NHSCA Interprets Washington State Tax Advisory

Appears official that longstanding law of no sales tax upon initial sale of home service contracts is affirmed.

The Washington State Department of Revenue published an Excise Tax Advisory (ETA) on January 12, 2016, ETA 3198.2016 regarding the sales taxation of home service contracts.

This ETA has been in discussion for years with the home service contract industry. The Washington Department of Revenue (DOR) has desired to alter the tax law after decades of audit clearance letters by the DOR approving of no sales tax upfront on the sale of home service contracts. Sales tax has always been collected when local Washington contractors later perform work. Only a handful of states tax the sale of home service contracts at the time of contract sale, and only pursuant to clear and specific statutory authority.

The ETA appears to rely in great part on a wholly unrelated statutory amendment in 2005 that taxed the sale of new product “extended warranties” sold at retail under RCW 82.04.050. Home service contracts do not cover new product, retail sales in any way shape or form. The reliance on the taxation of new products sold at retail, makes the entire basis for the ETA suspect.

Also casting a cloud, is that the DOR has continually assessed a B&O tax on all home service contract sellers at the rate of 1.5%. If home service contract sales were indeed retail sales, subject to RCW 82.04.050, the tax rate should have been the applicable 0.471%. If upheld, may years of refunds would need to be calculated.

Due to these issues, the DOR and the NHSCA cooperated to sponsor HB 1997 in March, 2013 to change the taxation of home service contracts to be more like that of retail goods. The legislature rejected that approach after a full hearing on the issues. This ETA appears to be an overt attempt to circumvent the Legislature.

However, this advisory strains to explain that typical home service contracts that only cover real estate and fixtures (broadly defined as virtually all appliances and household systems) are not sales taxable. So one fair reading is this ETA perhaps continues the decades old interpretation by the DOR and legislature that home service contracts are not taxed at time of sale, but only on work later performed later by a local contractor.

Due to the ETA not being reviewed with industry prior to publication, it contains some odd factual errors including a statement that a warranty can only cover personal property and erroneous legislative definitional references to “warranty” that any real impact of the non binding advisory is difficult to assess. An included discussion of “mixed service contracts” has few definitions and suggests a deminmis or “no tax” tax rule on covered tangible personal property, so it may also suggest no change in policy.

One can only fairly conclude as the Washington Legislature has, that home service contracts are not taxable at time of sale, just as the DOR has ruled for decades. Only the legislature can change the law. The NHSCA remains ready and willing to accept a future change set by the Washington legislature.

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, including short helpful videos, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913871-5600.

#08

Revealing Hidden Danger: Preventing Dryer Fires

Clean your dryer vent for both safety & better clothes and never leave dryer running when not home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 22 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2006-2010. Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 4%. Lint is often the culprit.

NBC Action News in Kansas City further highlights the dangers of these fires and the best was to prevent them in this recent report. We urge you to take a moment to watch this informative clip. Click Here.

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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, including short helpful videos, visit  http://www.homeservicecontract.org or call 913-871-5600.

#18

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.

#11

 

 

 

 

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

-30-

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 Sits Down with Kevin O’Connor of This Old House

 

National TV Personality Provides Great Tips to Maintain a Happy and Healthy Home

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Kevin O’Connor, host of This Old House on PBS recently sat down with the Kansas City chapter of the National Home Service Contract Association to discuss tips for homeowners.

Nominated for an “Outstanding Service Show Host” Emmy Award in his debut season, Kevin O’Connor has been appearing as host of the Emmy Award-winning series, This Old House, and the Emmy-nominated series, Ask This Old House, since 2003. He also serves on the editorial board of This Old House magazine, published by This Old House Ventures, Inc. Along with Amy Matthews, Kevin is also the host of This New House, which premiered on the DIY Network in the summer of 2010.

A home service contract/warranty is a contract for service, repair or replacement. It has features and benefits that clearly differentiate it from builder’s and product warranties and insurance. Prompt attention, qualified service providers and peace of mind, and protection from unexpected, and often-expensive repair bills, are primary benefits of home service contracts.

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.

#16

 

Understanding Home Service Contract Terminology

National Home Service Contract Association defines terms for homeowners, regulators and the media to keep things straight.

(Lenexa, Ks) The purchase of a home may be the largest investment individuals and families will make in their lifetime.  A number of products, such as home service contracts, insurance, builder’s and other warranties exist to help homeowners protect that investment. The key to their effectiveness, is gaining a clear understanding of various industry terms.

The National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA), a non-profit trade association, is dedicated to educating consumers, regulators and the media so that they clearly understand the the home service contract industry. Clearly defining each is the best place to start.

Home service contract/warranty

  • A home service contract provides service, repair or replacement due to normal wear and tear on major, built-in household appliances and systems. Most cover items such as dishwashers, ovens, wiring and plumbing systems and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
  • Many contract providers also offer a menu of optional items such as pool pumps, spas and free standing appliances such as refrigerators and clothing washers and dryers for an additional fee. Rural homeowners may also elect to add septic tanks or well pumps.
  • At an average cost of $550 a year, contracts historically renew annually.  In recent years, many providers have begun to also offer coverage on a month-to-month basis.
  • Contract providers maintain a toll-free service call line 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the convenience of their customers. Dispatch of a trusted local service provider usually occurs within 3-5 business days. Most provide expedited service for true emergencies such as breakdowns that affect life, health or safety.
  • Service calls average approximately $75 and protect the homeowner’s pocketbook as some repairs and replacements have the potential to run thousands of dollars with no contract in place.

Builder’s home warranty

  • As stated above, a home service contract is a renewable agreement for the service, repair or replacement of major, built-in household appliances and systems on existing homes due to normal wear and tear.
  • A builder’s home warranty is very different. These warranties, provided by the builder on a new home, are designed to offer coverage on the actual workmanship and materials used in the home’s construction.

Product and extended warranties

  • Retailers and manufacturers frequently offer warranties on the purchase of on the goods – such as electronics and automobiles – they make and sell directly to the public through retailers.
  • These new product warranties are generally active for a limited time to safeguard against existing defects in the product.
  • Extended warranties are just that – warranties that extend beyond the original warranty period. At purchase retailers may offer to extend a new product warranty for an additional price.
  • These new product or “retail” warranties are part of a separate industry, aside from the home service contracts/warranties.

Insurance

  • There is little similarity between home service contracts and insurance.
  • Insurance protects a homeowner against partial or total damage or loss to the structure itself or possessions in the home. Insurance protects against sudden and fortuitous events such as fire, wind, hail, theft, collision or other accidents.
  • Insurance does not cover breakdowns due to normal wear and tear, while service contracts do. The two products complement each other – they do not overlap.
  • Homeowner’s insurance also provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property.
  • If a tree falls on the exterior air conditioning unit of a home, it’s covered by insurance. If an air conditioner stops blowing cold air, it is covered by a home service contract/warranty.
  • In most states, it is not legal for a home service contract to cover anything which could be covered by insurance unless a specific legal exemption exisits.

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.

#01

Buying Beats Renting in Most of America

We know that buying a home is overall cheaper than renting in most major metros, but now there is evidence that buying a home is a better financial decision than renting for homebuyers who plan to stay in their home for at least two years in half of all U.S. markets. Read more, click here

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.

#12

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.

 #10a

                                                            

Even in a Seller’s Market, the Value of a Home Service Contract Remains Strong

 

Lenexa, KS – When sales in the residential real estate market grow, often resulting in a shift towards a sellers’ market in many areas, no one should forget the basic economics of selling or owning a home. The National Home Service Contract Association reminds home buyers that the true cost of home ownership extends well beyond the sale price.

A home service contract provides needed peace of mind and budget protection at a time when they need it most, during the first year of home ownership. They also protect the seller and the seller’s agent from an unhappy and frustrated buyer who encounters a significant repair right after closing.

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), which may become inoperable due to normal wear and use. Coverage does not include preexisting conditions. At an average cost of $400 – $550 a year and service calls ranging from $50-$100, a home service contract can easily pay for itself with just one use, and is one reason they are highly recommended by real estate brokers for both the seller and buyer of a home.

There are many ‘unexpected’ expenses that add to the cost of home ownership – especially during the first year according to national data and the NHSCA.  Jeff Powell, President of First American Home Protections says “We all love those ‘do it yourself’ television shows but the reality is that there are many home repair or replacement projects that occur in that first year which can, and should, only be done by a skilled professional. The true cost of owning a home includes items such as maintenance and repair. The average cost for those items in the first year of home ownership is roughly 1% to 2% of the purchase price. That can really cause a burden to homeowners who have just made what is likely the biggest purchase of their life. That is where a home service contract can really protect a homeowner’s bank account and provide peace of mind.”

The national median existing single-family home price for the first quarter of 2016 was $234,000. That translates to potential maintenance and repair bills ranging from $2340 to $4680 and higher. That figure is for maintenance and repair alone, and doesn’t even include items such as a major system replacement, insurance, property taxes, utilities, lawn care, pest control, or the purchase of new items such as furniture. 

“Even in a sellers’ market, home sellers still can set their home apart from the rest by providing such coverage,” Powell said. “And home buyers still need and want to safeguard their budget. Why leave anything to chance when it’s a win-win for all parties involved?”

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.

#04a

Tips on Spring Home Prep

Just like winterizing, NHSCA says adding home appliances to cleaning list in spring just as important.

Lenexa, KS – The experts with the National Home Service Contract Association advise that cleaning and inspecting major appliances should be at the top of every homeowner’s spring cleaning checklist.

“Organizing closets and cleaning windows certainly are typical spring cleaning tasks but smart homeowners who really want to keep repair bills down and efficiency up, add the major appliances in their homes to their spring cleaning ritual,” says Jeff Powell, President of First American Home Protection.

The experts at the NHSCA suggest a few important spring-cleaning tasks:

Air Conditioning

  • Check your air filters. Replacing every 30 – 60 days is highly recommended.
  • Keep the outdoor compressor unit free of debris. Trim shrubs and plants to ensure proper air flow and circulation.
  • Spraying off the outdoor coil is a great idea but make sure all electricity and breakers turned off first.
  • Better idea? Schedule a professional HVAC expert to do a maintenance visit.

Washing Machine

Whites looking a little dingy? It may not be your detergent, but the machine itself.

  • Inspect cold and hot water supply hoses for cracks and deterioration.
  • Look for signs of water or oil leakage.
  • Check to make sure the machine is level, and adjust it if needed, by turning the legs clockwise to lower them or counter-clockwise to raise them.
  • Your washer over 12 years old? Time to upgrade.

Dryer

  • For gas and electric dryers, check and tighten supply connections.
  • Be sure to clean the lint trap after every load. According to the United States Fire Administration, every year clothes dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses. Check to see if the dryer is level; if it’s not, the drum may vibrate and damage the unit. To adjust the level, turn the legs clockwise to lower them or counter-clockwise to raise them.
  • Clean the vent pipe to outdoor or replace. These vents really clog up after a few years and not only can start fires, they kill the efficiency of your dryer.
  • Is the dryer over 12 years old? Time to go shopping

Water Heater

The last thing anyone wants to do is step into an ice-cold shower.

  • Drain and flush sediment from tank to prevent rust or failure.
  • Check pressure-relief valve once a year to make sure this crucial safety device is not clogged.
  • To prevent accidental scalding and burns in homes with young children, be sure that your heater is set below 120° F.
  • Make sure no flammables (or anything)  stored or stacked near or that could fall around heater.

Many home service contract providers also offer a menu of optional items such as pool and spa equipment, well pumps and freestanding refrigerators, for an additional fee. Contracts are typically annual and renewable. Members of the NHSCA effectuate the actual diagnosis, repair or replacement through a network of independent contractors.

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.

#10b

 

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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