Claim # 666816 history for HWA Home Warranty of America
I submitted a claim for a leak in my heater's condensate pipes on January 10. 2013 that was coming out all over my sub-floor in the basement and getting the floor and sheet rock wet. After a week of no communication from HWA about my claim I called them and they told me the leak would not be covered due to it being a pre-existing condition as it was determined by one contractor to be installed improperly. No one ever called me back to tell me my claim had been denied. I had to keep calling them to find this out.
I received a bill online for the $60 service call fee. The contractor who came out did not accept AMEX so he left and never sent us a bill. When I called them to pay the bill they told me because we hadn't paid it our policy had been cancelled! I argued with them and told them the story that the contractor did not accept AMEX and that we had tried to pay the bill but he left and never said anything to us. We assumed that we would be billed for it later. So they took my payment on another credit card and reinstated our policy. I was angry that they cancelled us before they even billed us. While on the line with the customer service representative, (CSR), she told us that we had purchased the deluxe Orange Plus policy and that we should in fact be covered for the repair. Keep in mind that if I had not disputed that we had been cancelled, we would never have known that they denied our policy in error. She asked us to send them the Home Inspection that was done before we purchased the house. I had it online so submitted it within one minute of the request. I asked to be called back to confirm they had received it. I never got the call to confirm they received it. Instead I proceeded to get a different person on the phone each time I called and had to start over each time I called with the whole story. Each time they instructed me to send the Home Inspection Report to them and I proceeded to do that 4 times in total, each time never getting a response that they received it until one CSR said they would stay on the phone to insure they received it while I sent it the 4th time. All the while more time is passing and the leak is still happening.
The first contractor, Hug plumbing in Santa Rosa, never called us to schedule an appointment to come out and assess the leak. We waited 4 days before the second contractor, Guerneville Guys, came out and said it was installed improperly. They never called us back to tell us that HWA had denied the claim and told us that HWA should have called us. When I called HWA, they said that the contractor was supposed to be the one to get back to us. Everything with HWA is a run around and feels like a stall tactic. Once we found out that we were in fact covered, another week later, they tried to get Guerneville Guys to give them an estimate to fix the problem. When they didn't show up, HWA told me to call Guerneville Guys to see if I could schedule the appointment with them. When I finally reached them, Guerneville Guys told me that they refused to work with HWA any longer because they were very bad in paying their bills. This is now the second contractor that flaked out on us. When I called HWA back and told them the story, they said they would have to find another contractor to come out as the two contractors that were originally called out were the only contractors they had in the area. I was outraged and reminded them that this was a leak and was concerned that there would be further water & potentially mold damage to our house if it were not fixed and reminded them it was a covered item. The CSR then told me that they would not cover any secondary damage caused by the original problem. Now, close to 3 weeks had gone by and nothing had been done. So I waited for a third contractor to call me and when Ron from Country Air called me he came right out. He was grumbling the whole time about hating to work for insurance companies and did not know why he accepted the job. He also came up with the same story that our condensate pipes had been installed improperly and called HWA right there to give them the update. Ron was put on hold for about 20 minutes and finally hung up in disgust with HWA. He said he had to leave and would get back to me once he received authorization from HWA. Another day went by and I called him back and he said he was very angry with HWA because every time he called them to try to get the authorization, he was put on hold for a long time and that he didn't have time to wait for them to answer the phone. He told me if I wanted the work done I would have to call HWA and have them call him on his cell phone because he refused to be put on hold any longer. He said he was disgusted with HWA and all insurance companies. I called HWA and asked them to call him back and was waiting to get a phone call from one of them. I had reminded HWA that I had a tenant moving in on February 1, 2013 and that would complicate things for us and that it had been 3 weeks since I called in the claim. Then I get a phone call back from HWA about a half hour later telling me that the contractor, Ron, from Country Air had just refused to do any work for them. I was so stressed by all of this that I got physically sick. So the CSR that I happened to get hold of said that she would try to find someone else to do the work. I told her that was unacceptable, I've now waited over 3 weeks for them to fix the problem and this was a LEAK!! I told her that I knew of HVAC contractors in the area that were at least reputable and she said she would call me back. When she called me back she told me that I could find a contractor and pay them directly and that they would reimburse me for the covered expense. Each time I had to have the contractor come out, assess the problem, wait for the estimate to be prepared for HWA, wait for their approval of what they would cover, then, make another appointment for the contractor to come out to fix the leak. This would be the 4th contractor I've contacted to fix the leak. I asked her what dollar amount they would cover and Patrice said there was no limit. I asked her to put all of this in writing and I was again told by this CSR that they could not do that according to their company policy. They were instructed that they were never to put anything in writing. I then asked her how long it would take to have the covered expense paid to me and Patrice said that it normally takes about 4 to 6 weeks to receive payment. I told her this was unacceptable given what they had put me through and she said that she would document my file to request a quicker payment be sent to me and that I should receive it in about a week from when I submit the bill. She said that this contractor would need to come out and assess the problem, give them the breakdown of the cost, get their approval to do the work, and then make another appointment to actually get the work done. I told her again that my tenants had now moved in and that would complicate things because I had to work around their schedule as they were moving in furniture from several places and that we might be in the way. Each time a new contractor came into the picture they start the process all over again in reviewing the Home Inspection to make sure it was a covered repair, assess the contractors diagnosis, assess the cost of the repair and that had already been done twice already. Patrice assured me that they would not have to wait for the authorization a third time to see if this was a covered expense but I had been told that the last time too. So here I am at almost 4 weeks still waiting for the problem to be fixed. Since HWA waited until 4 pm on Friday, February 1, 2013 to get to this stage of approval, all the businesses were closing down for the weekend. So on Monday morning I will start the process all over again for a 4th contractor to come out and now have to worry about disturbing my tenants to get this done! I am also concerned that I now have to pay for everything up front and hope that I get paid. Guerneville Guys had already told me that HWA was terrible about paying their bills and that was why they refused to work with them anymore.
Each time I call it takes the HWA CSR time to review the file and play catch up on what has gone on. Their CSR’s all work different hours and days depending on who you get on the phone. When they are gone on a day off, nothing gets done until they return. I have called and left messages for other CSR’s that had been involved but rarely after a day or more get a phone call back. Then to add insult to injury, the original CSR that took my claim January 10, 2013, sent me an email telling me that I would have to pay a $60 service charge to the new contractor coming out. It took several more calls to dispute this, and told them that I had already paid it before, and I am still not sure if they are going to make that correction and reverse the fee. I reminded them that this is still the same claim and that it had never been resolved, and the reason it had not been resolved was because the contractors they hire are all sick of dealing with them. It is not my fault that there will be 3 service calls trying to get resolution for our leak.
This company should be regulated like an insurance company and needs to be investigated for unethical business practices. If I were not as experienced in dealing with businesses as I am, I would have been so discouraged by all of this and given up. I will never give up and will bring this to the attention of the Attorney General and the Insurance Commissioner for the State of California, my Senators, and Representatives as I am very active and vocal in pursuing bad business practices. The fact that they deliberately will not put anything in writing is a red flag for me and should be for anyone thinking of using this company! I give them a rating of F and amazingly they were rated A- by the BBB which makes me wonder how legitimate their rating system really is! I will never trust the BBB again for a business rating.
So here it is February 3, 2013 and the leak I reported on January 10, 2013 has never been fixed and was indeed supposed to be covered by the $560 deluxe policy we purchased in escrow. At this point it seems like a waste of money, time, and energy.
Before choosing this company I did a lot of research through BBB and looked on line to see about any complaints that had been filed against HWA. There was nothing that I found that stood out that would indicate to me that this was an unethical company to do business with. I am writing this and documenting every action and conversation I have with this company as I would not want anyone else to have to go through what they have done to me.
My experience through all of this with the quality of contractors they contract to do their repairs is questionable, and the contractors seem to be on the fringe of acceptable at best. I’m not sure after this experience that I will ever purchase a home warranty program again as so many of the ratings I read on other companies show the same level of performance. I found out at the close of escrow in the disclosures that Home Warranty of America, HWA, is a sister company of Stewart Title Company. I was so unhappy with that title company that I will never do business with them again. I have been doing Real Estate purchases, development, exchanges, and sales for over 40 years and have never been unhappy with a title company before I did business with Stewart Title Company in Santa Rosa, CA. When I heard they were a sister company I almost cancelled the HWA policy but it was too late to do that without jeopardizing the sales transaction.