Are home warranties a good deal? Ben Has Your Back


DIANE: I HIT BAKE AND START. AND IT WENT BOOM WHEN IT LIT. BEN: DIANE PINEAU FIGURED OUT
PRETTY QUICKLY LAST MONTH THERE
WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HER
OVEN. DIANE: IT WENT BOOM. NATURALLY IT SCARED ME. BEN: SO SHE CALLED THE GAS
COMPANY, NATIONAL GRID. THEIR TECHNICIAN CAME OUT AND
TOLD HER THE OVEN’S GAS VALVE
HAD FAILED. DIANE: HE PUT A HAZARD TAG ON IT
AND SAID YOU CAN’T USE THIS, YOU
HAVE TO GET A NEW STOVE. BEN: DIANE THOUGHT THE OVEN
WOULD BE COVERED UNDER THE HOME
WARRANTY SHE BOUGHT TWO YEARS
AGO. WITH HER 28-YEAR-OLD HOME AGING,
SHE THOUGHT A PLAN FROM CHOICE
HOME WARRANTY WOULD PROVIDE GOOD
PROTECTION. DIANE: HE SAID IT COVERS
EVERYTHING IN YOUR HOME FROM THE
AIR CONDITIONER TO THE FURNACE. ALL YOUR APPLIANCES AND
EVERYTHING, SO I SAID WELL, THAT
SOUNDED LIKE A GOOD DEAL. BEN: DIANE PAID $1050 UP FRONT
FOR 3.5 YEARS OF COVERAGE. DIANE: MY HOUSE IS 28 YEARS OLD. SOMETHING HAD TO GO. BEN: AT FIRST SHE SAYS SHE HAD A
FEW SMALL CLAIMS, A DRYER BELT,
A FURNACE PROBLEM WHICH CHOICE
HOME WARRANTY COVERED. BUT THEN HER DISHWASHER WENT,
AND THEY OFFERED HER LESS THAN
$200 FOR A REPLACEMENT. DIANE PUSHED BACK. DIANE: THEY GAVE ME, UPPED THE
PRICE I THINK TO $300-SOMETHING. THAT’S ALL I COULD GET. AS IT WAS, MY DISHWASHER COST ME
OVER $500. BEN: WITH THAT IN MIND SHE
DIDN’T HAVE MUCH HOPE FOR THE
RANGE EVEN THOUGH IT’S LISTED
UNDER COVERED ITEMS. BUT WHAT SHE DIDN’T EXPECT WAS
FOR CHOICE HOME WARRANTY TO DENY
HER CLAIM OUTRIGHT OFFER HER
NOTHING. THE COMPANY CLAIMED HER RANGE
DEVELOPED RUST AND/OR CORROSION
BUILDUP WHICH THEY DON’T HAVE TO
COVER. DIANE: THEY SAID IT WAS RUSTY
AND CORROSIVE. BEN: AND WAS IT? DIANE: NO. I SAID, ASK THE PLUMBER. BEN: WAS THERE ANY SIGN OF RUST
OR CORROSION ON THAT STOVE? STEVE: NO, THERE WASN’T. NO SIGN AT ALL. I LOOKED AT IT, YEAH? BEN: STEVE FEELEY IS THE PLUMBER
WHO DISCONNECTED DIANE’S OLD
RANGE AND RECONNECTED THE NEW
ONE. HE SAID THE OLD ONE WAS IN GREAT
SHAPE. WHERE DO YOU THINK THEY GOT THAT
FROM? DIANE: I HAVE NO IDEA. NONE. BEN: MAKE IT UP? DIANE: THEY HAD TO BECAUSE STEVE
DIDN’T TELL THEM THAT, AND I
DIDN’T TELL THEM THAT. BEN: AFTER DIANE PUSHED BACK
AGAIN, CHOICE HOME WARRANTY
OFFERED HER ABOUT $300
REIMBURSEMENT. IN THE FINE PRINT, THE COMPANY’S
CONTRACT DOES SAY IT CAN OFFER
CASH, WHICH MAY BE LESS THAN THE
RETAIL REPLACEMENT COS
BUT DIANE IS FED UP. DIANE: I’VE HAD TO FIGHT WITH
THEM EVERY TIME I PUT A CLAIM
IN. BEN: SHE SPENT $787 ON THE NEW
RANGE AND $200 ON THE PLUMBER
— ALMOST $1000 ALL IN. CAN YOU BUY A STOVE FOR $300? DIANE: MAYBE A HOT PLATE. [LAUGHTER]
AND I TOLD THEM THAT, I SAID
WHAT DO YOU THINK I OWNED, A HOT
PLATE THAT’S RUSTY AND
CORROSIVE? I HAD A STOVE, NOT A HOT PLATE. BEN: AFTER WE CONTACTED CHOICE
HOME WARRANTY, THE COMPANY
OFFERED DIANE $1000, AND THEY
TOLD US IT DID SO IN THE
INTEREST OF PROMOTING CUSTOMER
SATISFACTI

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