Peoria man questions water heater warranty

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Frank Kane thought having a warranty on his hot water heater would give him a little peace of mind but now, he wonders why he ever got the warranty at all.

While Kane says having a reliable hot water heater isn't something most people think about, he believes it's one of the most important things his house has.

"Unless you like bathing in cold water and I don't," he said

When Kane's hot water heater broke, he wanted to get it fixed right away.

“It was leaking all over the garage; water was just running down the sides,” he said.

Kane didn't worry too much about how much it would cost to fix because when he purchased the water heater from Christian Brothers Plumbing Heating and Air four years ago, he also purchased a six-year warranty.

"When it went out after four years, of course I knew we still had two years on the warranty," Kane said.

Kane contacted Christian Brothers to check out his broken water heater.

"The guy said it's still under warranty so you'll get a new tank but you'll have to pay for the labor," Kane recalled.

Kane said he was fine with that. After all, he was getting a new water heater. But he had sticker shock when he was presented with the bill.

"After a couple hours it took 'em to replace it, then he hands me this bill for $730,” he said.

Kane thought that was excessive and after reluctantly paying the bill, he contacted the company to say he thought he was overcharged, but they reportedly said that was going rate.

"The more I thought about it, the move aggravated I got cause that's terrible," he said "That's $350 an hour. You don't even pay lawyers that much."

3 On Your Side got involved and contacted Christian Brothers, which has an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau (as of March 12, 2013) and has been a BBB Accredited Business since April 2003.

They acknowledged that they're not the cheapest company in town, but stand by the $730 labor charge, claiming their quality of work dictates those prices and helps them to provide good customer service.

Still, they agreed to look into the matter and Kane's bill.

"I just don't think it's right that they can charge that much," Kane said. "They know you're stuck you gotta have a water heater."

To keep Kane happy, Christian Brothers looked into the matter and wound up refunding half his money, about $350.

3 On Your Side certainly appreciates that and we also appreciate the fact they looked into the matter.