Home Warranty dilemma - Page 2
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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6

    Thanks for all the great feedback

    I hear what you guys are saying here, and I appreciate ALL your comments. This unit was 16 years old, and was the original new home installation. Whether or not it was the best installation or best unit for the job, I do not know. I bought it with the house 4 years ago, and it was the primary reason I kept this Home Warranty for so long. It looked and sounded like it was on its last leg, but the warranty made me feel safer from a potentially huge cost. The company was First American, so I feel a little better hearing they are supposed to be one of the better ones for the home owners. The main reason I had this replaced before the company authorized the charges is that they put me off for 3 days after saying "it should be no problem", and being in Texas at the beginning of the hot season, I knew I had better get the replacement scheduled. I would have done this even if they only covered repair costs or a replacement with a cheaper unit with negotiated labor. The guys that came out before were obviously not doing me any favors by putting a band-aid on something that obviously needed big time help. I should have done all this research then, but my dad is an HVAC certified tech. He always taught me to keep the unit clean and watch out for weird sounds, leaks, etc. I was leaving it to the 'professional' techs that came out to do the best thing for me, and that was a mistake. Nonetheless, the reason the lawyer said it was not unreasonable to proceed was that the Home Warranty company did not act with appropriate speed in what they knew was a health hazard condition. My daughter has type I diabetes, and she has her insulin strapped on the outside of her body. It can't get hot or it stops working, and that is bad all over the place. I explained all this, and the situation with getting an appt. for installation being difficult to schedule. After being out of AC for 5 days, I really had no good choice except replacement, regardless of whether it could be repaired or not. The Home Warranty did finally send out someone to give a second opinion a WEEK later! If they had been able to get anyone out to even look at the unit before it was replaced, that would have been fine. They only had 2 contractors they "work with" in the DFW area where I live. This is not good, considering there are hundreds of AC companies and independent contractors in the area. So, if nothing else, they were not performing the service I paid for in sending out competent people in a reasonable time. I did take pictures of the unit, and I have all the receipts from the past service I have received, and just now my installation tech from the new unit called in. I am signing a release of liability for him and his company in this home warranty issue so that his company will allow him to further delineate the problems he found in the old system. He said he enjoys this site from time to time, and that several of the posters are extremely knowledgeable. So, I did pay for good installation and a good unit this time! Hopefully this unit will last at least 16 years too. I did not want something for nothing, but I paid over $2400 for this warranty over the last 4 years from the same company, and I deserved better than the treatment I received. Maybe they should recruit more good guys in this area so this does not happen again? It won't be me next time though - I have had enough of them, and now I have a great unit and a good company backing it up too! In answer to another question, this home warranty covers: "The company's liability is limited to failure of systems due to normal wear and tear. Cosmetic defects are not covered." So the contract itself contradicts their statement that being worn out is not a valid reason for the system's failure. We will get something detailing all the problems this system had, and see if the company keeps its word this time (now that the CEO of the company has given it). If not, you may see me in Small Claims court on this one. Up until now, I thought this was a pretty good home warranty company. I guess that when the cost is under $500 the problem is not big enough to risk losing a good customer.

    Again, Thanks for all the information and comments.

    [Edited by drog2002 on 06-29-2005 at 02:52 PM]

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    west virginia
    Posts
    689
    I do some work for a warranty company and follow the big reputable companies, just today I had a second opinion on a unit that was bad tripping breaker. connections at the breaker were loose . tightened and watched for half an hour called customer after full day of running and its fine. hmm makes you wonder.

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    west virginia
    Posts
    689
    not too mention everyone wants a new unit, why would the guy waste his time even writing a itemized description his company will not get the sale , you have to look at it from both sides.

  4. #17
    Senior Tech Guest
    Originally posted by rjb7112
    not too mention everyone wants a new unit, why would the guy waste his time even writing a itemized description his company will not get the sale , you have to look at it from both sides.

    Perhaps he would do it because he has an ounce of integrity...
    Waste his time? I thought the customer purchased our time and knowledge. Shouldn't he at least get a detailed description of system condition?

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,633

    Re: Thanks for all the great feedback

    Originally posted by drog2002
    They only had 2 contractors they "work with" in the DFW area where I live.
    Yep. They've got relatively liberal coverage policies. But the idiots decided to get cheap and won't pay enough to get a full compliment of contractors. That's why I said I did work for them last year. What they were paying me was waaay below market. But the greedy biatches wanted me to lower my prices even more and I said no.
    Originally posted by drog2002
    In answer to another question, this home warranty covers: "The company's liability is limited to failure of systems due to normal wear and tear. Cosmetic defects are not covered." So the contract itself contradicts their statement that being worn out is not a valid reason for the system's failure.
    OMG. I love it when customers see only what they want to. No offense. I am sympathetic to your situation. And YES you got very bad service. But spare me the lack of critical thinking. "worn out" is NOT a failure. When you're 65 and you see the doctor for an abdominal pain, are you going to except a diagnosis of "You're worn out buddy."? HA! (Though if President Hillary socializes health care, you may very well have to accept such a diagnosis. ) They cover failures due to normal wear and tear. What's the failure? "worn out" is not a failure. It's a subjective opinion. Failures can be defined by objective analysis that includes numerous readings, etc. And failures are ALL repairable. It's only when they decide that it's not worth repairing all the defects that they replace.

    You get litigious if you want. But you need to know that you're suing over bad service and NOT because you were denied coverage you should have gotten. In your particular situation the bad service may be reason enough by itself. But I get the feeling that you're going for more than that. Your new contractor better watch himself.

    [Edited by Irascible on 06-30-2005 at 01:04 AM]

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6

    Man, you guys are a tough audience!

    Well, I have no "lack of critical thinking", but I do have a lack of patience. I am fully aware of what "failure" means. My last job was to write the maintenance manuals for a major military contract delineating fault locate procedures for avionics components. My problem with the Home Warranty companies is that they have instilled such paranoia in the service businesses and technicians that you NEED a lawyer to write something like a release of liability to get the technical analysis you would usually expect as standard procedure! No, I am not in favor of suing for every little thing, but if I send this detailed analysis (list of problems/failures and their causes), and they still do not authorize ANY payment at all, yes I will have something filed on principle. If you have ever been involved in any court proceeding you know that the ones who win are usually the attorneys! It would cost more than $2000 for either of us to show up in court, and the whole unit was less than that. Besides, I would have to take off work, and that is not part of recoverable expenses, even if you win! This is another example of the rich getting richer, and the little guy has no say or can't afford to stand up for himself without taking a huge financial hit. I am hoping for an appropriate response from the Home Warranty company, but if not I will have to weigh the expense to see what I can afford to do financially. If I did win in court, the most I could hope for would be the cost I have already paid for the unit, and my attorney's fees (which they get up front). So I would definitely be out any money I would have gotten paid for time off work. Don't be so quick to shout "litigious". It is a catch phrase these days, and should only be used for people who file frivalous or unnecessary lawsuits, and I am definitely not one of those people. IMHO, the legal system is only good for keeping the honest people honest anyway. Anyone with money has the power to sway it their direction, and anyone without it had better keep their heads down. So, my contractor has nothing to fear from me. Heck, it took me 4 days to work up the nerve to call and even ask for the detailed list! I do not know what history the company has with warranty companies, and I certainly do not want my problems with them to affect my tech or his company. That is another thing I have discussed with the lawyer, and he says that since they have not dealt directly with the HW company, they will not have any legal consequence in this matter from them. I have a great warranty on my new unit, and that is good enough for me.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,633

    Re: Man, you guys are a tough audience!

    Litigious a catch phrase? I didn't know I was so trendy.

    What you wrote all sounds entirely reasonable. But THIS statement is straight out of left field.
    Originally posted by drog2002
    My problem with the Home Warranty companies is that they have instilled such paranoia in the service businesses and technicians that you NEED a lawyer to write something like a release of liability to get the technical analysis you would usually expect as standard procedure!
    That's wrong on so many levels that I don't know where to begin. If you're trying to avoid litigation you back yourself with lots of specific readings, not fluffy BS. Regardless of what the situation ANY good tech will give a specific and understandable diagnosis on his paperwork. What you said basically amounts to the idea that you must hire a lawyer to get good service, which is silly of course.

    Home warranty companies are generally loathed and looked down upon by real tradesmen. The idea that they're feared... sheesh. I've been in the trade for ten years and literally have never heard that before.

    One of my points earlier to you was that not only are you getting shafted (in terms of service) by the home warranty company contractors, but your new contractor has his problems too. I remain thoroughly convinced of that.

    Good luck.

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6

    Point taken

    You are right - Maybe I was leaping to a conclusion there, but it was based on the looks and I got when mentioning the words "Home Warranty" to the tech. I still feel like the tech that installed my system did a great job, and I appreciate that. I am sure that he will give me the list and cost breakdown that I probably should have requested before I replaced the unit, and hopefully that will be the end of all of this. I will not assume that the reason it was not given was shady business, because I saw the unit, and I lived with its undependable self for 4 years. Another thing I have learned here is that I need to read the new manual soon, and make a plan for the recommended regular cleaning and maintenance to keep it working as efficiently as it is doing today. I wish there was something I could do to cause this company to pay reasonable wages for warranty service contracts. This is the same business practice that causes good doctors to opt out of HMO's. I understand how it is to run your own business, as I also have one of those. Have a great day!
    http://www.marykay.com/donnakay2005

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,633
    Be careful about maintenance. While it's important, it's not all that it's cracked up to be. Get the wrong guy in there and he'll make things worse.

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6

    I know

    I was referring to doing the cleaning and regular maintenance myself -
    I have never had any problems before in doing that, except for the lack of time. Since my father was "Mr. Maintenance", I know what to do in most cases, but it has been my bad judgment in the past to trust it will be done by the man of the house just because he is the man. This is why I hire people now (after 2 cars bit the dust and numerous other disasters). At least there is some hope that they will stand behind their work. I should have had "Dear old Dad" train men before letting them enter my house But, that is another story. I will still call a professional for the big jobs, but there are a lot of small things a homeowner can do to keep things running smoothly.

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    San Luis Obispo County, CA
    Posts
    215
    Did I miss something here, or is it just me...

    O.P. has spent over $2400.00 on this home warranty for the past for years.

    O.P. states that suing the company will cost him and them at least $2000.00 to appear, and the new unit was LESS THAN that.

    So what else can fail in this house that makes this warranty worth $2400.0?

    My understanding of home warrantees was that they were mostly used by home sellers to limit problems that may be caused by having one of the home's major systems fail shortly after the house was sold. sort of a "good faith" coverage thing.

    At least that is what I did when I sold my house... now, when I bought, I told the seller not to waste their money, as I would probably just replace anything that went wrong with my "new" 17 year old house...

    I sure as heck wouldn't be paying to insure a buch of worn out appliances in my house...

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6
    In answer to the most recent post: As I said before, the home warranty came with the house, and I continued it another 3 years primarily because of the external AHU looking so badly. I am a one income family, and radically large, unpredictible bills are not in the budget. This is another reason people have home warranties. Many fixed income people have them, because Social Security, etc. is not something you can increase for emergencies. Luckily, or not, this failure happened 10 days before the warranty expired for the 4th time. If they had handled this issue with the same service and professionalism as the other small claims I have made over the years, I would probably still have it. The difference is, like the guy said here, this particular HW company has recently opted to lower the amount they contract to professionals in this field. This has resulted in at least this group being either poor quality, or too busy to meet any urgent needs (like mine were this time). If this is indicative of the rest of the professionals they "work with", it is a good time to get out anyway - and stay out. We always have the option to put money aside to cushion these unexpected disasters. The HW seemed to be an alternative to that. They did help with numerous smaller things that normal inspection did not expose during the purchase. It would be great to buy a shell of a house, then come in and gut it and fill it with new wiring, plumbing, appliances, electrical fixtures, etc. But, the only place that happens for those of us making under $200K/year is on TV! I saw 3 couples yesterday who spent an average of $200k each completely remodeling their 'new' houses. My whole house was significantly less than that. Just be thankful that you guys can do a lot of these jobs yourself, and know it was a professional-quality job!

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