BUFFALO - The Better Business Bureau has received calls from numerous consumers all across Upstate NY questioning deceptive and confusing mailings they have received from HomeServe USA
The HomeServe USA mailings inform recipients that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their exterior water lines, leaving them liable for repairs which could potentially cost thousands of dollars. It provides a toll-free number and a deadline to enroll in their Water Service Line Coverage. Some consumers in other parts of the country have stated the mailings appear to be from a local government agency or utility. BBB advices consumers to review these notices carefully, particularly the portion that says HomeServe USA is an independent company separate from your local utility or community. Additionally, while HomeServe USA is correct in that homeowners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their water lines' "utility service connection to your home," the warranty coverage HomeServe USA offers is optional.
"Consumers shouldn't feel pressured to make a decision about any warranty, service plan or insurance policy," said Warren Clark, Better Business Bureau President. "Take time to do your homework, research the company making the offer, make sure you understand what is and is not covered, and make sure you're not paying for duplicate coverage."
The BBB recommends the following tips to consumers who receive a call or letter from HomeServe USA or similar companies:
Read the service contract very carefully and make sure you have a clear understanding of it, especially the exclusions, before agreeing to buy coverage. Don't purchase coverage over the phone without seeing a contract with all verbal promises in writing
Contact your water utility to see what your responsibility is as a homeowner
If coverage is included in your homeowner's policy, ask how HomeServe USA's coverage would work with your current policy.
Make sure you're familiar with the company's cancellation policy and the Federal Trade Commission's Cooling Off Rule
Check the company's BBB Business Review at bbb.org to see if there are any unanswered, unresolved or unusual pattern of complaints that other consumers have noticed
The Better Business Bureau gives HomeServe USA an A- customer service rating. Yet, the BBB has recorded 259 complaints about the company in three years. The complaints include "problems with product/service," "guarantee/warranty issues" and "billing/collection issues."
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org.