Help, My House Has A Nonexistent Warranty!

Adam and his wife have a question for the Consumerist hive mind. He says that the purchase of his house one year ago included a home warranty. Or, well, it was supposed to. When something went wrong, they tried to file a claim and learned that the agent who listed the house never mailed in the warranty paperwork.

My wife and I closed on our house Nov 7, 2008 and included in the purchase was a 1 year home warranty to be paid outside closing by the listing agent and it is reflected on the Settlement Statement. On Nov 6, 2009 the heat pump at our house stopped working and we brought in a company to look at it, they said the fan motor was dead and the system needed to be replace. They quoted us 6100 for the new system then we placed the order.

We realized that we had a warranty and could probably file a claim to recoup a portion of the new system. We looked for the warranty info and could not find it so we started calling our real estate agent to see if he had the info. It turns out the listing agent never bought the warranty. She says the check was written and either she or the office admin was supposed send the paperwork to the warranty company, but for some reason the check was never cashed and we never had the warranty that was included with the house.

So my problem is I know I have grounds for a breach of contract lawsuit, and I believe I should be entitled to the full amount of the new system as well as reimbursement for the days I had to take off from work during the week to meet with companies about estimates and also for the actual installation.

So what should I do, I have written an email that has not yet been sent to the listing agent and the Vice President of the branch she works for, but is it in my best interest to try to settle this myself or should a lawyer be involved?

Who knows how many people this has been done to in the past, but then again who is to say that it ever happened before and I am the exception to the rule. Should I file notice with the Better Business Bureau, the Maryland State Board of Realtors, etc…

I am not asking for free legal advice, I am really trying to find out if other people have had problems with this and what they did to solve them because so far the wonderful world of the internet has not provided me any answers from consumers on this type of topic.

Have you had a similar experience? Do you have any advice on how to proceed in this situation?

(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/annia316/ / CC BY 2.0)

Comments

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  1. zigziggityzoo says:

    Small claims court for the cost of warranty and cost of repairs. Anything else you can fit in the lawsuit (lost wages) while still remaining under the legal limit for a small claims case.

    That’s what I’d do.

    Small claims limits: [www.nolo.com]

    • eddieck says:

      @zigziggityzoo: Agreed. If the agent promised the warranty and ‘forgot’ to actually obtain a policy, then the agent is responsible for the repairs.

    • coren says:

      @zigziggityzoo: Unfortunately, the quoted cost won’t even fit under the cap for Small Claims in his state.

    • ninabi says:

      @zigziggityzoo:

      They need to read their contract. We ran into the same problem (defunct roof warranty came with the house, roof leaked, roofer out of business several years prior to our purchase) and our lawyer said it had to go to arbitration due to our contract.

      • mariospants says:

        @ninabi: I think the main problem is that they don’t have a contract or warranty. Just a receipt for same.

        • Shadowman615 says:

          @mariospants: From the article it seems to me the warranty was (supposed to be) purchased by the seller as a contingency for buying the house. In that case it would have specifically been included in the contract.

    • frodolives35 says:

      @zigziggityzoo: I love that link. Tn 25000 with no lawyer woohoo judge Judy here I come.

    • sonneillon says:

      @zigziggityzoo: To be fair some states regulate warranties and insurance and the those regulators may just hit the realtors bond, I have heard of it happening with insurance agents and insurance companies “forgetting” to file a persons insurance, but warrenty regulation varies wildly state to state, he may have to sue in big peoples court.

    • loueloui says:

      @zigziggityzoo:

      Agreed. This situation is tailor made for a lawsuit. Either brach of contract, or breach of fiduciary duty in my decidedly unprofessional opinion.

      I read about something like this once where someone bought insurance on their house, and the insurance agent ‘forgot’ to send in their premiums to the insurance company.

      When they tried to file a claim, the agent suggested they get in touch with the Mennonites to help them rebuild their home!

  2. henrygates says:

    I wonder how often this happens. Agent offers home warranty, includes it in the closing costs, pockets the premium instead.

    • outoftheblew says:

      @henrygates:

      That’s why you should make sure you’ve received something from the warranty company soon after closing. I don’t say this to chide the OP … I understand how these things get missed. But it is a cross-check to make sure what you’re suggesting doesn’t happen.

    • samurailynn says:

      @henrygates: There was a home warranty included when we purchased our home (it was advertised on the sign outside the house) but when we went to close, there was nothing about it in the contract paperwork. I asked about this, and the agents and everyone were kind of like “huh…. guess we forgot to put that in”. So, I wrote it in and then signed the paperwork. I did get information mailed from the warranty company, so I know they did actually send in the paperwork and pay the premium. We didn’t end up using it, but it seems like something that could easily be forgotten often.

    • Julia789 says:

      @henrygates: Oooooo an insurance agent screwed my family doing this!

      My father, years ago, purchased workman’s comp insurance for his small business through a reputable firm. The cost was $50K. The insurance agent typed up a fake insurance certificate and a fake letter from the insurance company stating the new policy was in effect. The insurance agent pocketed the $50K for himself, spent it, and hoped no worker would file a workman’s comp claim. (Stupid, it was a line of work with a history of injuries due to physical nature of the business, welding, installations, etc.)

      Well don’t you know, a few months later a worker was injured. He tried to file workman’s comp insurance claim and surprise – no policy existed. The injured worker sued my father. My father sued the insurance company whose agent deceived him and stole his money. The agent moved all his assets to his wife’s name and had his uncle, a well liked state politician, pull strings so he could keep his insurance license.

      Our family lost thousands upon thousands in legal fees in a case that went on appeals for several years, and paying medical bills for the injured employee, in a case that went all the way to the State supreme court. The supreme court sided partially with the insurance company, stating they only had to reimburse my father for the $50K their agent stole, but that they were not liable to cover the workman’s comp claim of the injured employee.

      That insurance agent is still selling insurance to this day. It’s amazing what political connections will do. The agent claimed he cashed the check and spent the money “by accident” and “forgot to file the paperwork to start the policy.” Funny how he didn’t “forget” to fake the certificate and letter prior to spending the $50K.

      • qwerty001984 says:

        @Julia789:
        Please tell the use name and company for this insurance agent.

        • Julia789 says:

          @qwerty001984: Cahill was the name, he *was* an agent for Ohio Casualty. In fairness to Ohio Casualty Insurance, the guy scammed them just as bad as he scammed us. I don’t think he’ll ever represent them again. I think he is self employed as some kind of independent insurance broker now.

          I sincerely hope the guy at least feels like shit over what he did. He literally gave my father a heart attack when this happened, the stress of losing all that money, paying all those legal fees, and years of court appearances almost killed him. My father died last year of diabetic complications, but I swear the years of stress over all this took years off his life.

          • AD8BC says:

            @Julia789: As a Cahill, I apologize for the actions of the other Cahill, even though I don’t know who he is. But I feel bad.

            • Julia789 says:

              @AD8BC: Well thank you! ;-)

              I also have a very common last name. There have been plenty of infamous bad things done in my family name. I’m sure there are a lot of Cahill insurance agents out there who are unassociated with the one that scammed us.

  3. laserjobs says:

    Try to negotiate with the realitter and their broker first. If that is unsuccessful then read your paperwork with the realitter and see if you need to go arbitration or if you can file in court. Any broker worth their salt will promptly make it right to keep their reputation. Best of luck.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @laserjobs: Realtor, okay? I know people sometimes (for whatever reason) pronounce it “real it tor” but that’s not it at all.

      • RogerTheAlien says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Hahaha. I was hoping, Hoping, HOPING that was some sort of tongue-in-cheek comment on realtors. But, I think I may have been reaching on that one. Ahhh, a boy can dream, though.

  4. headhot says:

    I’m totally convinced that all you need a pulse and a total lack of morals to be a real estate agent. In face a IQ may be in hindrance in that field.

  5. chgoeditor says:

    Try to negotiate with the real estate agent before filing suit. Small claims court isn’t an option because the limit in Maryland is $5K. But don’t plan on getting reimbursed for your time…warranties cover repair and replacement, not the owner’s time. If you make that request–and hold out for it–you’ll probably only waste time and money on an issue that you’ll ultimately lose.

    • Megalomania says:

      @chgoeditor: The reimbursement for time has nothing to do with what’s in the warranty – it’s with the breach of contract by the real estate agent.

  6. savdavid says:

    You would think a huge investment a YEAR ago would have given you plenty of incentive and time to make sure your purchase included everything.

  7. subsider34 says:

    I believe this actually constitutes fraud. Especially if you paid extra for the warranty, as that would mean that the realtor kept all the money for themselves.

  8. jan_itor says:

    Even if you had the home warranty, you might be SOL anyway.

    I’ve had a water heater, refrigerator, and dishwasher all replaced, and have also had several miscellaneous issues handled, all by 3 different home warranty companies. In my experience, the process is always the same.

    With most home warranty companies, you have to contact them FIRST with your issue. Then they’ll send someone from one of their “approved” companies to inspect the issue and do whatever needs to be done. You pay a service fee of $50-150 (depending on your plan), and they handle the rest. BUT, you have to do EVERYTHING through them.

    If they determine your existing unit can’t be repaired, the home warranty company will chose the make and model of the replacement unit as well, and the warranty usually stipulates that it has to be of comparable quality/features to what you had before. No partial credit towards “upgrades”.

    Keep in mind, home warranties are not insurance companies, and most of them do not accept claims for reimbursement.

    I’m sure you could file suit against them for breach of contract, but you are only “entitled” to what would have been covered under your warranty, and nothing more. Plead that case, and I’m sure any respectable company would be willing to help you out.

    But if you get greedy and ask for lost wages (never covered under any home warranty) and full replacement costs on a replacement system that you may not have received from the warranty company, I imagine their response would be “see you in court.”

    Welcome to home ownership.

    • rpm773 says:

      @jan_itor: Our realtor thew a warranty on, and I agree with your description of the warranty after deciding not to renew ours after the 1 year.

      Their value is that they’re a one-stop shop for all services, but that has its bad aspects. I decided it was worth more to me to find and build relationships with local tradesman who could address each of my house’s systems, as opposed to paying a middleman in bring someone in I didn’t know from out of the area (who probably paid the warranty company to be listed as an option).

      Plus, our contract I think had a max claim dollar amount per annum of $1500. That’s not going to cover much in a house of the age of ours if anything serious were to happen.

      • soundreasoning says:

        @rpm773: I’ll say the above description is important and I agree that trying to negotiate with company that said they would obtain and pay for a warranty first before involving a lawyer is the way to go.

        What I’ll also say is that while the warranty that might have existed would likely have included the kind of provisions stated above, the truth is you did not in fact receive a warranty at all. As such you had no notice regarding the proper procedure for making a repair under the warranty. As such any argument that you would have to follow the above procedure is moot, as there was no procedure that you knew of to be followed, and in fact no procedure in actuality to be followed because no warranty policy was in existence. As far as you know you could have obtained a warranty that would not have the above procedures included in its terms. So making you follow the terms of a speculative warranty is not proper. Good luck.

        • rpm773 says:

          @soundreasoning: FYI,I’m not the OP (it may not have been clear).

          And I’m inclined to agree with what you wrote..that the heat pump, the $6100, and the lost work time are outside of the scope of the OP’s claim against his realtor.

          What I said is that, through my experiences, I don’t see a lot of value in home warranties.

  9. jaya9581 says:

    Who doesn’t follow up on something as important as a home warranty? If it was important enough to make sure you got it, it should have been important enough to follow up on. Lesson learned for next time, I hope.

    Anyway, before you get lawsuit happy, send a letter to the listing agent including a copy of the bill and requesting reimbursement in full, less any deductible your warranty would have had. Explain how you arrived at that figure. Explain that, should they fail to pay within X amount of days, you will file a lawsuit. You may be able to skip small claims and go to a higher court without a lawyer for the full amount they owe, if they do not pay; the clerks at the court house should be able to help you with that info.

    • friendlynerd says:

      @jaya9581: what does that even mean, “follow up?” As in “make sure you actually have a home warranty that was to be included in the purchase price of the house?”

      Please stop being ridiculous.

  10. lpranal says:

    I would definitely contact the ethics board of your local realtor’s association, in addition to whatever other action (small claims, etc.) They’re there for this kind of stuff. Obviously, give the broker a chance to make things right first, but if you sound like you know what you’re talking about (maybe mention that you wanted to talk to the broker first before going to the ethics board.)

    The broker can get in a lot of trouble for this kind of thing, as it is serious misrepresentation and they can get sued.

  11. Jimbo says:

    Also check with the head broker at the Realtor’s office where they work, as most Real Estate Offices require any Realtor working under their name to have Errors and Omissions Insurance which covers any problems with the contract and you probably have a legitimate claim for the Realtors failure to follow through with their part of the deal. Also threaten the broker with a lawsuit as their name is on the line with the state for any deals they oversee so can can also be held liable.

    • stein5830 says:

      @Jocko_OC:
      Most businesses, reputable ones will carry E&O insurance. This is errors and omissions insurance. When I was working as a public insurance adjuster I came a a similar situation except that the home was nearly destroyed by a hurricane and the agent never sent the correct papers in and the home had no insurance. After talking to the agent they referred us to their business line insurance writer for their E&O policy and the homeowner was given enough to repair the home and bring it up to date with its insurance policy. So long as the business is a legit and above board they should have a policy with a minimum annual maximum of $1 Million, which should cover just about all your damages. If the reps who answer the phone play hardball the only other option may be to get an attorney involved to that their attorney will be able to get the proper documents, or offer a settlement.

  12. Pandare says:

    I’d ask for a consultation with a lawyer type person, if only to make sure that you don’t waste your time. The breach claim is good if you paid them already and they failed to pay the warranty company. The recovery for the heater isn’t a breach of contract, however, since there was no contract formed. In fact, it’s fairly likely that you have to eat the costs of the heater and your time, since you only suffered economic damage (paying more than you wanted for the heater), which is generally not recoverable when someone is merely negligent in failing to send in a warranty form.

    But again, I’d talk to a real lawyer type person, if only to know for cheap what you can recover for.

    IAALS, and as such, this is not legal advice, but seriously, call a real lawyer and get some.

  13. trixrabbit says:

    wait, wait, wait. fan motor dead? $6100. i will come over and replace it for you for free. ok, ok, you have to buy me a 6-pack of beer. sheesh, the fan assembly, start and/or run capacitors should be under $150.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      @trixrabbit: Must be some fan motor… I was thinking the same thing myself.

      • apd09 says:

        @Verucalise(countingcalories): I am the OP, and you are a bit out of touch with heat pump systems. The thing was 10+ years old and even if I replaced the fan motor for 1500 or so it most likely was going to die soon because it was pulling about 13 amps and should have only been running at 8 or so.
        With the new energy star systems you cannot just buy a new outdoor fan you have to replace the entire system, that is outdoor equipment and indoor equipment.

        If you do not have the entire story then stick to commenting on what is written.

        • Sudonum says:

          @apd09:
          Lets talk about heat pumps, like a standard A/C system they have 2 main components, the evaporator and the condenser. One is in you attic (or maybe hall closet or something) the other one is in your yard right next to you house.

          In the post you stated:
          “they said the fan motor was dead and the system needed to be replace”
          Each of those components has a fan motor, your post didn’t specify which fan motor was bad. Based on your comment in this thread (“you cannot just buy a new outdoor fan”) I assume that you were referring to the fan in your condensing unit. In fact you can buy a fan for this unit, depending on availability of course,
          However, also based on your comments in this thread, you weren’t considering replacing the just the fan, you decided to replace entire condensing unit (I won’t go into how you can replace just the condensing unit, as long as the SEER rating is the same as the evaporator) that was not clear in your original post.

          My point is that if you want people to stick to commenting on what is written, you need to do a better job of writing it. I’m sure many posters assumed that you were referring to simply replacing a fan motor, and not replacing your condensing unit.
          [en.wikipedia.org]

        • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

          @apd09:

          The warranty company would have paid to replace the fan motor, not the whole system.

    • Bob Lu says:

      @trixrabbit: but the 6100 is for replacing the whole system. although I really don’t understand why a dead motor will justify replacing the whole system. Either OP was con’d by the mechanic or OP was trying to take advantage of his (nonexistent) house warranty. However, as many reader pointed out, the house warrenty doesn’t work this way. so even if he had the warrenty, he is unlikely to get money for it.

  14. H3ion says:

    I would first contact the realtor and make a claim and tell them that you will be filing a complaint with the State Board of Realtors if you don’t get some relief. I think that most realtors are concerned enough about their reputation to probably do something.

    If you don’t get any satisfaction directly from the realtor, by all means file the complaint but don’t expect anything to happen. This isn’t some evil person trying to screw customers as much as a paper screwup which happens. Unfortunately, there’s no check on this as there would be on something that was important to the lender or which gets recorded.

    I think Pandare is right. This is something where you are better served by using a lawyer than trying to do it yourself. You could sue the realtor for breach of contract, certainly, or for the tort of negligence which allows for punitive damages (which are unlikely here).

    As to damages, you might recover what you would have recovered for your heater. Recovery for your time lost is pretty unlikely. Also, check the timing. If the warranty would have been a one year warranty and the heater failed after one year from when the warranty would have been bought if everything went the way it was supposed to, you may be out of luck anyway.

    I am a lawyer who doesn’t do this kind of work and please don’t consider this legal advice, but it would really make sense to contact a flesh and blood lawyer. (Yes, Trai Dep, lawyers have flesh and blood.)

  15. Allen says:

    Do not try to do anything beyond what you have already done on your own without a lawyer. Any communication, no matter how trivial, can be used if this should end up in court.

    Have your attorney first write them a 30 day demand letter to them (both the agent and the agency). If they do not respond to that, take them to court and seek lawyer fees as part of the remediation; something you cannot request in the small claims courts of most states.

  16. Diningbadger says:

    The real estate agency or the closing agent have a fiduciary responsibility to see to it that the money was deposited, cashed and a receipt given to the property owner. The responsibility is upon them if they took the responsibility in the first place.

    You should go after the real estate agency’s and agent’s license and go before the board of local realtor’s with your claim to seek restitution.

    You need to give the “body” of realtor’s the importunity to function before going crazy over this.

  17. SlyBevel says:

    You’re not missing much.

    We just bought a home in August, and three times already, we’ve tried to make use of the home warranty that got wrapped into the deal.

    Our agent (who is a person we’ve used before, and we trust) said that it’s one of the better warranties out there, and she even ponied up ~$50 extra for the next-better one available from the same folks.

    As I said, we’ve tried to make use of the thing three different times since we bought the house, and each time, the home warranty people have managed to label our issue as non-covered. Fat lot of good they are.

  18. FunnyAboutMoney says:

    Do you have any evidence in your paperwork from the purchase of the house showing that you were supposed to get a warranty, and when exactly its start date was? A J.P. or a judge will want to see a contract describing the promised warranty.

    The company mails you a package with a contract, a brochure explaining how to make a claim, and some glossy advertising. If you didn’t get anything from the warranty company, possibly you should have inquired early on?

    In my experience, warranty companies do everything they can to avoid replacing expensive equipment, and when they’re forced to replace something, they provide low-end products, even when the original was top-of-the-line. Normally they will repair it and try to keep it running until your warranty expires. If the fan motor went out and no other damage occurred, the warranty would cover repair of the fan motor — by the warranty company’s selected contractor, not by the homeowner’s choice of craftsmen. It wouldn’t cover the cost of replacing a heat pump that could be fixed.

    It sounds like you’re probably entitled to have the Realtor buy you a year’s warranty, starting forthwith, if you can prove that a warranty was sold to you when you bought the house. And that’s about it.

    Sixty-one hundred dollars seems a little high for a replacement heat pump, BTW, unless your house is pretty large. I paid a little over $3,000 for a mid-range unit about a year ago.

  19. christoj879 says:

    A warranty was included with the purchase of our home. I decided to check reviews of the company (AHS) and saw a long line of similar complaints:

    1) The contractor is concerned first with getting their $50-75 before they even walk in the door.
    2) The contractor words the problem to AHS in such a way that they will immediately deny the claim, in order for them to
    3) Tell the homeowner it was declined but they’ll do it for them for $xxx cash price.

    The reason for this is that AHS pays way below market rates, so in addition to attracting the lowest-grade contractors the contractors themselves have found out how to screw over the homeowner.

    To their credit, it was easy to get them to send me a refund check.

  20. evilpete says:

    Get a lawyer, since they will have one.

  21. allstarecho says:

    Try and settle it with the realty company. Ask them to cover the costs of replacing the heat pump. If they won’t, take ‘em to court for the costs of replacing the heat pump, costs of missed wages from work and costs to purchase a new warranty.

  22. dkmurphys88 says:

    i do a lot of work for a homewarranty company. i perform plumbing and hvac work. if you do seek a law suit one thing to remember. the home warranty will install a like product as to what you have. meaning if you have 80% or less furnace you will get a 80% furnace if you have 90% you will get 90. you also have costs out of your pocket even with a warranty . plus the warranty company would usually only change the blower motor not the furnace. and that price of 6100 is extreamly high unless your installing a 96% furnace

  23. ZoeSchizzel says:

    I love how the lawyers say “Hire a lawyer.”

    The truth is MOST business professionals (and that includes most realtors) are decent people. They do make mistakes, but generally, they try to make up for those mistakes when they happen especially if they are approached by clients with a reasonable request for compensation and are given the opportunity to make it right. Why involve lawyers, the courts, and make nasty demands before you’ve even given the realtor and her company the chance to fix it? Just because a mistake was made, doesn’t mean it’s fraud. Mistakes happen and there’s no reason to get all cranked up about it, especially since the warranty period would have been over by now and so you will not be out any additional “under warranty” expenses.

    I’d make an appointment with the realtor and the head of the agency and work it out. Don’t get douchy and ask for things you wouldn’t have gotten if there had been an actual warranty. Your initial goal with the warranty was to “recoup a PORTION of the new system.” Figure out what portion the warranty would have covered, and ask the agency to cover that amount.

    If they circle the wagons, then you can file in small claims court, and make a complaint with their board of realtors. There won’t be any need to hire a lawyer, particularly since the amount (the amount of the repair that would have been paid out under the warranty) you’re likely to recover will be small.

    • ittybittykitty says:

      @ZoeSchizzel: This is very reasonable. I wonder if the op has even asked them what they are willing to do to help him out. What the listing agent should do is pay for “another” year of home warranty service to make up for the year that was not covered. But either way, if the op really had the warranty coverage he probably would have been out of luck. The home warranties have very specific rules. You have to contact them BEFORE you have anyone come out to look at your problem. Then they give you a list of contractors they work with. You have to pay a copay just to have them look at your problem. If you want one of your own contractors, you have to send the warranty company the estimate. Then you run the chance of your problem not even being covered. That is the reason we didn’t renew our home warranty after our free year ran out when we purchased our home a few years ago. It was better just to save the money in case we needed to fix something in our house. We had a guy come look at the ac and had to pay $75 just for him to say that our coils were dirty and that was not covered. We could’ve just had any ac company come look at it and give us a FREE estimate. Also the warranty company would have never reimbursed us for the time we took off work to meet with the contractors. That is just not heard of!

    • feckingmorons says:

      @ZoeSchizzel: So hiring a lawyer to represent you is somehow dishonest or unethical?

      He called the real estate agent (Realtor is a trade name and thus there is also a copyright on using the term. Also a Board of Realtors is a trade group, not a governmental body. Maryland has a Real Estate Commission, that licenses and disciplines real estate agents and brokers.)

      Maryland also has a guaranty fund that upon which a party to a real estate transaction may make a claim if their was some irregularity in the transcation with a licensee.

      It is lawyers who know these kinds of things, but if you want to complain to a trade group representing real estate agents, be my guest. Although bear in mind they are on the agent’s side as the agents fund them.

  24. james says:

    The realtor firm ius sure to have errors and omissions insurance. You need to make it clear to them that they will be paying you to make you completely whole, starting with a brand-spanking new heat-pump right now, and then the policy you were told was yours at closing.

    Don’t bother with small claims, write them a letter today saying that they will pay the claim out of pocket, and file their own claim with their errors and omissions insurance, or they will also be paying the legal fees you run up to extract the money from their pockets in district court (real court, not small claims court).

    Yes, fraud can be shouted here, as one could always claim that their excuses are self-serving BS, but
    such claims are best thrown around by an actual lawyer.

  25. RalphyNader says:

    Why was this not included in closing? And why was the listing agent, not your buying agent, the one in charge of sending in premium for your warranty?

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @RalphyNader: I think that in most cases, the home warranty is paid by the seller either as an enticement to the buyer, or on demand of the buyer in the offer. Both times I’ve sold a house I’ve paid the warranty… the first was from a request in the offer, the second was offered as a “feature” in the listing.

  26. lacubsfan says:

    Lawyer up…. get the lawyer with the “jew”iest last name :)

    **No that is not racist… I’m Jewish*

  27. FlyersFan says:

    First of all if it was paid outside of closing it wouldnt be on the settlement sheet. In PA and NJ if the seller is providing the warranty the listing agent calls the warranty company to put coverage on the house and a confirmation number is given. No money is ever handed over to the warranty company before settlement, it always gets paid at settlement.

    The buyer probably was handed paperwork with the warranty info, a confirmation number and a number to call to activate the buyer’s side of the home coverage. My guess is the buyer just threw the paperwork in with all the other paperwork and did not bother to call to activate the warranty. Its not the agents job to activate your warranty, its your responsibility!!!

    Of course if you didnt receive any paperwork at settlement then you have a good reason to be pissed but waiting a year to do anything about making sure you have it was dumb on your part.

  28. feckingmorons says:

    Six grand, just sue her. I would also file a complaint with the real estate agent licensing board in your state. They may also have information about her surety bond against which you might make a claim.

    If you had a real estate lawywer, use that person to help with this. If you did not, you should have.

  29. webweazel says:

    I was looking into new heat pump systems recently while helping out a friend comparison shop. PLEASE do some research on the net first for systems. You’ll spend MUCH MUCH less than that. Most places will have it delivered right to your door by truck, then you just have to hire a guy to install it.

  30. CSchnack says:

    You could end up having more legal leverage without the warranty. Most home warranty policies exclude coverage for nearly everything, plus contain an arbitration clause that takes away your right to sue over denied claims. Disputes over claim denials are instead taken to arbitration, with an arbitration firm the warranty co no doubt has an ongoing relationship with…an obvious potential for bias. There is more about home warranties and arbitration on hadd.com a consumer advocacy site, and also Public Citizen has done two reports now on arbitration abuses in housing/warranties. The latest one was called Home Court Advantage and is on fairarbitrationnow.org as well as citizen.org. At least with there being no warranty in place, you might have some legal recourse against the folks that told you a “warranty” was included. Good luck.

  31. wrjohnston91283 says:

    @Cant_stop_the_rock:

    When did subsider34 say it was a mistake?

  32. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    @wrjohnston91283:

    RTFA. The realtor says it was a mistake, which is believable. If that is true, it would not be fraud. For it to be fraud you would have to prove it was intentional, which we cannot do with the information we have. Thus it is not accurate to say “this actually constitutes fraud.” It would be accurate to say “this could be fraud if you can prove it was intentional.”

  33. tsukiotoshi says:

    @H3ion: How is it effectively the small claims court? The District Court website says specifically it has to be under $5,000 to qualify for small claims. The District Court does, however, have concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit courts for claims under $30,000. If you are asking for that much money you should probably have an attorney, which is one of the major differences between small claims and otherwise.

    In any case to the original OP, I would probably recommend you consult an attorney about your options in this kind of situation. Real estate or contract attorneys will have a pretty good handle on the law in Maryland for these kind of contracts. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I will point out I’m a law student so I am perhaps biased on this.

  34. soundreasoning says:

    @Cant_stop_the_rock: People on this site believe every wrong is fraud. Its hard to get them to believe otherwise. Good luck. And to clarify the above, even if they paid for it, and even if the realtor (broker) cashed the check, you still need to prove they intended to take the money and give nothing in exchange, otherwise its a mistake, the mistake could be (and probably is) a breach, but not necessarily a fraud.

  35. nbs2 says:

    @samurailynn: Likely not. With our warranty, when we had an issue it was assigned to one particular company. They made an appointment, came in, and took care of it. There was no negotiating, etc. Any replacement would have been for the equivalent or similar.

    Here, they were responsible for investigating and determining who would do the work and negotiating what served their budget and interests. None of that would have happened had the agent been on the ball.

  36. cmdrsass says:

    @Trai_Dep: probably

  37. LucindaJobnick says:

    @Deranged_Kitsune: Boards of Realtors exist for one reason: To defend Realtors. Sadly.

  38. greggen says:

    @soundreasoning: sure the realtor might not have commited fraud, but the OP was defrauded by the actions.
    By all means, file a big boy lawsuit and put all the realtor’s past actions under the mocroscope and see if this ‘honest mistake’ ever happened again. Infact, check everyone at the realtor’s company, to see if their company is mistake-prone…