MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE -- Chronological Series of Events
I signed an exclusive listing contract to sell my home with Coldwell Banker Real Estate in July 2010. It was strongly suggested that I incorporate a Coldwell Banker Home Protection Plan into the marketing strategy to sell my home. On August 12, 2010, I signed a contract for my Coldwell Banker Home Protection Plan that would be administered by American Home Shield (a/k/a AHS). On June 01, 2011, I called AHS and thus starts my nightmare.
I requested emergency air conditioning service as I noticed my a/c unit was seizing up and knew this could cause water problems. The AHS phone person stated that AHS will only take emergency requests if is a matter of health. I stated it was a matter of health as I was concerned about mold growth if the a/c unit leaked. The AHS phone representative advised me that I would then be contacted shortly by a service technician. AHS contacted me by email to assign Kenneth Buggay Mechanical to service my a/c unit. This email from AHS did state that I could expect to hear from this contractor during normal business hours to schedule a mutually agreeable appointment time. As AHS provided the phone number for the contractor, I decided to call to reiterate the emergency service call. When I called Kenneth Buggay Mechanical, I was informed that I could not have emergency service as Kenneth Buggay Mechanical had only one (1) employee. I now knew that I had been duped by the AHS phone representative.
First Misrepresentation was deceiving me by allowing me to believe I would be receiving emergency air conditioning service.
Kenneth Buggay Mechanical did not arrive until 4:30 pm the following day on June 02, 2011 over 30 hours from the time I placed my call to AHS for emergency service. Although the a/c had been turned off in the 95 degree heat, the water from the a/c leaked and totally buckled my fairly new hardwood engineered flooring.
The technician spent a total of forty (40) minutes at my home looking (and I mean simply looking as there was no taking the a/c unit apart to inspect) and he also took three (3) phone calls during the time he was checking my a/c unit. The conclusion the technician came to was my a/c unit needed an evaporator coil. The technician then stated that he did not have an evaporator coil and would need to reschedule an appointment for the following week. The outside air temperature was between 95 to 96 degrees making it now impossible to stay in the house. For the record, this technician did not check the outside part of the a/c unit and did not respond to answering questions asked of him regarding the a/c unit. At this point, I was so upset that I was not sure what to do. After the technician left, I decided to call Kenneth Buggay Mechanical to ask a few questions that needed answers. I called Kenneth Buggay Mechanical speaking to someone named ** and requested to speak with **, the a/c technician. I was informed that I could not speak with the a/c technician although this same a/c technician took three (3) separate outside calls while at my home inspecting my a/c unit. The man on the phone who stated his name was **, stated he would answer my questions. I asked him how could he answer my questions when he did not inspect the a/c unit? The AHS subcontractor from Kenneth Buggay Mechanical hung the phone up in my ear when I persisted that I wanted to speak with the a/c technician. It was now after 6:00 pm and another day was lost.
Within the hour, I received an email stating that another AHS subcontractor, Service Solutions was assigned to my case. While speaking with Service Solutions and AHS, I pulled up their record with the Better Business Bureau and learned that Service Solutions had three (3) complaints with the Better Business Bureau and I did not deem this acceptable. Additionally, this meant the process with the a/c unit needed to start over at my inconvenience.
Second Misrepresentation AHS subcontractor Kenneth Buggay Mechanical's technician not completing checking my a/c unit and stating my a/c unit only needed an evaporator coil.
On June 03, 2011, I hired a reputable air conditioning contractor that arrived at my home within than 2 hours of my initial call to them at 8:30 am. This a/c contractor spent over two (2) hours inspecting my a/c system and explained each procedure to me as well as encouraged questions. He proved to me that my a/c unit was beyond repair and needed to be replaced as there were several proven leaks in the outside part of the unit and parts were no longer available for the type of a/c unit I had. He also informed me that replacing the evaporator coil would only be a temporary fix and I would continue to have a/c problems. This company was One Hour Heating & Air, a subsidiary of Mr. Sparky, a well respected company in several states. The a/c unit was changed out at a cost of $ 5,975.00 along with the initial service call of $196.00 for a total of $6,171.00..
For the record, I contacted my broker with Coldwell Banker on June 01, 2011 when I realized that I had been duped by AHS. My Real Estate Broker attempted to contact by telephone and by email ***, the local Account Executive for AHS but she refused to contact me even when my Real Estate Broker asked her to do so in writing several times. In fact, *** lied to my Broker by stating she would contact me but never did. I emailed and left voice mails for *** on June 03 and June 04, 2011 but it was to no avail..
Third Misrepresentation An AHS employee, *** mislead my real estate broker as well as myself that she would contact me regarding the complaints I had with AHS employees.
On June 06, 2011, I contacted the manager of the Coldwell Banker office, ***. Ms.*** informed me that *** from AHS would be calling me to resolve my problem. Mr.*** did call me that day and identified himself as a vice president at AHS but he stated that he was driving to Birmingham and he would call me back before the end of the day. Mr.*** never called back as promised.
Fourth Misrepresentation to deceive me by stating that I could expect to be contacted by the end of the day.
As Mr. *** proved to be useless, I decided to call the insurance company who held the surety bond for AHS, Liberty Mutual. This information is found under Letter "L"- Miscellaneous in the AHS contract and states as follows:
"Georgia residents only: THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT OF INSURANCE, however, the performance of the Contract is guaranteed by a surety bond written by Liberty Mutual, a surety insurer that is authorized to transact surety insurance in the state of Georgia. If AHS fails to pay any valid claim within sixty (60) days after proof of loss has been filed, you are entitled under Georgia law to make such claim directly to Liberty Mutual at 1524 Hwy. 30, E Carroll, Ia. 51401 or you may contact (712) 794-1001."
I called (712) 794-1001 and was unable to speak with anyone and left a message. Within a few hours, my phone call was returned and the person on the phone identified herself as ***. I then proceed to describe what had happened and asked what could be done to resolve the matter. I stated that I had spoken with ***, a vice president with AHS and Ms.*** asked who Mr.*** was as she had never heard of anyone by that name with AHS. It was at this point, my suspicion began to heighten. Ms *** advised that I would need to speak to AHS and that Liberty Mutual could not assist me.
Fifth Misrepresentation Ms. *** blatantly lied to me when she stated that she did not know Mr. *** as both Ms.*** and Mr.*** are employees of AHS.
On June 07, 2011, I again contacted Ms.*** with Coldwell Banker. Ms.*** stated she would get with the Atlanta Regional President of Coldwell Banker, Ms. ***. I informed Ms.*** that I was unable to get anywhere with Mr. *** of AHS.
The following day on June 08, 2011 when I did not hear from Ms. *** I alled her office and spoke with her assistant *** advising that I suspected fraud was being perpetrated upon me by AHS. Ms.*** returned my call at 12:15 pm by leaving me a voice mail stating I was to call the president of AHS at 866 305 0259 X2101 or his cell at 901 340-5681. At 2:05 pm that same day, I placed a call to 866 305 0259 X2101.The phone was answered by Ms.*** This was the same person who answered the phone for Liberty Mutual. I did not identify myself and requested to speak with Mr.***, President of AHS. Ms.*** stated, he does not speak to customers. Ms. *** then asked if she could assist and I stated that she could not assist me as she was not the individual that I was instructed to contact. It was now clearly evident I was being defrauded by the employees of AHS.
Next at 2:08 pm, I called the cell phone number of 901 340-5681 also left on the same voice mail from Ms.*** of Coldwell Banker as a number at which I could reach the President of AHS. When the phone was answered I asked if this was Mr.*** of American Home Shield and was advised that I had the right number but not the correct person. I reiterated the phone number once again to be sure and again was told the number I dialed was not for the person I was calling. I did ask the individual that answered the cell phone if he was with American Home Shield and he replied he was not.
At 5:09 pm on June 08, 2011, I received a phone call from telephone number 901 340-5681 and the individual identifying himself as *** from AHS leaves a message. Kindly note, 901-340-5681 is the same phone number that I called earlier in the afternoon where I was informed this was not the correct person or company. I then advised Ms. *** of Coldwell Banker via email that I was not amused by her form of deception and relayed to her that I was surprised that someone in her position would stoop this low.
On June 08, when I checked my email in the evening, I had received an email from Mr. *** indicating that I was to contact "Ms.*** at *****@ahslink.com. Ms. *** works for the Presidents line and will be your contact person".
Sixth Misrepresentation was defrauding me be giving me bogus phone numbers for the CEO of American Home Shield.
On June 09, 2011, I directed an email to Mr. ***, the CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate in Parsippany. New Jersey. I was then contacted by Mr. ***,an Executive Assistant at Coldwell Banker in Parsippany, New Jersey who then referred me to Mr. ***,the Senior Vice President-General Counsel for Coldwell Banker in Weston, Florida. According to Mr.***'s email to me on June 10, 2011:
"My office is reviewing the matter and we will respond in some manner before the end of the day".
Needless to say, Mr.*** did not get back to me as promised and I contacted him and Mr.*** stated he would not get back to me before Monday, June 13, 2011 indicating he wanted to be fair to everyone.
When Mr.*** did get back to me on June 13, 2011, via email, he was less than fair in his assessment claiming that Coldwell Banker had no responsibility to me. I attempted to contact Mr.*** to ask why he distorted the entire scenario and he would not respond to me. I had to contact the Florida Bar in Tallahassee, Florida when Mr.*** refused to reply to my emails. It was only after the Florida Bar contacted Mr.***
that he responded to me in a very nasty tone on June 16, 2011.
On June 13, 2011, I received an email from Ms. *** stating the following:
"I would like to know if you had your own company out to repair the evap coil. I would like to review the invoice for possible reimbursement"..
American Home Shield
P. O. Box 748
Carroll, Iowa 51401
Phone 866-305-0259 ext.2101 (this is the same phone number I was given for Mr.*** the CEO of AHS).
Fax 901 597-0269 (901 us a phone exchange for Memphis, Tennessee)?
On June 16, 2011, I found this interesting link where I read hundreds of complaints that detailed fraud and misrepresentation on the consumer perpetrated by American Home Shield and their other named company Service Masters.
CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE -- We recently called AHS for the second time due to a plumbing issue in our home. Each time we have used AHS, we inquired prior to having a service technician come out about whether our specific problem would be covered and each time we were given a resounding "yes". Each time, we paid the $60 fee for the service visit and were subsequently told that coverage would be excluded based on a pre-existing condition.
In our most recent request, everything seemed fine while the plumbing company was here. We were told that our problem was due to worn out bolts. However, after they left, AHS called and said it would not be covered because the plumbing company said that the flange (part needing to be replaced) was not installed correctly, even though the plumbers had verbally told me it was WORN OUT. After spending hours of time on the phone to try to get to the bottom of the issue and dealing with defensive customer service reps who would talk over me rather than listen as I tried to calmly state our issues, our problem is still not fixed and we will be out $275 plus the $60 service visit fee to fix our toilet for something that was supposedly covered.
Furthermore, when we called, we gave them our new phone number to the new property we had bought and moved to (really?, that's why we got a warranty to begin with - because we moved - of course our phone number changed) and they gave the plumbing company our old number so the plumbing company never called us initially. We had to call AHS back to get the plumbing company to even come out. Then we had issues with AHS returning our calls while we were disputing the issue we wanted fixed. Even a supervisor who promised a call back as soon as she could contact the plumbing company was given from a Friday to a Wednesday and did not return my call. If you have a problem with their service, don't expect them to call back or do what they say they will.
When buying a house, I would suggest passing up the home warranty and saving the cash in a savings account for future issues. You'll spend less money and actually get your problems fixed that way. If the seller is buying the policy for you, ask for cash instead. It's a poor deal and ends up costing you more in the long run when you pay the $60 visit and still have to foot the rest of bill yourself.
If you already have the policy and decide to turn in a request, take lots of pictures (if the area is accessible) before they come out and after they leave. Also, I would stand over the technician and ask questions. I truly wish I had not left the technicians alone in our bathroom when they were here - may have solved a lot of trouble if I had been asking specific questions and paying attention from the beginning. Finally, I read from another person that most of these companies do not want lawsuits to their name and will settle outside of court when they know they are at fault and trying to claim coding issues that are not actually there. Some place to start if you have been burned.
I have made 3 request with AHS for my air conditioner unit to get fixed. The first request was made on 6/1/11 and the A/C Contractor came out on 6/3/11 and added freon. Since the house still was not cooling, I put in another service request to AHS on 6/7/11 and the same company came out on 6/9/11 and fixed the connector on the BGE box in which was flashing a red error light and got the fan on the outside unit to start working. I left the A/C on from 5 pm when the company left until 1 am and of course the house is still not cooling. The third request was called with AHS on 6/10/11 and the company came out again on 6/14/11. Finally I received an appropriate diagnosis that I need a new inside A/C unit. The Inside Unit capacity was 2 tons will the outside unit was 2 1/2 therefore both units were working against each other and I was not getting the proper air flow. I was told by the A/C Contractor that they would make a request immediately to AHS to get a new inside unit. I just called AHS on 6/18/11 to get a status update because I have not heard anything in days to find out that they will not honor the request of a new unit. AHS excuse is that the unit cannot be replaced because they consider it to be mismatched equipment and they will not replace it. I asked AHS, why not replace the inside unit with an equivalent to the outside? Of course, I sdon't want the same exact unit replaced because the house is not cooling and that would not make any sense. The two representatives and one supervisor told me that it was not there responsibility and they will not replaced the unit. So what happens to the customer (me) now after I have paid this company every month? Please do not waste your money on this home warranty company, just use it to pay for gas.
Do not buy AHS warranty. Their advertising is misleading you to think that you will be covered, when in fact when something does break down they often find a way to deny the repairs.
There are thousands and thousands complaints about them on the web. I signed a conract with them 2 months ago and now I regret about it. Do not repeat my mistake.
When my Air Conditioning unit started leaking and flooding my neighbour downstairs I called AHS to request service. An AC contractor came the next day, inspected my AC and identified the problem - leaking collector pan. He charged me my 60$ deductible and told me to wait for AHS authorization. I asked him how much these repairs would cost me if I had to pay myself, he said $500 - $800. At that moment I was so glad I had AHS. How naive I was...
Few days after AHS called me and told me that they did authorize the repairs, but since that collector pan was no longer manufactured, they would have to install a different one, and in order for it to fit they would have to do some "modifications", for which I would have to pay $725.
I tried to explain them that I did not request any modifications, and even if they are required to repair a leaking AC they should not be my problem and responsibility. I bought a warranty, then my AC which is covered under that warranty started to leak, why do I have to worry about how they should fix the leak? If for some reason they cannot repair my AC then they have to replace it. That's why it is called "warranty"! Why are they asking me to pay $725, what kind of "peace of mind" is that"?
Now I see that AHS is a rip off. People warned me, I should have listened.
This summer I called AHS to place a services call for A/C repair. The unit was leaking. This is the cover letter sent to Mr. Crawford, head of AHS. I had sent pictures and a 13 page detailed report of how 3 contractors could not diagnose the leaking drain pan and how after 4 weeks and 100 degree temps needed to find my own contractor. AHS would not reimburse me the $425 for the repair.
The lack of customer service afforded to me by their reimbursement department and a declined response letter was very disappointing. They pay mostly substandard contractors a fixed rate and when the repair is more than the fixed rate these subs do the very least or nothing at all. I suggest all readers to find another company.
Dear Mr. Crawford:
Following this letter is another correspondence I sent to your AHS Reimbursement request department a few weeks ago. I received a call from the Reimbursement call center on 6/9. I have to say the scripted response and lack of customer mediation to the request could only point to absolute focus on bottom line numbers and mirrors the many negative postings on various Internet sites.
As you read the below, I can not believe 4 weeks of time and 3 A/C vendors could not diagnose a problem and correct a condensation tray leak issue. In Phoenix, where it is 100 degrees, A/C repair is vital, especially in a rental unit. I had no choice; even after a second call escalation, to hire my own company for resolution. All indications point to the prior 3 A/C contractors being able to correct the issue. These contractors most likely evaluated the flat rate they would receive as less than the cost of the repair. That should not be my issue as I have been a customer for many years.
I am contacting you to escalate resolution of the documented complaint and as such am requesting your approval for reimbursement of the following:
BALA CYNWYD, PENNSYLVANIA -- This is the worst company I've ever dealt with! We had 2 problems with leaks in the past 4 months and both times AHS has been incredibly difficult to deal with and I've spent hours and hours on the phone and still haven't resolved anything. The most recent issue was reported 12 days ago, and I had to make multiple phone calls to get AHS to assign a contractor who would call to schedule a visit. Once the HVAC guy came out, he said I needed a plumber, but AHS claimed that he said there was no leak (I think he meant no visible leak since the radiator pipe that is leaking is under the floor). I got them to send out a plumber 5 days later (it took them that long to find someone!), and now they're telling me that they won't allow him to access the leak since he's not an HVAC guy. I spent several more hours (literally!) on the phone and finally got someone from Payment Services department to help me out and look into this. It turns out that AHS only covers access to plumbing leaks, and since this is a radiator leak, it's not considered plumbing (even though it's a pipe carrying water) and they won't cover access. Now they're telling me that I have to get someone out to open the floor and then they'll send out a HVAC guy to make a diagnosis and possibly repair the problem.
To add insult to injury, they refused to pay me for the diagnostic charges that they authorized in July to an outside company until I paid the service fee for this visit, even though they've done no work and the leak is ongoing for nearly 2 weeks now since I've noticed it. If they had only been up front with me in the beginning when the first HVAC guy came out, and said I had to pay him to access and they would cover the repair, it would have been taken care of already! I will have the last laugh though, because as soon as I get the payment they owe me, I will call my credit card company and dispute the charge, and if nothing else it will consume more of their resources to fight with Mastercard.
In conclusion, AHS stinks! Do not buy a warranty from them, do not renew your warranty, and do not accept it when you buy a house (our mistake) - insist on a different company!!
WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA -- I was provided a years subscription to AHS when I purchased my home. I thought it would be a great idea.
The first thing that I noticed in the house was a leak that was showing itself in my dining room ceiling. I gave them a call and got no reply. I went on line and registered my issue. I received a call a few days later. They scheduled a plumber to come to my home. I thought "Cool, this is working great." The plumber shows up, cuts a hole in my ceiling, states that it is not his problem, the leak is probably coming from the roof, then leaves. I called to find out when the hole would be fixed and got no reply. I received a follow up call and told them about the hole and that also went nowhere. I had a total of 6 contacts between with various factions of this company, policy renewal, customer service etc... No one would do anything. Finally, 3.5 months later, they contacted the plumber who agreed that he had in fact left a hole in my ceiling. I was contacted and given the name of a general contractor who would fix the issue. He came and performed what is referred to as a "rough patch" of the hole. I will now have to fix his terrible job of a rough patch. He left an 1/8" recession all the way around the hole. It looks like he used the wrong thickness sheet rock. The customer service manager informed me that they were only supposed to do a rough patch. She also said that she would send the contractor back out to fix but I have not heard from him yet (going on one month now).
During this time we had an issue with our AC and asked for a tech to come take a look. The tech showed up, stood in our family room, put his hand over a vent and said nothing is wrong. He collected his fee and left. He was in the house for about 2 minutes. We finally got it working properly a week later - no help to AHS.
We thought we were doing the right thing by carrying a home warranty with our mortgage. It didn't' take us long to realize that they were in the business to make money and not follow through with appropriate home repairs. With one exception, most service calls have never satisfactorily taken care of the problems. During the last call about our washer, the technician spent the entire time complaining about his next job, informing us he was not going to replace parts or look beyond his nose for the cause of our leak. If he didn't see evidence of a leak, it wasn't happening. He even made us rate his service before he left. We were intimidated and furious and we still have the problem. It is cheaper in the long run for us to just buy a new washer. It was a wake up call that all the money we have paid out for a warranty was not going to ever be equal to our expectations for service. Our expectations simply were that items we called about would be fixed or replaced...not going to happen. If anything large say roof, AC/Heater or plumbing issues came up, their exclusions would insure that the repair would be costly to us in some way or not taken care of period.
We have tried to cancel our home warranty policy three different times online. They will not acknowledge or even communicate that the cancellation is finalized. We have tried calling, but find that their wait time of fifteen minutes to thirty minutes is not satisfactory. We are refinancing and will not carry it to our new account. So, we are just putting money in our savings now for the rainy day breakdowns and will never get a home warranty again.
This company is horrible, does not deliver and I would not recommend you waste your money on their "services". In December I had a problem with the microwave and vent and called AHS...they sent someone to "fix it" and upon his arrival he said there was nothing wrong with either. I paid the $60 and let it go, frustrated but moving on. I called again in March for the SAME issue with the microwave and vent and was told I would need to pay for someone to come out again because it was past 60 days from the last service. They did not fix the problem the first time but I would need to pay again for them to potentially do nothing. The person that answered the phone was not friendly and the service person who I believe was from Sears was miserable as well. This company is horrible and I would not recommend you waste your money. Besides the issue I had they also are very limited in what they cover. Make sure you know what you are buying.
I am very familiar with the AHS warranty; I am a Realtor that always suggested to my clients that they have a home warranty. I see the reviews and unfortunately when people have a "good" experience they do not tend to write a review, it is only when the experience was "bad".
Before you rate this warranty company, please consider that AHS currently provides 1.3 million home warranties nationwide, and spent over $318 million in service claim just in 2008. At the time of this posting there were only a little over 400 reviews, which were the most reviews of any warranty company with a rating below 2. I would challenge to ask the warranty company that has the highest rating on the list with only 16 reviews, just how many warranties are they currently providing and how much money did they pay in claims last year?
As a professional Realtor, I must say that a Home Warranty is a must when buying a home and AHS has been in the business longer than any other warranty company around and it is the only warranty that I have confidence in for my clients