Every homeowner knows that costly repairs can start to make renting look appealing. And no one wants to drain their savings just to maintain a certain quality of life. That’s why so many homeowners opt for home warranties. But are home warranties a scam, or do they just give contractors room for their own scams?
Home warranties are policies designed to help protect homeowners from paying large amounts of money when home systems or appliances break. Unfortunately, some home warranty companies and shady contractors fail to deliver on contractual agreements when repairs are needed most. From blaming the consumer and ruining relationships with contractors, to contractors charging for unnecessary repairs, these unscrupulous home warranty scams harm consumers and their pocketbooks.
Stay Protected from Home Warranty Scams with This Info:
Blaming the Customer
One of the most popular home warranty scams is to blame the customer, while not providing the information they needed in the first place. What happens is that a repair is needed and the company looks for some way to prove that the consumer negated the warranty themselves. In some cases they are accused of not maintaining the item properly, while not knowing what the home warranty considers to be “proper maintenance.” In others, the consumer might be accused of actively going against the warranty by doing things like trying to repair the item themselves. Even if neither of these things is true, the home warranty scam is to make the consumer prove they aren’t true by showing evidence of regular maintenance or service by professionals.
How can this be avoided? First of all, consumers need to read the home warranty carefully to ensure they are aware of all the details and fine print. Then, they should follow maintenance instructions on things like appliances covered under the warranty, and keep detailed records tracking that maintenance.
Destroying Service Relationships
Warranties generally don’t pay for consumers to work on their own property. Instead, they work with approved (usually certified) contractors. Consumers may even negate the warranty if they hire outside of their approved list of contractors. That sounds just fine until they can’t get an approved contractor to come out because the home warranty provider still owes them money. When this happens, consumers can wait until the home warranty company amends the issue with the contractor or pay for the repairs on their own. In either case, the stress falls on the consumer, not the contractor or home warranty provider.
Contractors who are familiar with home warranties might take things further than they need to in order to make a quick buck. These contractors know what the home warranty will pay, so they might add charges that don’t apply. But home warranties are limited and may only cover that repair once. Consumers should get more than one opinion before any contractor starts the repairs. Then, before signing any sort of receipt for work, they should review the itemized details or ask for them to be itemized, if they aren’t. In this way, consumers can ensure the warranty is there to cover the repairs when they are needed, instead of when a contractor needs to make a bit of extra cash.
Protection From Home Warranty Scams
A home warranty is meant to help take care of expenses involved in maintaining a home, not create more of them. But because there are so many scams out there, consumers would benefit by doing their homework to protect themselves. Any or all of the tips below will help.
- Research home warranty companies. Do a thorough review of the company. Check for any reports to the Better Business Bureau, but don’t stop there. Look for reviews online, too. Just by typing in the name of the company, followed by the word “review,” it’s easy to see what consumers and contractors are saying on multiple sites.
- Keep detailed records. Maintenance and purchase records are helpful for more than home warranties, but they definitely help when the company doesn’t want to pay up if the consumer can’t prove the item was properly maintained. If something drastic happens to cause damage or loss to the home or its contents, those records can also help prove ownership and status to insurance companies and legal authorities.
- Make the most of credit cards. Credit cards offer a great way to track purchases, but they might also provide benefits most consumers don’t realize. Some credit card companies will extend the existing warranties of products purchased with those cards. Coupled with or used in place of a home warranty, these extensions can result in significant savings.
It’s more important than ever for consumers to do their homework when it comes to purchases like home warranties. There is far too much information available online to blindly trust the word of any company trying to make a sale. A bit of research and planning can help consumers avoid home warranty scams while making the most of authentic home warranties.