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]