American Home Shield Technician Likewise Unaware Of How He Stay In Business

According to the customer’s blog, the following is an actual conversation he had with the American Home Shield (AHS) technician responsible for denying his warranty repair claim. People buy extra warranties from AHS to insure against the costs of various home repairs.

HIM: “We don’t have your compressor.”
ME: “You guaranteed that you would have it today. You told me that you could call the supplier and have them hold it for you. What happened?”
HIM: “I don’t know. We don’t have your compressor.”
ME: “What about your guarantee? Did they sell the compressor between 3:30 yesterday and 10:30 today?”
HIM: “I guess so.”
ME: “How is that possible? You said that you guaranteed it would be installed today. Are you telling me that your guarantee is worthless?”
HIM: “I guess so.”
ME: “Do you routinely do this to your customers? Promise them something and then fail to deliver it?”
HIM: “I guess so.”
ME: “How are you still in business?”
HIM: “I don’t know.”

His complaint letter to the company follows…

Patrick V
[redacted]
Chesapeake, VA 23323
757.[redacted]

American Home Shield
Attn: Claims Department
P.O. Box 849
Carroll, IA 51401

RE: Contract # [redacted] / Dispatch # [redacted]

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is in reference to the warranty claim denial of July 9th, 2007 for contract #27240005. My claim for the repair of the air conditioning unit was denied because the technician from Interstate Building & Mechanical Corporation erroneously believed the unit had not been properly maintained. The IB&M technician opined that grass clippings and dirt got into the compressor and caused it to “burn out”.

After a series of unsuccessful attempts to arrange for IB&M to repair the unit, I contacted another provider, Lloyd’s Electric, who determined that the compressor was, in fact, operational and that the motor fan had simply worn out. The Lloyd’s Electric technician also advised that compressors cannot burn out in the way suggested by IB&M as the device is a “closed system” without openings or any way for debris to get inside.

In addition to the incompetence of the IB&M technician, this situation was exacerbated by the unprofessional conduct of the AHS claims representative. Not only did this individual neglect to entertain questions or offer an explanation for declining the claim, he went on a tirade against a customer. These factors combined to unnecessarily delay repairs for more than a week. The specific details of what transpired from the time I requested service around 8:00 AM on July 6th until the air conditioning was restored (by Lloyd’s Electric) about 11:30 AM on July 13th are outlined in the enclosed narrative.

Inasmuch as the air conditioning unit was repaired by changing out the fan without the need to replace the compressor, it is undisputed that the IB&M technician misdiagnosed the problem. The worn out motor fan is clearly a covered item under our warranty and, as such, I respectfully request reimbursement for the enclosed invoice ($452.00) from Lloyd’s Electric and a refund of the service call fee ($55.00) paid to IB&M. As outlined in the aforementioned narrative, I did everything I could to mitigate my damages (e.g., stayed home two nights, lived with my in-laws, etc.), but still incurred out-of-pocket expenses ($217.34), which are likewise documented. Please note that I work from home and as such, the gasoline charges are not an expense I would have otherwise incurred.

I look forward to an amicable and timely resolution of my claim. Please do not hesitate to contact me via telephone or by email at patrick.veverka@gmail.com in the event you have any questions. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

Very truly yours,

Patrick Veverka

Expenses

Lloyd’s Electric HVAC Repair $452.00
Interstate Mechanical Service Fee $55.00
Great Bridge Vet Animal Boarding $55.20
Food $65.93
Gasoline $96.21

Total $724.34

Narrative

On Friday, July 6, 2007, we woke up to find that our air conditioning had stopped working. I contacted American Home Shield and put in a request for service that was acknowledged at 8:40am. As the weather forecast was calling for 95+ degree temperatures (with heat indices well over 105 degrees), I requested that we be given some sort of priority or emergency status because we have a baby in the house who should not be exposed to those temperatures. I was informed that the temperatures forecasted were not high enough to qualify as emergency levels. There was no response to my inquiry as to what temperature did constitute an emergency.

After receiving the email confirmation of my service request, I contacted the assigned contractor, Interstate Building & Mechanical, via telephone in an attempt to get the unit fixed before the weekend. Unfortunately, they were unable to schedule repairs on Friday and indicated we would have to wait until Monday. We spent the daytime hours out of the house over the weekend, but did return after sundown and slept through the 75 degree nights.

On Monday, July 9th, my wife and son left to avoid the heat and I stayed behind to wait for the IB&M technician, who confirmed an appointment time between 12pm and 4pm. The IB&M representative (William) arrived at 3pm. I explained to William that the unit is humming, but the fan will not spin. He inspected the unit for about 20 seconds and then went to his truck to make a 5 minute phone call, during which I presume he was conveying his opinion as to the problem to someone else.

William came back to me and stated “the compressor burned out because there were grass clippings and dirt in the compressor.” Since I know nothing about air conditioning, I accepted William’s expert opinion and agreed to replace the compressor. He then informed me that Interstate does not order compressors as that is the responsibility of AHS. He said that once the compressor was received, he would return at a later date to install it.

William then tells me that I need to sign the necessary paperwork and that he will call AHS on his drive back to let them know the situation. He tells me that he hopefully can come back the next day to install the compressor. William seemed as if he could not get out of the house quick enough, which I initially attributed to the unbearable temperature.

About five minutes later, a AHS claims representative called and without the courtesy of identifying himself, initiated the conversation with a most adversarial and combative attitude. He stated “there is no way that AHS will pay for the repairs because it is a maintenance issue, not a wear and tear issue.” He then cites five different subsections of my warranty before I even get to speak and he is practically yelling at me the entire time. I remained calm throughout the discussion despite the fact the AHS representative was neither receptive nor responsive to my questions.

I am not the first owner of this property and have no idea as to idea what, if any, prior maintenance was performed on the unit. I understood AHS will not pay for this repair because the IB&M technician decided that it is a maintenance issue. The claims representative then informed me that AHS is specifically excluding the unit until I send them a letter from a repair person confirming the unit is operational. Since I am in the process of selling my home and maintaining a paper trail, I asked the claims representative to confirm everything in a letter or email and he refuses. He offered no explanation for his refusal, ignored my renewed request for documentation, said there was nothing else to discuss and then abruptly ended the call.

I immediately called William and he informed me that he was already enroute to his next job and that the earliest they could return and install the compressor is Wednesday, July 11th. Although this is not ideal, I agreed and confirmed with William that the new appointment is 12pm-4pm on the 11th. My wife, my 13 month old son and I head to the in-laws.

On Wednesday, I left the in-laws and drove 45-60 minutes back to my house. I waited from 12pm-3pm and began getting dizzy from the heat. I called the IB&M technician and we had the following conversation:

ME: “So, you guys still coming out before 4pm?”
WILLIAM: “I meant to call you. We couldn’t get your compressor. They don’t have any.”
ME: “When did you find this out?”
WILLIAM: “This morning.”
ME: “Why didn’t you call me this morning about this so I wouldn’t have had to come over from my in-laws?”
WILLIAM: “I forgot.”
ME: “When can we get a compressor in?”
WILLIAM: “I can’t get one in.”
ME: “You never can get our compressor back in? Is it a special type that no one carries?”
WILLIAM: “No, it’s a standard 2 ton compressor. We just don’t have any. You might try another repair company.”
ME: “Who would you suggest?”
WILLIAM: {Names 2 companies}
ME: “And these companies can install the compressor too?”
WILLIAM: “No, they are just suppliers.”
ME: “So why can’t you call them and get the compressor and install it for me?”
WILLIAM: “Oh. {PAUSE} Give me 20 minutes and I’ll see if they have it.”

While Interstate searched for a compressor from one of their other suppliers, I decided to call another company, Lloyd’s Electric, to see if they could help. Lloyd’s said they would need to check on the availability of a compressor and call me back.

William called back and said he can get the compressor and install it Thursday, July 12th between 12pm-4pm (probably closer to 12pm though). Inasmuch as he had already missed an appointment, I ask him, “Are you absolutely sure that you can install it then?” William stated “I guarantee it will be there.” I informed William that I had already called another service provider and am waiting to find out if they can make repairs any sooner. He stated he understood and that he will plan on coming over between 12-4 unless I call him to cancel.

Lloyd’s Electric called back and advised me they have a compressor, but cannot complete repairs until Friday around noon. I thanked them for their timely response, but advised them we were going with IB&M because they promised to restore the air conditioning on Thursday.

On Thursday, I call Interstate about 10am and the following discussion ensued:

ME: “Hi, this is Patrick. You’re coming over to repair my compressor this afternoon and I wanted to make sure everything was still in line.”
WILLIAM: “No, we’re not.”
ME: “Yes, you are. You said yesterday that you would have the compressor and be here between noon and 4.”
WILLIAM: {muffled}
ME: “Noon? You’ll be here at noon?”
WILLIAM: “Nope. I said nope. We don’t have your compressor.”
ME: “What? You said that you would have the compressor and that you would be at our house to install it between 12 and 4?”
WILLIAM: “We don’t have your compressor.”
ME: “You guaranteed that you would have it today. You told me that you could call the supplier and have them hold it for you. What happened?”
WILLIAM: “I don’t know. We don’t have your compressor.”
ME: “What about your guarantee? Did they sell the compressor between 3:30 yesterday and 10:30 today?”
WILLIAM: “I guess so.”
ME: “How is that possible? You said that you guaranteed it would be installed today. Are you telling me that your guarantee is worthless?”
WILLIAM: “I guess so.”
ME: “Do you routinely do this to your customers? Promise them something and then fail to deliver it?”
WILLIAM: “I guess so.”
ME: “How are you still in business?”
WILLIAM: “I don’t know.”
ME: “Well, this is the worst customer service I have ever received. I am going to get off the phone with you now and call the warranty company and let them know about the poor level of service you provide.”

Fortunately, Lloyd’s Electric still had the compressor and an open time on Friday to install it. They arrived the next day and I told them the exact same thing I told the IB&M technician, “the unit is humming and the fan won’t spin”. The Lloyd’s Electric technician conducts a thorough inspection of the unit and determined the compressor is perfectly fine and that the motor fan is broken as a result of fatigue. Additionally, he informed me that it is physically impossible for dirt and grass to get into a compressor (as diagnosed by IB&M) because the compressor is a closed (i.e., self-contained) system without any openings.

Clearly, Interstate, American Home Shield’s agent in this matter, not only misdiagnosed the problem as being related to the compressor, they also were incorrect about the genesis of the problem. The problem was definitely attributable to a wear and tear issue – namely the worn out motor fan. As such, all repairs to the air conditioning unit should have been performed under the AHS warranty.

I respectfully request reimbursement for the attached repair invoice from Lloyd’s Electric and a refund of the service call fee I paid to Interstate. Additionally, I am also submitting documentation of out-of-pocket expenses we incurred while waiting for AHS and IB&M to repair the air conditioning and make our home habitable.

While we love sitting down to a warm bubble bath, a bottle of Malbec, and an epic consumer complaint to chew on, and we feel for Patrick’s plight, we gotta say, “EDIT!” If you want a company to read your letter, keep to under one page. ONE page. The entirety of the dealing with the technician could be summed up as, “The technician behaved rudely and seemed to be trying to invent reasons to deny our warranty repairs.” If you want your letter to induce more than glazed eyes, keep it under one page.

Home Warranties Stink [patrick.veverka.net]
(Photo: Getty)