When you buy a product, you usually get hit with a decision: should you pay more for a multi-year service agreement?
Some agreements pay for repairs, while others cover preventative maintenance visits.
Sandy Stelmach bought a preventative agreement with Desert Valley Aire. She paid about $1,000 for five years of twice-yearly visits.
But Desert Valley Aire shut down suddenly without giving Sandy any refund for the remaining two years. A lot of customers let me know they paid for similar plans, some for 10 years.
We found Desert Valley Aire also owes the state. Last year, the attorney general fined the company $340,000 for making thousands of illegal robocalls. So far, the state says Desert Valley Aire hasn't paid any of it.
While the Attorney General's Office is "evaluating its enforcement options," Susan and the others are on their own.
The state's Registrar of Contractors says it "has no jurisdiction over maintenance service agreements."
The Arizona Department of Insurance regulates home warranties, but says these "agreements" are not the same.
It leaves Sandy wondering if ANY of these contracts for future work are worth the money.
While not all service contracts are bad, they all involve risk. These preventative service agreements aren't regulated, businesses close and unscrupulous companies could use them to find unnecessary repairs.
If you're considering one, really do your homework. Check out the company name online for reviews or actions taken against them. Make sure they are properly licensed if that's required.
As for Desert Valley Aire's David Charles and Toni Rose Dimick, if you are reading this, do the right thing.
Give these people refunds!