December 1, 2023

ON YOUR SIDE: Retired school teacher goes all winter with broken heater under warranty

3 min read
ON YOUR SIDE: Retired school teacher goes all winter with broken heater under warranty

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – After going all winter with a broken heater, a retired school teacher is once again warm inside of her home after contacting CBS47 On Your Side.

We called her home warranty company who immediately took action and put Carmen Cruz in a hotel for a week while they replaced her old heater with a new one.

It’s been a cold winter for Carmen Cruz.

“From the end of October, all of November, all of December, all of January, and here we are in February, still no heat,” Cruz said.

“It’s just breathing in that cold air into my lungs continuously, for as long as I’m in here, and with asthma, it gets very uncomfortable after a while,” Cruz said.

When we first met with Cru, her thermostat read 56 degrees. Her family told us it’s been in the forties to fifties range for months.

Cruz could not have visitors because of how uncomfortable her home was.

“Even though the pandemic has gotten better, I can’t have my grandsons over,” Cruz said. “They used to come over and spend the night, it’s too cold, they can’t come over.”

With a home warranty, her daughter thought the broken heater would have been fixed months ago.

“She doesn’t do handy work around the house, we don’t know a lot of maintenance/HVAC guys, so she pays for that so when something like this happens it can be dealt with,” Jennifer Cruz, Carmen’s daughter, said.

Cruz did call the problem into American Home Shield, her home warranty company.

They contracted an HVAC business in October.

“A technician came out, said it was the thermostat, put batteries in it, and was here five minutes,” Cruz said.

A quick repair meant to resolve the problem had only prolonged it.

“After that, it was just a roller coaster because nobody was accountable for anything,” Cruz said.

There was still no heat with nights dropping below freezing.

That’s when Cruz’s daughter got involved emailing CBS47 On Your Side.

We reached out to American Home Shield who had a team take over Carmen’s case.

AHS had Carmen choose a hotel to stay in while they worked to make things right.

“She has asthma, some preexisting conditions, she needed to be warm,” Jennifer Cruz said.

Over the next week, a new contracted HVAC company came out to the home, provided estimates, inspections, ordered a new unit, and had it installed.

“As soon as you guys contacted them, within just a matter of days, everything started to fall into place,” Cruz said.

What would have been a costly repair for Carmen was covered in full under her home warranty.

A unit that cost close to $10,000 and a hotel stay that was $1,300 was paid in full.

American Home Shield provided us with this statement after our involvement with their customer’s claim.

“We sincerely apologize for the delay in resolving Ms. Cruz’s situation. We take great pride in providing quality service and valuable protection to our customers. If we fail to meet these expectations, we work to do the right thing to ensure the situation is properly resolved. Our customer care team will stay in contact with Ms. Cruz to ensure her unit is working properly. 

“I’m very, very thankful for what you guys did, I really honestly think if you wouldn’t have stepped in, we would be in the same situation today,” Cruz said.

If you need CBS47 On Your Side, email us at [email protected].

ON YOUR SIDE: Retired school teacher goes all winter with broken heater under warranty