February 26, 2013

CONSUMERS URGED TO RESEARCH SERVICE PROVIDERS AND REPORT SUSPECTED FRAUD

Check on potential providers at homeservicecontract.org

Lenexa, KS —The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is cautioning consumers to research service contract providers before signing on the dotted line to be assured they are registered and fully compliant with state laws. The easiest and quickest way is to be sure you are dealing with a registered member of the NHSCA.

 “Members of the NHSCA adhere to a strict Code of Ethics which promotes sound and ethical business practices,” said Jeff Powell of longtime NHSCA member, First American Home Protection.  “They are reputable, licensed home service contract providers in good standing. Unfortunately, there are other providers out there that don’t meet our quality standards and even operate illegally.”

Home service contracts, (often referred to as home warranties), generally provide service, repair or replacement for items such as dishwashers, ovens, disposers, electrical and plumbing systems and most importantly, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) which become inoperable due to normal wear and use.  Home service contracts also have limitations. Paying particular attention to the contract’s terms and conditions can also help avoid confusion when a service call is needed.

Home service contract companies are regulated in all states. In about 25 states, specific laws require prior registration or license from the state prior to transacting business. In other states, providers are regulated by the state attorney general’s office.

Consumers should consider the following items to be “red flags” that necessitate further research:

  • Lack of a physical address on company web site. A post office box is fine, but if no address is it could be a sign that the company is trying circumvent state regulations
  • Advertising prices and services at large discounts that are far beyond industry norms
  • Lack of an NHSCA Company Code that designates NHSCA registration as a trusted and qualified service provider.

 “The NHSCA works with state and federal regulators to not only combat fraud, but assists in ensuring that all providers are, at a minimum, compliant with their laws, “ Powell said. “Realtors may also be an excellent resource, however if you do suspect fraud, be sure to visit the NHSCA website or contact your local regulator, to report it immediately.”

To confirm NHSCA company codes and report suspected fraud, just visit www.homeservicecontract.org.
The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) is a non-profit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. For more great industry, media and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

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