COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is suing a “home warranty” company and its administrator for misrepresentation and unconscionable business practices.
“If you promise you’re going to do something and you don’t, that’s a lie,” Yost said. “We teach our children to be honest and work hard – a basic lesson this company should learn.”
Since 2018, more than 1,200 consumers combined have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office about Amazon Home Warranty, a Wyoming company based in New Jersey that uses a Columbus customer-service address, and Amazon Warranty Administrators, which lists a Dublin address but is not, as required by state law, registered with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.
Neither company is related to Amazon.com, the e-commerce giant.
Yost’s lawsuit, filed this week in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, says the two Ohio addresses are Regus-owned office rental spaces with no employees at either location.
Amazon Home Warranty, the lawsuit maintains, used various online platforms and social-media outlets to advertise service contracts to home buyers and sellers, with Amazon Warranty Administrators listed as the administrator of the residential service contracts.
Amazon Home Warranty claimed that its contracts covered the cost of repairs and replacements of major systems (such as an air conditioner) and appliances but did not provide consumers the advertised benefits. Such misrepresentations violate the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act.
When a “covered” appliance or system broke down, consumers – following the procedures outlined in the service contract– would contact the defendants to send a technician to diagnose the problem. Oftentimes, defendants would take days or even weeks to send a technician, prompting some consumers to expend time and energy to find a technician on their own. Consumers who went ahead with a repair through a technician they found would then be required to pay up front and wait for approval or reimbursement from Amazon Warranty Administrators, only to learn that their claims were denied.
An Amazon Home Warranty contract cost $400 to $650 a year, depending on the plan, and the standard per-call service fee averaged $70.
Attorney General Yost is asking the court to require the defendants to change their business practices to comply with Ohio law, reimburse consumers and pay civil penalties and court costs.
If you believe you have been victimized by Amazon Home Warranty or Amazon Warranty Administrators – or by another unfair or deceptive business practice – contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.