5 On Your Side

Wake Forest woman steamed over air conditioner problems

Posted June 24, 2008 11:00 a.m. EDT
Updated June 25, 2008 9:34 a.m. EDT

— With temperatures heating up this time of year, a broken air conditioner can be trouble. If the unit breaks, the goal is getting it fixed within a reasonable time.

Pat Lewis, a Wake Forest homeowner, said she waited months for her air conditioner to be repaired. Upset with the lack of progress, Lewis contacted 5 on Your Side.

Lewis’s second-floor air conditioning unit had been broken since March because, she said, she has had trouble getting the unit repaired.

She pays $455 a year for a home warranty from HomeSure of America. Lewis said the company sent a repairman from A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning to her home in early April. The man replaced the Freon, but the unit stopped cooling again a few weeks later. A-1 sent someone out again.

After a needed part for the unit arrived a month later, Lewis said A-1 wouldn’t replace it, claiming it was too hot in the attic that houses the unit.

Lewis said that since then, she and her husband have called HomeSure twice a day.

“Oh, I think it's absurd. I would come home from school and I would get on the phone and I would spend two hours either on hold or arguing with them about getting it fixed,” Lewis said.

To cope with the heat indoors, Lewis and her family have put aluminum foil on windows to reflect the sun. She has also placed fans near the windows.

“We bought three more fans to suck the hot air out at night up here because it would get up to about 100 degrees,” Lewis said.

The family has been sleeping downstairs in an attempt to get cooler.

After Lewis called 5 on Your Side, parent company Cross Country Home Services sent a statement calling the delays an "unfortunate series of events" and "not representative" of customer experience. They also agreed to install a new system.

When contacted by 5 on Your Side, A-1 Service Manager Mike Rhodd said the warranty company initially ordered the wrong part. When they got the right part, he said he only sent the service rep to recharge the system because he had other customers he needed to get to first who didn't have any air. Rhodd also said he didn't want his service representative to pass out in the attic because of the heat.

Lewis said the new air conditioner was installed Friday and is working great.

When purchasing home warranties, investigate the company before buying.

HomeSure of America, for example, has had 105 complaints filed against it with the Better Business Bureau over the last three years.

Home warranty buyers should also learn exactly what is not covered. You should keep in mind, too, that warranty companies are more interested in repairing, rather than replacing, broken appliances.