First American Home Buyers Protection
I just bought a house and it came with a 1 year prepaid warranty by the seller from First American Home Buyers Protection. What a deal!
Once we moved into the house I found that the over the stove microwave oven display stopped working after about 1 week. Furthermore, the start/stop button would push in and then not pop back out.
No problem! Just call the wonderful warranty service and the thing would be fixed. Then the horror story begins..
I filed the complaint online and within 24 hours received a reply stating that C. R. Pendley Appliance Service company of Beeville, Texas (56 miles away) would be responding to the problem. I received a call from the service contractor and gave them the model number, serial number and date of manufacture so that they could bring the correct technical manuals and repair parts with them. (You have to realize that I have been an industrial electronic engineer and repairman since 1979, owned my own business engaged in the repair of electrical and electronic equipment since then, and could have easily repaired the problem myself, but when you get old, lazy and well off, you call others).
Well, the repairman shows up, takes the front panel off the microwave and quickly determines that the display doesn't work and the solution to the problem is to replace the whole power supply/controller unit with a new one. As far as the broken button was concerned, the corrective solution was to replace the entire front panel of the machine. He did not have the parts to repair it even though I gave them a very detailed description of the problem and all of the information necessary to obtain those parts before coming down to fix it.
Well, he charges me $60.00 for the service call (it stated in the contract that a service call would be $60.00) and that no further charges would be incurred for the repair parts. However, he said that since it was a Sharp R-1500 model, that parts would be very difficult to findeven if he couldand the only place he knew that they might exist would be in Fort Worth, Texas.
I paid him and he returned to Beeville to order parts to repair the unit. The next day I receive a call from the contractor and all that they wanted to know was the measurements of the microwave. I gave it to them and asked why. The lady there (Nellie) said that First American may be thinking of replacing the microwave instead of repairing it. I waited several days and since they did not call me back, called them to find out what was going on. They said that as far as they were concerned the case was closed and that if I wanted any information that I would have to call First American Home Buyers Protection and find out. Well, I did.
I gave them the claim number and the representative said she would check on it and then came back and said that they did not know why the problem was not fixed yet. She said to hold on the line and she would call C. R. Pendley Appliance Service and find out. After a while, she came back on and said that she called and no one answered the phone (a problem that I had several times in trying to contact them) and that if they could not repair the problem she would contact another contractor to do it.
I then told her that I had already paid the contractor $60.00 and would I be billed if another contractor took the service call. The answer was that EACH trip would cost $60.00! Well, I was already out $60.00 and was not going to spend more so I did what I do best repair the d**n thing myself. Hell! If enough contractors showed up I could have afforded to buy 2 or 3 new microwaves for the cost of service calls alone!
The c**k and bull story the serviceman told me about the difficulty in finding the parts to repair it with was confirmed as an outright lie or display of complete incompetence, once I spent about 3 minutes on the internet with a Google search with the model number. I found the repair parts on partstore.com within 3 minutes of searching.
I bought the control unit for $91.34 and the select button switch assembly for $14.95. That came to a parts cost of $106.29. If I had First American send another Yahoo it would have cost $120.00 for the both service calls and I would have still not had the unit repaired since the new service contractor would have to go back and get parts and then charge me another $60.00 (making the labor bill $180.00) before any work was actually done.
That evening my wife informed me that she had called First American and tried to get to the bottom of the problem also. She was told that the first service call was only to troubleshoot the microwave since the contractor told them that they had no idea what the problem was and what model, brand or serial number was involved an outright LIE! As I stated before, they were given all of the nameplate information. She was told that the repair service call would be another $60.00!
I have been in the industrial service business for over 29 years and can instantly identify incompetent and deceptive service personnel and businesses. I would not hire a service person who could not find parts either in the interned or vendor.nor would I let them stay on the payroll if they ever lied to a customer.
What a rip-off! Thank God the wonderful warranty service contract was provided free of charge as part of the house sale for one year. I would not have bought the policy anyway because if you read it, you will find that the cost of the warranty far exceeds any return you may get.especially when you have to pay $60.00 for EACH trip the repairman has to make!
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