Let Joe Know: Be wary of home warranties - East Valley Tribune: Business

Let Joe Know: Be wary of home warranties

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ABC15 Investigator Joe Ducey is Arizona’s consumer alert expert. Watch his reports weekdays on ABC15 at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., and email him with questions or news tips anytime at jducey@abc15.com.

Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 9:15 am

You can buy a warranty or an extended warranty on just about everything these days.

I usually advise against most of them because I see so many exclusions and warranty companies routinely denying claims. That’s what happened to Felice Weiner.

“The house wouldn’t cool off,” she told me.

It’s over 100 degrees outside and inside it wasn’t much cooler, but Felice had a home warranty. It was Sensible Home Warranty and she called them. And she called and called.

“I was calling almost daily hoping they’d get tired of me,” Felice says.

That’s because Felice says Sensible was acting not so sensible.

At first, Felice says she was told by Sensible employees that they couldn’t help her “unless you can prove maintenance checks on your A-C for the last 3 years. I did that.”

But Sensible found other reasons not to pay, so she let me know.

We found that starting more than two years ago, states like Washington, Oklahoma, Utah and others filed cease-and-desist orders or revoked the license for Sensible Home Warranty. Some of the complaints involved operating in a state without a license, although the business was licensed in Arizona.

Now, we found Sensible Home Warranty appears to be out of business. Its website wishes customers “all the best of luck.”

So what happens to those customers?

We took that to the Arizona Department of Insurance.

Four days later, the state issued its own cease-and-desist order listing numerous consumer complaints.

Arizona requires a $100,000 bond for home warranty companies. Felice is applying for part of that.

A Department of Insurance spokesperson tells us “Arizona consumers who have a warranty contract through Sensible Home Warranty and who have unpaid claims can file a complaint with the department.”

Make sure to include a copy of your warranty, evidence of your premium payment and all documents related to their unpaid claim.

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