Warranty delays have homeowners sweating repairs

Diane Wilson Image
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Troubleshooter helps with home warranties
Warranty delays had homeowners sweating repairs.

RAEFORD, N.C. (WTVD) -- You pay for a home warranty to be protected when something breaks in your home, but two homeowners say their home warranty has left them hot for weeks.

Richard Levin lives in Raeford with his wife and newborn baby. He's paid for a home warranty with American Home Shield, and when the HVAC system in his home stopped working on June 1, he called AHS. He said AHS did send a company out to repair his 19 year old HVAC unit, but it didn't last for long.

Richard Levin and family

The HVAC system stopped working again, and once again AHS had the unit repaired. The HVAC unit stopped working a third time on June 29. Levin says it's been frustrating.

"Every time I give them a call, they don't have answers," Levin said.

He said one of the most frustrating ordeals is just trying to get a representative with AHS on the phone. He says the wait times to talk with a rep are at least 30 to 60 minutes. Levin said it's so hot in his home without a working HVAC system, his family has not been able to sleep in the home for the last three weeks.

"I'd love to get my AC fixed. If you do the math with all the repairs they've made already in the last 45 days, it would probably have been cheaper to replace the unit. Instead they just keep trying to repair it," Levin added.

Levin isn't alone. Earl Vincent also feels his pain. Vincent is an AHS customer and says he's been waiting weeks for his HVAC system to be replaced.

"Me working all day long in 95 degrees. I just had to breakdown and buy some window air conditioning units," Vincent explained.

Earl Vincent

Vincent also said the wait times to talk with an AHS rep are too long. He also says he gets a different story each time from AHS and the HVAC company making the repair.

"I felt like I was being taken advantage of," Vincent shared.

Both Levin and Vincent got in touch with me and I reached out to AHS. AHS worked directly with both homeowners. Levin was offered a cash-pay out instead of a repair, which he took as he was tired of waiting for repairs.

Vincent also heard from AHS, who at first was only going to reimburse him $75 for a window AC unit, but once I got involved they increased that amount to $200. Vincent said AHS also lowered the amount of money he was responsible to pay for the HVAC replacement as in small print the warranty explains it does not cover certain items related to the repair or replacement. Originally AHS said Vincent owed $1,300, but the lowered his out of pocket expenses to $695.

"Things moved along fairly well. I want to thank you for that," Vincent said about getting me involved in his fight.

The best news for Vincent, a crew was at his house and they finally replaced his broken HVAC unit. His AC is working after being without it for so long. Vincent says he is staying cool and is happy.

A representative for American Home Shield issued this statement:

At American Home Shield, we take great pride in providing quality service and valuable protection to our customers - and if we fail to meet these expectations, we work to do the right thing and ensure a situation is properly resolved. I can assure you, the experiences you shared are not indicative of our normal claims processes and do not reflect the level of service that our employees work to provide.

Mr. Levin requested to receive cash in lieu of repair or replacement services. This offered amount is based on what American Home Shield would expect to pay for parts and labor for covered items less the incurred cost of the contractor's diagnosis. While it does not offer a solution to the breakdown of a major system or appliance, in Mr. Levin's case, we honored his request.

In Ms. Vincent's case, the repair required a replacement part that was only available from the original manufacturer, which unfortunately, was not readily available and delayed her repair. While we are not liable for parts delays within the terms of our agreement, we very deeply regret the frustration and inconvenience she has experienced. As a gesture of goodwill and to help provide a measure of comfort and financial assistance during this time, we provided funds to assist in the expense for window units and also reduced a portion of the non-covered charges.

We appreciate you bringing these matters to our attention and allowing us to help resolve them as quickly as possible. Our customers place more than 7,000 service requests each day, and in the past five years our company has spent over $1.8 billion resolving our customers' repair needs. However, we regret that in these two cases, our customers did not receive the level of service they expected or that we endeavor to provide.