Typical Lighting Return Policies of Suppliers

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George Stolz

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Windsor, CO NEC: 2017
Occupation
Service Manager
Hypothetical:

July: A customer desires an outdoor light fixture. EC orders a RAB light from local supplier. EC installs light fixture.

December: Light fails. EC returns to investigate. Investigation reveals bad ballast.

What happens next?
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
my lighting supplier would most likely give me a replacement ballast with no problems, I would most likely wind up eating the labor....
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Warranty on my labor - one year on most stuff, but I'm flexible. If it's a good (repeat) customer, I'll fix stuff that's my fault "forever."

Warranty on materials - whatever warranty the manufacturer or supplier offers.
 

George Stolz

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Windsor, CO NEC: 2017
Occupation
Service Manager
On my end, I called the supplier after getting the call from the customer. Originally, it appeared to be a cold weather failure. Senior Supply Guy #1 researched it while we were on the phone, pulled the ticket from July, got the part number, and then said we ought to start with swapping the lamp, to see if the problem went away.

Prior to my arrival on the customer's site, the fixture failed entirely.

So, I stopped by that day, picked up a lamp and headed over to the customer. I installed the second lamp, and no light. I verified voltage at the supply side of the ballast. I tested the cap with my megger and it never reached infinite resistance. I figured this to be the problem, but figured when I get the new ballast (and eliminate all doubt) then it would have a new cap anyway, so who cares.

I called the supplier again, talked to the same guy, told him I was working on that light and it appeared to be the ballast. He said he could have one in by the middle of the following week.

In the middle of the following week, I called to see if the ballast had come in, and it had. So I went down there, ballast in hand, and Senior Supply Guy #2 tells me that he can't just exchange ballasts, he would have needed the whole fixture, and then he could "see what he could do." I was not in the mood to argue, and figured a clean criminal record was probably an asset to me, so I just left.

I had my guy swap the ballast, and still no light. Turns out the second lamp was a dud, too, and my guy bought lamp #3 at a closer supply house.

So, as of right now, I am looking at having purchased two lamps and one ballast for a fixture that I purchased less than six months prior to failure. I am debating just what to tell these two chuckleheads Monday, but I figure I would seek feedback on other's experiences prior to telling them where they should get off. I'm thinking I'll give them the option between giving me the ballast and lamp, or my company taking a vacation from their services for three months or so.

Also, my boss and I are wondering: How much do you mark up HID fixtures due to failure rate? Seems like half the time they croak before the warranty is up. Seems like for a one-off, one wallpack installation we're going to wind up charging for two trips and a 200% markup just to break even. Thoughts on this? Is there a better light manufacturer?
 

scwirenut

Senior Member
this is why in residential, I always, and I mean always make the homeowner purchase their own lighting and have it at the job when I arrive. floods, fans, cans, lighting of any and all kind. this way if it goes bad, they pay me to look at it. we dont provide washers, dryers, tvs, ect. why should we provide lights.
 

rich000

Senior Member
this is why in residential, I always, and I mean always make the homeowner purchase their own lighting and have it at the job when I arrive. floods, fans, cans, lighting of any and all kind. this way if it goes bad, they pay me to look at it. we dont provide washers, dryers, tvs, ect. why should we provide lights.
HO provide their own cans?

I make them provide their own lights (chandeliers, exterior lights, vanity lights, etc.) but I always buy the cans. Some manufacturers cans are easier to install than others. Some are just plain nightmares to install.
 

scwirenut

Senior Member
yes, I point them to our local "light house" that sells "Progress" they get the bath fans from there too. I dont want then saying "i dont like those trims", or call me to change a bad bulb out for free. or later when I come back to install the trim and a piece or part is missing from the can. this way I just say," this can you brought me is missing a part, how back run back to the Light house and get a replacement." Im tired of babysitting
 

mivey

Senior Member
George,

You must be a pretty easy going guy. But it might be Amok Time where logic dictates that it is nearly time for an emotional scene that will bring the house down!
 

saratoga1

Member
Location
Ky
I had a battery go bad in an exit/emerg light from the time I installed it to inspection ( 1 month) supply house made me return the whole light, do a credit return, purchase another exit/emerg light to put back, I am sure a big contractor would fare better than that??
 

dmagyar

Senior Member
Location
Rocklin, Ca.
Write a letter to the Distributor

Write a letter to the Distributor

I bought some materials at a local distributor and left without checking over the pricing. At the end of the day I checked and was shocked at some of the pricing I had received. I called the distributor and they said they couldn't do anything about it. I wrote a letter to them describing my predicament, small contractor, competetive market. I was contacted about a week later, I brought the expensive items back, full refund. It's ironic that with the contraction in the market they're one of the distributors still in business. I know it's not the same as having warantee troubles but it couldn't hurt to try.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
... supply house made me return the whole light, do a credit return, purchase another exit/emerg light to put back, I am sure a big contractor would fare better than that??
... I brought the expensive items back, full refund. It's ironic that with the contraction in the market they're one of the distributors still in business.
The orange and blue stores would never treat anyone like that.
 

RETRAINDAILY

Senior Member
Location
PHX, arizona
the suppliers here are ether over priced ballast/lamps or are idiots and give crap whatever they stock. We have a City Lights around here that that takes really god care of us here no matter the issue. and know lights.
 

PetrosA

Senior Member
I installed a RAB 175MH end of November with an added cheapie dome type dusk-to-dawn (at the recommendation of Supply House Guy #1). Last week customer called that it wasn't coming on at night, so I checked the DtoD, found it wasn't operating and replaced it with a better grade one for 3x the price. Light came on during test, but I didn't leave it on for more than a few minutes. Next day we get a call that the light is cycling on/off. Our supply house did a return on both the original DtoD and the RAB fixture so we were able to get things fixed, but had to eat labor on it. This experience combined with this thread is making me consider moving to something like Hubbell. It may be more expensive, but if it's more dependable, who cares?
 

readydave8

re member
Location
Clarkesville, Georgia
Occupation
electrician
Will a cheaper fixture cure the failure-rate blues? :-?
Perhaps not, but would leave more money to help pay for return trips.

I was having trouble with 175 watt MH yard lites, bought by customers at HD for around $22. One job in particular was 35 miles from my shop and 20' high, so I replaced it with a $75 similiar fixture from the local electrical supply, can't remember if it was Hubble or another well-respected brand.

I was called back a month later and wound up replacing it.
 
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