BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - Brian Brookey woke up one recent Saturday morning to a loud banging noise coming from outside his home.
"It sounded like somebody had a jack hammer going on this side of the house,” Brookey said.
His air conditioning unit had gone out -- right in the middle of a heat wave.
"The whole inside of it is chewed up. The fins are gone. The copper coils are ripped up,” he said, describing the damage to the AC unit.
Brookey called his home warranty company, American Home Shield.
A serviceman came out to assess the damage. In a written report, he said he felt the unit was non-repairable after the fan blade had snapped and the condenser severely damaged all four sides.
A short time later, Brookey got a call from American Home Shield declining the claim because the damage was not caused by “normal wear and tear”.
"I felt like somebody had kicked me in the gut,” he said. Brookey's next call was to Call For Action.
CFA contacted American Home shield to find out why the claim was denied. The company sent out another repair person to Brookey’s home to assess the damage. After that, American Home Shield gave the go-ahead to replace the AC unit.
In a written response to Call for Action, a company spokesman said the first repairman felt that, "something other than normal wear and tear had damaged the fan blade causing it to break and therefore causing damage to the condenser coil."
The company then contacted a second contractor who felt the "condenser fan motor came off the bracket due to normal wear and tear."
Brookey's AC is back on and cooling the home.
“If Channel 41 hadn't of stepped in and helped us out, we would still be fighting with them,” he said.
American Home Shield said they encourage their customers to understand their contracts before they purchase or use it.
But if your claim is denied and you disagree, dispute it. If that doesn't work, contact Call For Action.
Here is additional information from American Home Shield to our questions:
1. What can consumers do to understand what is covered by their policy?
a. We encourage homeowners, like all consumers, to understand their contracts before they purchase or need to use their home warranties – before dealing with inconvenience of an unexpected breakdown. In addition to mailing our customers a printed copy of their contract,we also have their contracts available online 24/7, and we have service representatives available seven days a week who will be glad to discuss specific questions that our customers may have. We also provide regular tips to our customers through monthly e-newsletters and our website to help ensure they know how to make the most of their home warranties.
2. What should they do if they feel their claim should not have been denied?
a. If AHS customers disagree with the original diagnosis, AHS offers customers the opportunity to have a second contractor come out and offer a second opinion. If the diagnosis is the same as the original contractor, the customer may be responsible for a second service fee – however, if the second diagnosis is different, AHS will work with that contract to make the approved repairs or replacement.
The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) based in Olathe. Click here to find additional consumer information and tips.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Call For Action Headlines
A lot of scam artists will try to capitalize on the latest natural disaster by getting you do donate to a bogus charity. Here are some simple things you can do to make sure you are giving to a legitimate organization.