Not resolved

Starting after an air conditioner failure last year, I have been trying to get it repaired.

I am very displeased with this company. I reported the same problem with air conditioner for almost a year. They assigned to a company who advises in phone calls they do not work for AHS anymore. I view this continued assignment to a dummy company as the start of delaying and cost avoidance, which are the two primary goals of this operation.

After hours on hold to try and get acknowledgement of the service I pay for monthly, they assign to a company with skilled techs who are required to check in with them at every step of the process. Then, halfway through fixing the unit (record high temps here) AHS cancels that companies work orders, and refers me back to the company who says they won't work with AHS any longer. Then after hours on hold trying to fix that, they refer to a company who walks in and says those units are no good, you have to replace it with mini-splits, at a cost of $20,000 -- and he is pushing for a commitment. Finally, I got approval -- again after hours on hold -- to have the first company back, ad they are only covering about 1/3 of the cost, based on a very fishy reading clause in the contract .

I'll be filing complaints with BBB and our state Attorney General's office for consumer affairs, and considering a small claims action to recover the cost they refused to pay.

Avoid these guys. Their market is real estate agents, who use this to sell clients as protection for their new home. It isn't worth the paper it is written on.

Do not allow a contract with them on the purchase of your new home -- find another company.

Product or Service Mentioned: Air Conditioner Repair.

Reason of review: Poor customer service.

Monetary Loss: $1988.

Preferred solution: Full refund.

American Home Shield Cons: Hours on hold, Canceling service requests without advising me, Deceptive practices.

  • home warranty companies
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AHS has a select network of contractors in each area. They don’t randomly select contractors in a market.

They seek out small, struggling outfits, and promise them a high volume of calls. AHS only uses a couple of “preferred” contractors in each city, often sending them from another city. Why? To control their costs, and the players in the game.

If you are an AHS customer, you also are a player in their game. The contractors learn the game by playing. The rules are not spelled out up front by AHS. The AHS computer algorithm sends ALL the calls in an area to their main preferred contractor in an area, to the contractor that has the lowest cost per call average to AHS.

The cost per call guidelines are established every year by AHS, and it never goes up. For an HVAC call, it is around $200, but is much lower for plumbing and other trades. What does this mean to the consumer? It means that AHS pays a flat rate for each call, regardless of the work needed or performed.

They will never admit this. Why? The contractor can bill AHS whatever he wants, but if he wants to continue with AHS, he can’t do that. He keeps the AHS cost at the target price, regardless of his actual cost, because he has become dependent on the promised high volume of AHS calls.

Meaning extra service trucks were bought, technicians hired, and their own business reputation and clientele sacrificed in order to service disgruntled AHS customers, of which you may be one. The contractor learns which calls they are forced to lose money on, and which calls they break even on. They learn to read the coverage of each policy to know what is non-covered, and then they search for those items at the customer’s home. Since the contractor is losing money on most of the AHS calls, the non-covered items are of great importance.

That’s where any profit working for AHS can be found, and nowhere else. That’s why refrigerant, code upgrades and modifications cost so much. The contractor can’t survive without the non-covered items. The customers are livid that they have to pay these costs.

They want to avoid these costs in any way possible. Good, honest people, will stop payment, refuse to pay for services rendered, lie, cheat or even threaten bodily harm to the contractors because of these costs. AHS is behind it, and they know exactly what they’re doing. The contractor also learns to look for denials.

He gets paid the same $200 from AHS whether he replaces or rebuilds the whole machine, or tells AHS it was a power surge, which is not covered. Most of the equipment covered by AHS looks like it has been struck by lightening anyway, that’s why their customers are buying these policies. Back to why they only use one or 2 companies in an area, making the customers wait long periods for service. Once the loss leader gets filled up, and the delays are outside of guidelines, the AHS computer algorithm sends calls to their second contractor, who either has worse survey scores, higher costs, or both.

They are also the ones that get sent out on second opinions, to give the same opinion as the first company. Their operating guidelines are the same, and they are competing with the first company to keep AHS’ costs down, so they can get more calls. When AHS customer service decides in favor of the customer to cover something or concession costs for the customer, it doesn’t mean AHS is paying for it. It means THE CONTRACTOR is paying for it, parts and labor, out of their own pocket, without reimbursement.

If the contractor bills AHS more than the low target amount, remember, they will lose future AHS calls, and company 2 will become company 1. Once AHS orders the repair to be made, getting the work completed becomes the next challenge. It takes so long, often weeks or months, because the low target amount billed to AHS has already happened after the initial service call. No more money will come from AHS on that call.

Equipment and parts come out of the contractor’s pocket, so he is in no hurry. Meanwhile, he is bombarded with many other AHS new calls coming in, (with new service call $, where he can bill the low target amount) and other customers who are unhappily waiting for their drawn out repairs, where AHS can’t be billed. That’s why it takes so long for parts to come in. The parts are in, or available, there is just no monetary incentive to go pick it up!

Once the customer is having a fit, they go to the bottom of the stack, and they get the runaround. That’s why their calls are unanswered. That’s why the contractor can’t be found. The AHS customers are trying to beat AHS at a game that AHS invented.

The customers are willing participants.

They can read the reviews, and then still decide to use AHS, hoping their situation or contractor will turn out differently. They might get lucky, but it is a gamble, and the odds are not in their favor.


Forget all about the BBB. They can and will do nothing.

They are not the Commerce Police and have no legal authority or power of representation ; they are an urban legend.

You would have been better off to skip that AHS , save the money , and get things fixed or replaced yourself. Home and extended warranties are generally not worth the paper they are printed on.

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