889 Ridge Lake Blvd, Memphis, TN 38120, USA
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My water heater went down hard a few days ago but hey, it’s covered under my home warranty, so I confidently got an appointment. “Yes sir, your water heater is covered”, they said with happiness.

And I was happy, too. Good thing I have a home warranty, eh? That’s 500-600 dollars a year well spent. Dude shows up on time, checks the appliance, it’s dead, you’re covered on replacement cost!

Cool. Oh, and, there will be some out of pocket expenses for stuff to hook up the new water heater. How much can gaskets and little hoses cost? I can handle this.

Eight hundred dollars. That’s right: 800 dollars. To hook up the water heater. To bring “everything up to code”, which I’m sure it already is.

You know how much water heaters cost at Lowe’s? You can get a decent one for four bills. This is nuts. AHS calls me to tell me a couple of things.

I am a very unhappy customer. I complain. Bitterly. Can’t they send someone else out, someone who won’t ask for an arm and a leg?

Not unless I’m disputing the diagnosis. Well, I’m the one who made the diagnosis, it’s leaking, it’s nearly 20 years old and I’m not a complete idiot. So no, I’m not disputing my own assessment. Well, then – they’re sorry but unless I can, I’m stuck with the initial repairman, whose time is valued somewhat exorbitantly.

I’ve already kind of decided that I’m not paying those vultures 800 dollars. Nope. No way. So I go around and around with the AHS rep.

Nothing she can do. It is what it is. I say, “I can go a block down the street to Lowe’s, buy a water heater myself and hire a plumber to hook the thing up for less than 800 dollars.” She is not impressed by this information and likely does not write it down to marvel over later at lunch. There is nothing she can do about this information and there is nothing she can do about that 800 dollar charge, either.

I figure this out fairly quickly. There is no supervisor available. What would I like to do? Well, what I would like to do is illegal, surely, so I don’t bring that up.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and we have no hot water. No laundry, no dishwashing, no SHOWERS. Whatever I’m going to do, I gotta do it pretty quickly. Torches and arson take time, so I shelve that plan, which is pretty poorly formed in any case.

I’m not yet letting her off the phone, though. Maybe there’s no remedy to this, but I can at least rant and shout and get spit all over my iPhone, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Someone needs to know I’m pissed off, by God, and she’s my candidate. She says very little as I walk around the house, arms flying, trying to not use my Navy words.

She eventually says I can choose the cash option, but no, of course, she has no idea what the amount will be. That’s another department. Okay, transfer me. But no.

It’s 2017 and we don’t have flying cars and neither do we have a transfer service available. They’ll have to call me back. Maybe today, she says optimistically. I tell her how nice that would be.

I call around to plumbers. One says they can come look at it today and give me an estimate, only 50 bucks for the visit. I hang up on them. This happens not once but twice more and each time I end the call the same way.

Click. All day long, I am calling them or waiting for them to call me back. This is not a good way to spend a day. It’s not even a good way to spend an hour.

Finally, I get a small, owner-operated company nearby and he’s totally sympathetic to what is going on with my water heater. He’s heard this story before, he says. He thinks he can do the whole thing tomorrow (YES) for 900 dollars, which includes a nice, new water heater and everything. I ask him to hold on, I need to find out what my cash option is with AHS.

I’m not expecting to be happy about this, and he understands that, too. I like this guy, though. While I’m waiting for AHS to call me back, I field more calls from companies I left messages with. One shameless huckster tells me all about his water heaters, they’ll last forever, he thinks.

I’m thinking: I’m nearly 61 years old, dude, and this is likely not a real concern for me. This is it – my last water heater, ever. This one will likely be functioning perfectly when I shuffle off the mortal coil. I’m not overly worried about the warranty.

His price? Between 1600 and 2000 dollars. Click. Navy words pour out of me.

Miracle of miracles, praise your sweet baby deity, AHS calls me back with my cash option. 344 dollars, but I have to pay the technician up front, present four boxes of paperwork (“Would you prefer fax or email, sir?” “It’s 2017. Nobody has fax machines.”) and then they will reimburse me the princely sum of 344 dollars. Where’s my party hat?

I sort of read her the riot act, too, but she’s smart enough to stay silent unless I ask a specific question. I have no specific questions since it’s physically impossible for a corporation to do to itself what I want them to do. So tomorrow, out of my own pocket, even though I have, hooray, a HOME WARRANTY, I’ll pay 900 bucks to get hot water again. And yes, if you want, I’ll gladly supply names of the offending parties as well as the nice guy in Denton who promises to bring me hot water once again.

Oh, and I just got an email. Their records indicate…..here, I’ll just paste it: “Our records indicate your service work order is complete. If you continue to experience problems with your covered item, log into MyAccount to let us know. We value your feedback.

Please rate your experience with SIRIUS PLUMBING & AIR CONDITIONING INC by clicking below. Thank you for choosing American Home Shield®.” Then there’s a link for feedback, which they will surely regret soon enough.

Product or Service Mentioned: American Home Shield Homeowners Policy Claim.

Reason of review: Warranty issue.

Monetary Loss: $800.

Preferred solution: Full refund.

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Anonymous
#1705754

I am experiencing this same issue right now. Its crazy. They told me the same thing.

Anonymous
#1692624

Same things happening with Select Home Warranty, EXACTLY THE SAME. These home warranty company's are a scam!

Anonymous
#1679863

Soo true!! I had the exact same thing happen to me.

I'm going to leave American Home Shield because I would rather put 30 bucks a month in my own acct plus the 125.00 for my deductible and plan on paying a company myself instead of all the frustration.

They only covered your water heater for under $400.00, well that's you basically paying full price since you pay them monthly, plus the 125. And you pay the "modification costs" LOL

Anonymous
#1677005

Same experience... makes me wonder why home warranty is even worth it at all.

Anonymous
to Anonymous #1677115

Home warranty companies do not exist to provide value to homeowners—they exist to make obscene profits by luring homeowners with false promises. There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—imagine that.

Where would they get the money to replace everyone’s systems and appliances in their time of need? It’s unlikely that they will ever change the way they do business, and that goes for all home warranty companies.

Anonymous
#1624941

Same Story, different house. Water heater not working, 13 years old.

Pilot won't light. He says 13 years is nothing, I got 3 years free ;) He says it is the water quality in Las Vegas but I have a water softener. Anyway, he tells me all is up to code but there are "other things" that aren't covered by the "warranty" (misnomer if you ask me) to the tune of $540! And they said the water heater, for which AHS will pay, is $1,500!!!

Is it gold-lined? I don't get it but I do think I need to rethink this plan.

At the same time my second furnace (I have two, one for back of house, one for front) has gone out so I am wondering what isn't covered on that!? That service tech is coming Tuesday...let the games begin :(

Anonymous
to cheryl #1625088

A 50 gallon standard natural gas water heater, installed by a licensed plumber with a gas license too (also required, check that in your area that 2 trade licenses are required) should cost between $1300-1900 total. That includes all the standard upgrades unless your vent needs to be completely improved.

However, AHS only pays their plumber on your behalf about $100 if they supply the new water heater. The plumbing company AHS uses is supposed to keep their billing average down to less than $150 per call including parts, labor, and equipment. Replacing your water heater will not only cost the plumber more than he is allowed to Bill AHS, but will also cost him in diminished future call volume with AHS, since his ranking on AHS’s list of plumbers in your area is based on how many dollars per call, on average, he is billing them, REGARDLESS of what the customers are actually getting. In other words, the plumber doesn’t actually charge AHS for the work.

He does, however, charge the homeowner as much as possible, wherever possible. The improvements and upgrades are where the plumber has an opportunity to offset the losses from other plumbing assignments as well as make a few bucks instead of doing jobs basically for free, which he must do most of the time in home warranty work. Call a local small business plumbing company not affiliated with AHS and get a quote on replacement of your water heater not using the warranty. Then subtract what you are going to have to pay out of pocket to the.

aHS plumber (don’t forget the service fee you paid upon scheduling a service request) and see how you are coming out. Ask compare how long it takes and how many headaches you have in scheduling and in the quality of customer service and the work itself.

Do the same thing with your furnace. They’ll probably repair the furnace instead of replacing it, although it may take 6 months to get parts and a tech back out to do the repair.

Anonymous
#1596657

Oh my gosh! I second all of this.

Worst customer service and contract ever. $600 plus in "modifications"? This is the catch phrase used to refer to CONNECTING THE WATER. I'm guessing the rest of us would consider that part of replacing a water heater.

Best part. If you don't agree to getting railroaded by their plumber... they won't install! Ha.

Highway robbery.

Has anyone looked into the contract text for class action opportunity regarding the verbiage? Might have to forward this to a few attorneys myself.

Anonymous
#1584333

Same Load of Crap after getting my Water Heater Replaced. AHS will not cover the cost for bring it up to code by plumbing company (GA) $250.

and the plumbing comply Hardy Plumbing installed the water heater sideways which is not IAW installation manual. American Home Shields is terrible company

Anonymous
to Hector #1585840

How is a water heater installed sideways?

Anonymous
to Hector #1689452

Discovering the same issues

Anonymous
#1567063

The service fee you paid is all the plumber is going to collect. That is, until YOU once again pay more money, upon the installation of the new water heater, when, and if, you agree to the non-covered charges.

If you are like 99% of their customers, you will be appalled by that point, that they took so long, had to get prior authorization from AHS and from you, and that they expect you to pay for modifications such as an expansion tank. The plumber is in and out, turns in a report, and AHS will call you with the rundown. You will be pissed off, and berate and badmouth their company, and life will go on. Another day, another dollar.

Such is life in warranty company heck. Now call a small business plumber and move on.

Anonymous
#1566806

We are in the middle of this exact same situation except when the plumber came out to diagnose the issue and determined that the unit needed to be replaced, he left us with the unit still leaking water all over the floor. We asked him to come back and drain the H20 heater.

He said that would be done when he does the replacement. We couldn't wait indefinately so we did it ourselves by watching you-tube videos. A couple thoughts... hot water heater coverage is categorized by AHS as a Plumbing systems coverage (not a stand alone appliance) To me the word "systems" implies that the water lines, safety valves and drips and the other required components and parts to actually safely install it should be covered.

Otherwise I'm gonna ask that it be installed exactly as the warranty covers it.

I dont know how an an installation is going to be done without all the other system components but we'll see what they say. The idea of small claims court is also intriguing.

Anonymous
#1547601

I worked with a company who ONLY did home warranty work. For seven years I catered to AHS, HBW, AON, Old Republic and the "Realtor Special".

You make a fraction of the money per call and are expected to scalp the customer for your real money. You're severely pressured into never condemning equipment. You get penalized if you're averages are high, meaning you spent their money. Your response time is expected to be godly.

The stress is unbelievable. Did I say I did that crap for seven years? On the plus side, I got a LOT of experience and saw every problem you could see. I was expected to take 10 calls a day, every day.

I actually made good money but it will ruin your faith in humanity. The customer isn't yours, and they are already pissed before you even get there! You are the enemy even though you are there to hopefully get them running again because you are seen as the insurance contractor. The home owner will remember your face and company and know you are the low-ball bidder who takes all the short cuts and doesn't put the customer first.

The warranty companies force the home owner to pay the "deductible" and then expects you to make your real money through "uncovered" items that their policy doesn't cover. If you milk it right, you can make a lot of money fast. Of course, you will have alienated you and your company from the community and you will be seen as a banker's or insurance contractor/lackey. My buddy who ran this business died very unexpectedly and I took my license and business and steered as far away from the warranty companies as I could.

You will also alienate your company from all the other local AC companies by catering to the vermin/vultures of the warranty companies. They are bad for quality control and will never have a happy customer.

They make the money and you take the heat. Just my 2 cents...

Anonymous
#1529204

AHS contractor’s are paid a minimal, flat-rate amount by AHS, which does not cover the cost of the tank, let alone labor, insurance, taxes, gas, overhead, or profit. The contractor has to absorb the costs and lose money even, (even buying the equipment in our case) in exchange for the opportunity to work.

The only way they can even break even is by charging the customer for non-covered items. More and more items are covered under the contract, but AHS leaves just a few “bones” uncovered for the contractor to find. Like an expansion tank for a water heater. It is a fact that they are now required by law, and not usually covered by AHS, so that is an opportunity to sell SOMETHING to the homeowner above cost.

That is the ONLY place where PROFIT comes into play. Most businesses exist for the chance to make a profit from the hard work and liability involved, not just for the joy of serving appreciative homeowners such as yourself.

The truth is that you can have whatever you want to pay for, as long as you pay for it yourself. If you go through an insurance company, you are at their mercy, which they will show none to either you or the contractor.

Anonymous
#1516749

Wow I'm going through exactly the same thing right now and finding out American Home Shield is a huge waste of money and should not even be allowed to be in business.Our water heater not only went down, but also leaked and caused our ceiling downstairs to fall. We've owned our home 2 months.

I think this qualifies as an emergency, but American Home Shield could care less. Anyone considering using American Home Shield should be aware of the following:1) They use the worst companies in your area. The first company they put the call out to didn't even show up, told AHS they weren't able to contact me but when I called they said I wasn't on the schedule . ??

The second company came out as scheduled, but the guy had a really *** attitude and mentioned they "weren't making any money off this" and nearly got into an argument with us over the repair. Look elsewhere if you think you will get any sort of customer service.2) Practically nothing is covered. Like the original poster, I have a textbook covered repair and yet the estimate I received from the company was $900 out of pocket to replace my hot water heater. What is the point of the policy?3) The cash out option is nothing more than a slap in the face that says, this is what you get for being stupid enough to spend $600 on an American Home Shield warranty.4) Emergencies don't matter.

We have now been without hot water for over a week, but AHS and their contractors are still dragging their feet. I've asked for a second opinion but have already been told not to expect that to be rescheduled for another day and the repair work will take at least a week after that.American Home Shield should be shut down for something akin to insurance fraud.

I will be filing a complaint with my state attorney general and the commissioner of insurance. Telling me the water heater is covered with a small deductible then asking me to pay said deductible plus $900 is fraud.

Anonymous
to Pissed in NC #1678226

How did it go With the strore y general? I have the same problem. Class action lawsuit?

Anonymous
#1511104

I have had a very similar experience with my hot water tank the past few days. I was told it would be $722 to "bring it up to code".

Only to find out that the information the plumber gave me was completely bogus, just an attempt to make some money off of me. I'm currently on hold trying to find out what my cash in lieu amount is. When I called they said it would be 30 minutes but if I left my name they would call back when it was my turn. That call was 18 minutes ago and I'm still on hold...horrible customer service.

You get the run around, you get transferred, hung up on, ripped off. This warranty has not proven to be beneficial to me one single time.

Anonymous
#1504191

Same thing happened to me last week. 625 to bring it up to code before they will replace water heater.

Now I know it's BS.

Had my own guy move the new water heater to a better location, put in a new breaker, and a larger tank for 1000. Still waiting for the "cash out" call because no one could transfer me

Anonymous
#1497984

I got the same BS today!! Ridiculous!

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