According to WMBB (3/25/14), Jeane Griffin was asked in January 2010 if she wanted home warranty coverage, but she turned the offer down. In November 2013, she learned she had been paying $54.18 a month to American Home Shield, despite having rejected the offer of home warranty insurance. She says she only learned about the payment when she got a phone call from the bank asking her to pay for bounced checks. Because there was not enough money in her account to cover her payment to American Home Shield, she was told she not only owed the monthly payment, she also owed up to $300 in fees.
After investigating, Jeane learned that she had paid almost $2,000 for home warranty coverage she did not know she had. After WMBB News 13 became involved, American Home Shield reportedly refunded Jeane the money while they investigate how the company obtained her banking information, but Jeane’s brother told the news station that dealing with the home warranty company had been frustrating.
While it’s not known where in the process Jeane’s involvement in American Home Shield was mixed up, the company has faced complaints in the past concerning its actions. A lawsuit filed against the company in 2010 alleged American Home Shield violated California’s Anti-Spam statute with an e-mail advertisement sent to approximately 10,000 e-mail addresses. According to the complaint, American Home Shield sent an e-mail promising consumers that they could receive estimates on new roof installation, reroofing and repairs. Included in the e-mail were two hyperlinks tagged, “FIND A LOCAL ROOFER” and “GET MORE INFO.” When consumers clicked on either link, however, they were allegedly taken to a website that had an application form for American Home Shield home warranty.
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Other complaints against home warranty companies include that they deny legitimate claims, giving reasons such as “improper maintenance” or “pre-existing condition” to deny the claim when they did not conduct a proper inspection of the appliances under warranty at the time the policy was issued. Clients also complain that some home warranty companies unreasonably delay sending contractors to their home so that the customer becomes frustrated and pays out of pocket for repairs they thought should be covered by their warranty.
The American Home Shield Lawsuit is Bank v. American Home Shield Corporation, case number 10-CV-4014.