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Family without hot water for three weeks after home warranty struggles

Posted at 6:30 AM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 10:16:44-04

TULSA, Okla. — A home warranty headache leaves a Collinsville family with no hot water for over three weeks.

The issue is one many people deal with when it comes to dishing out hundreds of dollars to keep your home in working order.

Dani Ross has a routine. Whether it’s doing the dishes, or getting the kids bathed, it’s a system that works… until it doesn’t.

“It takes a good 20 minutes to actually get warm water,” Ross said.

Her homes two water heaters have been busted for just over three weeks.

“One of them said there is a mother board failing, and the other just said it's dying.” Ross said.

This was not the best news for this family, who said they jumped through hoops to find out what was wrong, only to be denied repairs by their home warranty company.

"I did my first service call on August 18… I'm well over three weeks in,” Ross said.

Ross said she's had a contract with American Home Shield for the last three years, paying $850 annually.

"This is the first time I've had anything major go wrong and I'm getting a lot of pushback.”

Ross said when her hot water tanks began having issues, she called her home warranty company, which took over two weeks to perform a service call to diagnosis the problem. She said nothing was fixed, so a second contractor was called in. A week later, her claim was officially denied.

Ross said she was told it was denied because of missing parts to her first-generation water heaters, which were installed nearly 20 years ago.

"I don't understand how I'm being penalized on an item that didn't exist when they were installed in the house,” she said.

She adds that her contract states hot water tanks are included in her coverage.

2 Works for You did reach out to American Home Shield to see why Ross’ hot water tank repair was denied, even though it appeared to be covered.

The company sent this statement:

"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 sincerely apologize for the delay in resolving the Ross’s matter and are continuing to investigate the situation to understand the breakdowns in service that led to the delay.

On Thursday, September 17, the Ross family accepted our offer of $2,000 towards the cost to replace their two older units with one upgraded, replacement water heater."

Mike Rhoads with the Oklahoma Insurance Department said if you feel you've wrongfully been denied a claim, to reach out. However, sometimes its best to read the fine print of your contract.

"There could be a number or exclusions, but one of those could be, and you'd have to check your contract, no coverage based on the age of an appliance or an HVAC system or hot water heater… or things of that nature,” Rhoads said.

In 2020, 2 Works for You uncovered 13 complaints submitted to the OID against American Home Shield, four of those were filed in August alone. In 2019 there were 17 complaints.

The Better Business Bureau currently reports over 12,000 complaints nationwide. CLICK HERE for more information on the BBB's reports.

So, what can you do to make sure you're not dishing out your money for coverage that might not pay off when you need a repair?

First, look into the age of your home and appliances and be aware of the detailed contract, if your older appliances might not be covered by a home warranty.

"It may be in the consumers best interest to self-insure or build that dedicated product repair and replacement fund,” Rhoads said.

Understand that home warranties are not insurance policies, they are service contracts. Basic home warranties cost anywhere from $350 to $500 a year or more.

It’s important to know what coverage you already have. If you are purchasing a newly built home, some appliances in the house may already have warranties for the first year.

As always, be sure to vet any home warranty company before signing a contract. Many companies send emails or letters in the mail to get consumers to make a purchase. However, not all may be right for you. Check with the OID to make sure the company is licensed to sell in your state. CLICK HERE to check with OID.

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