Saturday, April 6, 2013

National Home Services – Evil long term contracts on water heaters. BE WARNED! *** UPDATE – now owned by Reliance Home Services – still evil …

I got sucked in to a very nasty long-term rental contract in 2009. It was partially my fault as I was in a vulnerable frame of mind due to some serious personal issues so I failed in my due diligence. I should never have considered letting them into my house. Further, I had no idea that there was a company out there whose policies and tactics were this predatory.

First, they showed me an image of a great looking water heater and told me that it was much more efficient than what I have. They told me it was only $4 per month more and that the savings in energy would have me save money in the long run.


They replaced my 1960’s water heater with the same model (I did not even check when they left.) It is the least efficient water heater available and I am paying more for it than I was prior. Worse, the install was awful:

  • They destroyed the tap for my humidifier, which has not worked since
  • They did not put in any of the required grounding between pipes
  • They did not fill out any of the mandatory tags on the device

So all in all I got horribly ripped off. And here is the kicker: when I went to replace my dead HVAC setup last summer, I wanted Holmes Heating to replace the water heater with something really efficient, possibly even on demand. But National’s contract says that I have cancellation fees that amount to over a grand. That’s more than the unit would cost me retail.

So I complained to the government of Ontario and they got back to me. It appears that they are investigating this company and I owe them my paperwork. I really must send that in.

What prompted me to post this was two guys from National coming to my home to inspect my water heater to make sure that it is Energy Star compliant. Note: THIS IS BULLSHIT. Don’t fall for it or you are likely to regret it. At the very least, examine the back of the contract for the details of where the telephone pole will be inserted when you try to cancel later on …

p.s. Holmes cleaned up the entire install while replacing my HVAC system, including finishing all the things that National should have done when they installed the water heater. National used some young subcontractor who treated it like a piece part hack job and it showed. Again … be warned.

And it gets better …

Holmes has been under the Reliance umbrella for quite some time. I recently heard that National was now under Reliance also. GREAT, I thought, as I should now be able to simply switch to a better water heater with no penalty.

Not so fast, Midas Muffler Breath (homage to Carnac the Magnificent) … it turns out that Reliance merely bought National to roll their ill-gotten gains up into the parent company’s purse. They do not manage the company, nor do they give their own loyal customers any sort of a break on the punitive nature of their water heater contracts.

What a joke …

As of May 2015, Reliant have announced that they are taking over the business operations and that National's contracts would now appear under Reliant's name on the heating bill. This presumably ends the debate over the predatory contracts from national, although I suppose time will tell. If anyone out there has successfully gotten out of one of these obscene contracts with National, I'd love to hear about it.