Water customers cautioned to beware
Feb 28, 2012 | 2741 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Venita Fritz

Tribune-Courier General Manager


DRAFFENVILLE – A number of Marshall County residents have reported receiving mailings from a company called HomeServe soliciting the purchase of insurance for water service line repairs. At least one of the county’s water departments is warning residents to beware.

Bobby Gifford, superintendent of the North Marshall Water District, said HomeServe is in no way affiliated with the district.

“I would advise anyone receiving the letter to be skeptical,” said Gifford.

He said employees at North Marshall Water have been contacted by a number of customers wanting to know if the letter came from them and they have been assured it did not.

The letter advises recipients that, “as a homeowner, you are responsible for the repair of the water service line from your service connection to the foundation of your home.” It goes on to state that “exterior water line problems can be complicated and expensive to fix.”

Customers are asked to pay $59.88 annually for the insurance for up to $6,000 in coverage.

Gifford said that while water line breaks between the meter and the house are the homeowner’s responsibility, they occur rarely. He also said he would estimate the average cost to repair a water line to be around $100 to $150.

“This really is something people don’t need,” said Gifford.

The Better Business Bureau lists Homeserve with a “D” rating and notes on their website there is an alert against them.

In early 2010, HomeServe USA Corp. and HomeServe USA Repair Management Corp. entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, which is not an admission of guilt or finding of a violation of the law with Jack Conway, Attorney General of the State of Kentucky.

The Assurance settles charges that the business allegedly violated Kentucky consumer protection law by designing and mailing, or directing the design and mailing of direct marketing material containing false, misleading or deceptive representations to approximately 230,000 Kentucky consumers in or around January 2010.

A spokesperson with Jack Conway’s office said Friday, “It is important for consumers to know that solicitations for water line service coverage from HomeServe are optional. This coverage is being offered by a third party, not a utility company, and it is not mandatory. Although we continue to get questions from consumers about HomeServe solicitations, it does not appear that the company is in violation of the 2010 agreement reached with the Attorney General’s office so long as the company discloses the voluntary nature of the coverage. Consumers should direct any questions they may have about water line service coverage to their local utility company.”
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