When her air conditioning didn’t work, a North Texas homeowner said she turned to her warranty company for help. Then waited weeks for a resolution.
‘IT WAS NOT COOLING AT ALL INSIDE THE HOUSE‘
Mary Rivera shared a photo she took of the thermostat inside her Fort Worth home, showing a temperature of 84 degrees.
“It wasn’t cooling at all inside the house,” Rivera said.
She contacted her home warranty company, American Home Shield, who sent an HVAC company.
“The guy wanted $1,600 and I told him you had to talk to American Home Shield first,” Rivera recalled.
Rivera said she was following his contract which stated that he would not reimburse for services without prior approval.
“I call every day, of course, because I was dying here. It was too hot for me and every day the person will say, ‘Mrs. Rivera, someone will call you within 48 hours,” Rivera told NBC 5 Responds.
After more than two weeks without air conditioning, Rivera said she paid out of pocket to hire another HVAC company. She said he found a part, which was still under the manufacturer’s warranty, and performed the repair.
Rivera emailed NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 and our team contacted American Home Shield.
The company offered to reimburse Rivera for $1,456.50 for the repair, plus the $100 service fee Rivera paid when the first company exited HVAC.
In an email to NBC 5 Responds, American Home Shield wrote, in part, “We have carefully reviewed our actions and interactions related to Ms. Rivera’s request for service, and it is clear that breakdowns in our processes and the lack of timely communication led to unnecessary frustration and a disappointing experience.The situation was further complicated due to the faulty item being covered under the manufacturer’s warranty as this delayed access to the part and immediate visibility of the costs associated with the HVAC problem.”
American Home Shield also wrote: ‘We sincerely apologize to Ms. Rivera and her family. Our team takes this matter very seriously and took immediate action to address these service gaps with every party involved.
UNDERSTANDING RESIDENTIAL SERVICE CONTRACTS
Some of you have Home Service Contracts also known as Home Warranties, paying monthly or annual fees to help cover the cost of repairing expensive items in your home when they break down.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation says consumers should read contracts carefully to understand what the repair process would look like.
“Who will decide which company will do the repairs? Are they going to let you choose which company you want or do they have specific companies they want you to use? said Tela Mange, spokesperson for the TDLR.
Also, understand what specific items the residential service contract covers.
Are there limits to coverage?
Would a pre-existing condition void coverage?
If something can’t be fixed, will the company replace it and who will choose the replacement? For example, would a replacement match your other devices?
How quickly would the repairs be done?
For consumers who have questions they cannot resolve on their own, the TDLR has an ombudsman scheme. Consumers can call the CBC Ombudsman at 512-936-3049.
Back in Fort Worth, Rivera said she now had working air conditioning.
“If I haven’t called you guys, nothing will be resolved,” Rivera said.
Rivera said she plans to use the money she spent on a home warranty to create her own rainy day fund to cover future home repairs.
“If you added up all the money I spent in three years, I would have saved enough,” Rivera said.
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