Let Joe Know: World's most organized consumer goes up against home warranty company

FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ - Jules Schwager is what I like to call the most organized man in the world! Or at least in Fountain Hills.

He is a consumer we should all try to emulate – and businesses should fear.

"I write everything down," he admitted.

He keeps organized records of just about everything – from receipts and bills to a log of the PH balances in his home spa.

In fact, he routinely examines his pool equipment and, recently, noticed leaking in the spa heating area.

"It was rusty on the side," he said.

CLAIM DENIED

So, he called his home warranty company, American Home Shield, which sent out two contractors to check it out.

Their conclusion? The heating element failed because the PH level in the water was too high. And, since a problem caused by high PH levels is excluded under the warranty, American Home Shield denied his more than $2,000 claim.

But Schwager says neither of the contractors tested the water for PH levels. "I was with them every minute they were here," he said.

So, Schwager posted a complaint on Ripoffreport.com .

That was just the beginning.

RESEARCH

Schwager turned to his pool company. They provided him years of PH readings – one taken every week. The readings were not high.

Then, Schwager contacted the spa's manufacturer to find out the life expectancy of the unit. It was 15 to 20 years, he said.

His unit was 19 years old. The manufacturer told him in an email, "I don't think the leak was caused by a sudden change in your water chemistry, rather a natural degradation of the tubes from the age of the unit."

They said if it was water chemistry, it would have happened a long time ago.

Still, the warranty company wouldn't budge.

So, Schwager paid for the spa replacement parts himself.

TAKE ANOTHER LOOK

I asked American Home Shield to take another look at all of Schwager's proof. They did, and a few days later –

"They called me after they had been informed by you good people," Schwager said.

The company asked for the documentation supporting Schwager's claim – and then sent him a check for $2,200.

American Home Shield said they "carefully examined the details of his pool claim, as well as the additional documentation provided, and we are pleased to provide reimbursement."

THE LESSON

The lesson? Document everything! Once the home warranty company saw his binders full of proof, they came through for him and covered his claim.

RipoffReport.com tells us they get many complaints about various home warranty companies, so read the fine print before you sign up for one. Make sure to check for exceptions that are not covered.

And if you have a complaint about a home warranty policy, file a complaint with the Arizona Department of Insurance.

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at joe@abc15.com or by going to my  "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.

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