We needed a pipe leak repaired in our home. We also have a First American Home Warranty. I pray you never have both of those situations at the same time.
Pipe leaks. Poor customer sevice. These are first world problems, right? Yeah, but that's not the point. If you are in business and you take money from people and claim that you provide a service, you should follow through on what you promise to do.
There are too many times in life when we do not hold the big company responsible. I'm in solo private practice. My name is a my business and it matters to me. When it's a big company, without a face, we sometimes forget that taking care of clients matters. That's why I'm taking the time to write down how this situation was handled and how they did not meet any of their claims. "My satisfaction" was not the highest priority.
In a world of social media, YELP reviews and crowd sourcing, I hope real estate agents, title officers, and home buyers will consider why First American Home Warranty may not be the best use of their money.
Here is the timeline and commentary of my interactions with First American Home Warranty to get a leaking pipe repaired.
11/18/17: Pipe Leak Submitted to First American (I also turned off the hot water to our house to prevent further damage). My best guess would be that we would need to remove a hot water heater, cut into the wall and repair everything back to normal. Big enough job to submit for warranty coverage.
11/18/17: First American dispatched T&N Plumbing to contact us and determine repair.
11/20/17: No reply from T&N Plumbing (I'm not saying that they choose lousy subcontractors, but they might want to see how they treat their customers, check out their Yelp reviews).
11/20/17: I had to contact First American Warranty and ask for a 2nd Plumber. Golden State Plumbing Dispatched. I explained that I did not have hot water in my home and that the leak was in a wall. Emergency Status.
11/22/17: Golden State Plumbing arrived and did a professional inspection and diagnosis and submitted the following plan to First American Warranty for repair:
- Pipe leak in wall behind the H2O heater.
- Need to remove water heater.
- Need to dismantle wooden stand for water heater.
- Need to cut out wall to access repair.
- Repair pipe.
- Repair drywall.
- Texture and paint.
- Rebuild wooden stand.
- Reinstall water heater.
If I can pause and give credit where it is due, Jimmy from GSP deserves 5 out of 5 stars! He was a great plumber and a great guy).
Thanksgiving Weekend (NO Hot Water)
11/27/17: I am told by GSP that First American requests a 2nd opinion and dispatches Ability Access Plumbing. They schedule for 2 days later. (Still no hot water)
11/29/17: We go to social media looking for help. Miraculously, First American and the Better Business Bureau contacts us and researches our situation. Ability Access Plumbing diagnoses the exact same problem as GSP. First American authorizes repair. Holes cut in family room and garage. Pipe repaired. Hot water restored to our home. The plumber notifies First American that sheet rock/drywall repair is necessary. First American dispatches Performance Electrical Inc. to repair drywall.
12/1/17: Having not heard from Performance Electrical INC, I am forced to contact First American Home Warranty again and I speak with Valerie. She reports that Performance Electical Inc cannot repair drywall. (Why were they dispatched for the repair? This question goes unanswered, but I will say that the system is broken).
You are going to love this next part. (Get ready for it, because you are going to laugh out loud), First American Warranty dispatches Ability Access Plumbing to diagnose the drywall repair (Yes, this is the exact plumber that was JUST THERE solving the water problem. Yes, they are the ones who cut the drywall to make the repair. If anyone knows what needs to be done, it's this company). It gets even better. Ability Access Plumbing cannot make it to our home until 12/7/17 to diagnose or repair the wall.
12/7/17: Ability Access Plumbing arrives and looks at the hole they had previously cut to access the pipes and determines there is a slight problem. You are really going to love this next part. The only way to repair the drywall is to do the following:
- Remove the Hot Water heater
- Dismantle the wooden stand for water heater.
- Repair drywall from garage and family room.
- Texture and paint.
- Rebuild the wooden stand.
- Reinstall water heater.
It gets even better. As per our contract, First American Warranty will only provide a rough finish of the drywall. Right, the contract...now we focus on the contract and what the contract says. Hysterical isn't it? I can't wait to see what "rough finish" means.
12/7/17: I call First American Warranty and speak with Sonja (a sales rep for new and renewal contracts with First American Warranty), who tells me: "We need the report from Ability Access Plumbing before we can authorize any work. I remind Sonja of the entire saga and suggest that she remember this entire story when she calls people up to sign them up for contracts or renewals. I wanted to remind her what she is really offering people.
12/8/17: Then, because I actually have an account representative. I call First American Warranty again and leave a message for my account representative, Valerie. In case she is not familiar with the details, I remind her of everything above...in detail...so there is zero confusion.
12/8/17: Having not listened to my message, Valerie returns my call and asks me: "I'm calling to see if your drywall was repaired?" Funny, huh?
12/9/17-12/10/17: I wait for Valerie to listen to the actual message I left, hoping she'll return my call. It. Doesn't. Happen.
12/11/17: I call First American Warranty again and leave a message for my account representative Valerie AGAIN. In case she did not listen to Friday's message yet and is still not familiar with the details, I remind her of everything above...in detail...so there is zero confusion again.
12/11/17: I get a call from Ability Access Plumbing and Valerie and a text message and an email authorizing the repair. Scheduled for December 13th.
12/13/17: Ability Access Plumbing arrives and confirms they are authorized for 2 of the 3 repairs that are necessary on the wall, so I call and log into the First American web app. Since it's after hours, no one is available and I leave messages for Valerie and for my newly assigned account representative, Carlotta. I also send the following photos, so there is no confusion:
12/14/17-12/17/17: I send web inquiries asking for resolution to the final repair.
12/20/17: I am contacted multiple times by First American and eventually by Ability Access who told me they would be at my home on 12/21/17 to repair the final hole.
12/21/17: Ability Access Plumbing arrives and repairs the final hole to a rough finish.
It took over one month to solve a simple leak.
Had First American Home Warranty simply solved the problem, I would not have written any of this. They wasted one month of my time to eventually solve a problem which was originally diagnosed in November, but solved it poorly. Had they simply followed the initial diagnosis and solution in a timely manner by a contractor they had hired, this entire situation would have been avoided.
Along the way, I created a complaint at the Better Business Bureau. They were very helpful at bringing resolution. If you would like to read the complaint and resolution, you can find it here.