On Your Side: Complaints mount against home warranty company

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 2/28 8:32 am
SPARKS, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Home warranties are popular these days and often a great way to save money on major repairs around the house. But our On Your Side investigation focuses on one company which is generating a lot of consumer complaints.

Mike Urueta found out the hard way. Mike is a handyman who was hired by Sensible Home Warranty to make repairs for customers who had purchased Sensible Home Warranty policies. Urueta says he did dozens of jobs, but never got paid for the work he did, and he never got a straight answer.

"I called them and I got a loop of recorded messages that eventually disconnected us," Urueta said.

Urueta says he's owed close to $10,000 for work he did, and apparently he's not alone in his frustrations with the company. Both Utah and Washington have issued cease and desist orders against Sensible Home Warranty for problems including failure to pay claims.

A third state, Oklahoma, revoked the company's license last year and fined them $5,000 for failing to follow the state's business guidelines.

Sensible Home Warranty is currently licensed in Nevada, but Nevada's Division of Insurance says the agency is conducting an examination because of concerns about "market-wide" consumer related issues.

At the Northern Nevada office of the Better Business Bureau, Sensible Home Warranty has an "F" rating because of the high number of consumer complaints. "As far as what we're reporting here locally, we have more than 1200 complaints on file." said Tim Johnston with the Better Business Bureau.

No one at Sensible Home Warranty would agree to do an interview for our story, so we decided to go track them down. The company lists its headquarters on its website as 1344 Disc Drive in Sparks. But when we showed up, we were surprised to find a private mailbox business, but no signs anywhere of Sensible Home Warranty.

"As far as we know, they're not located in Nevada. The address they're using here is for a private mailbox only," said Johnston. "A company should be transparent about where they're located."

Johnston says this case is a prime example of why as a consumer, you need to do your homework before doing business with any company. The Better Business Bureau compiles complaints and makes that information along with its ratings on each business available to the public on its website.

And for Mike Urueta, this whole ordeal is turning out to be a painful and costly lesson. "It is so frustrating, we're not getting anywhere," he said. "We're just getting the runaround."

The good news is since On Your Side started looking into this story and making calls to Sensible Home Warranty, the company has started making payments to Urueta. So far, he's received five payments of several hundred dollars each. But he is still owed thousands of dollars.

All of this is a reminder that you need to do your homework before doing business with any company.

If you have a concern or a story idea you would like us to investigate, email Joe Hart at jhart@mynews4.com.
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oddsox - 2/12/2014 8:00 AM
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I work with several reputable Home Warranty companies & they're all good, honest and focused on customer service & satisfaction. Never heard of these "Sensible" guys.
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