Troubleshooter: Washing machine leak

November 18, 2010 9:00:00 PM PST
A Cary Hill family's kitchen was ruined by a leak from the installation of her family's new washing machine.

"All of a sudden we noticed the Pergo floors we had started to warp," she recalled.

Hill's husband went looking for the source of the water.

"He and my father-in-law looked under the house, and there was 18-feet worth of soaked sub-floor coming from the washing machine area, and there was water dripping off the pipes and insulation was just falling," said Hill.

Hill says the water came from a washer installed by HH Gregg Appliances and Electronics two weeks before.

"So from September 21 through October 5, the machine was leaking 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, and then anytime I did laundry, it forced the leak to go even faster," said Hill.

The Hills called HH Gregg right away and they sent someone out.

"Yes, this is our fault. They forgot to put a washer on one of the water hoses. We are terribly sorry. We are going to take care of this. Don't call homeowner's insurance. Don't call anybody. Don't do anything with your house. Our insurance company is going to be in touch with you within 48-hours," Hill said she was told.

But Hill says she couldn't wait that long.

"There's standing water under my house. The longer it's sitting there, the more mold and mildew can grow - the more likely it can be toxic. I'm not protecting my home and my family. I need to do something," she said.

So, Hill got a water restoration company to come to her house.

"There were places in our floor that was registering 99 percent saturated," Hill said she was told.

Five days after the leak, Hill says she still had not heard from HH Gregg's insurance company. An adjustor did finally come out, but Hill was still left with a huge mess as sheetrock had to be torn out, along with the flooring, cabinets, and countertops.

What's left of her kitchen was now scattered around her garage and her sink was there too.

"This is my sink. I kid you not - you can ask my neighbors - we take this thing and put water in it and wash our dishes right here, as we have no water in our kitchen, none," said Hill.

As for her old kitchen? It was off-limits.

"Fans are everywhere. We're blocked off from our kitchen. It's disgusting. There's stuff flying everywhere," said Hill.

In fact, the Hill's entire first floor was pretty much off-limits - meaning they were eating out since the leak was discovered on October 5. For a family of three, the Hill's dining out expenses mounted.

"With mileage, we are $2,000 in the hole right now, and that's a month. It's been a month and two days since all of this started. How is that fair? How are you taking care of us? You're not. We're taking care of us, and that's not fair. We didn't do this to ourselves," said Hill.

As for the construction to get Hill's house back to the way it was?

"The quote was agreed upon between the insurance adjustor and the contractor," said Hill. "That was a week and a half ago, and I haven't heard a word."

With no word from HH Gregg's insurance company, the Hills say they paid a contractor more $4,000 of their own money to get started.

"He started what he could, but he stops his work tomorrow because he needs more money," said Hill.

That's money the Hills didn't have. So, Cary reached out to ABC11 Eyewitness News Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.

We got in touch with HH Gregg and the Hills heard from the insurance company right away. Within days, they had a check so construction could continue.

In all, Cary says they’re getting more than $30,000 to cover construction, water restoration, air quality testing, and food expenses.

"Without you guys we would not have gotten what we have gotten at this point. Because, they were very adamant that they didn't owe us anything, and we needed to come out-of-pocket to get our house to what it was prior to the leak," said Hill. The construction at the Hill’s home is expected to be completed within the next few weeks.

HH Gregg sent ABC11 a statement on the matter:

"At HH Gregg, we take customer concerns seriously, and do everything in our power to ensure issues are resolved. We are pleased to have worked with our customer and the insurance company to find a satisfactory solution to the matter," said Tom Westcott, Vice President of Customer Relations.

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