HMS Home Warranty - Waste Line Leaks and "Delay, Delay, Deny"
Discovered a major leak with dark rust discoloration in our basement on a Friday morning. Called HMS at 645AM with the claim and they put it in as an emergency. Told to expect a call from one of their "network" service providers in two hours or call them back. No call. Called HMS...had to retell the entire story of the situation to new rep...told that they had contacted another service provider and expect a call in two hours. No call. Finally after waiting 15 hours to get HMS to get one of their network guys to show up I request permission to have an independent plumber come out and assess the problem. I agreed to cover the $99 for the service call and not authorize work until HMS could review the scope of work. The company I called showed up the next morning and assessed the situation. Cast iron plumbing was starting to go...leak was originating somewhere above where the waste lines from the first and second floor converge in the basement. Rough estimate for the repair work was roughly $2000. I had out of network plumber call HMS to get the work authorized. HMS rep claimed that there was no supervisor available to authorize that amount on a Saturday and that in any event they would only authorize $450 worth of repairs. I said that was unsatisfactory and the HMS rep, Lori, stated that the plumber i had contacted was trying to rip me off. She said that one of HMS primary goals was to protect us from predatory plumbing practices. So I told Lori that I wanted a quote from one of their in network providers that they trusted to provide reasonable pricing. Mind you....all of the work the plumber said needed to be done HMS said was covered by the policy that purchased by Weichert Realty when we purchased our house in November '14. So after going through another round (days) of trying to get HMS to get one of their service providers to call us to set up and appointment and having to explain to multiple new HMS reps what our situation was, I called one of their providers and was able to schedule an appointment on my first try. By this time, I'm totally convinced that HMS has mastered the art of telling the customer that they are actively trying to help them while trying their hardest to avoid honoring a claim. "Delay, Delay, Deny" is how I've come to term their customer service tactics. Make the customer so fed up with the situation that the customer either takes some action that relieves HMS of having to pay the claim or customer gives up on pursuing the claim.
So we were able to get one of HMS's service providers to come out and assess our situation. Their plumber called the HMS claim department and stated he could not provide a detailed estimate because he would have to walls, bulkheads and floors in multiple rooms to track down the source of the leak and that I, the homeowner, would not authorize him to do so without a commitment from HMS to cover cost to complete the repairs and rough in the damage prior to him starting. HMS would not agree to this, but would agree to have an estimator come out and prepare a detailed estimate that would cover the leak, the replacement of cast iron pipes that were rusting from the inside/out and the most likely cause of the leak and head off future leaks. HMS agreed and I was able to schedule a licensed master plumbing insurance estimator come out to house and review the situation. After coming up with two options for resolving the leak situation and also preventing future serious leaks he called HMS to talk one of the claim supervisors. After their conversation, the estimator called me and said he was surprised that HMS's response. He said that HMS would only cover $120 of either option 1's $3500 price tag or $120 of option 2's $6800 price tag. Now, I wasn't expecting them to cover all of the costs, but I was expecting them to at least offer a fair split of the costs since the work was covered by the policy. All of the costs were for the removal of the rusting out cast iron waste lines, not repair of the walls nor of tile or ceilings. Just the waste lines that were significantly rusted out or actively leaking. So when faced with an estimate from one of their trusted service providers, HMS offered to cover less than the $450 they had previous said they would cover from a predatory plumbing estimate? I'm not asking for HMS to cover it all, all I am asking for is fair.
I have yet to call back HMS and discuss this latest development. I will tell you and Stephanie, the HMS eCustomer Relations Spin Doctor, that I have an open case against HMS with the Maryland Better Business Bureau. I'm sure she will say our case is unusual. Which after reading all of the complaints on this website and the MD BBB...it is not. She will say that they will review my case and check to see if it was handled correctly. It frankly hasn't in the eyes of this consumer...but by their corporate playbook it has been. Their aim is to collect your annual payment and not pay a claim. It is a great business model for them as long as their customers let them get away with it, keep their mouths shut when they find out what a scam these HMS home warranty policies are and fail to let their real estate agents know how worthless HMS's service is.
oflahert wrote the review because of poor customer service at HMS Home Warranty. Reviewer claimed that he or she lost $7000 and wants HMS Home Warranty to "honor the claim and negotiate a settlement in good faith".
The author asks this business to immediately contact him/ her to briefly discuss his/ her negative experience with the company.