5 On Your Side

Homeowner soaked by water heater warranty plan

Posted May 29, 2013 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated May 29, 2013 5:40 p.m. EDT

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.