By Kurtis Ming

An El Dorado County woman says her fridge has been acting up for months. The repair shop said it can’t be fixed. When she wasn’t getting help from her warranty company, she called Kurtis.

She paid for service calls out of pocket and was denied when she tried to recoup the costs through her extended warranty. We learned it may not be over when your warranty company denies your claim.

“I’m so sick of eating things out of cans,” said Yrata Nelson.

She’s sick of eating canned goods because keeping cold food is a challenge. Nelson’s fridge has been on the fritz since last November.

“The fan went out first and here was this ‘ra ra ra ra!’” said Nelson.

Nelson called for service on her Maytag Dependability Plus warranty. She says they referred her to a repair company and told her to set up her own appointment, which she did. But after seven service calls, which she paid more than $850 out of pocket, the repair technician told her it couldn’t be fixed.

“This whole wall I was told, back here is all ice,” said Nelson, pointing to the back of her freezer.

The fridge still “screams,” as Nelson puts it, on a daily basis. Turning it off and defrosting it seems to help, but only temporarily.

“I don’t have a refrigerator, I just have a nuisance,” said Nelson.

She says the company that administers her warranty, Assurant Solutions denied her request to pay her back and repair or replace her fridge. In a letter, they told her consumers are never asked to call repair shops on their own and that they had no records of her calls for service.

That’s when our volunteer Beverly took on the case.

“It was something that she tried and made so many attempts on her own,” said Beverly.

She referred Nelson to the State’s Department of Insurance.

“Don’t give up. Don’t just take the answer of a particular company,” said Deputy Press Secretary Pat McConahay.

If your warranty company isn’t helping you out, McConahay says they might be able to help.

“If the warranty company is under the jurisdiction or umbrella of an insurance company, then we would investigate if a complaint is brought to us,” said McConahay.

Nelson’s complaint to the Insurance Department was forwarded to Assurant’s insurance company, and that’s when she got results. Assurant is now paying her out for a fridge. She was also reimbursed for all those repairs and $300 for food that spoiled.

“I think that I am going to go to the grocery store and stock up,” said Nelson.

CBS13 learned Nelson’s warranty changed hands in 2010. Assurant says when she first called for service in late 2011, the old company shouldn’t have told her to call for service herself. And her request for service should have been forwarded to Assurant.

While the Department of Insurance regulates insurance companies tied to warranty companies, The Department of Consumer affairs regulates warranty companies, so consumers with warranty issues can also file a complaint with them.

Assurant Solution’s statement to CBS13:
At the point Ms. Nelson called us in late April 2012 she had already arranged and paid for her refrigerator service repair herself. At that point she was requesting reimbursement of her out-of-pocket expenses, but we had no record of service to her refrigerator and her extended service contract had expired in Dec. 2011. When we followed up on the matter, we learned that she was misinformed by the previous administrator as to how to proceed with her claim. Once this was clarified we issued Ms. Nelson a reimbursement check and continued to follow up on her claim.

In March 2010 Assurant Solutions absorbed Maytag Dependability Plus service plan administration and Ms. Nelson’s service call should have been directed to us. For unknown reasons, we did not receive information about Ms. Nelson’s call at the time. According to Ms.

Nelson, the previous administrator directed her to call a service repairman herself.