How to Get the Best Furniture Warranty for Your Classroom

If you are an educator ready to spend a LOT of money on classroom furniture, you are probably looking for warranties and product guarantees that ensure your investment will last a while. Most teachers are extremely budget-conscious and want to make their dollars spread as far as possible. As a result, you expect products to last as long as possible. When it comes to classroom furniture, it needs to be strong enough to handle heavy use from young children and last for years and years.

Whether you are buying furniture from vendors such as Kaplan Early Learning Company, Lakeshore Learning, Discount School Supply, or Community Playthings, the furniture warranties will help you know which products are built to last the longest. 

To help you get the most of your furniture warranties, we’ve created a simple cheat sheet to help guide you.

Look for basic product guarantees from furniture manufacturers

Most reputable vendors and manufacturers will offer a minimum 1-year guarantee on their products. That means they will refund or replace any product that has structural defects, beyond everyday use, within one year of purchase. If your product meets this criteria, the company will usually repair it, send replacement parts, or replace the entire unit and ask you to trash or donate your old one. 

How are manufacturers defining “everyday use” and “normal wear and tear” in their warranties? This can vary from vendor to vendor, so your best bet may be to speak directly to a customer support representative. They will ask you how the product has been used, how it has been cleaned, and how long you’ve had it. They may ask you to submit a photo for evidence. Then, the team will work with their quality assurance department to determine if the issue was a defect in the product, and if the warranty applies.

Two distribution professionals carefully moving classroom materials packaged for safe delivery.

Here are some quick tips to understand factors that affect a warranty:

Examples of disqualifying wear and tear (outside of everyday use)

  • Faded colors over time
  • Worn or frayed materials after many years’ use
  • Scratches, chipping, denting and blemishes on the furniture after being used
  • Furniture splitting or damaged after being moved or dropped by customer

Examples of product misuse

  • Indoor product used outside
  • Product left outside with no protective covering
  • Product used by children outside the recommended age range, and then damaged
  • Product weight limits exceeded (such as with chairs, rockers and gliders)

These tips are general, because every product and manufacturer guidelines are different. That’s why it’s important to ask these questions early in your buying process.

Light-filled classroom with cribs for naptime.

Tips for getting the most out of your Lifetime Warranty or Limited Lifetime Warranty

Furniture manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty for their most durable products. Some companies call this a “limited lifetime” warranty, while others say simply “lifetime warranty.” They mean the same thing and, at Kaplan, are used interchangeably.

A lifetime warranty means a product will be repaired or replaced for the lifetime of the product. But how do you know what the “lifetime” of a product is? Read these three tips for understanding the fine print.

The Fine Print: What you need to know about your lifetime warranty

  1. The “lifetime” of a product is usually limited to the lifetime of use by the original purchaser. Some vendors also require proof of purchase. Be sure to inquire with a customer support representative if you have questions about this.
  2. As described above, limited lifetime warranties do not apply to damage caused by abuse, misuse or any alterations made to the product. This basically means that the product is intended for use in specific ways - if it is used in inappropriate ways and breaks or gets damaged, the warranty would not apply.
  3. Beware of dueling warranties! If the manufacturer offers one warranty and the retailer offers another, be sure to inquire about which one(s) are active for your order.

For large classroom investments such as furniture, understanding the product warranties is critical to getting the best value - and longevity - for your pieces. Replacing furniture is expensive and time-consuming, but reputable vendors will make that process easy for you. Once you understand the warranty or guarantees that apply to your products, you can do as much as possible to protect your products so they fall within the warranty’s guidelines. Be sure to check the cleaning recommendations for your products!

Kaplan offers limited lifetime warranties on hundreds of products, not to mention multi-year warranties for thousands of other products. If you have a specific question about a warranty, visit the warranties page online.

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