Retail home improvement warranty

I recently purchased granite countertops for my kitchen from a well-known home improvement retailer I’ll call XYX Store. The total for the project was between 7,000 and 8,000 dollars. I signed a contract with XYZ that I would forgo the right to a jury trial or class action suit and agree to resolve any claims by binding arbitration or small claims court if we are unable to settle them ourselves. I also agreed to report any warranty issues connected with the project in any way within 30 days. Several days after the installation was complete, I noticed that there were cracks appearing in a cabinet the countertops were installed on that were not there before (I have before and after project pictures supporting this). I notified XYZ and they referred me to XYZ-2, a company that they had subcontracted with to handle the customer service aspect of this project. XYZ-2 dispatched the installer team to my house who promptly reported that it was caused by a water leak not the cabinet installation. I fully expected them to excuse themselves from blame, but I am not sure I am buying the water damage explanation as I would have expected the damage to be inside the cabinet under the sink instead of outside if it were water related. I suggested that maybe the cracks were caused by the weight of the counter tops but they insist not. The pictures I took confirm that the cracks didn’t start to show for several days.

So, my questions are:
1. Would the damage to the cabinets be covered by the XYZ warranty since they did not install cabinets, only countertops or would it require separate legal action for damages caused to my property.
2. Should I resolve this via arbitration or small claims court.
3. Should II get an attorney.

I personally would not use binding arbitration your adversary has already chosen the arbiter.

I wouldn’t hire an attorney, there’s not enough money involved.

I’d figure out how the cabinets got cracked and try to find convincing evidence to back up your claim if the cabinets were damaged as a result of a faulty countertop installation.

If the cabinets were not strong enough to withstand the weight of the granite countertops, the installer probably should have told you about it, he’s the expert. If that’s the case, a judge may rule to split the cost of repair.

Convincing proof will be the tie breaker.

Then, I assume this means you would suggest small claims court

Yes… your situation is why small claims court exists.

Was there an actual water leak?

Not that I can see. The countertop installers are saying the wood is bubbled but there are no water stains or anything. If the damage was caused by the plumber, it seems like it would be on the inside of the cabinet where the plumbing was being done instead of the outside. In my opinion, the countertop installers are just trying to deflect blame.