Warranties Exposed!

Why is this important?

Gartner says downtime costs companies on average $5,600 per minute and 81% of respondents said 60minutes of downtime costs their business €300k! In Ireland, we read about a bank that lost 70,000 customers overnight when their network failed for a few hours!

You are responsible for specifying the right cabling products, so we think you should know what I am about to tell you. In fairness to you, you would need to spend a lot of time researching and digging deep for this information, as this information is not always easy to find. It does exist, even if some people are trying to hide it from you!

20-year, 25 year or lifetime warranty…take your pick!

They all mean nothing unless they contain the right words. You might think your company has received a warranty and therefore you think you have protected your client (and your company) legally from poor quality products and you think the same warranty ‘guarantees’ compliance to the standards…think again! There are court cases every day!

Consider this…the person issuing the warranty is the manufacturer, and he is also the author of the warranty! So, he will write a warranty to protect himself, not you or your client.

We know why some manufacturers do this, but how do they do it and how do they get away with it?

How? By making very clever statements, that look good at first glance, but the devil is in the detail, for example:

  • They reference Category 6 compliance, stating correct EIA/TIA or ISO/IEC references but going on to state performances at ‘specific’ frequencies, rather than ‘all’ frequencies. This lets them off the hook at frequencies where they fail to comply with standards.
  • Reference to ‘margin over standards’, ‘typical performance’, ‘average worst case’. These statements look good but mean nothing.
  • Reference to independently tested by external laboratory. Again, this sounds good, but you may remember we have previously exposed the three ways of testing… two of which are worthless, the third way being the only worthwhile method of testing.
  1. Self Testing – Not worth the paper it is written on. Needs to be independent.
  2. Independently Testing a ‘select’ piece of product: – This is where the manufacturer selects a few of his products and sends them to be tested. The problem here is that devious manufacturers can choose “select” components that will pass the test, but how can we be sure that the products he sells on the open market will all pass the tests. So, this is also worthless.
  3. Independently Tested – by a recognised lab (say UL). This is the only test you can rely on, where the manufacturer instructs UL to purchase his products from anywhere in the world, at any time and test them.

Continuing with how manufacturers avoid issuing binding warranties, they make:

  • Reference to ‘installed by specially trained installer’…who are their trained installers? Has the installer kept his training up to date, if not, the warranty is worthless.
  • Reference to ‘there must be no adds, moves or changes’…if they can prove any of these took place (and every network has changes), the warranty is worthless.
  • Reference to ‘sites must be visited by a warranty officer’…did one visit your site? If not, your warranty is worthless.
  • Reference to ‘link’ system. The warranty should refer a ‘channel’ system. If not, it is worthless. Manufacturers sometimes use the word ‘link’ in their warranties, so as to exclude patch cords and desk cables, since their patch cords fail to meet the standards, but what good is this warranty to your client, if it says the system only complies without the patch cords!

These are some of the ways the manufacturer can issue a warranty, knowing full well, that if brought to court for non-performance, he has enough get-out clauses to wriggle off the hook.

How do you get a proper warranty?

Kedington will tell you. You must select a manufacturer that is able to guarantee performance by:

  • Having their own test labs and secondly, by having their products fully tested properly (see above) by an independent, well known test house such as UL. The certificates should be available on-line from the independent test house.
  • By selecting a manufacturer that manufactures all the products in the network…cable, outlets, patch panels and patch cords.
  • By selecting a product with good in- country technical support and technical inspectors. Did you know that some manufactures email their warranties to Ireland, having never visited the site!
  • By putting some simple items in your specification that prevents these bad practices (see our sample specification)

What should be covered in a warranty?

  • Manufacturing Defects
  • ‘Labour’ to replace faulty products
  • Reference to the ‘right’ standards, with no get-out clauses.
  • Application support.. ensures that the manufacturer will guarantee the clients ‘Applications’ will run over the network, addressing any problem the client may have with the software they want to run. They will not simply test the cable and walk away.
  • The warranty must cover the full ‘channel’ including all network components and not a ‘link’ warranty

A good specialist contractor would not land you in this mess. Did you know that some of these warranties can be downloaded off the internet!  Finally, how do they get away with issuing these warranties…bottom line…some consultants make the mistake of accepting these products as equal and approved! In fairness to you, these guys are devious. Let us share our research & help you navigate this minefield. We will tell you which warranties will protect you and your client.