The cops are investigating a scammy “home warranty” company that was operating out of New Jersey until they abruptly closed up shop and fled the state, says the Star-Ledger.
United Home Warranty, which has disconnected its phones, taken down its Web site and left no forwarding address, has vanished, leaving an unknown number of policyholders holding worthless home warranties, authorities said.
Efforts to reach officials with the company failed. One executive, identified by law enforcement officials, hung up when reached by phone.
Mike Utley, a homeowner in Dublin, Ohio, said he came across United Home Warranty over the internet. But soon after buying two separate one-year home warranties last year, he could not reach the company.
“United Home Warranty contracted with me for two years of service and then rejected my first service request for a faulty freezer,” he said. “I called and sent e-mails requesting service and got no response.”
In April, he wrote a letter to the head of customer service whose name appeared on his contract, “Mr. Kyle Matthews,” but the letter was returned unopened, five months later.
Home warranties are not always scams, but the industry is largely unregulated and can be attractive to scam artists. Police are looking for these scammers, and believe they may have moved into New York:
“The phone numbers the BBB had for this company are disconnected, and directory assistance does not have a listing for this company,” the website said. “The BBB’s mail to this company has been returned as undeliverable.”
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs said it has received a number of complaints from consumers about United Home Warranty and has determined the company is now operating out of New York City under a new name — National Home Protection, according to spokesman Jeff Lamb. Complaints are now referred to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, he said.
Department of State records in New York list United Home Warranty’s address as 42 W. 38th St., Suite 800, New York. Corporate records show the business is licensed to David Seruya, an Oakhurst resident.
National Home Protection also lists its address as 42 W. 38th St., Suite 800. Records show that both businesses are licensed to David Seruya.
Reached on his cell phone, Seruya refused to answer questions about the companies and abruptly hung up the phone. He also deleted his Facebook account, which featured pictures of himself and his bikini-clad wife after The Star-Ledger sent him e-mails through the website asking him about the home warranty businesses.
“We know (David Seruya) exists, and we know he is connected to these businesses,” said Lt. Steven Peters of the Ocean Township Police Criminal Investigation Bureau.
Peters has been investigating United Home Warranty since September after the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center alerted local police about complaints lodged against company.
Oh, no. You know things are getting rough when you have to delete pictures of your bikini-clad wife from your Facebook page.