the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Tales from Home Warranty hell

Air Conditioner from wikimedia commons for home warranty hell piece
not the AC in question, but I’m not driving to take a picture of it

Since I’ve gone ahead and started this out with the $2000 fridge repair horror story, I’ll get into another repair I had back in 2008. I’ll point out that managing five properties, a home warranty company seemed like it was a way to mitigate unexpected costs. It wasn’t.

In 2007 or 8 a central unit blew out at one of the rentals. This seemed to be a situation in which a home warranty was going to pay off. The unit was replaced, and I was charged ~$475 for misc stuff that was not covered. Still, when looking at a $4000 or so split AC unit this seemed like a good deal.

A couple of weeks later I was on vacation, had not slept, and answered the phone. I talked to a lady who told me her name but I promptly forgot on the other end and they needed the payment via credit card for the $475 in disposal fees. OK, I knew that call was coming no biggie.

The next day, also having not slept too well I get a call and am told that <insert woman’s name here> had given the wrong card number. I ask what this is for and am told that it’s for disposal fees on my air conditioning unit for $475.

My brain processes this as “that woman who called you yesterday wrote down the wrong credit card” and I give them the number.

A few weeks later I notice there are two charges for the exact same amount on my card and start investigating.

I call the company back that had charged that and am told that second charge was for a woman named X King who is my wife. Errr… at that point I was not married, and certainly not to that woman.

They argue with me that they told me exactly who had charged that and I had agreed to it. I explain quite simply that both times they woke me up and gave me the exact same story with the exact same charges both times, so they were going to get their act together or I was going to the credit card company.

I got relayed information from an AOL email account claiming that their investigations showed that was my bill and they were going to go to a collection agency, and at this point I get the home warranty company involved. They tell the subcontractor to stop talking to me.

They don’t.

The subcontractor’s AOL email included the address of the other charge, I look it up on public property records, it’s owned by a man whose last name is not King.

I answer their call a day or two later, they go into the whole thing again that I had agreed to that, I phrase this extremely carefully and it goes something like this:

So you’re claiming that this repair at this other address which public records indicate is owned by a man not named King is mine? -yes

You’ve been paid by the home warranty company for this replacement air conditioning unit that is worth several thousand dollars, but have not been paid $450 to take some junk away and sell it for $300 in scrap? -yes

You’re claiming that I am the authorized owner of this equipment at this address here and you swear that I am? -yes

OK, here’s the deal. You guys go to that address,  I’m going to give you an amazing gift. As I obviously from your diligent research am the owner of the package unit at that address, I’m giving you that $4000 unit – do what you please, but give me half the profits if you would. -….

They were willing to bluff to me that they were going to cause a stink, but couldn’t go far enough to actually go there at my direction and steal the equipment from the owner.

Interestingly enough when I searched for miss X King and the name of the owner of that property I managed to find the owner’s daughter’s contact info. I tossed her the story thus far, she said that she had absolutely nothing to do with it that it was her father’s issue and had no idea how these idiots had gotten her name, but they had been calling her leaving harassing voicemails her for her father’s supposed debt.

During this time I was threatened with lawsuits, got malicious emails, and finally stared the idiots down. Of course my AC unit they’d replaced blew up shortly thereafter because they didn’t get the condensation out of the inside of a line.

Home warranty company dispatched two other AC companies that both claimed the entire install had been botched, so big home warranty sent the scam AC company back to fix the problem they’d created.

It’s important to note at this point we’d established that they were never to be contacted, they claimed there was a police report filed against me, and I had wasted hours talking with them and tracking down who supposedly owed them the money.

I discovered later that the AC company was dispatched from Knoxville. Evidently they were driving in to do the work. To give a bit of context, Knoxville is 180 miles away, and where they were located was three and a half hours. I’m entirely uncertain what the deal was, but that was that.

I paid money to a home warranty company to send people to attempt to scam me. I also got to listen to the worst con artists in history attempt to claim I was married and owed the money.

I wish this were the end of the idiots and home warranty stories, but it’s not…

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.