Issues with warranty process cause headache for Tybee Island couple

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 1:48 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2022 at 8:59 AM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - A nightmare scenario involving a broken washer and an extended warranty plan is what prompted one couple to share their story.

For Kevin and Sherry Shaw, the decision to buy extra protection for a new washer and dryer set seemed like a good investment. But as they discovered, the coverage included a never-ending cycle of finger pointing after the gift card reimbursement they received was drained by someone else.

After getting tired of the rinse and repeat, they reached out to WTOC Investigates.

The Shaws’ story begins just before Thanksgiving.

“When we had a lot of family coming, and you need a washer,” said Sherry Shaw, Home Depot customer.

After the washer top shattered, she and her husband found themselves taking trips to the laundromat and at the mercy of an extended warranty company after what should have been a simple fix.

Supply chain issues delayed the delivery of the new washer top.

After weeks went by, the Home Depot Extended Warranty Plan provider Asurion agreed with the Shaws - it was taking too long and issued them full store credit to buy a new washer. The store credit arrived in the form of an E-gift card.

“I thought that was fine,” Sherry said. “I thought that was very fair.”

But that’s where their trouble began, Sherry explained.

“We picked out a new washer, had it all figured out and we went right to the front desk. They wanted to cash us out using the gift card. And we got there, and they said there’s only a 19 cent credit on here. I said it’s supposed to be $645 and some change. Then we went through weeks of having to deal with the fraud department for Asurion and Home Depot.”

After hearing the Shaws’ story, WTOC Investigates had to contact three different companies to get answers.

In a statement, Home Depot apologized for the inconvenience and re-issued the Shaws a full refund. It said it would work with Asurion to determine what happened.

A statement from Home Depot: “We’re re-issuing the Shaw’s a refund while we work with our extended protection plan provider, Asurion, to understand what happened with the original electronic gift card they issued. We apologize for the inconvenience and are grateful for the opportunity to make this right.”

Asurion is the third-party company the Shaws paid through Home Depot to provide the extended warranty protection.

It cost about $243 to protect the $1,200 washer and dryer set they purchased, according to the Shaws’ receipt.

The company sent over a response that reads in part: “We worked with The Home Depot’s gift card vendor, CashStar, to provide the Shaw’s with an e-gift card reimbursement on Jan. 16.”

Since the Shaws did receive the original gift card, that’s where Asurion’s involvement ended, a spokeswoman said, saying the company did not conduct a fraud investigation since the E-gift cards were issued through CashStar.

CashStar did not respond to WTOC’s request for comment.

BBB representative Tom Stephens said when it comes to extended warranty plans, it’s not always worth it.

There are several things consumers should consider before buying the extra protection, including how much it costs and the cost of repairs should you need it.

“You just got to know that if you buy anything from a big box store, that’s going to be the first question the cashier asks you: Is do you want a warranty on the product? That’s when the 20 percent rule comes into play. If you find out the warranty is more than 20 percent of the value of the item, it’s not worth it, in my opinion,” Stephens said.

He added that consumers should expect down time before the repair.

Warranty companies often will send a third-party repair company they have vetted, so there can be a wait depending upon the number of pending claims in the area.

As for the Shaws, they now have a working washer.

In a turn of events, Kevin’s brother bought them one during the worst of the ordeal.

The Shaws have since put the full refund from Home Depot toward a new stove top.

For the new purchase, they decided against the home warranty protection plan, Sherry said.

“It’s almost better off getting a repairman to come and paying for the repair,” she said, reflecting on her experience.

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