Back in November 2009, we featured the story of Adam and his wife, who bought a house and were under the impression that this house included a one-year warranty. You can’t blame them for having this impression, since it was included in the purchase and was supposed to be paid for by the listing agent. When the house’s heat pump broke and they actually needed the warranty, they learned that the paperwork was never filed, and the promised warranty didn’t exist. He asked the Consumerist Hive Mind for advice, and the Hive Mind delivered. But how did things turn out?
Here’s Adam’s original letter to Consumerist:
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.
He filed in small claims court, and was modestly successful. Here’s the update that he sent yesterday:
The end result was after numerous attempts to settle the dispute I ended up filing papers in small claims court for around 5,000 against the listing agent, but not the bank. Nonetheless the bank decided to represent her in the case and we ended up settling out of court for 1750.00 last summer. I spoke with an attorney prior to filing in small claims court and he told me that under the law I would not be able to get any additional money other than what I would have received from the warranty claim, which meant I could not get the full value of the new heat pump, so I figured instead of going to court and potentially losing the case I would just settle and at least get something.
Please thank the consumerist mind-hive for their help.
Help, My House Has A Nonexistent Warranty!