Butler County Times Gazette
  • Augusta warns residents of potential waterline insurance scam

  • The Better Business Bureau has received 307 complaints about Homeserve
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  • The City of Augusta used social media to warn residents of a potential scam Tuesday.
    Some people have received advertisements in the mail resembling utility bills and ask the recipient to submit credit card information to pay for water line insurance.
    Homeserve correctly claims damage between home’s and the city’s water lines are the responsibility of the homeowner.
    The company claims its services protect homeowners in the case of costly repairs. Some cities, including El Dorado, have endorsed companies who offer this type of policy.
    However, the Better Business Bureau has received 307 complaints about Homeserve and issued a warning as far back as May of 2012.
    “Consumers shouldn’t feel pressured to make a decision about any warranty, service plan or insurance policy,” said Norman Wright, president and CEO of BBB of Northwest Florida. “Take time to do your homework, research the company making the offer, make sure you understand what is and is not covered, and make sure you’re not paying for duplicate coverage.”
    Wright also asked residents to be cautious.
    “Contact your water utility to see what your responsibility is as a homeowner. You should also review your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if coverage is already provided,” he said.
    Newspapers have reported this as a scam from Phoenix to Milwaukee to Catskills, N.Y.
    The company says their coverage is real and useful. But many of the complaints against the company include the appearance of their mailed advertisements – which resemble a utility bill.
    The Web site ripoffreport.com has nine complaints against Homeserve ranging from poor service after claims are made to questionable high-pressure sales techniques.
    Despite having more than 300 complaints on file against Homeserve, the BBB gives the company an A- rating. They said the rating would be higher if not for their advertising methods. The company’s response to complaints has kept its rating high.
    There have been 107 complaints about advertising and soliciting and 140 about the product itself. Billing and warranty issues make up the remainder of the complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
    As with any service or product of this type, residents should check with their local insurance agents and, when necessary, city officials before entering into any agreement.
     
    Kent Bush can be reached at kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com.
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