What You Need To Know When Buying An Awning
Protect yourself by recognizing & avoiding unethical "Bait-and-Switch" deceptive advertising business practices.
From The Beginning
Since 1979 our family has provided a wide range of custom made exterior sun control products throughout California with Stationary Awnings, Retractable Awnings and Drop-Shade Systems. We also remove thousands of awnings and fabric awning covers which were made by other companies each year. Because we use the highest-quality components, as well as superior quality-control products tested twice before they leave our factory, our awnings look better, work better and stand the test of time. Unfortunately, not all awning companies can make the same claim. In fact, most awnings we inspect that come in for replacement to our factory; have used cheap, off-shore hardware and fabric.
All Accent Awnings systems and fabric awning recovers includes a full-service warranty covering all defects in materials during the warranty period. Please reference to our warranty here.
Here’s what a couple of our customers said on Angie’s List:
Powered sun screen with remote control. “Project went well. On time and turned out well. Work done a couple of years ago. recommended them to son-in-law who did a bigger project and he is well please and he is a perfectionist who is an executive with a construction company.”
Replaced my awning and power coated the frame. “My experience from my first contact ‘til the job was completed was firstly rate start to finish. Tim my initial contact, the sales rep, Bert, Adam in Operation and Josh the installer and his team were polite, efficient and pleasant to deal with. All in all, I highly recommend this company.”
Post- Sales Support is Everything
Accent Awning Company’s post-sales support is second to none. We offer repair and warranty services on our products -- all completed by our factory-trained installation technicians. We provide superior technical support, care and cleaning information, replacement parts for all of our custom retractable awnings, stationary awnings & Drop Shade Systems. We stand behind our workmanship and services to give you the best Accent Awning experience possible for the life of your product.
Of course, consumers want the best awning products with a recognized company that stands behind them. In our experience, it is often not until after they encounter a service or warranty claim, they discover the company doesn’t stand behind their warranty or even offer repair services. This is especially true for cheaper, imported products that don’t have warranties. One more reason Accent Awnings always provides their warranty in writing.
A major concern for consumers is when companies use blatantly deceptive practices with their warranty polices. Although the Federal Trade Commission's Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act requires manufacturers and sellers of products conducted inside a consumer's home to supply a detailed written warranty, many do not or even less provide it on their website. These companies typically lead with lower priced options but lack the foundation or future to stand behind their products.
Accent Awnings® replaces thousands of awnings and awning fabrics made by other companies each year. Before scrapping these old awnings we inspect the hardware, motors and fabrics in order to know what our competitors are actually supplying. We estimate as many as 75% of local awning companies are using cheap off-shore hardware. Additionally we estimate as many as 40% of local awning companies are using off-shore fabrics when solid colors are selected.
Consumers always want the best products on the market at the best possible price. Unfortunately a Bait-and-Switch victim will most likely not realize they have deceived until they encounter a service or warranty claim. Cheap & inferior imported products are less reliable and typically don't offer the same warranty as American and European materials. One way to know if you're dealing with a Bait-and Switch company is to ask for their warranty in writing.
Although the Bait-and-Switch problem isn't limited to Southern California, we first started seeing the influx of off-shore awning products shortly after a free-trade agreement deal with a Far East country. Even though the first local company to use these sub-par products was able to quickly gain a foothold in the market based purely on price, they folded in a few years. Offering a high-quality warranty with inferior quality products predictably resulted in excessive warranty costs which the company couldn't afford to cover.
The next incarnation of the company supplied the same inferior products with a new twist: deceptive warranty practices. Although the Federal Trade Commission's Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act requires manufacturers and sellers of products conducted inside a consumer's home to supply a detailed written warranty, this awning company continues not provide a written warranty to consumers or post one on its website. By being able to refuse warranty claims and not providing warranty documentation, the company was able to continue selling low-quality items for substantially less than its competitors.
Examples of the Bait-and-Switch
1. The Somfy® Motors & Electronics Bait-and-Switch:
The Somfy® motor is housed in the shade product's roller tube, and therefore isn't visible. Bait-and-Switching the motor and electronics saves $300 to $500 each time an awning company gets away with it.
2. The Sunbrella® Fabric Bait-and-Switch:
Did you receive a "Certified Sunbrella® Tag" sewn into your Sunbrella® fabric? If not, you may be a victim of a Bait-and-Switch! Customers demand quality Sunbrella® fabric on their awnings, so no awning company advertises the use of awning fabrics other than Sunbrella®.
Off-shore fabrics use colors that mimic Sunbrella® solid fabric colors. These off-shore fabrics cost roughly 40% less than quality Sunbrella® fabrics and carry a wide range of warranty disclaimers to avoid delivering on warranty claims. The most commonly used Bait-and-Switch fabric is pro-rated & isn't covered for "damage to fabric from aging and normal use".
3. The Hardware System Bait-and-Switch:
Most awning companies have a sewing department, but they don't make the hardware they sell. Since the majority of costs are in the hardware, the advantage of using low quality hardware is in being able to offer a significantly lower selling price.
Use of generic awning photos in brochures or online allows a company to hide differences in hardware construction when they change suppliers.
Off-shore components often cost 70% less than quality American & European components. Based on our experience of taking apart the old awnings we replace, the two largest off-shore suppliers of the hardware into the southern California market used by most Bait-and-Switch companies are located in Ningbo China, Qingdao China, Linhai China and Zhejiang China.
Ironically, not a single awning company promotes or admits to using an awning system from any of these geographic areas.
This broken aluminum casting is made in Ningbo & Qingdao China. We Googled the Fax number to find out where the hardware came from. The casting should be cement-glued into the hollow aluminum arm. However, since such a technique is costly, the crucial component was screwed into the casting to cut costs. As soon as the awning was deployed, the casting broke where the screw is located.
Powder Coating fixed awning frames is a costly quality improvement over spray painted awning frames. Accent Awnings spends over $200,000 a year on powder coating alone! You'll never receive a spray-painted awning frame from us. The below photos show a spray painted frame and the powder coated awning frame we made to replace it.
Tack Welding Awning Frames:
The fastest way to cut corners on a stationary awning is to tack-weld frame intersections instead of fully welding and mitering. Tack-welding leads to open holes in the metal, which results in the frames rusting from the inside out, leaving the customer to replace the frames in just half the time they would have if the frames had been properly constructed. The below photos show a broken tack welded frame and the awning frame we made to replace it.
The Bottom Line
Accent Awnings knows the awning industry inside & out, and we make the highest-quality products as well as provide the best customer service. We can actually prove it and there is no doubt about that.
You can come to our showrooms in Santa Ana & San Diego anytime and see what we do – and check out our awning showroom while you’re there! Call us today in Southern California at (800) 332-2866. We look forward to seeing you soon.