HMS Home Warranty Complaint - HMS Home Warranty is a Dud
SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND -- As a single mother of one, I was elated to purchase my first home this past May. That pivotal moment in my life was quickly shattered after dealing with the never ending claims process with HMS. The home in which I purchased was older, modest, and had an abundance of charm. Due to the age of the home and appliances, it was highly suggested that I invest in a home warranty thru HMS. After reviewing the company’s website and speaking the family members and friends whom at some point in time were prior policy holders, I concluded to go forward with purchasing a policy to cover future problems. I felt an assurance that if anything went wrong with the home that the problems would be corrected expeditiously and in a reasonable amount of time. This assurance was put to the test when my washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher all decease to work June 6, 2008. I contacted the 24 hour HMS customer service number provided in my contract that evening to file a claim. After speaking with a customer service agent, I was given a claim number (5656005-100) and the name of the company I needed to contact to schedule a service appointment.
On June 8, 2008 a call was placed to the Appliance Repair Service Company and an appointment was schedule for June 13, 2008 between the hours of 8 -12 am. Once the appointment was scheduled, the representative from the repair company indicated that I will be contacted the day before to confirm the appointment date and time. The day the appointment was to be confirmed, I had not heard from them and placed a follow up call. It was at this time I was informed that HMS had not faxed over the work order as promised and they had no record of me ever placing a call to the company. I recalled the HMS customer service department requesting the work order be faxed again to the repair company. Consequently, due to the availability in the repair company’s schedule, I was given a later service time between the hours of 10 -2 pm. I indicated to the individual at the repair company that the technician needed to be at my home no later that 2 pm for I had a meeting across town a half an hour later.
In addition, I conveyed that if the technician frayed from that scheduled time to please contact me so that other arrangements could be made. As the appointment time drew close to 1 pm, I contacted the repair company to find out the technicians whereabouts. I was told that the technician was running behind and would not be able to reach my home until after 3 pm. At that point, I expressed my discontent and asked if a technician could be able to come after the conclusion of my meeting. The individual stated that I should contact them when I was in route home. Following their instructions, I placed a about 4:30 pm and they stating that someone would meet me there. As the close of the business day drew near, I made numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the repair company inquiring about the technician. During my final attempt I was able to reach someone and was told a technician would be there in less than thirty minutes. The technician arrived and asked to be directed to the appliances in question. In total he spent less than fifteen minutes evaluating all the appliances. Moreover, during that time frame he taunted me for purchasing a home with older appliances all the while on his cell phone. Clearly this gentleman did not attend customer service 101. After completing the work order form, he concluded that the washing machines transmission was irreconcilably broken and that I should place newspapers around it so that the transmission fluid and oil would not continue to leak across my laundry room floor. Furthermore, he stated that the problems with the dryer and dishwasher were a figment of my imagination and that all will be well in the morning. I paid my one hundred dollar deductable and he quickly rushed to the front door (while still on the cell phone). He proclaimed that he would submit my work order that night and HMS claims office would contact me in several days to replace the machine. Finally, a reprieve from the days scheduling mishaps.
A week went by and I had not heard from the HMS claims office. I contacted the HMS customer service department to find out the status of my claim. It was to my surprise that not only did they not have a record of my work order being submitted, but they had no record of me ever calling in a claim despite having a valid claim number. The customer service agent researched my situation and opened a new claim which was to include my previous claim number as future reference. Another week went by and still no word from the claims office. The following week I placed daily calls inquiring about my status. During each of my multitude of calls, no one could fin my claim nor find a work order. The experience had now become overwhelming and I asked to speak to a supervisor. Each time I was told a supervisor was unavailable and was instructed to leave a number so that I can be contacted. Consequently, no one returned my phone calls. Ironically, after nearly a month without a washing machine I received a call from someone in the claims office requesting the washing machines identification numbers.
I was told that I would be contacted shortly with repair or replacement options. It wasn’t until July 13th, that I was contacted by the claims office with a resolution. I was informed of two options, either taking that machine that was “comparable” to my circa 1980’s machine or take the three hundred and fifty dollar pay out to find my own. The individual provided me the model number and referred me to the Sears website for detailed specifications. In stead I drove my local Sears to evaluate the machine for websites can be misleading. When I found the machine HMS offered, I discover that the washing capacity was smaller than my previous model and not energy efficient. Moreover, the non-sale price quoted was approximately one hundred dollars less than the pay out offer. I was floored. The same sentiment I felt after the repairman’s departure I felt at that moment; belittlement, bamboozled and in sheer utter disbelief. As I stood and stared at the machine, I questioned the ethics of the company had I gotten myself involved in? I returned home and started off in the routine I have been doing for over a month; dragging a host of trash bags full of dirty clothes’ out of my first home, to the laundry mat down the street and spending the last few dollars I had to clean my families clothes. This in the middle of what most people are considering a recession. I had enough. HMS’s customer commitment pledge, “Feel safe, secure and comfortable with the trusted name in home warranty and E&O insurance. Your peace of mind is a call or click away” is no longer identifiable.
Shortly thereafter, I contacted the customer service office requesting to speak with the claims department to see why I was offered a smaller and non-energy efficient machine. Like each time before, I received what I have now dubbed, “The HMS Two Step”. Trying to escalate a call to the claims department seemed harder than comprehending a NFL playbook. It wasn’t until July 17th that I finally broke thru the interference. I posed my concerns to the supervisor and he indicated that the machine I was offered was “comparable” to what I currently had and that the price difference was due to their discount with various service providers. It was if he equated my washing machine to a Roman chariot and what they were offering was a high end luxury sports car. Moreover, I questioned how long it would take to receive the pay out check should I choose to accept the offer. Surprisingly, he indicated that HMS does not directly give the home owner the money, but the check was to be written to the company in which the item would be purchased (i.e. Home Depot, Sear, Lowes, etc). Obviously HMS has less confidence that a home owner to be responsible enough to purchase a machine without the assistance or a third party than the are asking of the home owner to have patience in their Draconian processes. Furthermore, he stated that checks are only issued in the claims office on Wednesdays and mailed to the designated company the following Friday. If I decided to use the method it could take upwards to two to three weeks for a machine to be delivered. In the eleventh hour, he offered a program that would allow me to upgrade to a machine of my choice and the cost difference would be at my expense. I provided him three baseline energy efficient machines that I felt were in “comparable” size. It was stated that he would expedite the information to the research department and would call me with a resolution with in twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Despite hear that resolution time frame dozens of times over the past month or so, my confidence was somewhat reassured. For this ongoing situation was in the capable hands of the company’s supervisor and not the ground level customer service agent.
As of today’s date, I have not been contacted by anyone representing the HMS customer service or claims office. Furthermore, I have spent approximately the same amount of money in which I was offered for a “comparable” machine in fees at the laundry mat over the past two months. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO EXPERIENCE THIS FORM OF CONSUMER ABUSE!