15th Oct 2014

In today’s episode – How to Manage Your Commercial Kitchen Warranty Repair – Doug Hall shares with us all we need to know about managing your commercial kitchen warranty repairs. In this episode we go a bit deeper with our initial conversation, Warranty Repair Demystified.

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Hot Points:

[1:00] Evaluating and understanding your warranty options
[1:40] Demystifying one of the biggest misperception about warranty
[2:15] Reasons why your warranty may be denied
[5:08] Things that need to be done under a PM program when a piece of equipment is under warranty
[8:45] Recommendation for those who buy used equipment or take over an already equipped location

Alright Doug, so a couple of weeks ago we wrote a post on Demystifying Warrant Repair and so today I kind of want to dive into it a bit more; recap on the basics on what we spoke about – what it is, how to keep on top of it and how that all ties in with a PM program.

Okay. So, let’s start off a little bit with recapping the blog and the newsletter. [1:00]When you purchase a piece of equipment one of the things you have to look at obviously is the warranty. What kind of coverage you get? I mean we do it with a car, with do it with other major purchases, and foodservice equipment is no different than anything else.

Sometimes the warranty is a sales consideration and a factor in determining which equipment you’re going to buy. Some manufacturers cover parts and labor, some cover parts only, and some cover for longer than others. So the first thing you need to do is make sure that you’re working with your dealer to understand exactly what type of warranty you are purchasing on the equipment that you’re going to be using extensively for the next several years. It’s important and it’s something that you ought to know.

The next thing is demystifying one of the biggest misperception about warranty, which is “It’s brand new, I don’t have to take care of it, and everything will be paid for automatically by the manufacturer for the next one year, two years, three years, the duration of the warranty. Sad to say, that’s about the furthest thing from the truth. The warranty can be instantly voided if you don’t take care of the equipment and if you don’t have a proper preventative maintenance program.

So matter of fact when we look at from a service company perspective the reasons why we have to deny warranty coverage for a customer – and we hate to do it but sometimes we are forced to – there are two major reasons why we deny warranty coverage:

  • First-and-foremost is improper installation. If your equipment is purchased and installed by someone who really doesn’t know what they’re doing, it is very likely that the equipment will not perform according to manufacturer’s specifications. And when that happens, it’s our sad duty to inform the customer that the repair or the damage that’s been caused by an improper installation is now not covered under warranty, as a matter of fact they’ve voided their warranty, and now they have to pay for this expensive repair out of their own pocket. So right from the beginning, make sure that you always get a quote from a factory authorized service provider who is qualified, certified, authorized to install the piece of equipment. It may cost you a little bit more to have this type of installation done by a factory authorized service provider, but I guarantee in the long term it will definitely save you money and save you aggravation; because it is impossible for a manufacturer to cover damage caused by an improper installation. So that’s the number one reason where we get to be the bearer of bad news when it comes to denying warranty coverage.
  • The second major issue is improper maintenance of the equipment. It’s like when you get a new car. If you just think that you don’t have to change the oil and you don’t have to check the tires, and you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to put gas in it for the first 36,000 miles you’re in for a big surprise when it comes to maintaining the car. Proper preventive maintenance not only allows your warranty to stay in place and not to become voided, it definitely increases the lifespan of the equipment. So please don’t think that you can save a few extra dollars by not having a piece of equipment PM’d when it’s new because everything will be covered under warranty. Not the case and it could be a big problem if the cause of the problem is determined to be a lack of maintenance on the equipment.

Okay can you talk a little bit about exactly or in general what they get with a PM program when it comes to warranty.

That’s a good question, so there are different things that need to be done under a PM program when a piece of equipment is under warranty. So a factory authorized service company #1 under warranty there are sometimes bulletins that are provided by the manufacturer. And those bulletins, well the are not quite recalls, but what they are is that they are known issues that are be discovered by the manufacturers. Those issues get communicated to the factory authorized service company and when a PM is performed those known issues are taken care of before they can affect the operation of the rest of the equipment. Those are typically free. They’re typically covered by the manufacturer and they’re typically supposed to be done during a preventive maintenance visit.

So as a factory authorized service company Tek Express frequently gets service bulletins from manufacturers that allow us to go out and make sure that we are tuning up the equipment and we’re doing preventive fixes on known issues before they disrupt foodservice. So that’s #1, the reason to have a PM program.

#2 is when a piece of equipment is new there are certain, let’s just say components of the equipment that break in faster than others, and it’s always good to have a preventive maintenance when the equipment is new from a service company that knows the equipment; because what we do is we look at those pieces that are breaking in. We look at heating elements. We look at gaskets. We look at compressors and condensers and evaporators on refrigeration equipment and we take a look at the equipment and we see how it’s breaking in.

We may take amperage readings on compressors that will let us know whether the compressor is working well, working within range or over-working or under-working. All of those things can be taken care of and what they are is they are predictors of problems to come.

A factory authorized service company that is also performing preventive maintenance on your equipment is able to diagnose those problems long before they occur and best replace them as a warranty issue because chances are they probably are if the proper preventive maintenance is being performed.

So we can capture those issues before they erupt which you know they will erupt at the worst possible time. You’ll have an event for 600 guests and all of a sudden your Combi oven goes down and “Oh my God,” then what happens? Hopefully we’ll be able to catch that long before that dreaded event occurs in your backyard.

And then just the standard PM stuff is vital. We talk about a warranty being voided because proper PM isn’t being performed. It’s similar to maintenance on a car. If you’ve never changed the oil and the oil runs out of the car and the engine seizes up because there’s no oil, then well guess what? Your engine is no longer covered under warranty. So if you’re not cleaning your condenser coils or you’re not delining your steam generator inside your Combi oven your warranty will be voided.

So just even the regular everyday things that are being performed from a PM perspective on any piece of equipment help to keep your warranty in place.

Great, awesome. And one last question because obviously a lot of these owners might go into a new establishment where is already a kitchen already set up with its own equipment. So what do you recommend for business owners who are going into an already established business and they may or may not know what the warranty details are with that equipment?

Well there’s a couple of things and I’m not a legal expert, I’m just a service expert.

Number 1, you need to find out if the warranties are transferable. So if you’ve gone ahead and purchased used equipment or either purchased a restaurant where there is equipment is placed, you first have to find out if the warranties are transferable.

Secondly, as part of the transition or purchase of that equipment, you should get from the original owners all of the paperwork. One of the things about warranty the date of installation in most cases outweighs the manufacturing date. But serial numbers from manufacturers are coded by the date that it leaves the factory. And it could be two months, or three months or fourth months before that piece of equipment is installed. That’s an extra three months, four months, gosh in some cases it’s even been up to six months before that piece of equipment is installed. That’s extra 4-6 months worth of warranty. Having that paperwork from the original purchases is critical because it will help you to make sure your equipment is covered for the duration of the warranty and not just being judged just by the serial number coded manufacturing date.

Matter of fact, even if you don’t buy a restaurant from somebody else or buy used equipment, even if it’s your own equipment, you should keep that information on hand because that will get you extra warranty coverage even if it’s your own equipment that you’re trying to get looked at under warranty; and there was a dispute over the date of purchase.

Awesome! Great stuff Doug. If you have any questions or any concerns, feel free to give us a call or drop us an email and we would be more than happy to answer your questions.

Thank you so much for listening to today’s Commercial Kitchen Conversations podcast. If you have any questions or if you like a particular topic covered in one of our upcoming episodes, please email us at info@tekexpressny.com.

Until next time, your partner in foodservice repair, signing off. Bye.

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