Heating System Service Contracts
LESLIE: Jane in Washington has a furnace that’s acting up. What’s going on?
JANE: Yes, my igniter went on my gas furnace and I want to know how much I should pay to get it fixed; if I’m going to be overcharged. What’s being overcharged?
TOM: Do you have a service contract for your heating system?
JANE: No, I don’t.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, unfortunately.
JANE: (overlapping voices) You know, I left it run – it’s about 15 years old but I left it run out last year.
TOM: Yeah, OK. Well, the biggest expense is going to be the service call itself and, you know, in your area you’re probably talking at least 100 bucks, I would think, for the guy to come out; you know, just to walk in the door. The part itself shouldn’t be that expensive. I would imagine the whole thing could be fixed for maybe a couple hundred.
LESLIE: You know what, Jane? It might even just be worth it – you know, once this is said and done – to renew your service contract. I’m a big believer in it. When we first bought our house, we did not have a service contract and we had some major heating issues that year and it cost a lot of money and we had to wait a long time for somebody to come to the house. And with the service contract, which runs between 200 and 300 bucks for the year, you can have somebody at your house for hours upon hours; pretty much every part under the sun is covered. And you know, for a nice tip at the end of the job, it’s done and it’s done fast and I never have to worry that if it’s three o’clock in the morning and something goes on; you know, I can reach out. We have a 35-year-old boiler.
TOM: Have you talked to your utility company about whether or not they have any kind of amnesty program? Because some companies will let you renew a service contract when something breaks down as long as you continue it.
JANE: Oh, really?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, you might want to ask that …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, and have been a member for a while.
TOM: Yeah, you might want to ask that question.
JANE: Let’s see, I’ve had it since when we – I’ve had it forever and then I thought, “Oh, you know, [I just didn’t bother.] (ph)
TOM: Well, tell them it was an oversight and tell them that you had it for a long time and you didn’t realize it had run out and, as luck would have it, you have a breakdown and see if they can help you address it.
JANE: OK, thank you very much.
TOM: Doesn’t hurt to ask.
JANE: I’m going to try that. No, I’m going to try it.
TOM: Alright. Alright, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.