BBB: Warranty advertisements can be misleading
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Callers have expressed frustration to the Better Business Bureau because their warranty claims keep getting denied, the consumers can’t get in touch with the warranty provider and advertisements are deceptive in many cases. Consumer advocate Jo Ann Deal with the BBB joined us on Good Morning ArkLaMiss to explain the issues some home warranties present.
When you purchase an expensive item like a car, television, or appliance, you expect a manufacturer’s warranty to assure that it works properly. Did you know that you can also get a home warranty plan for your home? Some builders offer a home warranty (their own or from a third party), but you can also purchase one yourself. You can even have both: a warranty or service contract that you buy may supplement or extend what your builder offers. You can also buy a warranty for an older home.
What do home warranties cover?
BBB Doesn’t expect a home warranty to cover every problem for any amount of time, so be sure to read the terms before signing up. They generally offer coverage on work and materials for specific parts of the home (like windows, plumbing, electrical systems, heat, and air conditioning) for a set period of time, which can vary depending upon the system or parts. For example, the warranty coverage for major structural defects may last a lot longer than coverage for drywall and paint. You can also add appliances to many home warranty plans to extend your coverage, but you may be limited in the number and type of appliances that you can add.
GMA Warranties for appliances and other systems
Many builder-provided warranties for new homes do not cover a lot of items or systems inside the house or are limited in what they cover. This may affect things like appliances, HVAC systems, small cracks in brick, tile, cement, or drywall, things already covered by manufacturers’ warranties, or expenses you may incur, like staying in a hotel while work is being done. However, you can look into separate warranties for those things.
Many of those items will come with manufacturers’ warranties, but you can buy supplemental or extended warranties you can buy in addition to them.
As with any contract, you must read the warranty carefully to understand what is covered and for how long, who’s responsible for finding someone to make the repairs, and how to resolve a dispute if something goes wrong. Be sure you understand what will and will not void your warranties (for instance, not changing the filter regularly may void the furnace’s warranty).
GMA So, what if something does go wrong?
File your claim as specified in the warranty, and keep copies of all correspondence with the company, as well as notes on any conversations.
Research the business doing the work. Whether you find the proper repair professional or the warranty company provides one, check them out on BBB.org before letting them work in your home. Some warranty companies automatically go with the cheapest provider, but that’s a good deal for them, not you.
Know your rights. If there is an issue over coverage or whether the work has been done improperly, many warranties provide for mediation and arbitration. Sometimes you have to pay a fee for these services; you could even end up going to court. Read your warranty carefully to understand how issues are resolved and what you may end up paying.
For more information:
- Check out your builder, the home warranty company, and all contractors at BBB.org.
- In the U.S., the FTC has information on warranties for newly built homes and on warranties in general.
- Builders in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec are required by law to provide a home warranty plan. Contact Consumers Council of Canada or your provincial housing agency for more information.
- Find a home warranty plan near you.
Check out BBB.org to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, report a scam, read tips, follow us on social media, and more.
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