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Warranty? What 25-Year-Warranty?
Sunday, 24 October 2004

Warranty?  What 25-Year-Warranty?
Warranty Scams that fool the public
25 years, 50, 100 or even a “Lifetime Warranty,” what’s the difference?
Today a new car comes with a 3 to 12-year manufactures bumper-to-bumper warranty.  A new home, on the other hand, comes with defective building products, construction defects, only a 1 year “limited” warranty, a 10-year “limited” structural warranty with an exclusion if the home becomes uninhabitable, and of course the 30-year mortgage.

Manufacturer’s 25-year-Warranty – not designed to protect the consumer

Today, with the right promotion, a new idea for a cheaper and more profitable construction material can develop overnight into a booming business for industry giants.

Not long ago, manufacturers of many types of building products, particularly Masonite-type products, calculated it was more profitable to invest in advertising that highlights a “25-year warranty” to promote their new products and skip the cost of research and development.

Manufacturer Gets Sweet Deal
New Twist on 25-year-Warranty Scam.  To save money, manufacturer invests in a lawsuit

When things went wrong in 2 to 5 years, the consumer was left with the burden of repairs and no manufacturer’s 25-year-warranty as originally advertised.   With the money saved on research and development, manufacturers simply invested in their legal team to defend “Class Action Lawsuits” and limit warranty obligations of the so-called 25-year-warranty through a bad settlement agreement for millions of homeowners.

Warranty takes on a whole new meaning.  The way it works:

  • A team of attorneys representing the “poor” consumer files a nationwide “Class Action” lawsuit for defective siding with a 25-year-warranty.
  • A settlement is reached and the team of consumer attorneys is paid $49 million.
  • In the settlement agreement, money is set aside for a short-term campaign to inform the public of the settlement and the right to make a claim.
  • A new type of warranty claim is set up when an Independent Claims Administrator is assigned to inspect and dispense money to homeowners with the defective product that began to deteriorate and fall apart sometime within as little as 2 to 5 years.

Facts of the Class Action Settlement

  • The settlement is designed to limit liability of the manufacturer as follows:
    1. Only approximately 10% of homeowners learn that there is a settlement.
    2. Replacement is limited to only that portion of the siding that has experienced actual deterioration at the time, about 10%.
    3. Homeowners are reimbursed for only a fraction of the cost, sometimes 10 to 25 cents on the dollar.
    4. Homeowners are still left with defective siding to be dealt with year after year
  • Homeowners are left with the burden of contracting to get the work done, and many become victims of the lucrative, sometimes unscrupulous home improvement industry.
  • Home builders continue to use the products on homes and never worry about warranty obligations and simply direct the homeowner to the Masonite Claims Administrator.
  • Because only a portion of the siding is designated as defective, the homeowner must again purchase the same defective Masonite material to match the rest of the house.
  • Manufacturers continue to produce a highly profitable defective product for years, without liability.

WARNING: Be prepared to do battle.  Shown below is an example of what you might experience.

One year of persistence got this homeowner $54.60 – $28.30 for Masonite Omniwood Claim


Masonite Settlement Claims process is flawed

The inspection process for Masonite defective siding is an abuse of the class action settlement. The claims inspector had a ladder but did not go on the roof to inspect the defective siding. Instead, he spent a total of 10 minutes taking 9 photos and viewed the defective siding from a distance of 10 feet.  

Claims adjuster authorized payment of only $54.60 to homeowner for the defective siding.

  • Process took 3 months for an expedited claim, plus another 12 months disputing the inequitable method of inspection and the inadequate sum of money to replace siding under the settlement claim.
  • Expedited claim cost, $26.30 for overnight delivery.
  • Actual amount recovered $28.30

The Masonite Class Action settlements were never intended to protect the consumer but appear to have been crafted as a tool for the industry to avoid Masonite Warranty Claims.

What to do:
To file a claim for defective Masonite go to:  http://www.masoniteclaims.com/

File complaints for unfair Masonite settlement claims with the following:

Frequently Asked Question

I just received a settlement offer from the Masonite class action suit. But it did not follow the payment calculation described in the material associated with the application. The offer said there were 713 sf of affected Masonite and offered to pay at the regional rate, only for the currently damaged siding. They said there was a total of 2400 sf of siding on the property (therefore 28% damage).

So they must expect me to  piece in the bad places and NOT to reside the entire house (which is the only rationale plan). They basically said write back when you have more bad places and we will come back again!!

Can you tell me if this is typical of the kind of offers they are making (totally inadequate)? Can I expect help from the class action lawyers or would I need to retain my own lawyer if I should decide to not accept the offer? Any info on experiences of other homeowners? They are offering about $3100 and it should be over $8000 if you follow the calculation described in the materials (i.e if over 15% is ruined, then they replace it all).

THANKS for any help you can offer or suggestions you can make.

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Warranty?  What 25-Year-Warranty?
Warranty Scams that fool the public 25 years, 50, 100 or even a “Lifetime Warranty,” what’s the difference?


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