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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.

Review about: American Home Shield Homeowners Policy Claim.

Reason of review: Warranty issue.

Monetary Loss: $800.

Preferred solution: Full refund.

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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 shitty 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
#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!

Anonymous
#1485722

Going through the same thing, telling me they have to replace and bring "up to code" and nothing is covered because of excessive water pressure. The water heater is 18 years old.

Give me a break!! I will be cancelling this warranty that pays for nothing.

Anonymous
#1476752

Hrmmmmm.... so I gotta think that this is a standard template that they use when replacing water heaters.

My associate went as far as detailing the modifications needed to bring my water heater "up to code" Called another plumber who said half of the items were B.S.

and some were redundant. Giving up my AHS membership at the end of the month.

Anonymous
#1470911

My story is identical and I am still waiting and my words are Army words!

Anonymous
#1453997

We are going through the exact same B.S. now.

Our story is spookily the same as yours.

Second Opinion Plumber INC. in Las Vegas is the offending party here along with their ally AHS(Always Harassing Someone)

Anonymous
to Anonymous #1503628

Same load of crap here. With mine, we have hot water but the blower motor is starting to shut down which, in turn, makes the whole water heater turn off.

Make an appointment with AHS - their AC & Plumbing contractor show up and tells me that the blower motor is going but they will still need to replace the whole water heater - I ask how much that will cost out of pocket and he states AHS will cover the cost of the gas water heater and labor but they still have to “bring everything up to code” which will cost $900 out of pocket. I can basically get the same 50 gallon gas water heater with blower motor for $900. There is no way it costs another $900 to bring things up to code plus the labor that AHS supposedly covers.

I am beginning to think this is a sham. I will see what AHS comes back with as far as the total out of pocket costs but this may just be the signal that this home warranty from AHS is not worth it at $600+ a year.

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