Home warranties promise peace of mind, but a couple of local families say they ended up with just the opposite.
They can cost hundreds of dollars a year.
Now some homeowners told Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray that they would have been better off saving that money themselves.
Virlin Lester, of Riverdale, came to Channel 2 Action News after her refrigerator died again.
“All my stuff is spoiled,” Lester said. “I am so frustrated with all this.”
She’s been paying $62 a month to Choice Home Warranty, but she’s been having to use a basement freezer because Choice hasn’t fixed or replaced the fridge.
“I decided because I couldn’t work, and I had limited funds I would get the home warranty plan. They said it was the ideal thing to do,” Lester told Gray.
Linda Bailey called American Home Shield when her bottom oven went out. By the time the repairman left, the whole thing did not work. That was 6 months ago.
“We went Labor Day – no oven, Thanksgiving – no oven, Christmas – no oven, New Year’s – no oven. So let’s go right into Valentine’s Day. No oven,” Bailey said.
The Baileys were offered a cashout payment from American Home Shield of just $200.
“I was not getting any kind of customer service. They just did not care,” Bailey said.
But after months of frustrations, American Home Shield has now agreed to replace the oven and told Channel 2 Action News in a statement that it takes great pride in providing quality service, saying:
“We sincerely apologize for the delay and frustration this matter has caused the Baileys. In the Baileys situation, the part needed to repair the oven properly was no longer made, so the Baileys agreed to get an entirely new oven. Unfortunately, there was a breakdown in communication on our part as to when it would be available.”
As for Lester, she’s been offered a cashout price that she said won’t cover a new fridge. She told Gray that she won’t be using a home warranty in the future.
“When I calculate how much money I paid I could have just put the money in an account and had the money to pay,” Lester said.
And that is what people like Channel 2 consumer adviser Clark Howard suggest: rather than pay the warranty company, set money aside each month yourself.
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