Property owners who purchased siding from Gentek Building Products, Inc. may be able to take part in legal action against the manufacturer. Lawsuits allege Gentek’s products were defectively designed in that the paint does not properly adhere to the metal and can crack, peel, or chip prematurely. Furthermore, plaintiffs claim Gentek is not upholding its lifetime warranty for the products, as the company’s offers to re-paint the affected areas or to pay for the cost of repairs are not adequate. In some cases, property owners waited years for a response to their warranty claims, while others have reportedly taken matters into their own hands, spending thousands of dollars to repair or replace their siding.
If you own a property with Gentek siding, you may be eligible to participate in a recently-approved settlement from the manufacturer.
The class action lawsuit alleged Gentek manufactured defective siding that is prone to chipping, peeling, or cracking within the product’s warranty period. Despite offering a lifetime warranty, Gentek did not satisfy the terms of its contract because it offered inadequate solutions to the defect, according to the lawsuit.
Gentek’s lifetime warranty says that the company will repair or replace any siding sold prior to 1995 and repair, replace, or refinish any siding sold between 1995 and present day. For individuals who purchased the siding, the contract is good throughout their lifetime; for corporate or government entities, the warranty lasts 50 years. If property owners submit a warranty claim for Gentek to repair or replace their siding, there is a $100 charge per service.
Some plaintiffs claimed their siding began degrading just six years after installation. The plaintiffs allegedly contacted Gentek to file a warranty claim soon after noticing the damage; however, in some cases, the manufacturer took years to evaluate the problem. Others claim Gentek charged them the $100 incident fee, but never repaired or replaced the siding.
According to the lawsuit, Gentek offered its customers two options: they could have the affected area re-painted or collect a small sum to repair the damage; however, the company would no longer be liable for promises made under its warranty for the area of treated area. Plaintiffs claimed that neither option satisfied the manufacturer’s liability under the warranty because the amount of money Gentek offered would not cover the full cost of replacing the siding. Furthermore, re-painting would not resolve the defect for the remainder of the siding and could cause inconsistent coloring over time.
Property owners charged Gentek with violating its express and implied warranties, as the company did not fulfill its written warranty or provide siding inherently free of defects. They also charged Gentek with fraudulent concealment and unjust enrichment because the company admitted to receiving 1,100 warranty claims for paint issues when it previously faced litigation in 2001, yet continued to distribute the siding.
Plaintiffs who proposed the class action lawsuit requested compensation for the purchase price and installation costs for their Gentek siding, as well compensatory, consequential, and punitive damages.
Under the settlement, class members were awarded a total of $70,000 in reimbursement fees. Gentek also offered binding conditions to its warranties to help solve the plaintiffs’ problems. Class members who are eligible to take part in the settlement include all property owners with Gentek siding manufactured between January 1, 1991 and March 15, 2013 with valid warranties. With the new warranty conditions, class members can submit claims for the first two instances of peeling, cracking, or chipping, with Gentek offering to repair or replace the affected area or provide an amount equal to the cost of the repair or replacement work. In a third instance of premature failure, the property owner will be able to choose between Gentek repairing or replacing the affected area or electing to receive a one-time $8,000 payment, which will alleviate any future liability from Gentek regarding the affected area.
Property owners can usually find the name and manufacturer of their siding on installation or repair paperwork. Beginning in 1988, Gentek’s aluminum and steel siding was sold in North America and internationally by both Gentek Building Products Inc. and its parent company Associated Materials LLC. The siding is sold under the brand names Alpine, Alside, Gentek, Revere, Preservation, and Ultraguard.
If your property has been fitted with Gentek’s aluminum or steel siding and you have noticed it is peeling, chipping, or cracking prematurely, you may be entitled to compensation.