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website development warranty period?

PCLANTECHS used Ask the Experts™
We are in the final stages of signing a contract with a development group but have run into a problem.
The development group is only wanting to warranty their work for 3 months once the site is complete.
Can anyone please let me know what the standard is for a warranty period and also what the standard  warranty covers?
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Top Expert 2007

There isn't a standard warranty for website development.  

You would be covered by whatever sales of goods and service laws there are in your respective jurisdictions however.

As there isn't a standard for warranties, it doesn't cover what is covered either.


it doesnt cover unless you provide the terms for warranty coverage.
Thanks but your comment isnt very helpful...
President @ ResQTek
I usually state six months in my contracts, but this is my decision as the developer. It's a term that should be negotiable, but also defined clearly. Three months is a little short, to me. But, that's my opinion. It comes down to standing by your product. If you write buggy code, you really shouldn't be charging anyone to fix it. As time goes on, however, it's really not feasible to have to go back correct bugs way beyond the launch date without a fee. The site should be fully tested by the owner/client prior to launch and even post-launch. All this in mind, I think six months is fair for everyone.

My terms usually include: "Any errors in programming will be corrected at no additional charge for six months after the site is launched."
There is 2 things to consider here.

1) The application doesn't work as it is suppose to do, because of a bug in the programming, 3 month should be enough to find those bugs and get it fix, as far as I'm concern they should fixed before lauching the website.

2) Something that you did not think of or something that after thought should have been done differently, that is where most problem come from because
     a) the programmer did what you want him to do and now you change your mind.
     b) or may be the programmer did not quite understood what you wanted.

Now who should pay for the correction is a big question.

Top Expert 2007
"it doesnt cover unless you provide the terms for warranty coverage.

Really?  I'd move to a country where it does!  Sorry, but I can't see how a warranty waives the responsability to exercise due care.   In the UK if you buy a product and can prove a manufacturing fault, you have six years to make a claim in a court, regardless of "contractual warranty".
ResQTek NancyPresident @ ResQTek

I agree with all posts for the most part, but sometimes bugs don't turn up for a long time after use of the site. When clients are given a lengthy and detailed test plan (my best practice), then they should have found the problems BEFORE launch. Depending on the problem discovered, it's at my discretion whether or not to charge the client for the fix after six months. If it's a small fix, I'm inclined to say that I wouldn't charge them. This is an unspoken rule, however, and the six months I specify is intended to incent the client to test the site thoroughly before and after launch. Most do, as it's in their best interest and the expectation to test thoroughly is set early on.

Bottom line: There is no industry standard that I am aware of. Very basic websites might need less time, intricate ones, more time. But this is all speculative and subjective.
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.
My $0.02,

As Nancy says, there is no industry standard and sometimes bugs pop up way after the testing is done.  For sites and apps I develop, I will fix any bug not introduced by outside factors for the life of the application.  Outside factors include: other people changing the code, moving to new host, host introducing upgrades, etc.

As far as the rest of the site, I warranty for 3 months unless the client wants it shorter or longer.

My 0.02€ ;-) ,
I've not seen the following point raised, which is crucial I believe:

Part of the warranty contract should be a clear description of what the delivered application will do or not. This is obvious, but in (too) many cases dropped. So, make sure to have in your contract a CLEAR feature list. Having a 12 month warranty with fuzzy feature description will not help: you and your supplier will never agree on the "it works" or not.

Side note: you should be prepared (resources and time) to perform a acceptance test, and define pass/fail criteria (that you may share with your supplier in the warranty). This is again "obvious", but I still see projects released with nobody assigned to verifying the delivered product... thus making the warranty statement useless.

You ask a web design company to do some work for you and they do it. They provide it back to you and your review it thoroughly. Once you say 'Yes that's fine, here is your money' then you have accepted the product. Warrenty is generally for things that can break or stop working. Code does not do that on it's own. If the web site stops working then it is highly unlikley that it's the code's fault. More likley is a hardware failure or configuration change and these are not the responsibility (generally) of the web design company. It's a bit like a book. You buy it, read it's yours. You have a reasonable amount of time to make sure that it's printed in your language of choice and that all the pages are there but after that it simply does not go wrong.

Of course it's up to you to make sure that the software does what you said it should (testing) and that it does what you expected it to do (specification).

Make sure that you know exactly what you want the software to do IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES and UNDER ALL CONDITIONS. Write that down and give it to the development company as a specification. Then, when the software arrives test it against the specification. If it does everything you asked for then you have no choice but to accept it. How long it takes to do the testing is dependent on the complexity of the software, the intricies of the tests and the availability of automated test tools.
I assume PCLANTECHS is best placed to conclude...
Jason C. LevineDon't talk to me.

Hi pinaldave,

It's an opinion question...absent a response from PCLANTECHS the fair thing is to split points equally or delete.
ResQTek NancyPresident @ ResQTek

My vote is for a deletion, but if you think splitting amongst 6-7 experts is worthwhile, I'm not going to argue.