Every day new customers become Members with a Home-Tech Service Agreement. Hundreds of homeowners in SW Florida check into our GOLD and Silver Service Agreements and get an Instant Quote every month. There are lot of Service Agreement questions. We consulted with our President and CEO, Steve Marino, the originator of the Service Agreement product, and also the Service Agreement Department to get the answers.
Most Commonly Asked Service Agreement Questions
Can we make payments?
Service Agreements covering parts/materials and labor are regulated by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Refer to Chapter 634, Part III, SERVICE WARRANTY ASSOCIATIONS. Home-Tech has held this license since 1985. All funds must be held in escrow. Ten percent of the premium is deposited with the State of Florida. So, for your protection these types of Service Agreements must be paid for in advance.
- Over 50% of the repairs made by Home-Tech requiring parts are on units 10 years and older.
- When an older unit fails how would a customer know if it can be repaired or if it’s time to replace?
Many repairs on older equipment would not be made by the homeowner if they had to pay the full bill. Without the Service Agreement they have the inconvenience and cost of a replacing the unit. And they would have to pay the service call with some diagnostic time which would generally cost over $100. That cost is covered, seven days a week by the Home-Tech Service Agreements.
Are older appliances covered for replacement?
Home-Tech’s “Primary Service Agreement Package” offers FREE replacement on covered units under 10 years of age on standard appliances. However, units 10 years or older enjoy our “Reserved Member Pricing” on replacements.
On older appliances are you just going to tell me they need to be replaced, verses being repaired?
First, Home-Tech must determine what the unit needs. When the cost to repair the unit exceeds the value (which is generally 60% below the retail price) the unit is deemed “non-repairable.” It must be replaced.
So how do you determine the unit’s value?
It’s all about Average Lifetime Expectancy (ALE). Home-Tech uses 4 resources to determine the ALE:
- The “National American Home Builders” report (NAHB)
- “Annual Portrait US Appliance Industry” report
- “Demesne Research” and
- 38 years of Home-Tech historical data
The value of the covered unit is based on its ALE.
We already have a “Maintenance Policy” with another company. Why would we need a Home-Tech Service Agreement?
Most Air Conditining companies offer some type of “maintenance contract” which ONLY includes annual or biannual maintenance of your AC unit. We call this maintenance “Clean and Checks.” These maintenance contracts may also include some type of parts discounts. BUT THEY ARE NOT full parts and labor coverage Service Agreements, like Home-Tech’s.
Maintenance contracts do not:
- have licensing requirements
- offer any consumer protection, and
- do not include parts, materials or labor coverage.
Are you a locally based company?
Yes we are, and employee owned. Home-Tech was established in Lee County in 1981 and is is currently celebrating its 38th year. We have spread the Home-Tech concept and process of priority in-home service to the adjoining counties of Collier, Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte. Home-Tech currently serves these counties from two offices/Member Appliance Centers. We have service technicians living in all five counties.
We have “newer” equipment. Why would we need a Service Agreement? New appliances last for at least 8 – 10 years, right?
Maybe they will, but most do not. In our experience each appliance requires between 2 to 3 service calls in its lifetime. AC units require even more. Fifty percent our calls are on units ten years and over. So the remaining fifty percent are appliances aged between 1 and 9 years. Do you want to take that risk?
In addition to that, the Service Agreement includes your annual AC Clean and Check (recommended by all manufacturers). It also includes emergency service 7 days a week and free replacements on standard appliances under 10 years of age. Our Members love the convenience, security and priority service of a full coverage Service Agreement. The majority renew this product year after year.
Absolutely! In fact most of our Service Agreement customers began as COD customers. It usually doesn’t take long for a COD customer to see the many benefits of the Service Agreement and come on board.
Will a COD customer get the same consideration as a Service Agreement Member?
They will receive the same quality of service, but in scheduling, the Service Agreement Member always is our first priority. You may not realize this, but Home-Tech has a contractual obligation to our Service Agreement Members. That simply does not exist with our COD customers.
My spouse and I both work. Do you run late night or weekend service? Is that an extra charge for Members?
Yes our Service Agreement Members enjoy non-emergency service. It’s Monday through Friday up to 8PM, and up to 5PM on Saturdays. Emergency service is offered 7 days a week and on holidays up to 10 pm. No, there is never an extra charge for these covered services.
I am here part-time and barely use my appliances. Should I spend the money on a Service Agreement?
Home-Tech has thousands of Service Agreement Members who are part-time residents. Why do they become Members?
- MORE repairs are required on idle appliances. (Home-Tech’s busiest season is October/November due to returning homeowners finding inoperable appliances.)
- Your AC System DOES operate all year long.
So, less usage does not equal less breakdowns with major appliances. And your AC system is running all year long. It’s not a convenience; AC is a necessity in Southwest Florida. Throughout our history we have seen hundreds of damaged homes due to mold, mildew or water as a result of a failed AC system. We recommend to part time residents:
- Always have your AC system cleaned and checked before you leave. (This service is included with our Service Agreements).
- Have a Service Agreement in place to help address any breakdowns in your absence.
- Make arrangements with a local “home watcher,” friend or family member to check in on your home regularly. When problems are found, they will know to call Home-Tech. And they will have no worries about how the bill is being paid, because it’s covered.
Can I choose which appliances to cover? I have new kitchen appliances but will be replacing our other equipment. Do you offer a Service Agreement for individual appliances?
Not at this time. The reason is that the Service Agreement offers so many benefits for future replacements. You get better pricing in package rates.
Do you offer discounts if I cover multiple properties?
The Service Agreement price is based on each individual property’s anticipated usage. Only in the case of multiple properties located in the same building or location are discounts considered. Example: Air Conditioning Clean and Checks for multiple units scheduled at the same time.
Do you offer discounts for paying for multiple years up front?
Home-Tech is one of the few providers that does offer multiple-year pricing (up to 4 years) at the same current annual price. By locking in today’s current price for each additional year our Members save approximately 5% to 10% per additional year (depending on the “cost of service”). The cost of service has always increased each year. So yes, you can lock in your rate and you should if you are able!
I was with your company a few years ago and had a bad experience with a repair. It took the technicians multiple trips to fix our (appliance). Will I run into the same problem again?
This situation is the exception and not the rule at Home-Tech. There are many reasons for “multiple trips” or “return calls”:
- misdiagnosis or incomplete diagnosis
- defective replacement parts
- wrong parts ordered or received and
- factory issues
Return calls are a reality in the service business. Home-Tech’s “return call” percentage falls between 5% to 7%. This is extremely low in in-home service businesses. Our low percentage rate of return calls is a direct result of our commitment to continuing education. We strive for perfection, but the reality is we’re close.
The average time spent on a repair falls between 45 to 50 minutes. We now offer 2 hour time frame for the technician’s arrival for your convenience.
Do the technicians carry most of the parts on their trucks?
Home-Tech does complete about 70% of our service calls (many requiring parts) on the first trip. However, appliances today require specific and costly replacement parts such as control boards. This not only drives up the average appliance repair cost, but increases the possibility of a special-ordered part. We make every effort to update and maintain our trucks’ stock of parts, particularly for emergency situations. And we expedite all special-ordered parts.
My appliances are high end. Do you replace with the same high end type?
Home-Tech refers to high end as “premium.” The “premium” definition is noted under “Definitions” Item 2 on page 4 of the official Service Agreement. All replacement coverage found within the Service Agreement refers to “comparable replacement” and is defined in Item 12 as “Units similar to quality, features and efficiencies.” Home-Tech makes every effort to also match the brand, but cannot guarantee an exact replacement due to conditions beyond our control.
Why do we require an inspection of an Air Conditioning system under 8 years of age before the purchase of the Rust & Corrosion Option (RCO) or the Equipment Purchase Option (EPO)?
Repairs and/or replacements of air conditioning system components are expensive in both materials and labor. Unfortunately, the quality of an AC system is only as good as the installation. Poor installation methods (found in many low bid situations) such as the size of ductwork, drainage methods and location of outside units near sprinkler heads play a major role in premature rust and corrosion, regardless of age.
We hope these Service Agreement questions and answers have been helpful. If you wish to learn more or have additional questions please call our Service Agreement Department at (800) 800-8356 ext. 3. Our experts will be happy to speak to you.