Home Warranties Now Available For Water Services, Sewer Laterals

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | January 2012, Vol. 67 No. 1

• In an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance agreement in Kentucky, HomeServe sent letters clarifying that its service is optional and not required by the consumer's water utility company or local government. The consumer was given the opportunity to cancel the service by notifying HomeServe USA within 30 days of the corrective letter and receive a full refund of any monies paid. In addition to the corrective measures, HomeServe USA paid $7,500 to the state for civil penalties and the costs of investigation; and
• In Ohio, HomeServe USA agreed to refrain from using unfair, deceptive, and/or misleading advertisements, which would violate the Consumer Sales Practices Act. Under the agreement, HomeServe USA agreed to pay $15,000 to the Office of the Ohio Attorney General for attorney fees and investigative costs.

In addition, at the request of the Southeast BBB, HomeServe discontinued use of mailers after consumers in Southeast Florida complained that mailings resembled a utility bill from a local or state agency.

Regarding these legal issues, Meehan said: “There have been a limited number of instances where HomeServe has had inquiries from state attorney general offices. These have primarily been the result of specific mailings that took place in early 2010. In all inquiries, HomeServe has been forthcoming and cooperative with these offices. In three cases, HomeServe signed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the state attorney general offices. While HomeServe materials were not found to be misleading in those cases, HomeServe agreed to this outcome in the spirit of working together with these offices to improve our materials.”

HomeServe is dedicated to presenting consumers with clear information so that they are informed about the services they receive, said Mehaan. HomeServe marketing materials are designed to give prospective customers information about who HomeServe is, what their responsibilities are, what HomeServe’s affiliation is or is not with the local community or utility, what the coverage does, and that the coverage offered is optional.