Action 9 investigates home warranty company

By: Todd Ulrich

Updated:

ORLANDO,Fla. - Several customers called Action 9 literally hot under the collar about their home warranty company. They claim it left them without AC for days, even weeks after they called for warranty repairs.

It was 90 degrees inside their homes and the AC system was torn apart on the garage floor.

For a Kissimmee couple, it was day 32 without air conditioning and they blamed their home warranty company. “I think you have to suffer a heat stroke before they consider it an emergency,” said Rodney Mason.

He bought an American Home Shield warranty for peace of mind. But he claims for months it sent a local AC repair contractor that kept patching, not fixing, the unit. Then it shut down and he says he's been waiting on replacement parts since July.

Mason said he was beyond frustrated, “On a scale of 1 to 10, let's say a 12.”

Since last year, eight American Home Shield customers contacted Action 9 for help. Most were for AC repairs.

“It was 92 degrees in the house,” said Lourdes Silva. She said the contractor left her without AC for 12 days then charged her $700 for parts she never even got.

“Have you been paid back yet?” asked Action 9’s Todd Ulrich.

“No. I've been calling and emailing and I’m still waiting,” Silva responded.

Many customers who contacted Action 9 felt their AC repair was a low priority since they had a home warranty.

They thought hiring their own AC contractor could be faster and cheaper.

“Should we just be paying out of pocket and not even worry about this home warranty?” asked the homeowner.

Since 2014, the Florida Attorney General has 45 complaints against AHS.

After we contacted American Home Shield, it said Mason’s AC will be fixed tomorrow and blamed delays on a back-ordered part, and said its AC contractor promised Lourdes Silva a refund this week.

“Was it peace of mind?” asked Ulrich.

“Not really. I was stressed, you know, we were hot,” said Silva.

The company told Todd Ulrich if it fails to meet expectations, the situation will be resolved and nationwide it's paid $1.8 billion in repairs and replacements.

If you just bought a house, a warranty the first year could pay off.

Overall, many consumer experts say no, better off paying as you go and picking your own repair companies.

American Home Shield's response:

"One of the delays in resolving this matter was due to a backorder from the needed factory OEM coil to repair his unit. This is not an AHS issue but a manufacturer delay.

The contractor looked all over the nation to try and find this specific coil but it was not available, and we could not use any other factory OEM coil because it would invalidate his manufacturer warranty that is still in place on this unit.

Our home warranties do not cover expenses associated with gaining access to lines that run throughout his home for this repair. However, as a gesture of goodwill we are going to pay for those expenses.

The customer did request to change vendors through this process, which added an additional delay to service.

Our contractor has taken the appropriate steps to ensure his unit has no issues, such as offering to run several diagnostic tests. The customer initially declined and then later requested that tests be performed."

Information on contractors and service:

Contractor must meet a number of criteria before being approved to service American Home customers, including background checks. In addition, we regularly review every contractor to ensure they are meeting our quality and performance standards. Customer feedback is extremely important factor in how we manage our network.

Over the past five years, we have responded to more than 16 million service requests and have paid more than $1.8 billion in repairs and replacements on behalf of our customers.

As the largest home warranty company in the nation, we receive and pay more in claims than any other provider in the country.

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 any situation is properly resolved.

We regret the inconvenience that Mr. Mason experienced and have an appointment scheduled tomorrow to resolve this matter. There are elements that are not covered under his contract; however, as a gesture of goodwill, we will pay those expenses on his behalf.

American Home Shield regularly reviews every contractor to ensure they are meeting our quality and performance standards. We actively work to resolve customer concerns and to understand why and where breakdowns may occur in the service journey, so that we can continue to improve the services we provide to our customers.

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