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Window blinds - how long should they last

We bought new blinds and a canvas window awning less than 7 years ago.

The awning replaced a 35 year old canvas awning with galvanised hardware. After 6 years the ‘new’ anodised hardware is rusting. We do live close to the ocean. The old hardware was unrusted.

A ‘vision blind’ is now coming apart. It cost over $900 for 1 large window. The external awning shades it for the majority of the year.

What is consumer protection for window furnishings?

I have not yet approached the supplier as want to be sure of my facts.

cheers

Dennis

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Hi @Dennis44, welcome back to the community…it has heen a while since we last heard from you

Australia has consumer laws (ACL) adminstered by the ACCC…the ACCC provides information about what Consumer rights are…

The challenge is the older a product gets, the harder it is to obtain a remedy under ACL.

The consumer guarantees set out under the law often are based on what a reasonable person would expect…such as how long should a product last based on its initial purchase price, how the product was sold, how it is used, also how the product was made and how long the product remains in vogue (such as technology products where many consumers buy new ones before the old one expires to keep up with the latest tech).

In relation to your blind, was any informal provided at the time of purchase on the likely life of the product?

Also, was the product also sold as being sea air compatible if the expected life was provided when purchased?

Answers to these may provide a better understanding if you do have a right or remedy under the ACL.

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I empathise with you. We too live near the ocean and any ferrous metal rusts and wood rots, all very quickly.

What we have been told is that you need to get things that are resistant to a corrosive environment, as standard fixtures and fittings will not last. This of course costs a whole lot more; if you can get it.

I’m not an expert, but I would expect that the manufacturer probably went with the cheapest available material which is not as heavy duty as the ‘good old stuff’.

The fact that your awnings lasted this long is pretty good. I expect that the manufacturer would argue that their awning has met the normal lift expectancy for these sorts of products in a corrosive environment.

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What metal is the ‘anodised hardware’? If it is aluminium by definition it is not rusting it is corroding, but that does not change your underlying question. Since you are yet to approach the manufacturer you should assure you are using the relevant terminology to demonstrate as much mastery of the topic as possible.

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When we were visiting our friends in Gladstone, we went for a drive around town including Bishops Drive on Auckland Hill past the only residential property on the street, sitting high above the harbour and subjected to the sea breezes.

My mate said that all the metal work on the house was marine grade stainless steel and had cost an absolute fortune, but obviously far better than paying for multiple replacments.

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Thanks for the replies. Just gone out and inspected again. All the metal brackets, slider rods and attachments are ferrous, as a magnet stuck. Obviously it’s a very thin galvanising. The previous awning lasted over 30 years. Will advise the outcome after the supplier gets back to work.

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Perhaps it is zinc plated and not hot dipped galvanising.

Zinc plating does not cope with corrosive enviroments like hot dipped galvanisingg does.

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We recently had exterior window blinds installed to the front of the house. They were expensive, and not a patch on our neighbours blinds that have been there for 30 years or more. The same can be said for Hill’s Hoists.

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Living in a regional coastal city, I am annoyed that hardware stores don’t put more effort into clearly identifying what fasteners are marine grade.
I see a lot of buildings with rusted external fasteners - sometimes the work would have been by professional builders (hoping the corrosion won’t show for 1+ years), and sometimes by handy-persons who may not grasp they need (or forgot to get) marine-grade fasteners.

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I rather think it is up to the manufacturer to say what the materials are and possibly what standard they accord to. It is up to the installer/builder to decide which ones to use. I don’t see the hardware store has much to do with it, they don’t label the good’s packing, where they describe the product either in store or online they take it straight from whatever the manufacturer says.

Judgement is required by the builder because the price of genuine marine grade fittings is much greater than those suitable for general outdoor use. In some cases marine is required in other cases not. If some handyman who doesn’t know what they are doing uses the wrong fitting it is hardly the fault of the shop who sold it to them.

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Stores may not because very few items on the shelves are suitable in coastal salt air. Fasteners may be one of the easier items to assess. Not all grades of Stainless Steel are equal.

Note: 316L Stainless Steel Is commonly used in marine environments, but Marine grade has no standard definition, and a variety of mis-interpretations if we are referring to stainless steel.

A second point to consider is the relative corrosiveness of the environment where the product is going to be used.

Is it reasonable for the average hardware store to label or advise accordingly?

@Dennis44 has raised a very important issue by his example.
For those of us exposed to coastal or more extreme environments finding reliable products is a genuine concern. The majority of everyday products we purchase are produced to suit the average consumer’s needs. Many manufacturer’s do not produce products that are suitable for the more corrosive coastal environments. ‘Buyer be ware’ if there is anything in the fine print of the suppliers warranty or sales contract for custom orders. For custom made external products we might all expect the supplier would consider the location and environment in supplying a quality long lasting product. Although consumers are susceptible to style over substance and suppliers to offering the lowest quality they think they can get away with In a price sensitive market.

It’s a great topic and perhaps an opportunity for a buyers guide on, ‘What to look out for when buying fittings and products if you live near the sea or in a humid/tropical environment’.

The commercial and professional designers fall back to Australian Standards and specifying minimum requirements, for the expected environmental conditions.

For the average home owner there may be two hurdles. Firstly knowing what is the minimum product quality, or life condition to ask for. Secondly finding a suitable product or supplier who can confidently meet their needs. Not everything comes in high grade 316L stainless Steel, or if it can be done the cost of a one off special may be too great to contemplate. The risk for consumers is relying solely on a verbal assurance the supplier has heard your need correctly. A reality that the only product the supplier can offer you may be a poor choice but will sneak past warranty. Sale or no sale?