Buying on voids warranty???

Is there any reason that a manufacturer would consider purchasing through a less-than-legitimate method and void the warranty?

I bought a pond light through Amazon in November 2010 and in February 2011 it stopped working. I had been quite satisfied with it up until then and thought it was a good value. I contacted Danner Manufacturing and they said I should send it to them for repair or replacement, with the receipt. I did that and within a couple of weeks they sent me a new one. Nice customer service, right? I was impressed until I read the packing slip that accompanied the replacement.

It included a snarky note explaining that the company’s products are not covered by warranty when purchased through Amazon, Ebay, flea markets or other “non accredited vendors.” The product was being replaced as a “one time courtesy only.” Another note at the bottom told me that I should use an accredited vendor the next time I buy a Danner Mfg. product. All highlighted in yellow.

Isn’t Amazon just like buying the product from any other legitimate retailer? I bought it as a new item through Amazon, not a used item.

(The new light stopped working after another month. Since Danner made clear that they won’t honor the warranty, I had no recourse other than posting this info in a review on Amazon.)

§ 2-316. Exclusion or Modification of Warranties.
(1) Words or conduct relevant to the creation of an express warranty and words or conduct tending to negate or limit warranty shall be construed wherever reasonable as consistent with each other; but subject to the provisions of this Article on parol or extrinsic evidence (Section 2-202) negation or limitation is inoperative to the extent that such construction is unreasonable.

Just because Amazon is big it doesn’t make them an authorized retailer. If they’re not authorized, they’re not. The manufacturer doesn’t feel that they have control over the delivery and quality, or they want to protect their bricks and mortar retailers who provide service.

Telemark, I guess I understand your point, but how would one know it’s not an authorized retailer? I assume Amazon gets the product from the manufacturer, so how is that different from Target or Wal-mart getting it from the manufacturer and then selling it to me?
If I walk into Target and buy something, I’d be pretty surprised to find out that later that it is not an “authorized retailer” and so the manufacturer won’t honor the warranty. Seems like the same thing with Amazon, or am I missing something?

Darth Panda, thanks but I can’t understand that snippet at all. What does it say in English and how does that apply?

Basically, it means that if the warranty is written such that it cleraly allows the warranty to be voided if Amazon is the vendor, then so be it - but if that reading is is applied after the fact (extrinsic / parol) or if the warranty is written in a way that wouldn’t suggest they could void the warranty if bought through Amazon (the unreasonable reading part), then it’s no go for them.

I haven’t read there warranty and note that the UCC is not adopted unformly (hah!) across the states - but given the state of amazon as a vendor, it seems unlikely to me that they’ve carved out the warranty in such a way as to allow this. It’s not legal advise, it’s just an educated guess. There’s no way to tell without reading the warranty, reading the version of the UCC in the state and in the states where it was manufactured and sold, and applying conflict of laws to see which version controls, and then reading case law - and even then it’s still a guess. But my gut says it’s unlikely to be allowed.

Was Amazon the seller, or just the interface? I don’t know what light you bought but for instance this pond light says "Ships from and sold by Waterfall and Fountain Emporium. " which is how MANY products are sold on Amazon now. You hardly notice it anymore.

I wonder if that product is not sold by the manufacturer to Amazon itself, but to a seller that sells on Amazon and that is why the manufacturer won’t deal with it. They have no idea who sold it to you.

The product page says “ships from and sold by” That’s why I find it all so surprising and odd. If it said “sold by Eddie’s Shady Discount Barn” I’d at least understand their position a little better.

I looked for a way to report this to Amazon, but couldn’t find one. It seems they should care because it makes me leery of buying certain things there if the manufacturer can just decide not to honor the warranty.

Thanks, Darth Panda. Not surprised that the company if probably on shaky legal footing with this position, but of course it’s not worth me fighting them over it. Just won’t ever buy their products again.

I do most of my shopping with and you simply have to approach it with the understanding that some items they sell (even the ones that are “ship sold”) may not include the manufacturer’s warranty.

For example, is an authorized dealer for Canon cameras and lenses. But they are not for Cartier watches.

How does one even detect such a difference? Well, I guess this is where a little 6th sense about money matters comes into play: “if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.” So, getting back to the Cartier watch example… I see that amazon sells it for 30% less than the official Cartier store at the mall… so “what’s the catch?” … the catch is that it doesn’t come with same warranty!

Another example, I was looking at those expensive Tempurpedic mattresses for $4000. I found the same set at a web store for $3200. Wow, what I deal – so what’s the catch? Take a big guess.

Did you get a good discount from when you bought your light? If you paid the same price to amazon as you would have at an authorized dealer, that’s a unfortunate deal. However, that’s not the normal situation with amazon discounts pricing.

I paid about the same price I think I would have paid at Home Depot or some other store. I just ordered it from Amazon for the same reason I order a lot of stuff there: convenience.

I’ll chalk this up as a learning experience, but it’s eye opening to learn that Amazon is considered some sort of questionable retailer by some manufacturers. I really thought of it as every bit legit as any mortar and brick store I can walk into. I wouldn’t think twice about the warranty being valid at any store I go to, and I’m surprised that I have to think about Amazon that way.

It’s not questionable, it’s legit. But it’s not “authorized” and some high end products arrange “authorized” retailers. Why on earth a pool light comapny would say anything, I dunno. Nothing to do with B&M.

So, “Mauricos Overpriced Name Brand Designer Watch Store” likely pays money to be a “authorized retailer” for say Cartier, and an equally reputable “Bobs Discount Jewelers” across the street in a B&M location may indeed have the exact same watch but not be “authorized”. Same with an online store.

I suggest you write Amazon, explain the situation, and explain that you will not be purchasing from them again unless you can have some assurance that the warranty will be honored.

The other thing that might get better results is to contact the media. Perhaps your local station has a consumer reporter. Or even better, a network news magazine that sometime does consumer stories. Honestly, I had never heard of this until now, and I’ll bet that most people haven’t either. If you can get TV network to start poking at Amazon about this, they might change the way they deal with product suppliers, or at least flag products the sale of which through them will void the warranty.

The warranty was honored. I don’t think there’s anything to get riled up or concerned about.

Snarky notes are meaningless. Let them try invalidating their warranty and then there might be an issue.

The manufacturer decided to honor it, but they weren’t required to.

I don’t think the manufacturer is the problem. Amazon is, if they sell products that they are not authorized to by the manufacturer, thus voiding a warranty, and they don’t warn their customers about it.

I do think a letter to Amazon is unlikely to change anything, but it is important to create a record of your complaints with a vendor. And you might have found that Amazon would be willing to refund your money, or replace the product, had the manufacturer decided not to replace the product. And while the manufacturer did good, they also basically told you they wouldn’t to it again.

Amazon will often be powerless to do so. Many products are only sold through specific distributors and such, often those distributors pay for the privelege of being the “only authorized vendor in California”.

If you are not going through the “authorized vendors” somebody along the line probably breached a contract or distributor agreement. Also it avoids things like if a shipment is stolen or batch of defective products was supposedly destroyed, and turns up on ebay, they may not be able to prove those items were part of a stolen/defective batch but they can make you prove you got it through their normal channels to make sure they are not providing warranty replacements for stolen merchandise.

It would also be acceptable if Amazon would somehow flag products which won’t be supported by the normal warranty. Or not sell those products. For the longer term. they could start to negotiate with their suppliers so more of their products will be covered by warranty.

Amazon Customer Service is typically very good. If you wrote them and explained the situation, it’s very likely that they’ll refund or replace your light themselves.

(At least based on my experience over the last decade or so. I’ve never been dissatisfied with their service and I’ve bought and returned a lot of things from 'em…)

No, they didn’t really honor the warranty. They replaced the light once, then said that they would not help me again. And about a month later the new light stopped working too. If they were honoring the warranty, I could have sent it back a second time, but they made it clear they didn’t want to hear from me again. So that’s not really honoring the warranty. Bottom line, I paid around $30 for a product with a warranty and I’m left with no working product and a manufacturer that tells me to fuck off.

No, they didn’t tell you to fuck off. They explained their warranty. You may not like what they said, but according to their warranty you never had any agreement with them. And, they gave you a free lamp (which, granted, broke) that they were not obliged to do.

Your beef should be with the retailer, be it Amazon or the seller behind them.

I would ask the manufacturer how the failure of the 2nd light that THEY sent you could possibly be the fault of Amazon and why your warranty would be void.

Telemark, in my book, saying “Hey, we’ll do it once even though we don’t want to and you don’t deserve it and don’t ever contact us again even though our product comes with a warranty” = fuck off.

Took everyone’s advice and contacted Amazon:
Ataulla:Can you hold for a minute or two while I research this for you?
Me:Yes. The new light stopped working and the manufacture will not honor the warranty now. So I’m out $45.79.
Ataulla:You mean you got a replacement order from the Manufacturer and your replacement order stop working.
And they said they would not honor the warranty because I got it through Amazon.
Ataulla:I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused.
Me:What can be done?
Ataulla: Each manufacturer handles these warranties differently.
As the item was purchased six months before we cannot honor replacement or refund for you.
I’m really sorry about this Gregory
Me:I buy a lot through Amazon but I won’t any longer if I never know when a manufacturer will void the warranty. Does Amazon not want to make this right for your customer?
Ataulla:I understand your concern Gregory. But as the return window is closed we cannot issue refund or replacement for you Gregory.
Me:The timing of the return window is not the issue. You sold me a product and did not inform me that the warranty would be void.
Ataulla:I’m really sorry about this. I’ve made a one-time exception to our policy because of the circumstances. I request you to return the item for a full refund.
Me:Thank you. Do I follow the normal return procedure? Will the system issue a return form even though I’m past the normal window?

So Amazon came through and took care of their customer. Unlike Danner Manufacturing.