When the gutter industry invented a way to eliminate the nasty and often dangerous job of gutter cleaning, many Americans didn’t hesitate to invest in a gutter protection system. But unexpectedly, many of those same customers have discovered the protection they paid for is actually preventing their gutter from doing its job.
Mary Appleton, at 81 years old, is not up to climbing a ladder to clean out the leaves gathering in her gutters. So she shelled out $3500 for what she hoped was a no-maintenance gutter protection system. But the satisfaction from her purchase didn’t last.
Mary made multiple calls to customer service. When a Leaf Filter rep came back to “repair” her system, it only made things worse. Mary’s not alone. Inside Investigations has received several complaints about Leaf Filter, including one from Ed Strennen.
Ed paid $6500 to keep his gutters clear by having Leaf Filter install its patented mesh covering. The intent is to keep debris out while allowing water to channel freely through the gutters and away from the home. Although the gutter isn’t full of gunk thanks to Leaf Filter, this company offers a different set of problems.
“Fairly quickly we had a lot of debris picked up in there. With the debris, the water would flow over the gutters,” Ed said. “It’s actually going between the gutter in facia board and we’re getting house damage from it now.”
According to the Leaf Filter website, the issues it’s causing now is one of the problems its product promises to prevent: rotting wood and fascia board.
Like Mary, he too sent multiple emails and made countless phone calls to Leaf Filter but can’t get a real response to his issues. Leaf Filter guarantees a lifetime warranty on their website, but it doesn’t mean anything if they can’t support what they advertise.
“I give them absolutely zero,” Scott Parker said, rating them on a scale of his customer satisfaction. “Their customer service is absolutely poor, and I would never recommend it to anyone.”
To their credit, although they never replied to Dale, they made repairs and gave refunds to some customers who contacted Inside Investigations.
Can Companies Charge A Convenience Fee For Some Customers And Not Others?
Jeff writes us, “Dale, I don’t have any way to pay my phone bill online. I don’t have a bank account, nor do I own any credit cards. Instead, I take a walk to pay my mobile phone bill in person at the store, and I’m charged an additional $4. I think it’s a hidden charge. The mobile phone company says it’s a ‘convenience’ fee!”
It’s very common for companies to charge extra money and call it a “convenience fee.” Airlines have been doing this for years. They charge extra for people who book their tickets in person or over the phone, instead of online. Gas stations do something similar. If you check at the signs above the station, you’ll see it costs more money to pay with credit than with cash. The reason for this is that gas stations are trying to offset any credit transaction fees.
This sounds unfair, but as long as the fees are disclosed in advance, it’s legal. Companies charge you extra money if you don’t use preferred methods of payment. TrustDALE reviewed the information on your phone provider's website.
We saw that they offer several free methods of payment online either on their website or on their app. Detailed on the website, it states customers who pay over the phone or in person will be charged an extra $4. It’s common practice for companies to want to make it easy to collect payments. It’s easier for them to do so electronically.
However, if you still want to pay over the phone or in person, no worries! There’s still a way you can get around the extra charge. We suggest you get a prepaid debit card. You can use these just like any credit card, and you don’t need a bank account to get one.
Do You Need A Water Line Protection Plan?
Caroline writes us, “Dale, I received a letter from American Water Resources, suggesting I purchase a water line protection policy for our home. My question is: is this protection we need?”
What you’ve just received, Caroline is an offer for a home warranty service. This service specializes in plumbing-related problems. Here at TrustDALE, we’re a little skeptical of these types of warranties, because the terms and conditions often limit what the company actually covers.
American Water Resources says in their waterline protection policy: “Your water line is the water service line from the point where it connects to your water utility’s system to the water meter or main shut-off value inside your home, whichever is closer to the foundation wall. It does not include your main tap, water meter, water meter pit, or water meter vault.”
In other words, they only cover the line that connects the home to the utility company’s water bank. That’s it. Anything behind the water line on your property is your responsibility.
We noticed that the list of what the policy does not cover is much longer than the list of what the policy does cover. Additionally, AWR chooses which plumber comes to your home, not the homeowner. If you choose your own plumber, the cost is on you.
This is why it is always important to never sign a contract until you’ve read it, understand it, and agree with it. If you don’t understand it, hire a lawyer to help you out with it.
We say it’s up to the homeowners to decide if any water line protection policy is something you need. But here at TrustDALE, it sounds like this policy doesn’t cover a lot. A much easier choice is to hire a trusted and certified plumber from TrustDALE.com. I back their work and your purchase with my $10,000 Make-It-Right guarantee.
What Happens When A Company Holds Over $3,000 Hostage Until A Customer Accepts Their Offer?
Vacations are meant to be a time to relax and unwind! But it’s hard to be relaxed when the destination you planned to stay at suddenly becomes unavailable. Here’s how TrustDALE helped one woman where when her vacation plans went awry.
Susie, a zoologist by training, lives in a quiet rural community with her family and animals. She wasn’t prepared for the rude awakening that was Covid-19 and what happened when her family rented a vacation home in South Carolina for a spring break baseball tournament.
Susie says, “We had to cancel our reservations because the baseball tournament was canceled.” The rental management company then offered her credit for a future trip, due to the pandemic. After she agreed, a new problem arose. The home she wanted was now off the market. She contacted them and asked for a full refund.
“There were supposed to be at least 16 of us in there,” she said. “There’s not a home comparable…”
She was willing to work with the company, but no matter what she said, the company refused to budge because she originally took the credit. For this particular company, the policy on unavailable properties read: “[The company], in our discretion, may provide Guest with a comparable home at no additional cost… or cancel and refund Guest’s booking.”
This leaves Susie at the mercy of a company that’s holding more than $3000 of her money. Unfortunately, all of this is legal even if it seems unfair.
After TrustDALE intervened, the company had a change of heart and offered Susie a 100% refund.
“They initially denied our request over and over and over again,” Susie said, “until we got TrustDALE involved.”
Lesson Learned: Before you book a trip or make any reservations, make sure you read and understand the company's cancellation policy. It could spare you a headache if you decide to cancel that reservation.