FLORIDA — Home warranty companies claim they’ll repair or replace appliances and cover other major household repairs when something goes wrong. But one Florida couple spent the hottest month on record fighting for AC repairs are they were told the damage wasn’t covered.
Retiree Jose Mesa pays $50 a month for his home warranty and peace of mind. According to Mesa’s contract, all parts and components of his permanently installed AC unit are covered by American Home Shield up to $5,000 for repairs.
But when the Mesa’s air conditioning died in July, the hottest month on record, the temperature soared to 100 degrees inside the retired couple’s mobile home.
AHS sent out a tech two days later, and the AC ran for another four hours before a fan blade broke and shut the system down a second time, Mesa told ABC Action News.
“I contacted the warranty people. They sent a second company in for a second opinion,” he said.
That’s when it got ugly, Mesa said. He said AHS denied the claim because an outside force caused the damage, a cause that’s not covered. It left the couple, who didn’t have money to pay for repairs, to suffer.
“There are no words to explain it. You have to live it,” Mesa said.
Kevin Brasler with Consumer’s Checkbook, a nonprofit that rates and reviews consumer services, said he’s received thousands of complaints about problem warranties over the last 20 years.
“These plans that promise to make sure you don’t have big, expensive repair bills every year. Well, no,” he said. “There’s a lot of exclusions built into these plans.”
Homeowners like the Mesas have no say in who the warranty company sends out for repairs. Brasler told ABC Action News that if the contractor doesn’t fix the problem, makes the problem worse or damages something else in your home, “the home warranty company says well, that’s not our problem.”
After Mesa emailed his story to ABC Action News, we contacted AHS and asked them to review his claim. Two days later, the company called the couple and agreed to cover the repairs. They also refunded $125 for service calls. Days later, a tech came out and made repairs.
AHS told ABC Action News in a statement.
We take great pride in providing quality service and valuable protection to our customers. If we fail to meet these expectations, we work to do the right thing and ensure the situation is properly resolved.
We sincerely apologize for the delay and frustration this situation has caused Mr. Mesa. Our customer care team worked closely with Mr. Mesa and confirmed the part has been ordered with a scheduled installation date. As a gesture of goodwill, we reimbursed his service fee and offered alternative cooling, which he declined. Our team will follow up with Mr. Mesa after the repair to ensure his unit is working properly.
We deeply value our relationship with Mr. Mesa and look forward to serving him in the future.
Another option for homeowners would be to set aside money equal to a monthly warranty payment and use that money for repairs instead of a warranty. That way there’s no risk of your claim being denied.