Why Won't Bryant Honor My Warranty?

When Bryant promises it will honor an extended warranty for Brad Fuller, he's thrilled. When it doesn't follow through, he turns to us.

Question: Our home was purchased from the builder and came with a Bryant furnace. In the past two months, the furnace has twice failed to produce heat, and so we had a Bryant authorized repair tech come out and fix it both times at a combined cost of over $1,000.

During the second repair, we called Bryant to see if the unit was still under warranty. We were told that if the unit is registered by the installer, it has a 10-year warranty; otherwise the warranty is 5 years. Fortunately our unit, installed in 2009, was registered and under a warranty. We were instructed to let the technician know.

Five days later, the technician called to tell us the unit is not under a warranty. I called back and spoke to a Bryant representative who told me the unit was never registered. It only had a 5 year warranty -- which had expired.

She said the previous rep was new, and that could explain the discrepancy. I was then transferred to a senior specialist who would not authorize any warranty work, who also saying the warranty had expired because the furnace hadn't been registered.

She stated that they record their calls, but she was unwilling to listen to or check the recording to confirm what I was telling her. I could not find any upper-level contacts for Bryant on their site or on your excellent contacts page on your consumer advocacy site.

I would like the company to honor their promise to cover their unit for 10 years. If you have a way to contact them, I would appreciate any help. -- Brad Fuller, New Albany, Ohio

Answer: If a Bryant representative said you had a 10-year warranty, then you should have one. Period.

I mean, your furnace met the qualifications for the warranty. It was installed by, and also allegedly registered by that builder. And its registration was verified -- but then un-verified -- by Bryant.

Like many other companies, Bryant records its customer service calls for "quality" purposes. It's not clear why the company wouldn't review its records to see if one of its representatives had, indeed, given you an assurance that you were covered under its warranty.

You could have contacted someone higher up at Bryant. Email addresses at Bryant follow the format firstname.lastname@carrier.utc.com.

Your experience underscores the importance of getting the warranties of all the appliances in your new home and keeping them in a safe place. Had you asked your builder for a warranty, the confusion you encountered might have been avoided. We had one employee saying you were under warranty and two saying you weren't. An actual warranty might have settled the question.

I called Bryant on your behalf and a representative looked into your case. A short while later, he sent me a note verifying that a representative had "misquoted" the warranty. "I will have the warranty department do an override to extend the customer's warranty to 10 years," he added.

Christopher Elliott specializes in solving intractable consumer problems. Contact him with your questions on his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google or sign up for his newsletter.