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Family has no heat for week, waiting for repair

Posted at 6:05 PM, Jan 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 20:14:46-05

A Cincinnati-area family has gone more than a week without any heat, because they are waiting for their home warranty company to fix their furnace.

Steve Jongewaard is heating his house the old fashioned way, with a wood fire.

But his fireplace, and a space heater, are barely enough to keep the house 55 degrees.

His furnace has been out more than a week.

"It's been awful, this is the worst thing I've ever seen,"he said.

Waiting For Warranty Repair

Jongewaard has been trying to get his home warranty company  -- First American Home Buyers Protection-- to fix his 8 year old Carrier furnace.

But he says it's been a nightmare.

"We've called multiple times.  My wife and I have been on the phone a minimum of 10 hours," he said.

Typically if your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner goes out, you call a local repairman and he comes right out. 

But with a home warranty, you need to call the warranty company, so they can call their repairman. If you jump the gun and call your local repair shop, the warranty company may not reimburse you.
    
He says the repairman they finally sent  tried replacing the circuit board, but "then said there's more problems than we thought, we don't know what it is, you need a Carrier expert, we're going."

Now he's back on the phone trying to get them to send another repairman.

We Contact Company

So we got involved, calling First American's corporate offices, where a spokesman promised to investigate and make the Jongewaard's repair a high priority.

First American has a B rating with the Better Business Bureau, but it has more than a thousand BBB complaints in the past 3 years, from homeowners like Jongewaard, who remains frustrated and cold.

We're not saying home warranties are a bad thing.

They can save hundreds of dollars on a repair, even giving you a new furnace or appliance in many cases. Many people are happy with them, and according to Yelp reviews, are happy with First American.

But you should know that you typically cannot choose your own repairman.

You have to go with the one they provide, which can take longer than you are comfortable with.

That way you don't waste your money.
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