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.

 

 

 

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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TRADE ASSOCIATION CAUTIONS CONSUMERS PURCHASING CONTRACTS

Complaints and Investigation of New York Company Elicit Response by National Home Service Contract Association

(OLATHE, KS – January 12, 2009)

OIn today’s economy it has never been more important for consumers to verify the credibility and dependability of any company in which they invest or purchase services. The National Home Service Contract Association strongly advises when purchasing a home service contract, consumers should do their homework, solicit references from seasoned real estate professionals and, most importantly, carefully read contracts before signing.

“Many consumers do their shopping for services via the Internet,” Billy Jensen, President of the NHSCA said. “While this method can be convenient and a time-saver, consumers must remember that anyone, including unscrupulous business people and scam artists, can host a well-designed and convincing Web-site. Consumers must do their research.” 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.

This caution comes in light of recent consumer complaints and ensuing investigation against National Home Protection which according to its Web-site, is a home service warranty company based out of New York City. Published reports contend that NHP was not properly licensed in the states in which it operated including Texas where the state’s attorney general has filed action against the company. NHP currently has an “unsatisfactory record” nationally with the Better Business Bureau.* NHP is not a member of the NHSCA which has published a Code of Ethics that requires its members to act in conformity with all applicable laws and regulations.

“We certainly do not like to see any home service provider cast in a bad light, or worse, not fulfilling their contractual obligations,” advises Billy Jensen, President of the NHSCA. “One of our missions is to fully inform and educate consumers as to what contracts do and can provide. Unfounded expectations only later lead to dissatisfaction which is not in anyone’s best interest.”

Home service contracts provide a variety of benefits to service, repair or replace specifically listed household systems and appliances for a set, annual fee, but do not cover everything. Additionally, they do not cover insurable losses from events such as fire, windstorm, vandalism or theft. “If a dishwasher breaks down, the dishwasher repair is covered, but if a water leak form the dishwasher destroyed your ceiling, under state law, the homeowner must look to their insurance company for that loss,” Jensen clarified. For more questions and answers on home service contracts visit the NHSCA website page www.homeservicecontract.org

* The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; 1/11/2009