‘It’s horrible’: Home warranties may not give the protection you need

ORLANDO, Fla. — As summer heat returns, so do complaints about home warranty companies

failing to fix air conditioning units.

A Maitland woman claims a well-known company left her family sweating without

AC for a month.

She turned to Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich for results.

Amanda Halleck’s thermostat was 81 degrees and climbing the day Ulrich went to her home.

Halleck says her central air has routinely failed for the past seven months. She blames the home warranty company.

“Because of American Home Shield and their inability to provide us with a contractor

who will fix it,” Halleck said.

She says the AC first failed during the week of Thanksgiving.

American Home Shield sent its approved contractor, but Halleck claims that fix only lasted three months. Halleck says the repair that followed lasted even less time.

“It worked for a few weeks and after that, they were replacing parts every two weeks. It would

break every two weeks,” Halleck said.

With daytime highs into the 90s, Halleck and her family have been without cool air for nearly a month.

“No one can live here like this. It’s horrible,” Halleck said.

She says the first contractor from AHS said the unit had to be replaced, not fixed.

“Instead, what does American Home Shield do?” Ulrich asked.

“The just assigned a new contractor,” Halleck replied.

The new company inspected the unit, but the malfunctioning AC was not replaced.

Just this year, we’ve received at least six complaints about American Home Shield warranties. Last year Action 9 received more than a dozen complaints, most of them regarding failed AC repairs.

AHS has more than 15,000 complaints with the Better Business Bureau in the past three years.

Nearly half of those occurred within the past year. Consumer experts caution, while home warranties offer some protection, most times you can’t pick the actual contractors, and getting a total replacement can be difficult.

“You’re giving up the ability to really make consumer decisions. Those decisions are in the hands of the home warranty company,” BBB President Holly Salmons said.

Two days after Action 9 contacted American Home Shield management, the company responded that it’s in direct contact with Halleck and the unit will be replaced. The company also said it takes great pride in providing quality service.

“Do you think they were putting Band-Aids on a failing unit?” Ulrich asked.

“Absolutely,” Halleck replied.

Home warranties may not provide the coverage you expect. Premium policies can cost more than $1,000 a year, and picking your own contractors could make more sense.

Todd Ulrich, WFTV.com

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.