Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's not a coincidence that American Horror Story and AmericanHomeShield share the same initials

I had a big long post with a timeline of this entire Life in the Tundra: Surviving Without Heat for Eight Days shitshow typed out but I deleted it. No one wants a blow by blow account of me being without heat from 8 pm on Thursday, January 8, until 7:30 pm on Friday, January 16. If you do, email me and I will give you one but you'll be sorry. It'll be whinier than Grandpa Joe laid up in bed in Willy Wonka.
We have a home warranty with American Home Shield. We've been customers for two years and have had satisfactory dealings with them in the past. Our previous claims have been small. This one was big. And they shit the bed handling it.

What I want you to take away from this blog post if you're a business person is that customer service is important, and what I want you to take away from this blog post if you're a consumer is that you do not want to sign up for a home warranty with American Home Shield.

Because American Home Shield dicked around looking for a non-existent part for a 20 year old heater for over two DAYS while we froze in our home. Hey American Home Shield, you had ONE job. 

It being January in Pennsylvania, temperatures were below 30 for seven out of eight days the heat was off (except the day heat was restored, naturally) with windchill in the single digits a few of those days. When I asked their reps if they would be comfortable in a 46 degree house, I was met with silence on the other end of the line. More than once. 

My main complaints against American Home Shield:

1. The contractor came out early on Monday (our choice, not an up front delay), contacted American Home Shield and told them what part was needed. As of Thursday, AHS was still looking for the part. No lie. Oh yes, still looking. Really?  REALLY? Still looking even with your vast supplier reach? I don't fucking think so. Remember the temperatures, everyone. Anyone with a brain knows that it doesn't take more than two days to find a freaking part. If you couldn't find it by noon on Tuesday, you probably weren't going to find it. Which means they dragged their feet on this issue because it was expensive for them. Even though it meant we froze.

2. Four different AHS agents asked me, "Is this your only source of heat?" SERIOUSLY? First of all, YES, secondly, WHY? You have a responsibility to fix the heater in a timely manner regardless of if I'm sleeping in a bed of hot coals. We had space heaters lent to us and there was no way I was telling them that - if I did we'd probably still be without heat.

3. They were VERY fucking lackadaisical about us being without heat for so long. Like oh, nothing more we can do except look for the part, laid back and relaxed, probably sitting in an 80 degree office in a tank top while I was wearing two layers and freaking out about the possibility of the pipes bursting in our house.

4. They waited until Wednesday - SIX DAYS after my initial call - to tell me I could spend up to $100 on space heaters and be reimbursed. Thank you, I will, even though the three space heaters I can buy with that allotment will warm my three story house about as much as a hot fart would.

5. Six days without heat and countless phone calls in, I finally lost my faith that AHS was going to do right by me. I am a quick tempered impatient asshole most days, and I really held my zen on this for six long, cold days (with Laura out of the country, and she is usually the person telling me to remain sane).

I was proud. I felt good and patient. And on the sixth day, I lost it.

In order to get the customer service I was entitled to being a contract holder, I had to mount a social media campaign (if you helped, thank you). AHS flat out deleted two of my posts on their facebook page, and deleted many comments from others on my one post that remained. That is a major red flag and social media no no for businesses. If you cannot stand tall and respond to customer complaints and work to fix issues, you're doing it wrong. All it does is tell people you have something to hide.

Fortunately for me you can't delete tweets, and I learned through twitter that another woman named Stephanie in Philadelphia has been without repair on her heater for SIX WEEKS. I thought we had it bad. That is a fucking disgrace. Even worse? The AHS policy of repair band aiding instead of replacement caused a fire and she had to run out of her house with her baby. All totally avoidable. And they are STILL looking for parts in her case. How about replace the entire thing especially since it was already on fire once? COME ON. There's a baby and a dog in that house, not to mention adults. Twitter friends, please help this lady out. I'd ask you to help her out on Facebook, but the below took place last night and as of today they've blocked her from commenting on their facebook page. No lie. These people are unbelievable.
Found beneath my post on the American Home Shield Facebook page
AHS is looking for replacement parts for this heater...that was on fire from previous band aid fixes
5. On the seventh day they finally assigned me a handler, someone who called me, gave me her number, and told me she'd be working with me all day. She proceeded to never return two of my phone calls later that afternoon. She called MFD instead. Was I flashing up on their phone systems as DANGEROUS CALL by that time? Probably. Guess what? I don't care. You invoked my wrath and now you have to deal with it. But since she didn't, back to Twitter I went. The pressure worked and the very next day our heater was replaced, less than 24 hours after I started pointing out to the world wide web how fucked up it was that by taking no action, American Home Shield was basically giving off the vibe that they didn't care if we froze.

I'm sorry that what we thought would be a small repair ended up costing them thousands. But that's their very business and dragging their feet because they didn't want to make the big repair is unforgivable. Even though they did the right thing in the end, their handling of this incident left a bad taste in my mouth. I feel like I was lied to on more than a few occasions. I feel like they half assed it at our expense, and they're out there doing it to other customers as we speak. 

If you have a mind to, please share this post on Facebook and/or Twitter so no other families find themselves with no heat and at the mercy of this company in the dead of winter. I know they need to watch their bottom line, but not at the expense of the health and well being of their customers. That's not a sustainable business model. 

Sorry AHS, I'm not an idiot, and you abused my patience so I had to release the hounds on you. People shouldn't have to do that in order for you to do your job. 

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Linking up with Shanna 

38 comments:

  1. That is ridiculous! I'm glad you got your heat back & I really hope other Stephanie does soon! I hope beyond social media you have both reported them to the BBB. I can't even imagine. I'm over here annoyed at them with a disgusted look on my face & I don't even have to deal with them.

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  2. THAT IS SOME FUCKED UP SHIT RIGHT THERE. THIS IS ALL IN CAPS BECAUSE THAT KIND OF FUCKERY BY A GODDAMN COMPANY IS UNFORGIVABLE.

    are you tied to them ie. do you have to go with them or are there other options? you know how you hate insurance (car/life etc) but have to pay for it and have to choose a company that is the lesser of all evil (companies)? can you select another company for heating/repairs etc?

    they deregulated heat/gas in canada so now it's fierce competition for customers. that means that if one fucks up, we just mosey on to the other one so they're pretty fast as getting their shit right the first time and quickly.

    i'm so sorry you had to deal with that and even more sorry for that poor lady who has been without heat for WEEKS. now i'm off to slander them on facebook and twitter. ridiculous.

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  3. My situation is different, since I lost my A/C in the middle of the summer (easier to deal with the hot than the cold), but my home warranty company took over 2 months to replace it... they sent "the wrong unit" 3 separate times. It was a total nightmare.

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  4. Oh girl that is awful!! I dont know if they offer their services in MA, but after this post I will NEVER use them and I will make sure to tell my friends and family about them as well!! I can't believe that poor woman had to deal with it for 45 days...that is crazy! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  5. When we bought our house, our realtor basically told us that all of these companies kind of suck and will jerk you around but I never expected it to be THAT bad. I hope one of your local consumer reporters picks up the story and runs with it because while your situation was awful, trying to fix a burned up piece of equipment is reckless, careless, and just plain stupid.

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  6. UNREAL. And especially for the other Stephanie, 6 weeks and a fucking fire?! AND A BABY IN THE HOUSE?! ARE THEY CRAZY? What awful people. I'm livid all over again.
    Good to know, as we're buying a house this summer, you saved us from ever signing on with them. So thank you for that. (They are available in Chicago)

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  7. What a fucking disaster. I wonder if it ever occurred to them that 46 degree temperatures in your house could have resulted in a whole lot of other necessary repairs (freezing pipes)??!?! Or would that not have been their responsibility?

    Like you said, it is bad enough to have adults and a dog in temperatures like that, but a baby? Come the fuck on. There is no way we could have Jack in a house with temperatures below 50 for weeks. We would have to get a hotel, and that just isn't something that everyone has the ability to do.

    Also, space heaters scare the shit out of me. I am terrified of fires caused by them and I don't trust myself at all.

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  8. Dude. OMG. This whole story is awful! I can't believe so many people had issues and shared on social media! I have been in some form of CS for 10 years now (um, that makes me sound old) and it so bothers me when things handled well...

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  9. This is AWFUL. I can't imagine not having heat for a day, let alone over a week - and having to run out with my babies and dogs because of a fire! We had AHS when we first moved because it was part of our contract - I'm so glad I never had to deal with them, and never will!

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  10. WOW! That is terrible service. The definition of horrible customer service. I feel so sorry for that poor woman (Stephanie) too! I know it was an awful situation for you but number 4 made me laugh out loud to myself just now. I'm really glad your heat is finally fixed. I feel like you guys should still do one of those "shame on you" type shows to out this company even more.

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  11. Holy crap that's insane! I'm so sorry you guys went through all that, but am so happy your home is nice and warm again. I will however never be able to watch American Horror Story now and not think of you guys ;-)

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  12. This is absolutely ridiculous. I saw your story unfold on twitter and couldn't believe it. But to hear that other story is just terrifying. You did the right thing writing this post, love.

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  13. You had me so fired up last week over this. I told you about how they tried to dick us with a toilet and that was a minor nothing compared to what you went through. We switched companies immediately after that for fear of how they would handle a bigger issue. Hurray for social media putting the smack down on companies. Sad that we have to resort to that, but we do what we have to! I am glad you finally got everything fixed and are heated now!

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  14. Have you reported them to the Better Business Bureau? I had to report Sprint a few years ago for a poorly handled customer service issue. I finally received an email from on of the CEO's and they were able to rectify the situation. I would also recommend checking the BBB website out before using any other company like AHS.

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  15. This is insane. I mean who deletes tweet so? 12 year olds, that's who. I'm sorry you've had to deal with all this crap.

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  16. With the way they obviously treat their customers, I seriously can't believe this place is still in business. You would think they would either have a bad enough reputation that people wouldn't use them, or someone would have sued the shiz out of them by now. If I was that lady with the baby, I WOULD be contacting a lawyer at this point. There's just no excuse for six days without heat in January, let alone SIX WEEKS!!!!! They should be ashamed of themselves.

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  17. We had them when we first bought our townhome because I think we were required to at closing? Of course, the things that went wrong during the year we had coverage with them "weren't covered," and we had to replace ourselves. After the required year was up, we decided it was a complete waste of money to pay for a home warranty that doesn't cover a major appliance like a refrigerator. After hearing your story, I'm so glad we did. I'd much rather put that money in savings and hire my own repairman.

    I agree with the other comments suggesting you report them to the BBB.

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  18. What a nightmare! I have been out for two days but never that long. I can't imagine six weeks and a fire. The babies and the pets in the house is the scariest part because they can't protect themselves! What a disgrace!!!

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  19. that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I can't believe they deleted facebook posts, that's so shady! I'm glad you finally did get some heat though!

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  20. ugh, this is disgusting and ridiculous. i can't believe the other stephanie - that's insane! how are these people still in business? disgusting.

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  21. That is insane!!! I still can't believe it... how unprofessional of them.

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  22. This is so monumentally fucked up. There are no words. And that poor other Stephanie. I can't even imagine.

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  23. Oh my gosh, I had no idea this was all happening since I've only read the updates on the blog. I'm so sorry! You certainly had ZEN for 6 days before you, rightly so, lost your shizz. Good job takin' to Twitter and trying to help out this other Steph. I'll tweet for her! And you're right, a big NO NO to deleting comments on FB. Thank you for the heads up because I will certainly NOT be buying their service. I'm mad just reading this.

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  24. This is terrible and I'm appalled for you. Like, truly appalled. And that other Stephanie? How can they NOT be helping her!?!? I'll share this one for sure…

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  25. Dear Lord. I've never heard of AHS, but after this I will remember the name. Totally unacceptable.

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  26. I have heard horrible things about AHS and home warranty providers in general, this just makes my blood boil. (Must admit that the Grandpa Joe reference made me laugh out loud though.) Glad they FINALLY got it handled, planning to help spread the word about this sham of a company.

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  27. Good for you fro sharing your story and letting us all know. Total BS and I must admit...we have the same warranty company!!! CRAP!!!!! And the other Stephanie??? WTF? They freaking blocked her on FB!? I cannot even fathom how they are still in business.

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  28. I'm furious for you. You were a champ. We have the same warranty... urgh. I believe releasing the hounds in warranted in this case, and not the cute cuddly pugs either...

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  29. I can most assuredly say I will never work with American Home Shield and I'll pass the word for sure. Not okay on so many levels.

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  30. Ooo I'd be livid. I need warmth. This is so not okay!

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  31. Holy shit. There is nothing I hate more than bad customer service, especially when all you can do is call and have the person on the other end of the line tell you they're doing all they can. I'm livid for you and what they are doing to other Stephanie is beyond shameful. This is seriously unfuckingbelievable.

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  32. That is just plain crazy!! I would have 100% been on the danger list and P would have had them paying for a hotel. Are they insane...do you have other heat? Yes, we have a backup central heating system...idoits! This is insane they dragged their feet in that manner. I'm so sorry you had a full week of that BS.

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  33. Omg the other Stephanie!!! This is a horrendous situation but found hot fart hysterical.

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  34. That is asinine! Good you're able to share your experience on the blog! Hope you're warm and cozy now!

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  35. This is just ridiculous. How can you not do everything/anything in your power to help someone without heat? I just don't get it. It's not like you were without air conditioning. HEAT for crying out loud! They're lucky your damn pipes didn't burst!

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  36. That is just a disgrace!! I cant even. I hope you share this blog post with them and let them know it is public. Absolute insanity and I feel it for the other Stephanie :(

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