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New customer of AHS. In early December, the sewage ejector pump in our basement stopped working. Contacted AHS (as this is a covered part) and they sent a plumber (Prime Plumbing) to diagnose the issue.

The plumber said that there would be a $650 charge for "access" (or pump is below a vanity in the bathroom) . . . but that is a different gripe that I won't take up here (access was literally unscrewing 2 pipes; nothing abnormal).

Spoke with AHS and told them that we agreed to pay the access charge to the plumber, I was then charged our $100 service fee by AHS and the replacement was approved by AHS and the plumber was notified of the approval. This happened right before christmas so the plumber said they would order the part and do the repair after the holiday.

We scheduled them to come out and replace the broken part on January 3, 2019. By the end of the day, they had not shown up, nor had they called to tell us they were not going to show up.

We called and re-scheduled for January 5th. Once again, January 5th came and went with no show and no call to cancel.

At this point, we were getting a bit agitated (as my wife was having to re-arrange her day every time to wait for them to come, only to have them no-show), but decided to give them one more try; we re-scheduled for January 12th.

January 12th came and went . . . no show and no call.

At this point, I decided to contact AHS and ask for a new plumber, because this plumber clearly wasn't interested in actually completing the work for us.

After being on the phone for 2+ hours with customer service, I reluctantly agreed to have them re-schedule the same plumber for us on January 14th. The customer service rep told me that she would personally guarantee that the plumber would show up this time and that she would call them to make sure the job was getting done. I told her she wasn't the one doing the work so there was no way she could make this "guarantee" and also said that I was 99.9% confident they would no-show again, but was so exhausted for being on the phone for almost 3 hours that I gave in.

Of course, January 14th comes and goes with no appearance by the plumber, and no call to cancel.

At this point, I'm absolutely furious and call AHS again. They tell me that they'll re-assign a new plumber, but I'll have to pay the $100 service call fee again. Of course, I refused this and asked to speak with supervisor (this was their issue to take up with the plumber that no-showed 5x . . . not my problem). Another 2 hours on the phone and the supervisor finally agreed to send a new plumber out.

The new plumber (RG Plumging & Rooter) was scheduled for January 16th and showed up to do the evaluation, was on time and was very professional.

Plumber said they'd send paperwork to AHS and we'd be hearing from them.

An hour later, we got a call from AHS saying that they would NOT be covering the cost of the broken sewage ejector pump (even though it was already approved after the 1st plumber diagnosed it). The reason they gave for not covering was that there was a "foreign object" in the pump and that voided the insurance. Conveniently, this 'foreign object' was not denoted on the initial diagnosis but was now on the current one, which was preventing us from being covered.

Again, very upset, I contacted AHS and was on the phone with them for almost 3 hours. I finally spoke to a very nice gentleman in the approvals department, who listened to my story, was very empathetic and said he would try to help out.

After speaking with his supervisor, he was able to approve the claim . . . he said that the replacement had already been approved and that the newly-assigned plumbers job was not to re-diagnose the issue, but instead to fix the issue. He said that he would call our new plumber and let them know it was approved and that they could proceed with doing the work.

Haven't not heard from the plumber for several hours - we decided to call and schedule our replacement.

The scheduler said that she received a call from AHS telling her it was approved, but it was not through the "normal" channel that approvals usually happen, so she would need to call to confirm and that she'd call us back once she got confirmation.

We did not hear back that night, so we called her back the next day. She said that she was able to talk to AHS, and AHS told her that the job was transferred back to the original plumber (the one that did not show up 5 times) and that they were going to do the work for us. If the new plumber did the work, they wouldn't not be reimbursed by AHS.

Soooooooooooooo, we called the 1st plumber back and were told that they had not heard that the contract was transferred back to them, and that they had cancelled the work order with AHS.

After this extreme frustration . . . waiting 10+ hours on the phone with AHS . . . wasting 5 afternoons waiting for the plumber to never show up . . . wasting $100 on the service call fee for a service that never got performed . . . and living without a working bathroom in our basement for over a month, we decided to just engage with the 2nd plumber ourselves (outside of AHS) and pay for the $1,200 repair ourselves.

AHS is a dishonest and unethical company that contracts with plumbers that obviously share their values. We are new customers with AHS (contract effective 12/7/18) and we already are looking for how we can get out of our contract. In my 40 years on this earth, I've never had a worse experience with customer service. I will forever advise anybody that is thinking about using AHS to stay far FAR away . . . we wound up paying $1,300 out of pocket and waiting almost 2 months for something that should have cost us $100 and been done in a day . . . all because of AHS' unwillingness to provide good customer service and adhere to the contracts that they agree to with their customers.

The photo I have attached is evidence of all of the appointments that were made, cancelled (because they never showed up) and re-scheduled with the first plumber (Prime Plumbing) that AHS assigned to us.

Product or Service Mentioned: American Home Shield Claim.

Reason of review: Poor customer service.

Monetary Loss: $1300.

Preferred solution: Full refund.

American Home Shield Cons: It fails on promises and services.

  • bad contractors
  • American Home Shield Dishonest
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Anonymous
#1634202

I've gone through the exact same game with AHS. File a Better Business Bureau complaint; things start moving very quickly then. I was also able to get out of my contract upon filing the complaint and talking to the VP of the Tennessee branch.

Anonymous
#1632148

Ok I know you don’t care how it turns out for the plumbers but here goes: AHS only pays the plumber your service fee. Again: AHS only pays the plumber your service fee.

$100. And for that $100, he has to provide all parts and labor, except what is deemed “not covered” or “denied” by AHS. So the first plumber was going to break even by charging you the access fee. It’s not worth his time to get his hands dirty only to break even.

That’s why you have been strung along. The second plumber (knowing that AHS is going to expect HIM to do this dirty job for free and give you top notch service since you are already hacked off; not to Mention the fact that you expect fees to be waived) was insightful in that he knew a way to get the whole claim denied with the foreign object hoax. But that denial didn’t stick, and plumber 2 looked better by his his approach than plumber 1 (delay) and plumber 2 got the job and the full price of the job from YOU, instead of HALF the money (and NO profit) from AHS. The problem is that AHS does NOT allow their contractors to charge AHS for anything over the service fee.

Whatever is needed to do a repair or replacement comes out of the contractor’s pocket, in exchange for more sales and game playing opportunities.

Dump the home warranty “coverage” and deal directly with the people who can help you in your time of need, the plumbers. Money talks, bs walks.

PersonalAdeliePenguin
#1632154
@Anonymous

Thanks for your response - that was insightful. Just one question - I assume that AHS is also reimbursing the plumber for the cost of the part that was insured right?

If the plumber had to order my sewage ejector pump from home depot for $800, it makes no sense that they'd have to come out of pocket for that amount only to collect the $100 service fee right? I think in my situation, the first plumber not only collected the $100 service fee, but also got a free sewage ejector pump out of it, as it was approved by AHS as covered, ordered and delivered to the plumber . .

. but they never installed it.

Anonymous
#1632163
@PersonalAdeliePenguin

No, they don’t get reimbursed!!!! this is what I’m trying desperately to educate people about: the contractors who work for any home warranty company have to do so at a huge loss, in exchange for being allowed to remain on the short list of network providers.

There are usually only one or two companies per trade that you can use. Please read all the comments and reviews, I’m trying to tell everyone about this. THIS is why the service is so awful with home warranties. In monst cases, the contractor loses lots of money.

But he gets a ton of calls where he collects $100. He has to average all that out—and is constantly threatened with getting cut off. The plumber would have to eat the cost of the parts and even new equipment unless there is a denial or non-covered expense the home owner can be charged for.

Even then, the job is done at a loss in many cases. It’s a game.

PersonalAdeliePenguin
#1632166
@Anonymous

Appreciate the insight but find this very hard to believe. So if my air conditioner (a covered appliance) breaks and is approved to be replaced by AHS, the company that installs it will have to eat the $4,000 cost to replace the A/C unit and will only be paid $100? That doesn't make sense.

Anonymous
#1632178
@Anonymous

This site won’t let me reply under your last comment but yes it works the same for air conditioning. That’s actually what I’m more familiar with.

The air conditioning and heating systems will be band-aided, and patched together for decades, resulting in horribly unsafe and unreliable conditions. The parts are so expensive that the service fee doesn’t even cover most of them. AHS contractor relations makes the HVAC companies keep their billable ticket totals down around $200 each. So to make up for the losses, the contractor has to gouge the customer for made up “code upgrades” or “access issues” and fortunately for the contractors, freon is on the customer too.

You will really get popped there.

Also, anytime a customer misses their appointment, that is a free $200, and a complete denial is also a free $200. Please ask more questions because I’d love to share.

Anonymous
#1632173
@PersonalAdeliePenguin

The plumbers have to provide the parts and equipment so that they can absorb the costs so that AHS doesn’t have to. If AHS has to pay, then the plumber has to go.

The plumber’s Contractor Relations Rep sets the rules and calls the shots. His or her job is to control the vendors and strangle them before they are left for dead.

Once the plumber goes broke and has a bad reputation, they get a new plumber. Does this make sense?

Anonymous
#1632195
@Anonymous

Please do us a favor: Call Plumber 2 and read him this discussion, and see what he says. Maybe he will level with you now that the transaction is over with and he made a sale.

He was very smart in how he handled the situation. He got to step in and be the good guy and let Plumber 1 look inept. Plumber 1 isn’t inept, he just didn’t know to say you had a foreign object in your pump and get a chance to sell you a $1300 new pump installation. So please give these 2 plumbers a call and see what they say.

Keep in mind they are both actively working for AHS so they may deny everything.

Don’t bother asking AHS because they will say if their plumber recommends replacement then that’s what they “cover”. But “coverage” does not mean “pay for” Please follow up.

PersonalAdeliePenguin
#1632205
@Anonymous

Plumber #1 is inept . .

. they agreed to fix it for us, got it approved through AHS and then failed to show up for 5 appointments without so much as a phone call to let us know they weren't coming. Do you know what an inconvenience that is to have to wait home for a plumber 5 times that never shows up and doesn't have the courtesy to call and let you know they aren't coming?

This entire home warranty thing sounds like a scam. I need to get out of my contract and file a compliant w/ the BBB.

Anonymous
#1632220
@Anonymous

I’m trying to explain: Plumber 1 was going to do the job for $100 service fee and $650 from you. So he would have collected $750 for a $1200 repair.

There is zero profit and no motivation for him to do that. He can’t refuse this particular job from AHS without jeopardizing his position as AHS Plumber 1 (that is a hard position to get and even harder to keep). I know it’s a pain to be put off 5 times. I’m sure they are very busy, being Plumber 1 of 2.

But the fact of the matter is you were paying the bulk of the money he was going to get and he had to buy the pump. Even after you paid him, he’s still have lost money and took a bad review.

He’d rather not fool with that job at all. Notice how fast Plumber 2 took care of it for your $1200.

Anonymous
#1632224
@Anonymous

Why file a complaint with the bbb? They are completely useless too.

How about just thinking about this whole thing? Open your mind and try to grasp the magnitude of this simple fact: AHS only pays the customers’ service fees and the customer pays the balance.

Anonymous
#1632281
@Anonymous

As I said in the beginning, I know you don’t care how it turns out for the plumber, but here goes... what I’m getting at is this: alllllllll of you people with complaints about AHS warranty service people and claims processing, and delays, ineptitude, runaround, gouging on non-covered charges, etc.

these complaints can allllllllll be related back to the fact that the contractors are not being compensated but rather are losing their own heinies when it comes to doing SOME of these expensive repairs.

Quick fixes aside, major expenses like this $1200 sewage ejector pump replacement will take 3 forevers because there is NO financial incentive to get this job done when it is to be done at a loss to the plumber. Until you allllll realize that nothing will make sense.

AbsoluteGiantPandaBear
#1724616
@Aninymous

Then why would a plumber even contract with a home warranty company? That makes zero sense.

And you’re not saying plumber one is inept? Yes he is for even working with that warranty company to begin with.

Anonymous
#1725073
@Anonymous

Plumber 1 is smarter than you think, and plumber 2 was really smart. If all the plumbers (and other trades) refused to work for AHS, how would that help you: a policy with no vendors to service you?

Then you’d be pissed that nobody in your area would work for AHS and you would have no response at all, not that their response is what you wanted. Further, there is lots of money to be made, but in an unconventional fashion. Instead of what you’d expect, (doing great, honest work for AHS and sending fair and reasonable bills to AHS, reflecting actual work performed—we learned the hard way that is NOT their business model) home warranty work is much more of a game. A game of chance; a game of outsmarting your opponents; a game of screwing and getting screwed.

All home warranty customers expect to get more out of the policy than they pay in, or it’s not worthwhile. AHS will get more out of the contract than what is collected, because they control the contractors.

The contractors will lose money on a lot of the claims, but they will find ways to adapt and play the game. Unfortunately, the customers will have to bear the brunt of the contractors’ adaptations.