2011-01-02 - 1:33 p.m.
My enthisuasm for the HMS Home Warranty has waned upon the reality of attempting to have the company honor the terms of the actual contract.
Amazing to me that despite a cashed 100 check by the plumber along with an invoice that stipulates TWO additional hours of labor for $130 are required;
Now I am very clear on the legal definition of "Access"
And it is VERY clearly my obligation under the contract to provide "access"- meaning that the property is OPEN and someone is there to let the repair person(s) in; and that the item they need to repair is not obstructed, but accessible. The contract also make it clear if there is work required to gain "Access to electrical componants" that is NOT covered under the warranty but is a NON COVERED CHARGE that the recipient (aka holder of warranty) must cover.
So we have had this "discussion" more than a few times as to who is legally obligated to cover that $130 labor additional that the plumber needs as they really would like two men to carry in the water heater and install it properly. (Considering they are not gifted with a person like PIPPI- the strongest person in the WORLD who can prefom otherwise in-human feats with ease.)
I told the insurance company I don't care if the provider sends one or ten people or a monkey (should they have one like Mr. Nelson on their payroll.) but that the obligation of the company providing service in the manner they choose is NOT MY issue, but one between the insurance company and the provider of service-- and I don't care how they handle THEIR ISSUE With each other as to how much labor the company will cover with the plumber. As for me- I am accountable to my obligations to them under the contract-- and provided access ; and they are accountable to their obligation to me under the contract of providing a replacement water heater, and labor and installation.
It's funny to me how the authorization dude then was reading the contract to me to convince me otherwise - that the $130 charges are not covered in full, right AFTER the cutstomer service person AGAIN re-iterated "YES all labor is covered" and he read on and himself read the caveat "access to electical"
yet how he played dumb (or are just was not too bright) when I clarified "YES however there is no 'ACCESS' issue as the electrical line is right there hanging above the old heater it is currently connected to"
HE got frustrated and said "I am not going to argue this anymore, you can talk to customer service"
So their method of handling a dispute is to bump one back and forth, and have Customer Service say "YAH" when "Authorization" says "NAY" and then refusal to give the FAX # by which they could expeditious receive the actual scope of work where it says in writing by plumber "2 hours LABOR $130" as they prefer to construct in their creative minds that the two hours is a non convered charge.
Knowing full well however that the cost of any ONE individual who at that point has NO HOT WATER to file a dispute with an AMERICAN ARBITROR in the STATE OF MASSACHUSSETS pursuant to the clause that precludes one from filing an $80 small claims suit for specific preformance (which would be cheaper) IS NOT FEASIBLE.
So basically, Consumers, even those with the clear legal understanding of a contract who KNOW Their contract is NOT BEING HONORED and who KNOW they have rights under the contract being ignored really have NO RECOURSE but to shell over the $130 or not do so and then pay out of pocket to take care of the repair themselves at fair market value.
(Unless their pride and love of a dipute are both so dysfunctionally high that they would someone get pleasure from going to Massachusetts or paying a lawyer just to be RIGHT and prove their point! There are not that MANY psychotic people in the world thankfully!)
So insurance companys know that they don't have to honor contracts as most NORMAL people will not get that upset or force the issue that far in order to just BE RIGHT. Most normal people will accept having hot water for their family is MORE IMPORTANT than the $130.
I in fact pushed the point as I didn't HAVE the $130.
So I had little choice than to argue to try to get HMS to honor my contract.
Good news is that I have discovered it just isn't that hard to live without hot water for a few weeks. REALLY- MUCH easier than living without CLEAN WATER which we did when the well went and I had to get that repaired a few years back on the farm. That entailed boiling ALOT of water.
This inconvienience is only that of boiling one pot to dump and mix in the sink for a wash up and taking turns going in shift to our neighbors for the shower for the kids. Nice to have great neighbors. For me, it is incentive to hit the gym at work where I shower after a workout anyway.
Which is why I thought it was smarter for me to try to ride it out and see if I could hold HMS to honoring the contract. My pride DID motivate as I wasn't going to Ask anyone else to tak on that obligation of proving the means to pay for the repair of the necessity of a water heater repair in my home. My pride extends so far as I keep a clear deliniation of taking care of my responsibilites myslef when I can. And at times that just means patience until I CAN provide them.
I however have given up and am ready to have the company come, check in hand for all the so called "non covered charges", a check with is not from MY Account but borrowed cash from a friend.
Pride at some point is NOT wise; but foolhardy. I mean those who are SO prideful to insist on taking care of their responsbilities when they are UNABLE and NOT ask for help are really in need of someone to wake them up a bit. There is something wrong with NOT accepting help from others to provide basic necessities.
So when my pushing the issue did NOT resolve the concern and end up with my water heater being fixed (as I expected) it was time for me to graciously accept the offer of help from my friend.
I did hold the line at refusal to pay the $50 "disposal fee" for removal of the old water tank.
I would prefer to take it over to the recycle scrap place in Sterling myself where a friend works an I will get paid for the hunk of metal.
Not that much of a hassle, and in fact I might be able to car pool to work on the way as my former car pool buddy works there. I think I will call and if we swap rides for a few days it will be nice to catch up and he likely will be happy to haul that away and HE can keep the few cents on the pound for that (if he is allowed to.)
Totally fine for the "optional" disposal fee that they then make money on by their selling of scrap. That is a WISE way to make money-- but its the shady lying and pretending and playing dumb of obligations that is amazing to me.
If I KNEW the plumber who is really NOT making any money from cheap insurance companies who don't even cover their cost to actually do a job themself got the scrap metal fee I might even be HAPPY to pay that $50 if I had it. But the thing is, I don't have that kinds of extra cash in my budget when basic expenses exceed income here in Loudoun, so I can't afford to NOT nitpick over that extra $198 charge total to get my hot water running.
Life goes on.
I'll swallow my pride, take the loan and add it to list of obligations that I owe to pay off when can.
So there is a $146 check here from a friend's account for the plumber who will call back ( I hope) and reschedule when to come to replace the water heater.
I'll work from home remote AGAIN easly this week ( I expect), and hopefully this time will end the day with hot water.
The good news is that the water which had soaked a good part of the basement and started to stink a bit is now dry and with constant shop vac, some ammonium chloride and carpet cleaner and wide open windows with fresh air and a de-humidifier running non stop at least we now have a dry and HEALTHY basement that isn't going to give us all asthma.
I was actually happy it was VERY windy a few days which helped. I didn't care that the basement was cold as we all stayed out of there, and there was a space heater in the one one adjacent room for the time being- so the wind really helped dry it out.
I did feel badly that it was the week the big kids were here, when their space of the BASEMENT was inhabitable! They didn't seem to mind too much as Soren had use of the neighbor's guest room, and Katerina was gracious about use of the living room couch all week.
Of course when we all spent time over the neighbors then the DOGS there kicked in the asthma for some of the rest of us-- so it was a bummer! But we had THREE albuteral inhalors on hand for each of those diagnosed with asthma!
But its now resolved and so happy that the basement passes my sensitive test (as I get asthma the worst of anyone in the family from ANY mold or mildew; I have NO TOLERENCE at all.)
I can go to the basement and breathe easy again which is a big relief.
And truth be told, in the end, DESPITE the hassle- when I think about it I STILL recognize that DEPITE the fact Insuance companies do all they can to not honor contracts and reduce their costs, in the end I will likely recognize that to spend $400 on a home insurance warranty NEXT YEAR will be a WISE fiscal move.
I can't afford not to make such an investment! This year the dishwasher, plumbing of pipes and the hot water heater all required repair.
I realize I have a furnace that is pushing 20 years old and an old refrigerator and washer and dryer.
It will be wise for me to spend that $400.
For if I don't and one of those go- I will then be disappointed to not have the hassle of an insurance company to deal with and to have to shell out much more that I can not afford for repair of an appliance!
However, there are OTHER companies than HMS, and this is the thing they don't seem to get.
As someone who will purchase an insurance policy and whom will likely spend $400 dollars on one for the next few years-- after this year the odds are I WON'T have anything major go wrong and it will be the years that the insurance company makes a profit on me.
However in those profit making years on me as a consumer it will not be HMS which is the beneficiary.
They ruin their own busines by lack of ethics and common sense.