Author Topic: Home warranty frustration  (Read 1550 times)

webguy

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Home warranty frustration
« on: September 22, 2017, 11:48:03 AM »
Here's the situation; we moved into a new home at the end of April and it came with a 13 month home warranty. Awesome! Now we don't have to worry about repairs! So in June we find a pool of water under our HVAC system in the utility room and call home warranty. They send out an HVAC company to take a look. They say that water was caused by something freezing and then thawing too quickly and it caused water to overflow onto the floor. They checked the coolant level, said it was low so they topped it up, recommended we changed the filter and then said it was fixed. I didn't think they were great, they were Russian and one guy didn't speak English, and they didn't really communicate things to me well.

Anyway, fast-forward 3 months and this weekend we had someone out to help us raise the AC unit ready for some landscape grading to be done and noticed that the pipe going from the unit to the wall outside the house was completely white with frost (picture attached). They explained that it's usually caused by low coolant, and if we just had it topped up in June then it means we probably had a leak somewhere, likely either in the coil or the pipe itself. He recommends we don't raise the unit until the issue is addressed as it may void the home warranty and finding and fixing the leak would likely be expensive.

I call the home warranty and they send the same company out again. He checks the filter, looks good, checks the coolant and says it's a little low so it's probably a pinhole leak. He puts in something called "Easy seal" tells me to run the AC for 4 hours straight and then leaves.  He didn't even top up the coolant. He seems in a hurry, likely because they reopened the initial claim and so he's probably not being paid to come back.

My concern is that this guy just did the bare minimum easy short-time fix that isn't going to fix the problem long term. If there's a leak in the system then we really want that fixed permanently so that the issue doesn't reoccur once the warranty expires. Now that he's put this "easy seal" stuff in though I'm not sure that we'll even be able to find the leak anytime soon as it's supposed to temporarily clog any holes. I'm a little annoyed that he didn't explain anything before putting it in, as if he had then I would probably have told him not to put it in so that we can find the leak and fix it.

At this point I'm not sure what my options are. The home warranty expires next May and as the Fall is approaching we aren't even likely to use the unit much before then. I want a reputable company to fix the issue permanently, but it doesn't seem as though the home warranty company (Home Warranty of America) cares about that. I'm guessing their main motivation is finding the cheapest contractor to do the cheapest fix so that they don't have to pay up for replacing parts or actual fixes. I'm frustrated that their short term "easy seal" fix has essentially rendered it impossible to actually fix the underlying problem.

Has anyone else ran into this, or a similar issue, with their home warranty? And if so, how did you deal with it?

Rachel_the_Lark

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Re: Home warranty frustration
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2017, 05:57:01 AM »
A home warranty wants to keep costs down in terms of repairs...bottom line.  They only get the premium from you, so that's where they make the profits.  I kept paying for the extension a few years on this house, because at inspection I was told that my whole HVAC unit was working...but well past it's normal life so I was on borrowed time. 
  • First time I had someone check out why my AC wasn't working very well, they said I need new insulation in the crawl space.  When I got insulation put in (but people I hired outside of the warranty) they told me that my my main pipe wasn't actually connected properly....which you think an AC expert would have noticed when looking at said crawl space
  • Finally this year the AC outright died...of course in the middle of a heat wave over the 4th of July.  Made a claim and then left a voicemail with the number they told me to call.  Guess who were closed for the holiday...which I couldn't tell because when I google the number of this company....literally nothing came up on the internet.  Sounds like a reputable company right?
  • One thing my warranty company had as an option they tend not to publicize (remember the bottom line around costs) is that I could hire my own professional and then submit receipts for reimbursement.  So I got someone promptly out who wasn't an idiot and a reputable company.  The diagnosis had the specific thing broken, but based on the age (and accounting for efficiency gains) I went for the full replacement.  Had to submit a bunch of paperwork and they told me their experts would price out "what it would have cost them to fix it".
Bottom line is I did get some money back from them (Not even half of what the guys quoted me for the repair.)..but at least it covered the premiums I had paid the last few years.  So I consider it a financial wash and general lesson learned.  Needless to say when my renewal letter comes in December...it's going straight in the garbage.


bacchi

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Re: Home warranty frustration
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2017, 02:48:16 PM »
Home warranties are never worth it. Just ask for the $500 in cash at closing instead.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Home warranty frustration
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2017, 03:11:32 PM »
Home warranties are never worth it. Just ask for the $500 in cash at closing instead.

+1 million

Sellers are advised by the realtors to offer a home warranty as an incentive, but mostly it only covers easy stuff and they'll do the bare minimum to fix anything and try to run out the clock on the coverage if it might be a major repair. I would not be shocked at all to find that the realtors get a nice little kickback for every warranty they sell.

You can try having another (vetted and recommended) HVAC company come out and diagnose the issues and then demand that the warranty company send someone that doesn't have their head up their ass to fix and get them to reimburse you for the diagnosis fee, or tell them how much the one you have in for 2nd opinion will charge and tell them you don't trust the one they've been sending and want to use this one and expect the warranty company to pay all costs associated. But no idea if you would even have a leg to stand on about going outside their repair companies' approved vendors... you'll have to check your contract with them.


katsiki

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Re: Home warranty frustration
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2017, 07:36:54 PM »
I would do what Rachel described in her third bullet.  Most companies allow for this.  You need to find out their procedures and requirements.

Good luck - warranties are regulated theft.

webguy

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Re: Home warranty frustration
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 02:23:26 PM »
Thanks for the input guys, I appreciate you advice and perspectives.  This is all good to know if we move again in future.

  • One thing my warranty company had as an option they tend not to publicize (remember the bottom line around costs) is that I could hire my own professional and then submit receipts for reimbursement.  So I got someone promptly out who wasn't an idiot and a reputable company.  The diagnosis had the specific thing broken, but based on the age (and accounting for efficiency gains) I went for the full replacement.  Had to submit a bunch of paperwork and they told me their experts would price out "what it would have cost them to fix it".

This is good to hear, and I'll look into this, although the issue is that as the crappy company came out and did the quick fix with the "easy seal" then I'm guessing it's going to be almost impossible for a reputable company to find and fix the issue properly.  So now I'm kinda stuck as even if I get the warranty company to agree to have someone else come out, they probably wouldn't be able to fix it.  Would anyone recommend explaining this to the home warranty company to see if they'll do anything about it, or would I just be wasting my time?