HomeServiceContract.org Should Be First Stop for New Homeowners

National Home Service Contract Association offers helpful tools allow consumers to select the most reputable providers of home service contracts.

(Lenexa, KS)  Contracts are only as dependable as the providers behind them. The members of the non-profit trade association, National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA,) are the leaders and professionals in the home service contract industry trusted to serve millions of consumers each year.

NHSCA members are registered and are easily identified through a NHSCA Company Code number and use of the NHSCA logo. Links to individual websites may be found on the NHSCA website at www.homeservicecontract.org  These are providers who adhere to a code of ethics and actively work with state regulators to protect consumer interests.

In 2015, the state of New Jersey filed charges against Stanley Safe Club or Stanley Warranty alleging the company and its owner defrauded consumers in New Jersey and other states. The alleged violations include: conducting business under the name “Stanley Warranty” when the company sells residential and motor vehicle service contracts; advertising and representing that consumers can call the company’s claims department 24 hours a day and that the company has more than 90,000 service providers, when it does not; continuing to charge consumers after they cancelled service contracts; and failing to respond to consumer inquiries for several weeks, if at all.

In another 2015 case, Edison New Jersey based CHW Group, Inc., which does business as Choice Home Warranty, agreed to pay the State $779,913.93 in a lawsuit filed against them. The state alleged the company enticed consumers to buy so-called comprehensive coverage for crucial home systems and appliances and then denied their claims using alleged deceptive practices. As part of the settlement, the company also agreed to revise its business practices and retain a compliance monitor for at least a year.

Neither company is a member of the NHSCA.

“No matter what the industry, there will always be companies that operate beyond the law and fail to meet their obligations,” Art Chartrand, legal counsel for the NHSCA, said. “One of our primary missions is to educate and inform homeowners about home service contracts so that expectations can be met fairly. At the NHSCA, we work directly with state regulators and have a near constant presence in each state capital to protect consumers and provide fair and honest competition.”

The home service contract industry has a strong reputation and long history of serving consumers. As with any industry, not all companies grow and flourish. Selecting a NHSCA member company provides added security with the knowledge that your contract provider meets certain criteria that will help ensure they will be there when you need them. Using a non-NHSCA member is a risk consumers do not need to take. Consumers may locate NHSCA members operating in their state by visiting www.homeservicecontract.org/state-associations

The New Jersey Home Service Contract State Association was formed as a division of the National Home Service Contract Association and represents the premier and most respected providers of home service contracts in New Jersey. It provides news, information, education, regulation and legislation resource for the industry.

Here are a few items to consider when selecting your contract provider:

  • If the price or benefits sound too good to be true – you know it likely will be. Visit the NHSCA website and contact a member in your state to compare price and benefits.
  • Ask your local REALTOR®. Nobody is more familiar with or understands the industry better. They work with home service contract providers on a daily basis and can offer knowledgeable guidance.
  • If despite your best efforts, your provider disappears or fails to perform, contact a member of the NHSCA to replace your coverage. Competitive members operate in all states and are ready, willing and above all, able to offer you a service contract on your house.

Home service contracts are optional contracts that provide consumers with a single point of contact for most household appliances and systems. A call to an 800 number dispatches a screened,  licensed and qualified local contractor to your home. This eliminates having to shop-around or price compare at what could be a very stressful time. With one call, consumers receive the service, repair or replacement needed to keep their home running smoothly.

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. To learn more about the NHSCA and to find answers to the most common questions regarding the purchase of home service contracts, visit www.homeservicecontract.org    or call 913-871-5600.

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Helpful tools allow consumers to select the most reputable providers of home service contracts.

(Lenexa, KS – July 14, 2015)  Contracts are only as dependable as the providers behind them. The 15 members of the non-profit trade association, National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA,) are the leaders and professionals in the home service contract industry trusted to serve millions of consumers each year.

NHSCA members are registered and are easily identified through a NHSCA Company Code number and use of the NHSCA logo. Links to individual websites may be found on the NHSCA website at www.homeservicecontract.org/contact-nhsca-members. These are providers who adhere to a code of ethics and actively work with state regulators to protect consumer interests.

In the last few weeks the state of New Jersey filed charges against Stanley Safe Club or Stanley Warranty alleging the company and its owner defrauded consumers in New Jersey and other states. The alleged violations include: conducting business under the name “Stanley Warranty” when the company sells residential and motor vehicle service contracts; advertising and representing that consumers can call the company’s claims department 24 hours a day and that the company has more than 90,000 service providers, when it does not; continuing to charge consumers after they cancelled service contracts; and failing to respond to consumer inquiries for several weeks, if at all.

In another case, Edison New Jersey based CHW Group, Inc., which does business as Choice Home Warranty, agreed last month to pay the State $779,913.93 in a lawsuit filed against them. The state alleged the company enticed consumers to buy so-called comprehensive coverage for crucial home systems and appliances and then denied their claims using alleged deceptive practices. As part of the settlement, the company also agreed to revise its business practices and retain a compliance monitor for at least a year.

Neither company is a member of the NHSCA.

“No matter what the industry, there will always be companies that operate beyond the law and fail to meet their obligations,” Art Chartrand, legal counsel for the NHSCA, said. “One of our primary missions is to educate and inform homeowners about home service contracts so that expectations can be met fairly. At the NHSCA, we work directly with state regulators and have a near constant presence in each state capital to protect consumers and provide fair and honest competition.”

The home service contract industry has a strong reputation and long history of serving consumers. As with any industry, not all companies grow and flourish. Selecting a NHSCA member company provides added security with the knowledge that your contract provider meets certain criteria that will help ensure they will be there when you need them. Using a non-NHSCA member is a risk consumers do not need to take. Consumers may locate NHSCA members operating in their state by visiting www.homeservicecontract.org/state-associations

The New Jersey Home Service Contract State Association was formed as a division of the National Home Service Contract Association and represents the premier and most respected providers of home service contracts in New Jersey. It provides news, information, education, regulation and legislation resource for the industry.

In 2013, consumers contracted with members of the NHSCA received over one billion dollars in benefits. Members include: 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, American Home Shield Corporation, Fidelity National Home Warranty Company, First American Home Buyers Protection, HMS/National Cross Country Home Services, Inc., Home Security of America, Inc., Home Warranty of America, Inc., HomeGuard Home Warranty, Inc., Landmark Home Warranty, National Home Guaranteed Inc., Nations Home Warranty, Old Republic Home Protection Co. Inc., OneGuard Home Warranties, The Warranty Group and Universal Home Protection.

Here are a few items to consider when selecting your contract provider:

  • If the price or benefits sound too good to be true – you know it likely will be. Visit the NHSCA website and contact a member in your state to compare price and benefits.
  • Ask your local REALTOR®. Nobody is more familiar with or understands the industry better. They work with home service contract providers on a daily basis and can offer knowledgeable guidance.
  • If despite your best efforts, your provider disappears or fails to perform, contact a member of the NHSCA to replace your coverage. Competitive members operate in all states and are ready, willing and above all, able to offer you a service contract on your house.

Home service contracts are optional contracts that provide consumers with a single point of contact for most household appliances and systems. A call to an 800 number dispatches a screened, licensed and qualified local contractor to your home. This eliminates having to shop-around or price compare at what could be a very stressful time. With one call, consumers receive the service, repair or replacement needed to keep their home running smoothly.

To learn more about the NHSCA and to find answers to the most common questions regarding the purchase of home service contracts, visit www.homeservicecontract.org

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About the NHSCA 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.

 

 

 

NHSCA Members Serve and Protect Homeowners When Others Fall Short

National Home Service Contract Association members provide consumers over a billion dollars in benefits annually.

(Lenexa, KS)  Contracts are only as dependable as the providers behind them. The members of the National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA) stand behind the home service contracts they provide millions of consumers each year. NHSCA member providers are often able to assist those who unfortunately find themselves contracted with a less than “stand-up” provider.

Consumers contracted with members of the NHSCA receive over a billion dollars in benefits every year.

NHSCA members are registered and are easily identified through a NHSCA Company Code number and use of the NHSCA logo. Links to individual websites may be found on the NHSCA website at www.homeservicecontract.org/contact-nhsca-members.  These are providers who adhere to a code of ethics and actively work with state regulators to protect consumer interests.

The home service contract industry has a strong foundation and long history of serving consumers. As with any industry, not all companies grow and flourish. Selecting a NHSCA member company provides the security of knowing that your contract provider will be there when you need them. Using a non-NHSCA member is a risk consumers do not need to take.

Here are a few items to consider when selecting your contract provider:

  • If the price or benefits sound too good to be true –you know it likely will be. Visit the NHSCA website and contact a member in your state to compare price and benefits.
  • Inquire about monthly contracts or a monthly-based renewal of the contract that came with your house.
  • Ask your local REALTOR®. Nobody is more familiar with or understands the industry better. They work with home service contract providers on a daily basis and can offer knowledgeable guidance.

If despite your best efforts, your provider disappears or fails to perform, contact a member of the NHSCA to apply to replace your coverage. Competitive members operate in all states and are ready, willing and above all, able to offer you a service contract plan on your house. Many now offer monthly payment plans.

Home service contracts are optional contracts that provide consumers with a single point of contact for most household appliances and systems. A call to an 800 number dispatches a screened, licensed and qualified local plumber, electrician or technician to your home. This eliminates having to shop-around or price compare at what could be a very stressful time. With one call, consumers receive the service, repair or replacement needed to keep their home running smoothly.

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 and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

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Tips on Winterizing Your Home

 

Take a few minutes to read and make sure you have properly winterized your home.

The NHSCA contributed to a terrific article on SheKnows.com 
Read the entire (original and unedited) SheKnows.com by Rolla Bahsous online here.

winterizing-your-home

How to get your home ready for the cold season
If you’ve already pulled out your winter coat and put snow tires on your car, there’s still one thing you’re missing before the cold weather hits. Most people completely overlook the few simple steps needed to winterize a house. It’s important to remember that while home service contracts generally provide service, repair or replacement for the major built-in appliances and systems in your home – such as dishwashers, electrical and plumbing systems, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems  – regular maintenance is still very important.

  1. Self-check your heater and HVAC

Turn the heat on and be sure that all the rooms in your home are getting enough heat through the vents. Check and change your HVAC (furnace) air  filters.  “Many of us think of changing our furnace filters just once or twice a year, yet experts say we should replace them every month during the heating season,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert.

  1. Schedule a professional furnace maintenance visit.

A furnace tune-up not only includes cleaning that keeps your furnace running efficiently, but it also catches small problems before they turn into big problems that can not only cause inconvenience and discomfort. An annual maintenance contract from a local, trusted HVAC company is also a great idea. They will not repair or replace broken units like a home service contract, but they go a long way to keeping your home running happy and healthy.

  1. Check batteries and update your fire and CO detectors.

Check and replace all batteries as needed. Don’t forget a good quality carbon monoxide detector in your bedroom and near your gas heater and/or gas water heater.  Even a small problem can lead to gas leaking into your home or dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, on average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products. Be mindful, many  detectors typically need to be replaced every five to seven years. 

  1. Get the fireplace ready

If you have a fireplace, be sure it’s ready by ensuring the chimney is clean. If you have burned a few cords of wood, having a professional chimney sweep is mandatory. If you don’t have a fireplace but wish to have the cozy ambience, check out some faux fireplace units at your local décor store. Some of these fireplaces are designed to emit heat in addition to the “fire” display.

  1. Check your gutters

Letting leaves pile up in the gutter can cause big problems any time of year, and in cold weather especially. The NHSCA says, “During winter months, leaves can potentially cause melting ice and snow to backup into your attic, and even your basement. Be sure to pay particular attention to gutters that have branches directly over them. Not all trees shed their leaves at the same time so you may need to check the gutters in both the fall and early winter.”

  1. Check your windows

To keep warmth inside your home, inspect all windows and make sure there aren’t any cracks where heat may escape. It might be wise to cover all your windows facing North with a plastic sheet. You can find these at your local hardware store and the cost far outweighs the heating saving you’ll gain by covering your windows. Pella Corporation, the leading manufacturer and designer of windows, doors, blinds and shades for homes and commercial buildings, also recommends clearing windowsills of dirt and debris since pre-winter window cleaning is one task most homeowners overlook: “Debris like sand, dirt or leaves can get caught in windowsills and moving parts of windows or doors. Clean these areas with a dry paintbrush to create a tighter seal and enhance window and door performance.”

  1. Check the outside of your house

If you haven’t eyeballed your home’s exterior in a few months or more, now’s the perfect time to reassess at the start of a new season. Before that first snowfall, Pella Corporation recommends repairing or replacing damaged exterior surfaces that could expose your home’s interior to the outside elements. Pella Corporation advises, “Cracked or deteriorated wood on the roof or near the foundation is typically associated with water penetration and may allow moisture or cold air to leak into your home. Look closely for signs of moisture leakage and replace damaged wood. Consult a professional to help correct any roof or drainage problems around your home.”

  1. Remove leaves around your outside HVAC unit.

The HVAC unit is likely your home’s largest operating system. The compressor part of your air conditioner is located on the exterior of your home and can become inefficient with debris and leaves blocking it. You can even use a wet dry vacuum or your hands to remove the debris from the bottom for manual cleaning. Wear gloves if using your hands for manual cleaning and turn off your main breaker first – just to be safe.

  1. Turn off exterior faucets

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s also one of the easiest home winterizing tips to overlook — because it’s so simple. According to the NHSCA, “Un-drained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands.” The NHSCA recommends, “Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes more than 10 to 15 years old typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.

  1. Install a programmable thermostat

To keep home temperatures regulated and energy costs to a minimum, we recommend installing a programmable thermostat to lower temperatures when the house is empty and warm it up again in the morning. We have used and love the internet controlled NEST brand which retails for about $199.00. However cheaper models are available that work fine. Woroch says, “You can pick one up for as little as $20 and save an average of 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bill. Since some of these are expensive, look for deals to save money on programmable thermostats and other home energy products.”

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 and consumer information, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913871-5600.

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HOMEOWNERS ENCOURAGED TO OPTIMIZE BENEFITS OF HOME SERVICE CONTRACTS

Seller-Purchased Contracts Offer Convenience and Benefit for New Homeowners

(Lenexa, KS)  Home sales  can get hot and can slow down in quickly changing markets these days, but a home service contract always makes sense for sellers and buyers. Homeowners should get the most of them.

Home sellers very often  purchase home service contracts on behalf of the buyer as an added incentive.  They also may receive protection during the listing period and fewer issues after the sale.  To receive the maximum benefit and convenience of these contracts, the National Association Home Service Contract Association offers the following guidance.

Review the home service contract to be sure that you understand all terms and conditions.Home service contracts 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).

Maintain all appliances and household systems to keep them in good, efficient operating order. You will benefit from uninterrupted service and as well as potential energy savings.

Request optional coverage be included if you feel you may need coverage on items not typically specified under the standard coverage. If the home you are purchasing includes features such as a swimming pool, septic tank or spa, advise your agent to request this optional coverage.

Keep a copy of your contract easily accessible and post the providers toll-free service number in a visible location like the refrigerator door.

Call your contract provider at the first sign of trouble. Do not call a repair contractor directly.One of the benefits of your home service contract is that your provider works with a network of prequalified and licensed contractors in your area. If a breakdown poses an actual risk to your health or safety (such as lack of water or heat in freezing temperatures) most providers will work to expedite emergency repairs.

Follow up with your provider if for some reason you are not satisfied with the service provided. They will work with you to resolve your concern.

Be aware of when your contract expires. For your convenience, many companies will provide automatic renewal of your contract. If you did not wish to renew, contact your provider right away to exercise your cancellation rights.

 

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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NHSCA TAKES LEAD TO PROMOTE PROTECTION IN THE HOME SERVICE CONTRACT INDUSTRY

Association Adopts Automatic Renewal Model to Protect Consumer Interests

(OLATHE, KS – November 8, 2011)

The National Home Service Contract Association has taken the lead to protect consumers from a lapse in coverage by drafting and promoting a model automatic renewal clause for the home service contract industry.

In an effort to create a balanced approach in favor of consumers, the NHSCA model allows consumers to choose automatic renewal to prevent a lapse in service, while also offering a simple process to cancel if their preference changes regarding automatic renewal.

Many customers prefer the convenience and uninterrupted service an automatic renewal provides. However, some states have erroneously suggested that all automatic renewals are bad for consumers. This is not the case. “The issue is how should an industry respond when a customer decides they did not intend to renew,” said Mark Celichowski, President of the NHSCA. ” We take an approach favoring the consumer.” The actual NHSCA model can be found in the NHSCA Resource Center.

“Automatic renewals on consumer contracts are a beneficial consumer choice, but so is the consumer’s right to cancel. Our model law was developed with input from state legislators as a balanced and fair approach to preserve consumer choice and prevent abuse,” Arthur J. Chartrand, NHSCA Counsel, said. “As an association, we wanted to take the lead and give states model language.”

The NHSCA is a nonprofit 501(c) (6) industry trade organization of member companies serving home service contract providers and consumer interests throughout the United States. To learn more about the NHSCA and to find answers to the most common questions regarding the purchase of home service contracts, please visit us at www.homeservicecontract.org

MEDIA CONTACT: Nancy Besa, Besa Public Relations • 816-674-4775 • Email

 

TRY A “LIST” BUT NHSCA PROVIDES SOLUTIONS

NHSCA and Angie’s List Offer Similar Advice, but NHSCA provides vetted and guaranteed contractors.

(Lenexa, KS)   Every year, millions of home service contracts (often referred to as “home warranties”) are purchased nationwide—a number growing dramatically every year as consumers seek home care solutions. While a growing number are marketed directly to consumers, the majority of contracts remain purchased as part of a real estate transaction and  subsequent renewal.

There is little doubt that these numbers reflect the fact that consumers are seeking security and financial protection.  Home service contracts provide the peace of mind that helps alleviate potential concerns of both home sellers and buyers during the resale transaction and for one year following the close of sale. In addition, renewal customers have continued protection from aging home systems, appliances and utilities. “Today’s consumer either lacks the skills, the knowledge or the desire to properly maintain their home and fix things that breakdown.  Many children simply lack the time to handle these needs for their parents,” according  to Art Chartrand Executive Director and Counsel of the National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA).

Internet based Angie’s List of Indianapolis often publishes reports advising consumers to be smart when buying a home service contract. We could not agree more. We support both a consumer’s need and right to understand all consumer contracts they purchase.  “Angie’s has appeared to grow more fond of the home service contract industry in recent years as her “list” and home service contract providers work hard to find the best local contractors who actually come in to your home,” added Chartrand.

Home service contracts will vary in the details of benefits provided. The market is very competitive and consumers have many choices when it comes to benefits, service and pricing. NHSCA member contracts are typically only a few pages and outline the complete terms and conditions of coverage. Consumers should compare contracts and consider the systems, appliances and utilities unique to their home property. This will
help consumers better understand their needs. If you live in a rural area, you may wish to consider adding well pump or septic tank protection. Do you have a pool or a spa? Do you wish to cover a freestanding appliance such as a refrigerator in your garage?

While the price of the product and optional coverage available is important, so are many other factors. Consumers should consider a number of questions in order to ensure they are making a wise purchase. Is the contract written in simple, easy to read and understandable language? Does the company clearly identify what services are not covered? Is the trade fee for each service call clearly disclosed? Is there an aggregate limit per system or appliance, per service call or per contract? Can a service call be placed 24/7 every day of the year? Is emergency service available when necessary? Is there a clear process that can be followed if the services rendered are not satisfactory?

It is also important for consumers to acknowledge that “everything” cannot be covered by a contract that typically costs about $500 a year. While contracts cover many breakdowns, there must be reasonable limitations. NHSCA members paid out well over one-half billion dollars to local contractors in 2010 to service customer’s homes. Even so, NHSCA members are always working to make contracts easier to read and understand as the industry strives to close any potential gap between available benefits and customer’s
expectations.

Consumers should also know that their home service contract provider has a solid reputation for serving its customers. References from real estate professionals and friends and a rating from the Better Business Bureau can be extremely helpful in the selection process. Either the state attorney general or insurance commissioner regulates all providers. (In Texas it is the Texas Real Estate Commission). Contact the appropriate state agency to inquire on a provider’s standing.

“If a consumer doesn’t take the time to perform their own ‘due diligence’, they may well end up as another ‘statistic’,” Gwen Gallagher, President of Old Republic Home Protection, said. “What is important to
consider is that out of the millions of contracts sold and million of service calls provided by the home service contract industry every year, only a very small fraction of consumers were not satisfied with either the coverage or service they received.

Some consumers may lodge a complaint on Internet sites such as Angie’s List where they
may often be viewed with disproportionate attention. The fact is the overwhelming
majority of consumers value their home warranty protection and remain quite happy with
both coverage and service.  Chartrand also noted that  “While Angie’s List may provide a “list” of local contractors for you to call, NHSCA home service contract providers actually vet these local contractors, call them for you, service or replace your broken appliance, pay them for you and then guaranty their work. Our members not only go the whole 9 yards, they go the full 100 yards.”

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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