Rutledge couple’s retractable awning replaced after conflict over warranty

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RUTLEDGE (WATE) – A product that comes with a long warranty is a good selling point, but what if you’re given a hard time if something goes wrong with the product, even if it’s still under warranty?

The Davises had a 10-year warranty on their awning, but it started tearing up in only seven years. The retractable awning installed in 2009 was perfect for their home on the lake in Rutledge. Gayle Davis said she cleaned the fabric with a solution the installed suggested she buy, but recently the awning started coming apart.

The couple had a 10-year warranty.
The couple had a 10-year warranty.

The warranty said to call your installer if there’s an issue, which she did in June. In September, Gayle Davis showed WATE 6 On Your Side how her back porch awning manufactured by Sunesta has deteriorated.

“You have a hole up here that started last year. And I called the dealer at that time and asked if he had any patching,” she said.

Gayle Davis said she put patches on the awning herself, but it’s the holes or slits in the fabric that bother her and her husband.

“Also now I noticed the valence is wearing thin. You see some slits in the valance and light coming through the valence,” she said.

“To me it’s faulty material. It’s deteriorating and it needs to be replaced, under the warranty,” said Don Davis.

The couple has warranty papers they received from Sunesta when the purchased the awning seven years ago. They state there’s a 10 year guarantee on the fabric and that if there’s a problem, the fabric would be replaced within eight years if you call the installer for an inspection. The Davises did that in June, but no one has come out to inspect the awning.

The awning had several tears.
The awning had several tears.

They purchased their Sunesta awning from Awnings Direct out of Blount County. In July 2009, they paid $3,300 for the 19 by 12 and a half foot retractable awning. The couple said they tried to reach their installer in early summer.

“He has not called me. He has not called to say, ‘I don’t want to deal with you,’ or nothing. So, here we are September the first and nothing has been done all summer,” said Gayle Davis.

They say they like the awning, but were frustrated by the lack of assistance from the dealer.

Awnings Direct owner Mark Hoffman said the fabric has not been taken care of properly, that tears are not under warranty and the Davises claim for a new awning was denied. However, after contacting the manufacturer’s corporate office in Florida, WATE 6 On Your Side was told the couple’s claim and warranty would be honored.

As of last week, there’s a new awning on the Davis back porch. Hoffman put it up himself in about two hours. The new awning is just like the original one and it comes with another 10 year warranty. The Davises cost was a little a more than $200 for shipping and labor.

They now have a new awning.
They now have a new awning.

“They finally did what they were supposed to do under the warranty,” said Don Davis.

The manufacturer of Sonesta said they never had a complaint about an awning like the Davises had. The company said they stand by their warranty and did nothing wrong. The couple said they had taken care of the fabric as they had been told to do.

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