5 On Your Side

Homeowner soaked by water heater warranty plan

Posted May 29, 2013

Seeing water pooled underneath a hot water heater is something every homeowner dreads, but a Raleigh woman wasn't too concerned when she saw just that in the fall. 

She thought she was covered thanks to a Duke Energy Progress warranty plan to cover repairs or replacement.

For $5.99 a month, HomeServe covered repairs or replacement up to $850. Allyson Smith thought it was a deal she couldn't turn down, so she signed up in November.

When she discovered a leak February, she quickly called the warranty company to have them repair it.

"I had water sitting in the pan that I had to wet-vac every day," she said. 

Little did she know, they never enrolled her in the program because of an error she said made no sense.

"They said I don't own this home," she said. "They said that I was a renter and that a landlord would be responsible for making repairs to the water heater."

In fact, Smith had purchased her home in 2009. Duke Energy Progress still had paperwork on file from the previous owner but never told Smith about the discrepancy when she signed up for the HomeServe service. 

She complained to the Better Business Bureau, and Duke said she could sign up for the program again. But they said it wouldn't apply to the current leak.

"The pre-existing condition with the leaking water heater would not be covered, which at that time just incensed me," Smith said.

After contacting 5 On Your Side, Duke made good on the service, re-enrolled Smith in the program and replaced her hot water heater.

"It looks great, and it works great," Smith said. "I'm very happy."

Despite having a new water heater, Smith is still enrolled in the $5.99 a month service program.


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  • russh198 Jun 4, 2013

    "$6.00 a month times an entire year = $612.00 a month.
    Chances are Ms. Smith will not need a water heater for about 10 years.
    That's $6,120.00 over 10 years."
    6*12=612? My calculator must be broken. Hmm...this one seems to be broken, too. And this one!

  • georgesnider88 Jun 3, 2013

    Wow, can you imagine what their response would be when their nuclear plants have a leak? Just Google "Crystal River 3 nuclear plant" for the answer. But then again, Duke bought Progress, that means they are not the original owners, and are not liable.............

  • Pseudonym Jun 3, 2013

    $6.00 a month times an entire year = $612.00 a month.

    Chances are Ms. Smith will not need a water heater for about 10 years.

    That's $6,120.00 over 10 years.

    She would be better served by cancelling this wasteful "service" and putting the money in savings or a money market. Then, when her water heater, dishwasher, washing machine, or whatever dies, she has plenty of cash to buy whatever she needs.

    Quit feeding Duke Energy's greed!!!

  • Tax Man May 30, 2013

    And now we are stuck with Duke Power in Wake County - actually should be free competition on Utilities - If we had about 5 power companies and water companies and gas companies and trash companies all competing for our money we would save a lot and get much better service - oh yeah, cable too!

  • cocker_mom May 30, 2013

    Read it again - both HomeServe AND Duke tried to get out of their respective obligations. Imagine having some yahoo on the phone to call "your landlord" to fix your water heater when you'd owned the home for years! Wow - that takes, er, well.... something.

    And then to have Duke not do the right thing either - shady.

  • cocker_mom May 30, 2013

    it's sad they tried to get away with this. If they wee taking her $5.99 per month, then they had a contract with her - i.e. she paid them for an offered service. What their "records" indicated were completely irrelevant - she was the homeowner.

    I really dislike it when companies like this do something so blatantly WRONG to get out of paying / doing what they should. She would have won a court case as a slam dunk. Too bad there wasn't a way to make them pay a little bit for the scam aspect of their initial denial.

    Imagine if she had just done nothing? How many other $5.99's are they collecting with no intention of paying a legitimate claim???

  • Huey May 30, 2013

    Well folks, I got the plan added to my bill about 2 years or so ago and am glad I did. Have called them twice - both times was a bad element which they replaced. Duke is not evil, just your usual utility company. Seems like a mistake was made with this lady and I am sure they will fix things now that Monica is on to them.

  • more cowbell May 30, 2013

    Just like extended warranties, these so called, "offers" are nothing but a scam. The only reason they exist at all is because they generate a PROFIT, especially when you have corporate Big Brother (AKA Duke Energy) calling the shots, making up the rules as you go. Anything that has the name "Duke" attached whole or in part you should avoid like the plague.

  • albegadeep May 30, 2013

    If she "wasn't the owner", then why did they let her sign up for the plan and pay $6/month? Sounds like a lot of the aftermarket vehicle warranty places - accept the money, and then use any excuse possible to never have to pay.

  • The Contractor May 30, 2013

    You can expect this from every coporation, they're in business to make a profit, not to provide a service for reasonable cost. Ever bought something that was on sale via rebate? you send in your receipts and paperwork and 6 months later you get a postcard saying they couldnt read it, could you resend in yoru information. by that time most people didnt keep a copy or sent in the originals and just give up. Companies rake in tons of money this way.