We offer many different printing and display products, and there are many different warranties that apply to each of them. On top of that, each manufacturer applies their warranty policies differently, and this can make understanding what to expect if problems occur very difficult. This page is designed to explain the different warranties to help make it clear what to expect if there is a problem with a purchase. Some of this information is duplicated in our customer service policies page, but this goes into more detail on the warranties and also explains what is and isn't covered. The warranties are described below and separated into two basic categories; printing and displays.
The warranty on printing is a little easier to understand than with displays. This is partially because we print almost everything in-house, so we control the warranty policies. Basically, we guarantee that the items we offer will be printed correctly, arrive without defects in the printing, material or finishing, and hold up to normal wear and tear for their intended purpose. Because there is room for interpretation with some of these statements, this section is designed to clarify the coverage and explain the customer's responsibilities. When your prints arrive, they should be in good shape and be free from any visible defects, and if any problems are found, we must be notified as quickly as possible. We inspect every print before it ships, so typically any problems that show up on arrival are due to some kind of shipping damage, and there is a window of only a few days to report this, so it's important to inspect the prints as soon as they arrive. In the case of shipping damage, we would replace the damaged prints and file a claim with the carrier. On rare occasions, problems show up on arrival that are not the results of shipping damage, but are either something we missed or that happened as a result of being packaged and shipped. In all cases, we'll request photos of the damage so we can try to determine what caused the problem before we send a replacement, and it's the customer's responsibility to provide the information and photos we need to resolve the issue.
On occasion, customers have damaged a print and felt that it should be replaced under warranty. Damage such as creases, cuts, scrapes, scratches, holes, etc., are caused by physical damage to the print. This type of damage isn't due to defects in the printing or material, so they are not covered under warranty.
Some prints are warranted to last for a particular period of time, and others have an estimated lifespan to give the customer an idea of what to expect in terms of their usable life. The longevity estimates are dependent on proper installation and maintenance, so be sure to follow any installation instructions carefully to ensure prints last as long as possible. It's very rare for a material to not last as long as stated, as most of the estimates are conservative, and usually installation issues are to blame when graphics fail prematurely. However, we have experienced a few instances of product defects causing failure, and if we determine that is the case, we will replace the defective prints at no charge. When it comes to fade resistance, the numbers provided are estimates based on the inks that are used to print the particular material, and accelerated light exposure tests that are conducted by the ink manufacturers, or sometimes by third parties, to determine how long prints should last in different environments. These longevity numbers are estimates based on normal exposure to UV rays, and that normal exposure is different for each type of material. For example, art papers and canvas have longevity numbers based on gallery lighting conditions, with no exposure to sunlight. Outdoor materials, such as vehicle magnets or adhesive sign vinyls are exposed to sunlight all day, and their longevity estimates are based on installation on vertical surfaces, and are usually determined by use in the central portion of the country. Most longevity estimates are reduced if used on horizontal surfaces or in desert areas of the country where UV exposure is stronger. For that reason, fade resistance numbers are estimates to let customer's know what to expect, and typically are not warranted. There are exceptions, such as with vehicle wrap graphics, which do have longevity warranties against fading, as they are based on particular combinations of media, ink and laminate that have been thoroughly tested. All of our in-house printing uses pigmented, UV-resistant inks, so premature fading is not typically a problem. If a print does fade sooner than expected, contact us with details so we can determine the cause and replace the print if a problem with the printing or material is the cause.
Color accuracy is something we take very seriously. Unfortunately, accurate color does not always match what the customer expects. Because of differences between computer displays, the way that some programs present color, and the fact that color printed on desktop printers and from other print service providers may not be accurate, we cannot guarantee that any color print we provide will match one of these other sources. We can guarantee a reasonable match to PMS colors, or their CMYK equivalents, if those colors are specified in vector objects in file type such as pdf, eps, and ai. For color critical prints, we recommend a printed proof, and we will guarantee a color match to this proof. Printed proofs are made on the same material as the final print so that it will show exactly how the colors will print in advance. This does add additional cost and time to a print job, and because of the extensive work we perform to ensure color accuracy, in most cases a printed proof is not necessary. However, if you have certain colors in your design that need to match other printed items, a website, a previously printed image, or your computer screen, then a printed proof should be ordered. Even with all the effort we put in to making sure we are printing accurate color on every material, some amount of variation is possible over time due to changes in materials, software versions, updates to color profiles, etc. This type of variation isn't usually noticeable, but when comparing a print side by side with another print made at a different time, especially in solid color areas, even small differences can be noticeable, which is why proofs are recommended in those situations. If the colors on the printed proof don't match what they should, you can make adjustments to your file, or have us make these adjustments, so the colors will match. If you intend to have us perform this color correction, it's advisable to send us a hard copy proof in advance so that we can see what the print is intended to match. In some cases, we can determine if a file is setup in a way that will match a hard copy before a proof is even printed, saving time and money. However, in most cases, a printed proof will need to be made to determine if the colors will match sufficiently. While we don't guarantee a color match without a printed proof, we do guarantee the quality of our printing, and if something has gone wrong in the print process that has caused inaccurate color, we will typically provide a reprint at no charge. This is extremely rare and in most instances where customers feel the color is off in a print they've received, the fault is with the print file they've provided and the color has failed to match because one of the common reasons mentioned above. Usually, the reason a customer might feel the color is wrong is because it's not the same as what they have received from a different print provider, or produced themselves. It's easy to understand why people who are not in the print industry would feel that prints they received and liked are correct, and ones they don't like are wrong, but unfortunately that does not make it true. If we have produced accurate color, which should always be the case, then we cannot be responsible for the fact that it doesn't match something else or someone's expectations, and we offer the printed proof option for that reason. Any time a customer reports what they feel is a color problem, we immediately investigate because if something has gone wrong with our process, we would need to know as quickly as possible so it can be fixed and not effect other prints. If we determine the colors we produced are accurate from the files we received, then any replacement prints would have to be paid for by the customer, although even in those circumstances we will often provide the reprints at a discount. While we cannot be responsible for reprints in this type of situation, we are not trying to profit from someone's error or lack of experience with color, so we typically discount the reprint so the cost to the customer is minimized. This is also true in situations where the customer has provided files with a typo or made some other error that made it to the final print.
As is stated above, most printing we offer is done in-house so that we can control the print quality, material inventory, and order timing. However, there is one type of printing that we currently do not offer in-house, and that is dye-sublimated fabric printing. Because this type of printing has become popular for some types of trade show displays, we will be bringing this type of printing in-house in the near future, but currently we have the display manufacturers provide the printing for these displays to ensure the graphics are sized and finished correctly to fit properly. In this case, the manufacturer's warranty would apply, and it is sometimes different from our own warranty. The same guarantee applies to any prints in regards to them being printed and finished correctly and arriving undamaged. The biggest difference is in regards to color accuracy. While we would reprint a graphic at no charge if we determine that we produced a graphic where the color was noticeably off from what it should have been, other manufacturers will not do this. Unless you have specified PMS colors, provided a hard copy proof in advance for color matching, or ordered a printed proof, they make no guarantees about the color. This is generally not a problem because we only work with companies that offer good quality printing, but if PMS colors or a proof are not used, there is no guarantee, so keep that in mind.
Shipping of any prints that are sent to replace damaged or defective ones under warranty are sent free of charge via ground. If faster shipping is needed, the customer can pay the difference between ground shipping and the method they would like.
We sell many different displays from a wide range of manufacturers, so there is a great deal of variation between the warrranties on different displays, and how those warranties are interpreted. This section will go through those differences and explain what is, and what isn't covered, under the different warranties that are offered.
Generally speaking, warranties on displays cover manufacturing defects. This means that if the display breaks during the warranty period as a results of a defective part, the repair would be covered by the warranty because normal wear and tear and the use of the display according to the instructions should not result in the failure of the display. However, physical damage to the display is normally not covered under warranty as this is not the result of a manufacturing defect. Things like shipping damage, using an indoor display outside, using an outdoor display in weather conditions it was not designed for, or damage caused by careless or incorrect handling are not covered under most warranties. Warranties always have a stated period of time, and it's important to understand that the warranty is only honored during that period of time. On more than one occasion we've had customers order a display they claim was not used until after the warranty had expired, and they found it was defective in some way when they used it for the first or second time. While we sympathize with the customer in this situation, warranties don't apply for particular number of uses, but for a particular period of time, and after that period of time has passed, the warranty is no longer in effect regardless of how many times the product was used.
As with printing, a display that arrives damaged needs to be reported to us immediately as we have a limited amount of time to file a shipping damage claim. Even if there isn't obvious damage to the packaging, displays can sometimes become damaged due to rough handling in transit. While shipping damage isn't covered under most warranties, we do guarantee that all displays will arrive in good condition, so any display that arrives with damaged will be repaired or replaced regardless of the warranty policy, as long as the damage is reported right away.
If a display has an issue under warranty, the customer is responsible for returning it to the proper location so it can be repaired. After the repairs are complete, return shipping via ground is covered under most warranties. Faster shipping can usually be arranged, if required, by paying the difference between ground shipping and the required shipping service. When a problem is reported, we will try to determine the cause of the problem and whether or not the repair will be covered under warranty. This often involves providing information including photos, and this information helps us to determine the exact problem so we can determine the best way to proceed. In some cases, we can help the customer fix the problem themselves to avoid return shipping, or arrange for replacement parts. For customers who prefer not to provide the requested information, they can ship the display to the appropriate address for repair. If the manufacturer determines the problem is not covered under warranty, the customer would be responsible for the cost of return shipping along with any repair costs.
While the warranty period for most products is fairly obvious, with 1 year and 5 years warranties offering coverage for those periods of time, lifetime warranties can be more confusing. For example, Signtific displays have a lifetime warranty, but when you read the coverage, it's really a one year warranty, as after the first year, you have to pay to return the item for repair, and pay for the repairs themselves. That's the same thing that happens when an item with a one year warranty has a problem after the first year. Testrite products that have failed after a year have been refused warranty coverage, because in the manufacturers opinion, if the problem has been a result of a manufacturing defect, it would have failed in the first year. Another example are Banner Bug displays. The US distributer markets them as having a lifetime warranty, but they won't fix or repair any products. They will send out replacement parts only, so in reality, it's a parts only warranty from day one with the customer being responsible for either fixing the display themselves, or paying for shipping both ways to us for repair. As you can see, many lifetime warranties are really just marketing techniques and are not actual lifetime warranties that reflect the quality of the display. This is very common with banner stands, as distributors of mid range to low end products began offering lifetime warranties to lure customers, and others followed suit to stay competitive, even with the products are not well made enough to deserve a lifetime warranty. When we know a lifetime warranty is not really honored as the customer would expect, we have instead called the warranty what it is, like a one year warranty on Signtific and Testrite products, or a parts only warranty on Banner Bug displays. This is not to say we won't try our best to get any product that needs repair covered under the manufacturers warranty should it be required, but in our experience, the warranty coverage we list for each product reflects what can be expected from their respective manufacturers.
Fortunately, many manufacturers who offer lifetime warranties actually honor them, so when you see a product that is listed as having a lifetime warranty, you can expect that any defects that show up during the life of the display will be covered. In many cases, manufacturers of high end displays such as those from Expand, Expolinc, and Mark Bric will actually cover repairs that other companies will not, but this is at their discretion. With all warranty claims on products from other manufacturers, we do our best to get the repairs covered at no charge to the customer. In situations where we feel the circumstances dictate that repairs should be covered when the normal warranty or repair policies would not provide coverage, we will work to get the manufacturers to agree. Of course, the final decision in such situations is always with the manufacturer, but most of them are reasonable, and want to keep the customer, and their dealers, happy.
When it comes to displays that we manufacture, we of course, control the warranty coverage. We make the warranty coverage reflect the overall quality of the display, and what we expect the typical useful life to be on each model. Because repairs and replacements due to warranty issues add to the cost of a display, most products with longer warranties are priced higher to cover these costs. With some of our models, we introduced a different warranty coverage that we think is unique, which our lifetime parts and labor warranty. With this coverage, for the first year, the coverage is the same as all displays, and then after the first year, parts that fail a result of manufacturing defects are covered, along with any repair costs. This differs from a standard lifetime warranty because the cost of shipping the repaired display back to the customer, or the cost of shipping replacement parts is not covered after the first year. Because the majority of warranty problems that happen after the first year can be fixed by the customer with the proper parts, the lifetime parts and labor warranty allows us provide excellent coverage without having to increase prices to pay for it.
What Isn't Covered
All warranties, including lifetime warranties on high end display, don't cover everything, and we feel it's important to let customer's know in advance what isn't covered, because most manufacturers don't really talk about this. Some of the things that aren't covered are failry obvious, and many of those are already mentioned above, but we'll go over them again in this section for clarity.
Except for a few special cases, display warranties only cover manufacturing defects. This generally means that parts which fail during normal and proper use of the display are covered under warranty. Damage that occurs as a result of misuse, physical damage, or other causes other than faulty parts wouldn't be covered. This includes things like indoor displays that were used outdoors, problems or damage that occur from not following the display instructions or using an outdoor display in weather conditions more severe than what it was designed to withstand. This doesn't mean that these problems can't be fixed, only that there will be costs involved in the repair. None of the warranties cover the cost of shipping the display back to the proper place for repair or replacement. That's why we try to diagnose the problem before it's sent back, because if we can figure out the problem, we can save the customer the return shipping cost. When the warranty coverage dictates that shipping of the repaired or replaced display back to the customer is covered, it will be returned via ground shipping. In cases where customers need the display returned faster, they can pay for the difference between the ground shipping cost and the method they choose. Customers who choose to have the display shipped back on their own shipping account in order to get it faster will not be credited for the ground shipping cost.
Banner stands and other portable displays typically come with a carry bag, and even on high end displays, the warranties don't extend to the carry bag. Replacement bags can be purchased for almost any display, but we don't offer repair services for them. In the case of a carry bag arriving damaged, we must be notified immediately. If the damage occurred in transit, we will file a shipping damage claim with the carrier so the bag can be replaced. If the damage is not shipping related, and we are notified immediately, we can almost always arrange for a replacement, but the final decision will be made by the manufacturer. Serious damage will always result in a replacement being sent, but minor cosmetic damage or blemishes will usually not. Since carry bags are for transporting the display, any issue that doesn't prevent it from serving that purpose will not qualify for an exception to the warranty policy.
While warranty policies are designed to cover every problem, each situation is unique and we evaluate each problem individually to make sure the policy is fairly dealing with the issue. We are not a company that blindly follows a written policy without regard to the customer's specific situation. When the customer has done everything they reasonably could have been expected to do, and the warranty policy makes for an unfair result, we will make exceptions to the policy when we have the authority to do so. That, and because we work so hard to make sure there aren't problems in the first place, is why we have so many loyal, long time customers.