Gentek Building Facing Another Class Action Lawsuit

The law firm of <"">Parker Waichman Alonso LLP is among those who have filed a class action lawsuit against <"">Gentek Building Products, Inc. and Associated Materials, Inc. on behalf of a number of plaintiffs.

Consumers have reported paint warping, cracking, buckling, flaking, peeling, and splitting; product discoloration and deterioration; moisture invasion and water damage; and what the complaint describes as “massive property damage and substantial removal and replacement costs.” The lawsuit also alleges false representation and warranties and that Gentek’s willful, wanton, reckless, and grossly negligent behavior has left homes and structures dangerous, defective, unsafe, and unfit for habitation.

Gentek describes itself as a leading North American manufacturer of building materials, including steel exterior siding for homes and commercial buildings. And, although its web site markets and warrants its siding as durable and with a “Lifetime Warranty,” including this information in brochures and other marketing materials, Gentek has not stood up to its promises.

The lawsuit alleges that the siding manufactured and sold by Gentek is defectively designed and manufactured in such a way that it will prematurely fail, causing damage to consumer homes, which will lead to lowered property values. Of note, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Economic Department has stated that a consumer can reasonably expect steel siding to last at least 50 years.

Consumers have also described chipping, fading, and blistering paint; paint that peels off in sheets; and damages that have cost homeowners thousands upon thousands of dollars in home repairs and to replace the defective Gentek product; that Gentek takes six-to-12 months to respond, only bury consumers in requests to resubmit photographs, contractor bid data, and tax information several times instead of reviewing original documentation. In one case, Gentek said the customer’s warranty was void because Gentek’s authorization to paint the peeling house was not received, despite that Gentek acknowledged the defect and the extensive wait.

Progress requests are allegedly met with requests for more information or clarification. And, despite what its warranty states, customers say they are told that Gentek will only repaint and will not replace defective Gentek products; one customer said Gentek said he had no rights and that Gentek is not legally required to replace the siding. Customers have described Gentek’s Warranty department as difficult to deal with. Some patients were told desired paint colors are no longer available and one customer pointed out that the refinishing is completed with regular house paint, not exterior paint, which will lead to continued lifting and the need for ongoing refinishing.

Despite receiving thousands of warranty claims, Gentek has allegedly improperly rejected, dismissed, or handled the complaints, said the lawsuit and Gentek has allegedly refused to advise consumers about its sidings defects and to fully repair the damage its products have caused. Citing, among other issues, breach of warranty, violation of the Missouri Merchandise Practices Act (MMPA), liability, negligence, and unjust enrichment, the lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorneys fees and reimbursement costs.

We recently wrote that a federal judge denied a motion by Gentek Building Products Inc. to dismiss another class action lawsuit filed by homeowners claiming its aluminum and steel siding is defective. Gentek only offered to repaint the affected area or pay the owner a “small amount of compensation,” even though its warranty provides that the company will repair, refinish, or replace the defective siding at no cost to the property owner if the siding fails within three years of installation. After the first three years from date of installation, the warranty states that Gentek will assume the cost of material and labor for any warranted work upon Gentek’s receipt of $100 payment by the property owner for each incident covered by the warranty.

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