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Has American Home Shield wrongfully denied your home warranty claim? If your claim is wrongfully denied by American Home Shield you may still have options including suing American Home Shield in your local small claims court.
Common types of lawsuits against American Home Shield in small claims court:
Many types of small claims lawsuits can be filed against American Home Shield, some of the most common ones are over:
Bad faith denial of a claim. For example, American Home Shield contract states that the company will pay for a new water heater if your water heater stops working within 2 years. It has been a year and your water heater has stopped working but American Home Shield chooses not to replace your water heater.
Failure to pay for all costs on a covered claim. For example, your warranty plan covers water leaks, but American Home Shield only paid for 50% of the contractor’s bill.
Overcharging premiums on your account.
How to reach American Home Shield’s Customer Service
Before filing a complaint against American Home Shield, it’s usually best to first contact their customer service and escalate your issue as much as possible through them.
Here are ways of contacting American Home Shield’s customer service:
American Home Shield Customer Service Phone Number: 1-888-682-1043
American Home Shield Customer Twitter Username: @AHS_Warranty
Once you have exhausted all of American Home Shield’s complaint departments, it may be time to escalate your complaint.
Sending a Demand Letter to American Home Shield
A demand letter is a letter that outlines a set of requests to American Home Shield. For example, you could request for your claim to be reviewed again by American Home Shield underwriters.
What to include in the demand letter?
Unsure of what to include in your demand letter to American Home Shield? Here are some examples of information to include:
How much money you are owed for your claim.
Why American Home Shield shouldn’t have denied your claim.
Your contact information.
Give them a few days to respond (usually about 7 to 14 days).
State that if they don't respond, you intend to sue.
Where to mail the demand letter to?
Make sure to verify this information before using it, as it is subject to change.
American Home Shield
150 Peabody Place
Memphis, TN 38103
If American Home Shield ignores your demand letter, what is the next step? You may be able to file a complaint against American Home Shield in a small claims court. Make sure to review any contracts you have received from American Home Shield. While there may be a forced arbitration clause, many times there is an exception for small claims lawsuits.
File a Small Claims Court Lawsuit
If American Home Shield is not taking your complaint seriously, you may need to consider suing them in small claims court.
Remember, just because American Home Shield has denied your claim doesn't mean they have acted legally. It is up to a judge to decide whether American Home Shield should have reimbursed you for your claim.
Make sure to review your contract or policy with American Home Shield to determine whether you can sue American Home Shield in small claims.
How much can you sue American Home Shield for in small claims court?
The maximum amount you can sue for in small claims court varies by state but is usually somewhere between $2,500 and $25,000. To know the exact limit for your court, search your local small claims court limit. This limit varies by state and sometimes can change from one county to another.
By suing in small claims you are usually agreeing to waive any amount over the maximum amount you can sue for, even if you are owed more. For example, if American Home Shield owes you $12,000, and you decide to sue in small claims court where the limit is $10,000, you are waiving suing for an additional $2,000. Meaning that you will win a maximum of $10,000.
While you may be missing out on the full amount you are owed, there are practical benefits to suing in small claims instead of suing in "regular court."
Here are some of the benefits:
Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
The process is faster in small claims than in other courts as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit. For more exact information, contact the court you would be filing in as this information varies greatly by the court.
Lawyers are generally not allowed or needed in small claims which helps keep the costs of suing low.
How to file a small claims lawsuit against American Home Shield
There are mainly 4 steps to taking American Home Shield to small claims court.
Prepare the lawsuit.
File the lawsuit.
Serve the lawsuit.
Prepare for the small claims hearing.
Preparing the Small Claims Lawsuit
Go to your local small claims court website to download the small claims court forms.
In many states, you will also need to look through your contract to confirm the correct legal entity name for American Home Shield. Once you have the correct legal entity name, you will be able to search your state’s secretary of state website to look up the “agent for service of process” for American Home shield, as you may be required to list this information on the court forms. You will later serve the lawsuit on the agent for service of process.
File the small claims lawsuit against American Home Shield
Call the court clerk to verify how many copies of the lawsuit you need to bring with you and how they accept payment for the filing fees. Some small claims courts accept filing by mail, fax, or electronically. Be sure to confirm with the court what method will work best for you.
Serve the lawsuit
After the lawsuit is filed, the next step is to serve the small claims lawsuit on American Home Shield. There are different rules on how to serve a company in each state so make sure you review the rules for serving to find what works best for you.
In many states, you will need to serve the “agent for service of process” for American Home Shield. This is a person or business that is in charge of receiving legal documents on behalf of American Home Shield.
Confirm with the court to determine if there are any additional filings you need to complete and file after you have served the home warranty company.
Prepare for the hearing
The most important step is preparing your evidence for the small claims hearing against American Home Shield. Make sure you have your contract or policy available, any communications with the home warranty company, estimates from contractors, invoices, and pictures. You want to make sure you bring all relevant evidence with you to the hearing to allow the judge to get a good understanding of why American Home Shield owes you the money you are requesting.
What is a small claims court hearing like?
Small claims hearings in small claims are informal and most hearings last around 15 minutes. While many disputes settle before the hearing, here is what to expect if your lawsuit does not settle.
Usual Procedure for the hearing:
Right before the hearing, the judge will ask you and American Home Shield’s representative to show each other the evidence that you will later show the judge.
The judge will ask you why you are suing.
The judge will ask American Home Shield's representative to tell them their side of the story.
The hearing will last around 15 minutes.
The judge will ask you to show them the evidence you brought. Sometimes the judge will keep the evidence. Other times, you will get the evidence right back.
Very rarely a judge will tell you whether you won or lost at the hearing. Instead, the judge will tell you that their decision will be mailed to you (which usually takes a few weeks to two months or so).
While every court’s procedure will vary, this is a general framework for what you can expect from your small claims lawsuit.
Consider filing a complaint with the BBB against American Home Shield
Before escalating the complaint to small claims court, consider filing a Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaint against American Home Shield.
You can also read American Home Shield reviews on the BBB website.
Consider filing a complaint against American Home Shield with your state’s Department of Insurance
Insurance is regulated on a state-by-state level, so looking into your state's Department of Insurance could be a potential source of remedy. Your state’s Department of Insurance will likely investigate your complaint against American Home Shield. They will review any supporting evidence you choose to upload and they will reach out to American Home Shield for a response. Make sure you create an account on the Department of Insurance's website so you can follow the status of your complaint!
Chief Legal Architect & Co-Founder @ People Clerk. Camila is an attorney, consumer advocate, and certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.