More homeowners in Shelby County are getting offers in the mail to protect their pipes for a fee. Earlier this month the Local I-Team told viewers about a program through HomeServe. We also addressed its partnership with the city of Memphis.
A second round of letters went out in the mail. Still a lot of viewers have expressed concern about the program online. The local I-Team’s Dave Detling investigated the issue further.
Despite some skepticism about the partnership people across the Bluff City appear to trust HomeServe.
The Local I-Team checked in with the Connecticut based company and found out more than 817 people in our area have purchased service plans.
“We are looking at the next round of communications to go out at the end of February or early in March,” said HomeServe Senior Vice President Myles Meehan. “As is our standard practice, we have to review and gain approval of these materials by city prior to use. I think that before that next mailing occurs, we’ll also work with the city to give a general update on the program status.”
Earlier in the month Memphis director of public works Robert Knecht told the Local I-Team MLGW customers receiving the postcard with the city’s seal should not be concerned he said it’s not a scam.
“It’s completely legitimate and authentic,” Knecht said on January 4th. “The key here is we’re offering these homeowners optional warranties because normally their homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover these items.”
As the Local I-Team has reported, the city signed with HomeServe last spring.
It is an emergency repair company offering water, sewer and septic line service to eligible homeowners for a monthly fee, the fees range from five to $12 a month.
The city of Memphis reiterates this is an optional program but if you sign up you must use a contractor provided by HomeServe.
In an email to the Local I-Team a city’s spokesperson said:
• The HomeServe plan is strictly optional in efforts to help customers, particularly those in older homes, who want to protect themselves against potentially expensive and untimely sewer line repairs.
• City residents will receive mailings and reminders to inform them about the strictly optional repair service plans available through HomeServe.
• HomeServe plan holders have access to a repair hotline that is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and bring local minority, licensed, qualified and insured contractors to their home for repairs, which are guaranteed by HomeServe against defects in materials and workmanship.
• HomeServe works with municipal and utility providers around the nation to offer similar programs.
City residents can learn more about these optional plans as well as HomeServe by calling HomeServe toll-free at 1-888-212-0177 or by visiting www.HomeServeusa.com/Memphis .
Sewer line repairs can be an unexpected and costly, and most property owners are unaware they are responsible for the sewer line that travels from the sidewalk to their home.
Homeowner’s insurance policies often do not cover sewer line repairs.
Our partnership with HomeServe was established in to help customers, particularly those in older homes, protect themselves against potentially expensive sewer line repairs. The City in turn, earns revenue from this agreement. This revenue source was presented and included as part of the FY18 Public Works O&M General Fund budget. A portion of these funds will be set aside in FY19 to help aid eligible, elderly low-income homeowners who cannot afford such repairs.
Public Works negotiated low rates to make this option affordable for our residents who choose to participate. Moreover, all the marketing, customer service and repairs using local minority contractors are paid for and managed entirely by HomeServe including the marketing and communication materials.
The Local I-Team checked with the Better Business Bureau. Right now, HomeServe has an A+ rating. According to the company’s profile it operates across the country. The profile shows 244 complaints. All have them been addressed and closed. Of the 82 reviews 51 are negative. The rest neutral or positive.
Kathy Thurmond-Edwards with a local State Farm office investigated HomeServe’s packages.
“My chief supervisor and adjuster investigated it,” said Thurmond-Edwards. “He said it wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
She went onto say newer homes in the Mid-South might not need the warrantee but if you own an older home with older sewer lines, it could be worth the investment.
“Homeowner’s insurance is not a maintenance policy,” she said. “It’s for things that happen sudden and accidental, like storms and pipes suddenly bursting causing damaging the inside of your home not here yard.”