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Ark-la-tex resident scammed by Home Warranty Company - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Ark-la-tex resident scammed by Home Warranty Company

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Buying and selling a home are no small tasks.  And unfortunately, there are scammers out there looking to cash in on the often complicated process.  First time home buyers Michelle Bogan and her husband thought they'd found a good deal when they bought a house with a home warranty included for the first year.  But right after moving in, Bogan found the company behind the warranty wasn't following through - and as it turns out - the company isn't even supposed to selling policies in the state of Louisiana.

During one of our warmer days in December, the Bogan's A/C unit went out.  She knew it was covered, so she called "Sensible Home Warranty." "They sent someone out, he looked at it, said it was one problem, turns out it wasn't that it was the compressor, and he would have to get with underwriting at Sensible to get it fixed. Well, they went back and forth with us for a few months saying they needed maintenance records or else they wouldn't fix it."

The warranty contract specifically says "in the event one of the major systems...requires replacement...Maintenance records are required.  In the event no maintenance can be had (ie. New home purchase) a copy of the home inspection must be furnished to sensible home warranty."  Bogan says she gave them the inspection report right away.  And she even had the previous owner provide some earlier maintenance reports. 

"I've contacted them several times," she says, "they just keep saying they want maintenance records, and the past couple times I've contacted them saying we reported them to the Better Business Bureau, they haven't even responded."  Bogan said according to her correspondence with the BBB, "Sensible Home Warranty" hasn't responded to the BBB either, once her formal complaint was filed.

Unfortunately, the Bogan's aren't the only people fed up with this company. There are over 1,300 complaints filed against them on the BBB's web site.  "Sensible Home Warranty" has an "F" letter grade with the BBB.  In Oklahoma, the Insurance Commissioner revoked their license.  And, "Cease and Desist" orders have been sent by Utah, Washington, and Louisiana.

"They are not licensed in our state," says Louisiana Insurance Commissioner James Donelon, "They're authorized in other states...to do home warranty business but they're not authorized in Louisiana, even though they were selling such contracts in our state.  We issued a "Cease and Desist" order to them and told them to stop doing business in our state."  That "Cease and Desist" order was sent back in January of 2013, almost a year before Bogan's policy went into effect. 

So ultimately, you the consumer need to make sure you don't wind up like the Bogan's.  "Do your research, do you due diligence, look at it from every angle, check with other people, look at reviews online," says Bogan.  And you can't take the companies word for it since "Sensible Home Warranty" claims it's a provider that "truly cares for its policy holders" and is "guaranteed to save you money and give you a peace of mind."  In a letter sent to the Bogan's when their policy started "Sensible Home Warranty" thanked them for their business, assuring them their choice was a solid one.

"I feel like we were really betrayed and lied to by the insurance company," says Bogan, "We're going to have to get our whole unit replaced because our air conditioner is old...we're going to go in debt about $8,000."

The local contractor sent out is "V Force Repairs."  We spoke with them about the bogan's situation.   They say they told "Sensible Home Warranty" what needed to be fixed at the bogan's house.  But they can't perform the repairs because they've never heard back from the company has yet to authorize the repair. And "V Force Repairs" claims they're still waiting to be paid by Sensible for work they've done for other warranty clients.  

When choosing a home warranty company, both the Department of Insurance and Better Business Bureau are good resources.However, if you have a complaint with an insurance company, make sure you file a complaint with the insurance commissioner.   They can fine, reprimand, and regulate the insurance industry, unlike the BBB.

If you want to file a complaint with the DOI, Donelon says this is how it is handled: "We submit it to the company, and we take complaints either verbally, online or even over the phone...And they under statue have X number of days to reply to the complaint. They typically ask for an extension of time in which to investigate the matter and submit their answer.  Sometimes we grant that extension, I'd even say most times we grant it for an additional 30 days, maybe 15, and when the response comes in we evaluate that and make a determination as to whether or not the company was at fault.  We keep a tally by company, by agent, by adjustor, whoever we regulate, of complaints against that particular individual or company." 

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