IBJOpinion

HETRICK: Mundane matters of middle-class homebuyers

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Bruce Hetrick

I was going to tell you my oven story.

My wife and I bought a new home, you see. It cost a lot of money. So even though the seller signed the required forms saying everything was hunky-dory; even though an inspector went through the place on our behalf; even though the seller spent thousands of dollars fixing the things the inspector said needed fixing, we purchased homeowner’s warranty insurance at the time we closed on the property.

Allegedly, this insurance would cover our fannies should certain things fail after the sale. Allegedly, appliances were one of those things.

Months before we moved in, while we were still remodeling and redecorating the place, the oven started beeping.

Having had this problem at our previous home, we suspected the likely culprit: a faulty control panel.

We called the homeowner’s warranty company. They directed us to one of their preferred repair companies.

We set an appointment and waited through the proverbial four-hour window for the fellow to appear.

Naturally, the oven didn’t make a sound while he was in the house. He said there was nothing he could do.

Service charge: $75.

After we moved in last month, I turned on the oven to reheat some pizza—our favorite staple while unpacking box after box of material possessions.

I set the oven for 400 degrees. It got to 100—and shut itself off.

I set it again. It shut itself off.

I tried again. It shut itself off.

So we called the homeowner’s warranty company. They directed us to the same preferred repair company.

We set an appointment and waited through the proverbial four-hour waiting window.

This time, the repairman encountered the same problem I encountered.

He told us we likely needed to replace the oven.

Service charge: $75 and wait to hear from the homeowner’s warranty company.

After nagging the insurer and waiting through loopy voicemail loops and endless on-hold music, we eventually learned the warranty company didn’t like their preferred vendor’s diagnosis. They wanted a second opinion.

So they directed us to a second preferred repair company.

We set an appointment and waited through the proverbial four-hour window.

Repair doctor two encountered the same problem repair doctor one and I encountered.

But he said we needed a new control panel. Naturally, he didn’t have the part.

So we waited some more—without an oven—for the part to arrive.

After we and our real estate agent nagged the appliance repair firm and the homeowner’s warranty firm for several weeks, and waited for hours through loopy voicemail loops and endless on-hold music, the part was finally overnighted to the repair firm.

We set an appointment and waited through the proverbial four-hour window.

The repairman installed the new part. It failed like the original part. He said we needed to replace the oven.

But the homeowner’s warranty insurance firm didn’t like that diagnosis. They wanted to try a third control panel.

So we set yet another appointment and waited through yet another four-hour window for the fellow to appear.

He didn’t. So I texted him. He called to say his boss decided we needed a new oven. He said he’d report that to the warranty company.

After we and our real estate agent nagged the insurance company some more—and waited through more loopy voicemail loops and more hours of on-hold music—the insurer eventually agreed to replace the oven. They called after the fact to say they’d ordered one from the manufacturer. We checked the model number. They had ordered a Chevy to replace our Cadillac.

We and our real estate agent called to say this was unacceptable. We waited again through voicemail loops and on-hold music. Finally, a rude representative said it was too late to change because the order had already been placed. We asked for a supervisor.

Days later, we learned that that order had, in fact, been canceled, and if we wanted to match the oven we’d purchased with the house, we’d have to cough up a few hundred dollars because the insurer “had to draw the line somewhere.”

We’re hoping to have an oven in the house by Thanksgiving.

I was going to share this oven story. I was going to offer sage consumer counsel about home warranty firms that try to dodge claims.

But then I read about Tomisue Hilbert suing John Menard over alleged sexual advances; and John Menard sacking Steve Hilbert in an act of alleged retaliation for Tomisue’s refusal; and John Menard’s legal battle with Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, in some related action; and Melania’s angst that the whole mess would cost her millions.

And having read about the problems rich people have—and, oh by the way, The Indianapolis Star’s report that 80,000 children are going hungry in Indianapolis—I figured that, frankly, no one would care about some unbaked middle-class warning over homeowner’s warranty insurance.•

__________

Hetrick is an Indianapolis-based writer, speaker and public relations consultant. His column appears twice a month. He can be reached at bhetrick@ibj.com.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • One bad apple
    You had a bad experience, but please don't assume all Warranty companies are as bad as this one. Next time use RWS, a locally owned nation wide company. No voicemail loops, real people who answer the phone and a much higher level of customer service. Good luck.
  • Which company?
    I am reaching home warranty companies. Could you give the name of the company?
  • MS
    Appreciate this tale - first, to know one is not alone in these 4-hour waits, bad 'solutions' and the rest. And knocking it into proportion ;)

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT