equal' materials are acceptable.
(10) The contractor and supplier must have been paid in full.
(11) Checking and minor cracks in the plaster are not covered.
(12) Warranty paperwork must be returned by Certified Mail within 30 days after the job is completed.
(13) The warranty is Non- Transferable. When you sell your home, this warranty evaporates.
This warranty excludes every potential problem except delamination (pop-offs), even though the use of any of the acrylic bond coats solved that problem long ago. But, just in case, delaminated areas are to be patched and if the color or texture doesn't match, well, as you can see in the warranty, that's not covered either.
PreMix-Marbletite (makers of the Diamond Brite clone: Marquis, Freestone and the always entertaining Poolcote), once demanded an additional $1,200 Cashiers Check payment to implement their warranty although it meant that, if there was a problem, you may get one bag of material and that's only if you pick it up, yourself.
For the contractor offering such a warranty, it means we're on our own to properly correct any problem.
For the homeowner, it means taking a closer look at the stability of their contractor. Should the contractor disappear or decide their reputation isn't worth the effort, the best a homeowner can hope for is a bag of material they have no idea how to work. Only court action will prod some contractors into action and that's more costly then paying someone else fix the problem; a fact that keeps some pool contractors in business.
And...as long we're in the arena of customer satisfaction......
Rating a Repair
A question we're often asked is "what constitutes a professional repair?".
We've come up with the following subjective scale:
(1) A proper job is one you can't find when you know where to look.
(2) A competent job is one that a guest using the pool would never notice.
(3) A patch job is one that works, but looks like a child did it.
(4) A slop job is one that looks worse than the original problem and quickly falls apart.
(5) An NSPI approved job is any of the above, so long as the contractors membership dues are up to date.
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