I bought my first place three months ago. Pretty much all of the major appliances were new with the exception of the furnace (18 years old). I tried to get the seller to replace, but they refused, so we compromised with a 1 year homeowners warranty.
Luckily or unluckily last Tuesday I came home to a 40 degree home. The furnace had blown. Everything I read in AHS's warranty said they would service within normal business hours - I was worried I would not get my heat turned on that night, so I called the company that the seller had used to service the unit prior to me moving in. He came that evening and told me I needed a new furnace, which would cost $2400. He reset my furnace, and said that would give me heat temporarily, but it was only a matter of time before it stopped working again. (It shut-off within the hour).
I then called AHS, they said I should have called them first and they needed one of their vendors to come look at it. The next day was Christmas Eve - so I set up the appointment for Friday (3 days later). Their vendor showed up, did the same thing the initial company had done (reset the furnace), and said the internal temperature was 20 degrees to high and that's what was causing the problem. Well, surprise, surprise, the furnace stopped working again shortly after he left.
I was given a 30 day warranty on his work, so the same guy came back the next day. He looked at my furnace for 30 mins. before telling me that now he thought the problem was that all of the units in my building were sharing the same chimney - and it wasn't big enough and that was causing a backdraft.
First of all, why hasn't that been an issue for 18 years? Second of all, I live on the first floor, warm air rises, wouldn't that create the biggest problem for the top floor unit? He said he couldn't verify if that in fact was the cause, so he would need a service manager with more experience to come out and verify.
This was Saturday afternoon, his service manager couldn't come out until Monday afternoon. (Keep in mind I still don't have heat in December in Chicago). I made the service tech stay with me while I called AHS customer service and had them attempt to explain to me why it was acceptable to go 48 more hours without heat and even the potential for a proper diagnosis. They gave me the run around about the vendor needing to report it to authorization before anyone could move forward. Finally, I let the service guy go.
Immediately after he left I returned a call I had from the previous day (800.469.0892) where AHS had asked me to answer a satisfaction survey for my service call. I spoke with someone else who I notified that I was extremely dissatisfied with their service thus far. A. I already had a technician tell me I needed a new furnace. B. They were making me wait 48 more hours before they would diagnose, etc. etc. I asked if I could be transferred to a different vendor since I was clearly making no progress with the current one. Ultimately she asked to put me on hold while she spoke with her manager. Her manager agreed to allow my service request to be transferred to a new vendor, that would come see me that night!
He arrived, and after less than 5 mins. said 'well the good news is you're getting a new furnace'. But he told me not to get too excited b/c it still needed to be authorized from AHS. His boss came out the next morning, confirmed what the other guy had found, and said he would do his best to get AHS to authorize.
Luckily I got a call later that day that authorized replacing my furnace. the owner of the heating company said he was surprised it was authorized so quickly. I told him I had been very persistent with AHS on my side. And he said sometimes it helps to have people coming at them from both sides. As of right now it is supposed to be installed tomorrow morning. I will let you know how that goes.
Honestly, I trust AHS 0% - Given all I have read I think it was a case of me getting lucky, persistence, the squeaky wheel getting the grease, and the fact that I already had a second opinion saying I needed a new furnace.
I'm sure the furnace AHS will give me tomorrow is a piece of crap, but it will be better than no heat, and hopefully last me a few years. My advice to anyone out there that is already stuck with an AHS warranty is get all of your transactions in writing, call AHS frequently, I've probably called them 15 times since this started, and if your claim is ultimately denied contact a lawyer.