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Steinlaw, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 1811
Experience:  Consumer law attorney, author of California Debt Blog, top foreclosure attorney
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We purchased an existing home recently and found that multiple

Customer Question

We purchased an existing home recently and found that multiple of the windows had manufacturing defects. We contacted the builder and were told that the windows would be "warranted for moisture" for ten years from close of original escrow. We filed a claim and the builder replaced several of the windows. Since that time we now have two additional windows that are defective and when I contacted the warranty agent at the builders' I was told that they will no longer warranty the windows as the manufacturer went out of business several years ago. They are now telling me that they have no liability as they were only the builder and not the manufacturer of the windows.

I have an email from them stating that they would cover the windows for moisture for ten years.

What recourse do I have to get them to cover these defective windows???
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  HPLawyer replied 7 years ago.
Do you have any (rough) idea as to how much it would cost to have these windows replaced?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

There are currently two that need replacing and after calling around to local window manufacturers we have received estimates from $2000 to $3500.

Expert:  HPLawyer replied 7 years ago.
It's unfortunate that the builder is trying to avoid its obligations, but I see situations like this all too often. Based on the circumstances and the amount at dispute, I'm actually going to suggest that you speak with and retain the assistance of a local civil litigation attorney.

The good news is that, generally speaking, unless a builder explicitly disclaims such a warranty or makes such warranty conditional upon replacement by a manufacturer, then the builder will usually be liable for such a replacement. Now, California does have some weird laws, which is another good reason to have an attorney perform a due diligent analysis of your case to make sure that this is actually the case in your situation as well.

From my experience, many builders will try to avoid any incurring costs when a customer makes a request/demand, warranty related or otherwise. Many businesses are like this, but this trend seems particularly prevalent when dealing with builders and contractors. Now, it's possible that all your attorney would need to do would be to write a simple demand letter. As such a letter generally indicates a lawsuit is a real possibility, many builders will simply acquiesce to the demands made. Most attorneys would charge around $200-250 for such a demand letter, would could make it a good choice in terms of a cost-benefit analysis.

Nonetheless, if litigation is actually necessary, then the attorney would be in a good position to move forward with assisting you, and would likely seek to recovery his or her attorneys' fees from the builder as well.

Also, your local bar association will be an excellent resource in finding a civil litigation attorney.

I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

DISCLAIMER: Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney under any circumstances, period. I require a written engagement letter to serve as someone's attorney. Please keep in mind that everything you say in this exchange is readily accessible to the public (whether it is law enforcement, your nosy next door neighbor, or your mother-in-law, they can read what you write). Do not say anything that you do not want publicly known. If you want legal advice or an attorney-client relationship, and all the benefits that come with the attorney-client privilege, you should seek and retain local qualified counsel. You should also keep in mind that any information I give you is based on the limited facts you provide me, and any additional facts could substantially or completely alter any information I give you. Just for the record, unless you live in Georgia, I am not licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. In fact, my knowledge of laws is limited to Georgia. I am not an "expert"-- just a lawyer. Any information I provide you is for general information and educational purposes and shall not constitute legal advice. Consider it a good first step in your knowledge acquisition.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
As I am not the original home buyer when the home was new I do not know what items were included in the new homeowner contract.
I do however have an email response from the "warranty" department stating that the windows were warranted for a 10 year period, which we are still within.
They even replaced several windows less than 6 months ago. Now they have changed their tune and state that they did that as a "good faith" gesture and are no longer honoring the warranty.
Do they as the builder have any legal responsibilities if one of their contractors/vendors goes out of business and can no longer provide warranty replacement. This is my question....I need to know if they are legally responsible for the contractors they used and carrying out any warranties that were offered.

Expert:  HPLawyer replied 7 years ago.
I am going to opt-out so that an attorney from California can provide you with better assistance.
Expert:  Steinlaw replied 7 years ago.
I am sorry you are going through this.

The builder is responsible for the windows. I would simply get a written estimate to fix this and then sue the builder in small claims court. This is fairly simple and the prior expert was right - it is quite common. But a small claims court lawsuit should resolve it for you.

Good luck.!
Steinlaw, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 1811
Experience: Consumer law attorney, author of California Debt Blog, top foreclosure attorney
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