Trusted Warranty Evaluation Program

Trusted Warranty Evaluation Program 2020-03-18T23:08:27+00:00

The program is designed to be a validator for companies that reliably stand behind their warranty.  The NLB will work with lighting designers, electrical distributors, contractors, and utilities and encourage them to specify and use products that carry the NLB Trusted Warranty logo.  

The NLB Trusted Warranty Program recognizes excellence in lighting companies that meet objective quality standards and practices regarding their warranty administration.  Lighting Designers, Electrical Distributors, Electrical Contractors and other Industry Stakeholders should feel comfortable specifying, buying, and installing luminaires from companies that have had their warranty department audited and approved by the NLB.  The main intent of the Trusted Warranty Program is to promote excellence in responding to warranty issues and to give industry stakeholders confidence in specific manufacturers that had their warranty program inspected.

The NLB does not absorb any warranty costs or make any guarantees.

Participating Companies

All Lighting and Lighting Component Companies who sell in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to participate regardless of where their company or warranty department resides. The Program is designed to reward companies that adhere to the NLB’s stated criteria; no company that sells product in the United States or Canada and can meet the criteria will be excluded.

How it works:

The NLB will conduct an audit of the manufacturer’s warranty records to ensure that objective quality standards and practices are followed.

The manufacturer first requests an audit of their warranty program through the NLB website. For US and Canada locations, an auditor will typically be assigned within one week and the audit will be scheduled within one month.  Non-US and non-Canada locations will typically be assigned an auditor within one month and the audit will be scheduled within two months.

The Certificate will be awarded to companies based on an in-person audit of their warranty program.  During the audit, the manufacturer will be asked to produce documentation to meet the below requirements:

Formal Warranty.  (points awarded:  0, 1, 2, or 3)

  • The company shall have a documented warranty that can be found on the manufacturer’s primary landing webpage within three clicks or within one click using the search function.
  • The company shall have internal documented warranty procedures that keep its management abreast of warranty issues.
  • The company shall either have an employee/department that is tasked with managing warranties or a third party that manages the warranty and the warranty document will show contact information.

Companies will be awarded one point for each of the above criteria.

Rationale:  Companies that have a transparent warranty that can be easily accessed are helpful to customers. They will have documented procedures and processes to keep management apprised, and they will either have an employee or a 3rd party that manages their warranty process.  Note:  warranty administration does not have to be the primary job of the employee, it can be an additional duty assigned to that employee.

Warranty Language (points awarded 0, 1 or 2)

  • The language of the warranty shall be clear and concise? If the warranty is prorated, it must be marked prorated and properly defined so a layperson could understand that the warranty is prorated.
  • The start date of the warranty must be specified.

Companies will be awarded one point for each of the above criteria.

Rationale:  Most warranties are filled with legalese, but it is important that a layperson can understand what is truly covered and what is not.  NLB takes no position regarding prorated warranties, but the NLB does want to ensure that a prorated warranty clearly outlines how the proration is calculated and what it means.

Length in Business or Warranty Insurance (points awarded 0 or 1)

The company will have been in business longer than the length of the published warranty or the company will provide a warranty insurance policy.

One point will be awarded if a company has been in business longer than the length of the warranty or if the company maintains adequate insurance to cover its warranty obligations.

Rationale:  If a company has not been in business longer than the warranty claimed, it can be a red flag as some new companies offer significant warranties with no financial means to back them up. Because the Trusted Warranty Program does not discourage new entrants, a new company can acquire an insurance policy for its warranty obligations and still earn one point.  A warranty insurance policy is different than liability insurance.  In addition, the NLB will post the year the company (or division) was founded and the existence of any warranty insurance policies on the NLB Trusted Warranty website as well as on the certificate.

Technical Evaluation (points awarded: 0, 1 or 2)

Auditor will spot check 2 randomly chosen skus for reliability testing.

One point will be awarded for each sku for which reliability testing was completed.

Rationale:  NLB auditor will not conduct any product testing, but the NLB believes it is important that the manufacturer have reliability testing data for any products covered by warranty.  If a company has a warranty, they should have some basis or documentation to give them confidence in the quality of the product.  The NLB takes no position if testing reports are internally or externally generated.

Claims Review Evaluation (points awarded 0, 1, 2, or 3)

Auditor will randomly choose three claims from the past 12 months and evaluate the trail from when the first notification was made until the claim was complete.  Auditor will evaluate whether manufacturer acted expeditiously given the information that the manufacturer received.  Manufacturer will not be penalized for incomplete or delayed information or samples from the customer.

One point will be awarded for each claim in which the OEM acted expeditiously as determined by the auditor in the auditor’s experience. NLB will institute quality checks to ensure that auditors apply a consistent level of scrutiny to all claims reviewed.

Qualification: 

Certificates will be awarded to companies based on the completeness of the documentation to validate their warranty program.  A minimum of 8 points is required to receive the certificate. If deficiencies are noted that prevent the manufacturer from acquiring 8 points, the manufacturer will have 30 days to correct. If not corrected within 30 days, manufacturer will have to wait 6 months before re-applying.

Criteria Score Typical Score
Formal Warranty Process 0, 1, 2, or 3 3
Warranty Language 0, 1 or 2 2
Length of Business/Warranty Insurance 0 or 1 0
Technical Evaluation 0, 1, or 2 2
Claims Review Evaluation 0, 1, 2, or 3 3
Total   10

Costs:

Companies with US-based warranty departments:  $1800 for the first year for in-person audits per company; $1000 for years 2 and 3 for remote audits.

Companies with non-US-based warranty departments:   $1500 plus cost of travel for the first year for in-person audits per company; $1000 for years 2 and 3 for remote audits.

The following information will appear on both the Trusted Warranty Certificate as well as the NLB Trusted Warranty website:

  1. Company Name
  2. Warranty Contact information to include address, phone and email
  3. The year the company (or division) was founded
  4. The existence and amount of any warranty insurance
  5. Date of certificate and expiration date