Action 9

'It’s been like hell living in our home’: Homeowners struggle to get repairs done by home warranty company

Scorching summer heat and COVID-19 restrictions has been a bad combination for some homeowners struggling to get air conditioners repaired by home warranty companies.

“This is the outside unit, the air conditioner,” Patricia Howard said as she pointed to her AC unit.

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Patricia Howard and her husband say they’ve been patient enough with their home warranty company. They’ve been without AC for over a month. She says the extreme heat has been hard on their pre-existing health problems.

“It’s been like hell living in our home and it’s not supposed to be that way,” Howard said.

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They’ve been customers of American Home Shield, for over 20 years. So, when the AC went out, they thought their home warranty had them covered.

“Frustrated, mad, angry, that here we are today and still have not had the issue resolved,” Howard said.

American Home Shield sent several contractors. She says one of those techs and an independent company she hired for another opinion, recommended a new AC, but she says the warranty company is refusing to replace the unit.

“They’re the ones that sent the vendor out and gave them the diagnosis and their saying they’re not going to pay for it,” Howard said.'

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The Better Business Bureau received over 11,000 complaints against American Home Shield in the last 3 years, and many of those deal with AC repairs.

“In our summary, it’s been a nightmare. It really has been. They’ve come to my house 7 times,” Vicky Quintanilla said.

Quintanilla is one of ten consumers that contacted Action 9 in the past 6 months about American Home Shield. She’s been trying to get her HVAC unit fixed for over 2 months. Attempts to repair the unit have failed and she says because the warranty company picks the contractor, she feels powerless.

“The problem is the fact that the subcontractor knows consumers have no way to complain to anyone,” Quintanilla said.

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Action 9 contacted American Home Shield, a spokesperson said they’re actively working on resolving both issues. They said Quintanilla’s air conditioner requires several different repairs and they’ve offered Howard two options within the scope of the agreement but will send a third contractor to her home as she has requested.

Quintanilla and Howard say that’s a step in the right direction but still feel the warranty company has not held up their end of the deal.

“Sad, it hurts. I just want my air conditioner replaced as promised by American Home Shield, that’s what I want,” Howard said.

If you’re looking to get a home warranty, read the fine print, check what it covers. And realize it may give you less control over repairs which can be more costly than hiring your own contractor to begin with.

American Home Shield’s response:

We take great pride in providing quality service and valuable protection to our customers. If we fail to meet these expectations, we work to do the right thing and ensure the situation is properly resolved.

We are actively working to resolve Mr. Olson and the Howards' situations. We are also researching the service history of both situations so that we can identify and address any process breakdowns that may have occurred along the way.

In Mr. Olson’s (Vicky’s) situation, we have transferred his work order to a new vendor, who will be working with Mr. Olson to schedule an appointment to determine next steps. There were breakdowns in communication that led to delays in resolving Mr. Olson’s situation with the previous vendor, and we are taking action to address these breakdowns.

When servicing complex equipment such as an HVAC unit, it is not uncommon for there to be more than one cause of equipment failure and these aren’t always immediately evident. Unfortunately, in Mr. Olson’s situation, repairs have enabled the unit to work temporarily and then revealed that additional repairs were needed. We sincerely apologize for the frustration this situation has caused Mr. Olson and his family.

In the Howards' situation, our technician diagnosed that their unit’s compressor has failed, which was confirmed by a second opinion contractor. At their request, we are working to dispatch a third contractor to inspect the unit.

Todd Ulrich

Todd Ulrich,

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.

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