Aug 12, 2015

Home warranties - what a joke

On 6/18/15 we woke up to no cold air in the house.  Hardy checked the copper line in the attic and outside and there was some ice build-up.  During the purchase of our home, the seller provided a 1yr home warranty through 2-10, the warranty we got with the purchase of our house.


So I signed in and requested a service call through our warranty.  The next day a company by the name of Solution Heating & Air (out of Lawrenceville) showed up.  It was two gentlemen, both Hispanic.  One could speak English and the other never spoke I word so I assume he couldn’t.  The older man who never spoke, remained outside the entire time around our A/C condenser.  The younger man asked to come inside so he could see the A/C housing, which for us is located in the attic.

I showed him where the attic stairs were.  One of the previous owners had an electric furnace filter system installed.  Basically you don’t have your normal filters you can buy at Publix.  It consists of two reusable plastic filters and two metal cases.  So when installed, an electric current “zaps” unwanted bacteria and particles from the air.  ***Which I also learned from the recent HVAC tech are dangerous filters.  Whoever installed it put it right underneath the evap coil...what do you think will happen if the evap coil leaks fluid?  It drips down onto the electric cases and POOF.

The younger technician didn’t even know what kind of filtration system we had or how to advise they be cleaned.  I would assume, being a certified “HVAC” technician you should be familiar with these sorts of things.  He brought the filters and the electric cases down from the attic and told me they needed to be cleaned.  I proceeded to take them outside where I WASHED THEM MYSELF with a water hose.

The older man who had been outside said the condenser was dirty and needed to be cleaned, which would be $89.00.  I said by all means go ahead.  The younger guy never went back into the attic.  When they finally “finished” and the A/C was working, I thought we were golden.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, 8/9/15…we get home from church and as soon as I walk in the door you can feel something is wrong.  The thermostat read 85 when our desired temp is 76.  Persephone was down for a nap, so I asked Hardy to check for ice on the line indoors and out just like last time and he confirmed it was frozen again.  I had seen several neighbors on Facebook have used a company called GeorgiaSpec and had nothing but positive things to say so I asked Hardy to call and see if they could come take a look.  Unfortunately since the system was frozen, it needed to thaw.  This meant they wouldn’t be able to look at it until the next day.  That night our house was a blazing 89 when we went to bed.  It was miserable.  I even tried opening the window in Persephone’s room and placing a fan in front of it – no help.  I slept with a desk fan blowing directly in my face.

The next morning, I contacted 2-10 HBW and explained we were having the same issue with our A/C unit, but this time I would prefer to use someone of my own choosing.  They gave me a work order # and explained the contractor would need to call their 800 # and explain the diagnosis/issues and then they’ll decide how much they’ll pay towards the service.  At 10:00am, I met Phil with GeorgiaSpec at the house.  He was already testing/checking the outside condenser when I arrived, so next stop was the attic.  I remained on the stairs to the attic the entire time he did his inspection and he explained everything he did and why.  He asked me what the previous company had done in June, so I even showed him their invoice (See below)

It states:
Found filters dirty.  Condenser is dirty, needs to be cleaned.  No leak found in coil or condenser.  Cleaned condenser.  System is working fine.  Charged with 2lbs of Freon.

The young man who came out in June that went into our attic NEVER checked the coil.  This invoice is a lie!  And you really gave me 2lbs of freon for free?  Because you claimed the $89 was just the cost to clean the condenser...sooo where did the fee for the freon go?  Or did you even put 2lbs of freon in the damn thing?

The proof is that when Phil was out Monday, he literally had to cut away tape from the creases of the housing for the evaporator coil before you could even test it for a leak.  So he removed the tape, took the screws off and took the door off the housing.  Before even performing the ultrasonic test you could clearly hear the leak even from a few feet away.  He explained you would have to replace the evap coil…there’s no “repairing.”  He contacted his supplier and was able to locate the evap coil for our particular unit and said he could get it fixed as early as that night.  I told him by all means go ahead.  Not only do I HATE being hot at any level, thick warm air makes it harder to breathe.  Since Persephone was recently diagnosed with asthma this had me really concerned.  Hell is her asthma a result of the shotty A/C work we had in June?  If there's been a coolant leak for all this time, that certainly can't be good to breathe in!!! We can’t afford to put ourselves up in a hotel for a few days.

I went back to work, asked Phil to contact 2-10 HBW and explain his findings.  The work HAD to be done and I didn’t trust the people 2-10 sent out in June.  I was even second guessing all of the companies they contract with.  2-10 called me back shortly, explained they were only willing to pay a grand total of $690.00 to do the work.  They claimed that when you remain “in-network” and use one of their partners, they have price discounts on parts.  If the homeowner chooses to use a contractor of their choice, they’re subject to pay any cost above and beyond what 2-10 HBW finds warranted.  I explained the whole purpose of todays visit is that the company THEY SENT in June doesn’t know what they’re doing and/or they don’t give a crap.  

All the first lady could do was bark the guidelines of the warranty I have and tell me because I chose an outside contractor I’m subject to retail pricing which will always be higher than the deals they have with their people.  I kept repeating that shouldn’t be my fault.  I asked to speak to someone over her, so she transferred me to a man.  I repeated my story to him, he asked if I could pay $600 or $1700 for a job, which would I prefer.  Since he was catty with me – I got catty with him and said I would pay $1700 if it got the job done right.  He scoffed at me, so I asked to speak with someone above him.  He was irritated, but agreed.  After a few minutes another woman got on the line.  

By this time, I was so angry I began to cry.  I couldn’t stop being emotional which made me even more irritated.  I kept explaining our daughter has asthma, your contractors are untrustworthy, our house was 89 at TEN O’CLOCK, I found someone who can fix it TODAY and you’re telling me I’ll still be responsible for essentially $1,056 of the replacement.  She started reciting their guidelines..etc etc they kept referring to their warranties like health insurance.  If you stay in-network, you’re golden.  If you choose to go out of network you’ll have to pay additional costs.  BLA BLA BLA.  If I could trust the people you send out I wouldn’t have even bothered finding my own HVAC people.  This last lady even went as far to say her son has asthma and she doesn’t have A/C – but it wasn’t sympathy it was “I’m doing it, so can you.” 

I gave up on this 45min phone call between three people.  I told her to give me whatever money she felt I deserved…either way my A/C was getting fixed TONIGHT with no help of theirs.  She had me on hold for about 5-10min, finally came back and said they would give me $690.00 + a $300.00 “customer service gesture” since our daughter has asthma.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  How can you put a price on my daughters’ health and well being?  She acted like she had to pull teeth even to give me that additional $300.00.  Convo ended.  During all three of these conversations, not ONE…I repeat NOT ONE of these representatives ever offered to put me on hold so they could try and find one of their partnered companies who could fix our issue same day.  That was all I kept arguing.  I have someone who can fix this today and you’re not willing to help me get it done.

My sweet realtor who helped us sell our home and move into our current home plead my case to a local 2-10 rep who was kind enough to FWD the info to their main office in Denver, CO.  I got a call last night from someone in the “presidents office” who as I explained my case repeatedly said “I agree 100%” or “I would have done the same thing” 4 or 5 times plain as day.  Yet, still ended the call by stating they weren’t willing to offer me any further compensation.  I was nice to her because she was probably nicest of them all…but it still didn’t get me anywhere.   

Do I think the President and/or CEO of 2-10 will hear my story? No. 
Do I think they’ll look into changing their warranty guidelines or partnerships? No.

I even spoke to a customer at work who has owned his own HVAC business in Dawsonville for 20+yrs.  He said I was charged fairly by GeorgiaSpec for the entire repair/labor.  He laughed when I mentioned what 2-10 was willing to give me towards the work.  Even stated he cannot stand home warranty companies because they deal with fly by night contractors who don’t care about quality of work.  I wasn’t even paying this guy for his opinion; he was openly, honestly giving me his two cents at no obligation.  

So did we have to pay a lot?  Yes…but I feel 100% confident in the work provided.  Phil was at our house for 4.5 hours on Monday replacing the evap coil, vacuuming the coolant line and adding new r-22 refrigerant and the total was $1746.00 out of my pocket.  2-10 HBW will graciously (I say this with as much sarcasm as I have in my blood) reimburse me $990.00 - - remember that last $300.00 is a “customer service gesture.”

Complete and utter BULLSH*T.  They take your money, when you need something repaired or replaced they pay lowest dollar amount.  They use after market and used parts.  They contract with not even sub-par companies to do the work.

I will not shut up about it.  While I certainly appreciate the few people who have attempted to help me…I’m not done. 

1 comment:

  1. I had a very similar experience with a First American Home Buyers Protection Warranty. We were 10 months into our 12 month warranty when the heating portion of our aging HVAC system went out. They sent one of their "authorized" in-network repair service who came, did a quick lousy patch job and left as soon as possible. 2 days later when the HVAC system failed again I called a local company I trusted who did a full diagnosis and found that the system could NOT be repaired and took the time to show me the failure and explain why. When I contacted First American for coverage on the required replacement they refused to replace the system (even though it was covered under the warranty) since it was a pre-existing condition and defended the "work" of the authorized repairmen who did the shoddy temporary repair. Pre-existing condition? Everything in my house was in a pre-existing condition since it ALL existed prior to purchasing the 100% Guaranteed Warranty !!! I also spoke to several supervisors (all of which I suspect were just co-workers passing the phone around) and none were willing to help in any way. Needless to say I paid 100% out of pocket to replace the HVAC unit and allowed the First American Home Warranty to expire. To make matters worse they continued to call me again and again attempting to get me to renew the warranty after refusing to honor this service call. I'm hoping there are Home Warranty companies out there that aren't scams, but First American Home Warranty certainly is.