The ‘service performed’ description can put the kibosh on a claim
By Janice Salmon, JustPressOne
The simple definition of manufacturer’s warranty is a guarantee that products with defects in material or workmanship will be repaired or replaced within a certain window after purchase.
Under terms of the warranty, the manufacturer promises to stand behind its product and correct certain problems without cost to the end user. Exceptions apply and not every defect is covered. The term “certain” is critical here in getting your work reimbursed by the manufacturer under this promise.
When your technicians perform a diagnosis and repair on a customer’s product, they must summarize what they discovered and what they did to correct the product performance issue. As a rule, this important information is entered on the service order at the customer’s home. The technician is not explaining why the work was valid and deserves a reimbursement under warranty.
For this reason, it is important to re-evaluate the technician’s “service performed” description notes on each service job prior to submitting a warranty claim. Unless you plan on interrogating the customer prior to sending your technician to their home, you often do not know if the repair will be covered under warranty. You will accept the job and absorb the cost of the service call (technician’s time, vehicle wear and tear and fuel, among other overhead) in anticipation of being reimbursed in good faith.
The following helpful hints will ensure the service performed information included in your warranty claims is both concise and accurate to assure your company is compensated for the warranty work.
We will start by dividing service jobs into two categories: repairs with parts and repairs without them.
Repairs with Parts
When the technician replaces a defective part or parts, it is clear in warranty processing that a part failed and your request for a service call fee, labor reimbursement and part price should be paid. But let’s say you indicated “Installed fuse” rather then “Replaced fuse.” Your claim could potentially be rejected. Since this is a repair and not a product installation, it is of the utmost importance that you use the appropriate wording in the service performed description.
Not all parts are warrantied for one year; some, such as cosmetic parts, have a shorter warranty period (sometimes as short as 10 days). When the product was delivered and the door was dented or cooktop cracked, the customer must contact the seller or manufacturer immediately; otherwise there is no way to prove the defect happened during shipment or installation of the product.
Repairs without Parts
When the technician can repair the product without parts, the warranty claim now becomes more difficult to justify to the manufacturer. In these cases, both the customer complaint description and the service performed description must contain the proper wording to describe the service. “Reseating” or “reconnecting” are the proper words to use, rather than “adjusted” or “aligned.”
Based upon our experience processing thousands of warranty claims for our clients, the following descriptions, broken out by product type, are not typically covered without obtaining a special authorization from the manufacturer:
Refrigerators: Needs new filter. Handle fell off. Unit in garage. Adjusted temperature settings. Bent hinges. Overstocked freezer or refrigerator. Ice jammed in housing. Door left open to defrost. Rodent chewed wires. Technician ran service call and discovered product was already exchanged.
Laundry: Used too much detergent. Hooked up wrong. Dryer vent needs cleaning. Overloaded unit. Service requires an electrician. Found coins in unit. Instructed customer how to use unit. Technician ran service call and discovered product was already exchanged.
Microwave ovens: Food splatter. Put foil in microwave. Set time. Needs an electrician. Instructed the customer how to operate the unit. Technician ran service call and discovered product was already exchanged.
Range: Food splatter needs cleaning. No gas hook up. Instructed the customer how to operate the unit. Roach infested (oh, great!). Technician ran service call and discovered product was already exchanged.
If you frequently run into situations where your technicians show up only to find that the customer already had the unit exchanged by the seller, add a robocall reminder to your service call appointment confirmation. For example, “If your defective product was already exchanged by the seller, please call us immediately to be removed from our service call schedule.”
Janice Salmon is the founder and CEO of JustPressOne, a business process outsourcing company and AVB partner that provides claims administration services for independent service companies and self-servicing dealers in the home appliance industry. For more information visit JustPressOne.com.