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eCost / Service.net / Bait and switch

1 United States Review updated:
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(NOTE: this is an edited version of a full complaint filed with the AG's office and the BBB). Purchased 2 YEAR extended IN HOME service warranty. One year ago I was offered a two year, in home, service warranty from eCost that covered 100% of all cost - including any repairs, shipping or replacement. I purchased it. My purchase receipt does NOT state any service provider - just that I have purchased a "Television Extension Plan: Covers all HDTV, LCD, Front/Rear". I saw a company called "Service.net" listed on the web site and, on June 12, 2008 I sent out an email to service.net as eCost does not have any service after you have made a purchase. I received an email that evening saying what my contract number was but not much else other than to contact them. I call Service.net on June 30. I was set up with a claim number and told (This is on a Monday) that by Wednesday someone would be contacting me to come fix the LVM-37W1.

Tuesday, July 8. At about 2:30 I decide I should call Service.net because nobody has bothered to let me know what is going on. I am put on hold and told that the repair shop has "someone in the area and will be there in the next hour". I ask if Service.net has informed them that this is IN HOME service and that they are coming to FIX THE MONITOR, not just pick it up. I am assured they know that and not to worry about anything because EVERYTHING IS 100% COVERED NO MATTER WHAT via my extended warranty. I am ASSURED that if they can not repair the monitor I WILL GET A NEW ONE AT NO COST. If the monitor needs to be shipped somewhere, again, not to worry because I am 100% COVERED - ALL COSTS, NOTHING TO BE PAID FOR BY ME.

When they come to repair the monitor expect him to simply go down to the truck and bring up a power supply to do the repair, not only was it confirmed but when the service call went out from Service.net it said "Power supply". But instead he says he needs to take it back to the shop and repair it because the part needs be ordered and that Westinghouse parts are very hard to get and it could take up to three weeks before they arrive. He packed up the monitor, handed me a claim check and left.

July 18. Service.net calls. Matthew tells me that a claim had been put in and Service.net had STOPPED THE CLAIM because IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE, almost as expensive as the cost of the set WHICH IS THE ONLY AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT. He also informed me that I had ONLY two choices - if I allowed the claim I would not have any more money for service over the next year should something happen or to deny the claim and they would issue me a check for under $600.00 towards the purchase of a new TV. According to Service.net website on the FAQ section it clearly states the following:

====================
Q: Will I have to pay a deductible or any other 'hidden costs'?
A: Out-of-pocket expenses will be eliminated for all covered repairs! We will pay 100% of covered parts and labor (beyond the manufacturer's warranty).
===================

Matthew refused to hear any of what I said and added on that IT DID NOT MATTER IF I HAD EVER SEEN IT OR NOT (This new "repair only up to a set amount" stipulation) because that is the warranty I purchased. I quickly informed him that until a month ago I had no idea who Service.net was and clearly I did not knowingly purchase a limited 2 year warranty. I asked for a supervisor and was told "That won't help you and it won't change anything" and as the conversation continued I had to forcefully demand I speak with a supervisor and was told "There is not one available" I should point out that Matthew did say that I would still have a warranty in effect for the full two years, however if this claim was approved there would only be $16.61 on it and if something happened that would not cover anything.

So buyer beware, just don't buy anything from eCost if you expect any service, warranty or not, and if you ever see Service.net related warranty do not buy it.

Da
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  • Da
      29th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    FOLLOW UP:
    July 29, 2008

    Spoke with Service.net and went over issues. Service rep disallowed matthew conversation because they were not part of that. Service rep disallowed whatever repair facility said as they were not part of that conversation. Based conversation on the "facts" of the service contract that I have never been shown. I asked why is it I must trust that what they say is correct but what I say must be wrong. Answer is that their records show I purchased a "limited" warranty and I was sent a copy of that. Again I ask why I should believe there story of sending me a copy when they refuse to belive that I did not purchase a limited contract and that I was never sent a copy of anything. Again - because 'that is the way it is' and the only thing they are going from is their copy of "my" service contract.

    Point by point I ask what they mean, on there own website, that "We will pay 100% of covered parts and labor". Answer is that service.net rep has never seen that and it does not say that in my service contract so it is a null point.

    I asked, what it meant when they say "If Service Net's service network determines that your product is beyond repair but
    is in accordance with the coverage terms and conditions of your contract, Service Net will replace it with a same or like product at no cost to YOU!" I was told that "my" contract does not state that, it only says they are liable for up to the retail price, minus taxes.
    So when I asked how they thought a check for under $600.00 was equal to the Retail Price of about $2, 000 that my monitor was. The service.net rep quickly re-worded what "my" contract said to change "retail price" to "purchase price".

    While helpful, much more so that Matthew was, the end result was the same. Once this is repaired I will only have $16.00 left on my "2 year 100% coverage" warranty. As a side note I called the repair facility after I got off the phone with service.net and asked what the status of my monitor was I was told that service.net was not going to pay for it so NOTHING WAS DONE ON IT. IT HAS BEEN SITTING THERE FOR THREE WEEKS. They claim that on July 10 someone at Service.net told them the cost for repair was too expensive and they would not pay for it. EIGHT DAYS LATER is when Matthew called asking me to approve that repairs with this whole story about me having purchased a "limited" warranty. So the repair center tells me that when they get the approval fax from service.net they will ORDER THE PARTS (yes - now almost two months and no parts yet because Service.net must APPROVE THEM FIRST).

  • Da
      11th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    FOLLOW UP AUGUST 11, 2008

    Now I am adding Quaker TV of Glens Falls, NY to this complaint as well. At first I thought perhaps they too were innocent in all of this however I received a phone call from Service.net saying that Quaker TV informed them the needed part is not available from anyone, therefor the Monitor in unrepairable. The caller also went on to say Service.net had also looked into this and could verify the needed part was not available from anyone. Within one minute after the phone call I had lactated the needed part and within 10 minutes I had ordered it and as of today I am holding in my hands. Clearly something is going on here - their policy of "assume the consumer is an idiot" in this case does not work.

    When I called Quaker TV to find out when they would be bringing my monitor back I was told they would not be because Service.net will not pay them. Secondly they added on they thought I did not want it back because it could not be fixed. When I asked bluntly if I needed to get my lawyer involved I was told "Sure, we will help him load your set into their car". So now this begs the question who is really telling the truth? Is Service.net really not paying them? Is Quaker TV just hoping they can get an HD 1080P Monitor for free and make $1, 000.00 profit on it? Again - I paid for in home service which Quaker TV claims they cold not provide because of Service.net policies and now they are refusing to bring it back again sighting Service.net policies. But is this really the truth?

    At this point I am awaiting word from my lawyer however Service.net is clearly in the business of bait and switch sales and Quaker TV is somehow tied up in all of this - agree to do in home service, take a customers set and then keep it saying Service.net will not repair it with the clear plan on reselling it. Seriously - why else state stupidly "We didn't think you wanted it back" to a customer calling to get it back. Something smells in all of this.

  • Da
      20th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    UPDATE 8/18/2008

    First off I have my HD monitor back. It is fixed and working. As my last updated stated I purchased the part myself when I was told by Service.net the part was not available. After contacting my lawyer I was advised to contact Service.net again which I did. I was told by the rep they were surprised that I found the part. They also said Service.net would reimburse me for the part. (I am awaiting that) Three days later when I had not heard from anyone I contacted Service.net again and said I needed my monitor no later than August 15. The morning of the 15th I received a call from Quaker TV who promised me they would return my monitor. They did come and the tech asked me where I found the part and then proceeded to put it in. All of this took less than 15 minutes, they were here less than 30 minutes. And this is something that should have, and could have, been done two months ago.

    As my last update reported Quaker TV may well be a source of a lot of these issues. However it is also a "He said/She said" scenario. For me it is hard to sort my way through who is not being truthful and who is anymore. So with this is mind I will try and sort of what relates to my main complaint as it relates to Service.net - and that is my extended warranty that I purchased from eCost, finding out in June of this year was covered via Service.net.

    Service.net has finally provided me with a copy of what they claim is my full contract. However this is NOT what I purchased from eCost, or at least not what I was told I was purchasing. Which brings me back to how and why this all came to be. I have asked this before and will ask again: did eCost pull a bait and switch? Did service.net not tell eCost the real details of their warranties? Did service.net pull a switch when they saw how much a replacement would be for my monitor? I simply do not know but I assure you the details in the warranty that I was sent are nothing like what I was sold. The best example is in section two where it sates what is covered and than adds on "The maximum liability owed to You under this Contract will be the full retail cost of Your Product minus the sales tax. In the event We (I) replace the Product with a Product with equivalent specifications or (II) reimburse You for the current market value of the Product with equivalent specifications or (III) reimburse You for the retail amount of the Product, less claims made, minus sales tax, We shall have satisfied all obligations owed under this contract."

    Now as I have stated again and again there was no mention of this when I purchased this, nor did any Service.net rep I spoke with mention this UNTIL a claim was put in to repair the Monitor. This is a HUGE issue to me because clearly service.net was advertising warranties up until a few weeks ago claiming 100% coverage. 100% costs. 100% replacement. 100% shipping. Never were key words such as "maximum liability owed to You" or "reimburse You for the current market value of the Product." used in any advertising or POS. Nor was there ever any mention of section 12 - BUYOUT - which states, in part: "We may elect, at Our option, to buyout the Contract during the coverage term for the lesser of (I) current market value of the product with equivalent specifications or (II) retail price paid for Your product minus sales tax and claims paid."

    Matter of fact I don't really see any mention in the warranty about "100%" anything. Most if it is worded so Service.net does not have to replace anything or repair anything unless it is far less than "100%". As an example the LVM-37W1 had a SRP of $1, 899.00 when it was released. At the time I purchased it in June of 2007 the SRP was around $1, 500.00 and I purchased it on sale for 709.57. This model has been "updated" with the LVM-37W3 that has an SRP of $1, 899.00 as well. Based on the Service.net warranty I have been shown there is no way I would get any sort of "100%" replacement for what I purchased because while they claim they will be liable for the "full retail cost" they offer options on their terms, and in my case that was not to "reimburse You for the retail amount of the Product" but, rather, to "buy out" my warranty based on "retail price paid for Your product minus sales tax and claims paid." The warranty I was sold promised 100% replacement if needed - or to use their own words "replace the Product with a Product with equivalent specifications" This would be the LVM-37W3, which from a reliable dealer is going for around $1, 200.00. Service.net offered me $559.00. There are a few words for under what conditions I purchased this 2 year extended warranty - the first two words are "false advertising" and the other words are "bait and switch". Now if this is really what Service.net was selling and eCost new it than eCost is 100% at fault here. However, as I have stated in the past, other sites mention 100% coverage and Service.nets own site mentioned it AND the Service.net reps I spoke with said the same thing. I find it hard to believe that any person anywhere would misread or misunderstand what "100%" means.

    Now as one final note - in looking at another site today for a product I saw the "Extended warranty" option so I clicked on it just to read it as it was a Service.net warranty. What I found is that now the wording has drastically changed since my last update on this issue. One of the most obvious changes is: "This program provides replacement coverage for flat panel LCD TVs under $500" which would have prevented me from even purchasing my 2 year extended warranty in the first place. Also the replacement section now reads "Products purchased for under $500 are eligible for a one (1) time replacement from any mechanical failures after the manufacturers warranty expires."

    Clearly some changes are being made at Service.net however that does not matter as I made my purchase in June of 2007. This only has become an issue when a claim was put in by Quaker TV and Service.net refused to accept it, which brings us back to Quaker TV. Every time something did not get done they said it was because of Service.net. Service.net has informed me of things as well - mostly just the opposite of what Quaker TV has told me. I stated in my first complaint that I was placed in the middle of this "thing" between Quaker TV and Service.net and I should not have been. I should have called Service.net for repair and someone should have shown up at my house, with the power supply, and fixed the problem.

    So the bottom line here is that while my Monitor is now fixed the root problem remains - I purchased what I was led to believe, based on how it was advertised/sold at the time, a 2 year "100%" coverage, in home repair warranty that covered "everything" - from all in home service to all parts needed to all shipping to full replacement if needed. There were never any stipulations mentioned at any time until that phone call from Matthew on July 18. What I am being told, and now shown, is an extremely limited warranty that would never 100% replace my HD Monitor and barely cover one repair on a power supply that cost me $214.54 (SRP 349.99) and that Quaker TV wanted to mark up to $500.00 plus labor and charge Service.net for.

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