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Home Warranties Stink

So, a little backstory to start things off. Last Thursday, I get home from a week long trip to LA for meetings. Friday morning, the A/C goes out. In 95+ degree temps. Fine, I say, I’ve got a home warranty from American Home Shield for this exact circumstance, let’s call them as they’ve been helpful before. They assign a technician to come out and repair it and the earliest they can come out is Monday. Fine, next business day was the most I was expecting. We spend the weekend days out of the house and come home to sleep in the cool of the night (70 degrees). That’s literally the high point.

Monday comes and the technician shows up about 3pm (well within his 12-4pm window). I’m covered in sweat from waiting around, but I greet him with a handshake. He goes out to the unit and looks at it for 20 seconds. Goes back to his truck and makes a 5 minute phone call, I guess reporting back what he thinks the problem is.

He comes back to me and tells me that my compressor burned out because there were grass clippings and dirt in the compressor and it overheated. Fine, I say, let’s replace the compressor. He says that my home warranty company will have to order the compressor for me and then he’ll come back and install it. I don’t understand this extra need for bureaucracy, but I play along. He tells me that he will call the warranty company and let them know and hopefully come back the next day to install it. He can’t get out of the house quick enough.

Five minutes later, the warranty company calls and this guy with MAJOR attitude starts in on me, informing me that there is no way that they will pay for the repairs since it’s a maintenance issue, not a wear and tear issue. He cites 5 different subsections of my warranty and is really an a$$ about it before I even get to speak. It’s one thing to deny a claim, it’s another to be a jerk about it. My wife worked in small claims for a number of years and my father continues to work in claims. Both of them would be appalled at the way I was treated on this phone call, before I even had a chance to speak.

I am calm and I understand where they are coming from. I am not the first owner of this property so I have no idea what maintenance was done on the unit, but I understand that they don’t pay for repairs if the technician decides that it’s maintenance problems. He then informs me that they are specifically excluding the A/C unit until I send them a letter from a repair person that states it’s back to working condition. I then ask for this in writing (I’m keeping a paperwork trail since we’re selling this house) and he flat refuses. Gives me no reason they can’t send something in the mail or even via email. After a few back and forths, he states that he really has nothing else to discuss and ends the call.

So, fine, we’re screwed because of maintenance issues. So I call the same technician back who just left my house not 15 minutes before. They inform me that they are already on their way to their next job and that the earliest they could come back and install the compressor is Wednesday. Although this isn’t ideal, I agree and confirm the appointment time as 12-4pm again with them. The wife and I pack up the kid and go to the in-laws.

Wednesday comes and I head back over to the house (about 45 minutes away from the in-laws). I wait from 12 until 3 when I start to get dizzy from the heat. I call the technician:

ME: “So, you guys still coming out before 4pm?”
HIM: “I meant to call you. We couldn’t get your compressor. They don’t have any.”
ME: “When did you find this out?”
HIM: “This morning.”
ME: “And you didn’t call me this morning because?”
HIM: “I forgot. ”
ME: “When can we get a compressor in?”
HIM: “I can’t get one in.”
ME: “You never can get our compressor back in? Is it a special type that no one carries?”
HIM: “No, you might try another repair company.”
ME: “Who would you suggest?”
HIM: {Names 2 companies}
ME: “And these companies can install the compressor too?”
HIM: “No, they are just suppliers.”
ME: “So why can’t you call them and get the compressor and install it for me?”
HIM: “Oh. Give me 20 minutes and I’ll see if they have it”

While he spent 20 minutes staring at clouds and drooling, I decided to call another company that my parents have used to see if they can help. They are polite and friendly and tell me that they will look into it and call me back in 5 minutes.

Our original technician calls back and says that he can get it and install it Thursday between 12 and 4 (probabaly closer to 12 though). I ask him, “Are you absolutely sure that you can get it and install it then?” He says “I guarantee that it will be there.” I inform him that I have called another service provider and am trying to find out if they can get it in faster. He says that’s no problem and that he will figure on coming over between 12-4 unless I call him.

The repair company that my parents had used calls back and informs me that they can do the repair, but not until Friday around noon. I said that I was sorry, but we’d have to go with the Thursday noon appointment that the original repair place was promising. Again, this second company acted professionally and gave me a few tips to make sure that everything was done properly by the first place.

So, this morning I get up and call the installer about 10am. I’m not going to go over to the house and hang out in the heat unless I’m sure he’s coming. Good thing I did.

ME: “Hi, this is Patrick. You’re coming over to repair my compressor this afternoon and I wanted to make sure everything was still in line.”
HIM: “No, we’re not.”
ME: “Yes, you are. You said yesterday that you would have the compressor and be here between noon and 4.”
HIM: {muffled}
ME: “Noon? You’ll be here at noon?”
HIM: “Nope. I said nope. We don’t have your compressor.”
ME: “What? You said that you would have the compressor and that you would be at our house to install it between 12 and 4?”
HIM: “We don’t have your compressor.”
ME: “You guaranteed that you would have it today. You told me that you could call the supplier and have them hold it for you. What happened?”
HIM: “I don’t know. We don’t have your compressor.”
ME: “What about your guarantee? Did they sell the compressor between 3:30 yesterday and 10:30 today?”
HIM: “I guess so.”
ME: “How is that possible? You said that you guaranteed it would be installed today. Are you telling me that your guarantee is worthless?”
HIM: “I guess so.”
ME: “Do you routinely do this to your customers? Promise them something and then fail to deliver it?”
HIM: “I guess so.”
ME: “How are you still in business?”
HIM: “I don’t know.”
ME: “Well, this is the worst customer service I have ever received. I am going to get off the phone with you now and call the warranty company and let them know about the poor level of service you provide.”

Luckily, the company that my parents use had an extra compressor and they will be there to repair it on Friday. No help from the original repair company and definitely no help from American Home Shield.

Categories: General
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  1. July 15, 2007 at 12:33 am

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