Six things you need to know about your HomeSmart, Service Plus appliance contract

Many HomeSmart and Home Service Plus appliance repair appliance repair center plan customers like the peace of mind that the plans offered through Xcel Energy or CenterPoint Energy can provide. But a pattern of complaints on Google and Yelp show wait times of five to 20 days for some customers when a furnace or air conditioner goes on the fritz. Other consumers complained about difficulties canceling HomeSmart and Service Plus plans even after a move and technicians who never show up after the customer takes a day off work.

Similar to an extended warranty, appliance repair plans charge about $20 a month to cover four large appliances such as a furnace, central air conditioner, washer, hot water heater, dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher and range.

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota lists a number of complaints, but consumers considering a service plan may want to check the hundreds of online reviews before committing. The two companies are rated between two and four stars on Yelp and Google.

Twin Cities Consumers’ Checkbook editor Kevin Brasler recommends skipping the service plans and socking away the $250 or more annual payments in a savings account for repairs. For a free look at recommended repair shops in the Twin Cities for furnaces and central air, go to . For appliances, go to. Companies are rated on quality of service and fair pricing.

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