WEDDINGTON, N.C. — When you're sold a lifetime warranty, read the fine print carefully and ask a lot of questions about what it covers and for how long because "lifetime" may not include everything you think it does.
"It's leaking in several spots through the crack here," said Ed Sedlacek, whose family noticed a leak from their hot tub for the third time since they bought it.
They figured it would be no problem because it had been repaired twice before under the warranty, which clearly states, "...if a leak or a crack should develop," the pool company ..."will repair...for as long as you own your pool."
Seems pretty cut and dry, right?
"They doubted they'd come back and fix it this time, so we challenged them," Sedlacek said.
The family emailed NBC Charlotte and Bill McGinty got to work researching the issue and had several conversations with the pool company, both locally and at their corporate level in Philadelphia.
So what should you do when considering an extended lifetime warranty?
Sometimes you buy extended warranties — McGinty's not a fan of those. In his experience, they never seem to want to cover what actually broke. Like movable parts on the car, they're usually not covered on a bumper to bumper warranty.
But when someone is selling you the lifetime warranty as part of the deal, ask what it covers, ask what is excluded and ask what happens if the company goes out of business. In those cases, your warranty usually becomes worthless, so look at the long-term viability of the company. Is it a big operation or a small one? Those details really do matter. Read their terms and conditions and definitely read the fine print, that's where they usually tell you what's not covered.
The Sedlaceks felt like they were getting hosed because their warranty claim was being denied and the almost $5,000 fix was going to be on them. Once McGinty got involved, the Sylvan Pool Company went back out for another look. Shortly after, an email was sent saying, "we have resolved this matter with Ms. Sedlacek and that customer service and satisfaction is always our number one priority."
If there's one piece of advice you should take from this, it's that you can't stress how important it is to keep all documents related to warranties, repairs and email correspondence. Those things can, and usually do, help solve your case down the road.