Friday, August 30, 2019

American Home Shield continues to prey on the poor and the distracted

1.  The client in this ad doesn't know what kind of insurance she has, or what it covers.  My guess is that she's insured against fire and severe weather damage and is enough of a dumb cluck to think that also means she's entitled to a new water heater when it wears out and stops working.  I'm consistently amazed at the people on tv who manage to make enough money to own homes but don't have Clue One as to how insurance works.

2.  The narrator tells us that American Home Shield does two things in exchange for the money they want you to shovel at it- it "helps" it's clients pay for repairs on "components" of major appliances.  Those are two enormous, flashing neon-light red flags (if you'll pardon the mixed metaphors) that are passed by in an instant when the viewer is supposed to be paying attention to the stupid woman, the stupid insurance adjuster, and the cartoon dragon.  The message you are supposed to get from this commercial is that an American Home Shield Warranty will repair or replace hot water heaters, air conditioners, washing machines, dishwashers, and all those other appliances which you live in constant fear of breaking down because their repair/replace cost is so high.  But that's not promised at all by the actual words in the commercial.  The WORDS IN THE COMMERCIAL only offer "help" (what's that?  Advice?  Assistance?  Maybe a LITTLE money?  Maybe no money at all) to repair "components" (what's THAT?  They'll "help" replace one part of the air conditioner but not another part, even if both need replacing?  Well, you'll find out after you pay the up-front Service Fee.)

Clearly the people at American Home Shield have learned a very valuable lesson from the big Pharmaceutical companies- when describing your product, dazzle your audience with colorful images so they don't listen carefully to what you're actually offering.  That way you can get them to give you money in exchange for very, very sketchy and limited "insurance" you'd be better off putting into a special fund to handle appliance issues coming down the road.  Too bad home warranties don't protect against Vampires- then you'd have coverage against companies like, well, American Home Shield.

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