Do your homework when it comes to home warranties - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Do your homework when it comes to home warranties

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ATLANTA -

Last summer was extremely hot, and it wasn't a good time to have an air conditioner break down. A young family found themselves in that predicament, and their home warranty turned out to be no guarantee at all.

Jerome Ellis says they got fans to keep cool, and kept windows open.

"At night it cools down a little, but not that much," said Ellis.

The good news is that he and his wife had a back-up plan: Arkidus Home Protection, a home warranty that offered for an annual fee for repairs, service and even replacement. Arkidus sent out a repairman who told him his air conditioner was dead. Ellis says that's the last visit he had from anyone representing Arkidus.

"From that point until the end of the summer, 'My manager is going to call you. Somebody will get back to you. We'll call you back,'" said Ellis.

While the heat index spiked, his responses from the Florida-based home warranty company dropped.   Finally the Ellis' started to get answers from the Florida Insurance Commissioner's office who wrote, "they are not licensed to sell home warranties."   

"We've had no return calls. We have not been able to get in touch with anyone," said Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

Hudgens believes the company has shuttered its doors and moved on. Still, Hudgens' office has issued a cease and desist order.

"If they do anymore business in Georgia we'll prosecute them," Hudgens said.

That doesn't help the Ellis' much now, but as they set out to find another home warranty company, Hudgens says to make sure the company you've picked is backed by an assurety bond or an insurance company.  Better yet, he says, calls his office to make sure the company is OK'd to operate in the state.  

In the meantime, Ellis is spending this very cold winter looking for a good deal on an air conditioner.

According to the commissioner, unlike auto warranties, home warranty companies do not have to register with the state.  So it is up to you to do your homework when looking for a company with a reputable name. If you need help, ask your realtor for a recommendation.

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