If warranty has run out, owner has few options


April 03, 2005

We've been in our new house for six years. We have a two-story foyer with a large stationary window that doesn't open or close. We can't even reach it. About three years ago, I noticed that this window fogs up, which means that the seal is no good. This makes the window unsightly and not energy efficient.

I contacted the builder's office regarding the fogging problem. They said that they aren't at fault, the warranty has run out and that I need to contact the manufacturer. I contacted the distributor who informed me that the manufacturer has gone out of business.

My husband says that this is now our problem. I don't think we should be responsible for the repair/replacement of the window; we didn't install it and never touched it. If the manufacturer was sold to another company, would the new company be responsible for the faulty window? How would we find out? How should we proceed?

I think your husband is right. After six years, there is no statutory or other warranty that would cover replacement of the defective window.

Even if you could prove that the window was improperly sealed when it was installed, there is generally a three-year statute of limitations for filing suit against the installer. Since you've known about the defect for more than three years, it is probably too late to file such a suit.

You may want to track down the manufacturer and find out if it is truly out of business or whether it merged with another company. If the manufacturer is still a viable company, it may be willing to provide a replacement product either for free or at a reduced price.

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