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.