Home-warranty company makes final decision on busted air conditioner

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PHOENIX -- We first introduced you to Melissa Hammon last month, when she came to 3 On Your Side for help with the company that handled her home warranty -- Nationwide Home Warranty.

At issues was the Hammon family's air condition. The company said it did not have to fix it. Hammon, understandably, disagreed.

"It's really frustrating when we counted on the company to help us out and they're not doing it," Hammon said. Her air conditioner has been out for almost two months now.

Three weeks after our original report, Nationwide has made a decision in the matter. The company will not be repairing the unit.

"I have chosen now not to ever use a home-warranty company again," Hammon said.

She and her family have been paying Nationwide Home Warranty about $40 per month, just in case something in their home -- like the air conditioner -- ever broke.

Hammon, whose air conditioner needs a new compressor (a $1,200 repair), said she fought with the company for weeks before turning to 3 On Your Side.

When 3 On Your Side talked to Nationwide Home Warranty for the original story, the company said it denied the claim because the unit had undergone "previous repairs."

Hammon pointed out that the unit is 10 years old.

"For them to expect to have a unit that is 10 years old and never had a repair on it is absurd," she said.

Nationwide Home Warranty said at the time that is would review its decision.

Nearly a month later, the company sent 3 On Your Side a letter saying it "cannot cover the claims." The company said that according to its contract, items must be in "proper working order" with no preexisting problems at the time the warranty was purchased.

In another section titled "Previous Repairs," the contract states items should have been properly maintained.

Hammon said her air conditioned was in working order with no preexisting problems, and she has annual maintenance records that prove it's been properly maintained.

"We have a refrigeration company that we've used for 10 years," she said.

The Better Business Bureau gives Nationwide Home Warranty an F rating, the worst rating a company can get. According to the BBB, they've logged more than 400 complained from consumers who claim Nationwide Home Warranty demands maintenance records that often render their claims invalid.

Hammon said that's exactly what happened to her. She's fed up and will not be relying on a home-warranty company any longer.

"If it comes down to it, I'll start packing away $40 a month in another account for something like this if it were to arise," she said.

Nationwide Home Warranty did send 3 On Your Side a brief statement explaining its position.

"Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We apologize for any inconvenience this process may have caused. However, the specifications of the contract are clearly outlined in the welcome package the customer has signed agreement to. This matter has been looked into, as stated under 9.1.2 as well as 6.1.1 in the contract agreement, Nationwide unfortunately cannot cover claims that are preexisting as well as units that are improperly cared for. If you have further questions or concerns, please call us Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm Eastern Standard Time at 888-500-2110 option 2 and ask for a claims manager so that we may assist you further."