The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

Pushy letters showing up in county


Some residents of Klickitat County are receiving official-looking notices in the mail saying their water service or vehicles are uninsured and urging renewal before dire consequences befall them.

While the companies sending these letters out are legitimate, many have several complaints lodged against them by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The most significant point is that they do not require action, and particularly not in the form of doing business with them.

One particular creative notice comes from Home Emergency Insurance Solutions (HEIS). It begins, “Important information regarding your water service line.” It comes looking as if printed on computer paper and in duplicate, almost screaming to be of governmental origin.

But HEIS is just another insurance vendor peddling its wares using the old sure-looks-for-real trick And the company’s name comes up with bad reports from the BBB. According to a BBB report on the company on the BBB website, “Home Emergency Insurance Solutions has sent a mass mailing… urging homeowners to purchase ‘Water Line Insurance Protection’ policies. Although there is no government seal used on the documents, the wording makes it sound as if notification is official and that the insurance is required. It is not until the reader gets down to the fine print on a secondary page that they find the disclaimer that the company is not affiliated with the local utility company and that the insurance is optional.”

BBB gives HEIS a C rating, and the company has had to answer two government actions in the past year. Those actions by the government led to HEIS adding its tiny statement that they are not a government organization and that the insurance is optional.

“Even the name of the company is scary, combining the words home and emergency in the same line,” said Blair Looney, CEO and president of the BBB serving Central California. “Homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of the water pipes leading from the water meter into the house, but they should check with their own local insurance agent to see if they need coverage since it may not be necessary in newer homes.”

The Connecticut BBB has placed the following statement in the company’s report.

“BBB has received numerous complaints, from consumers across the country, concerning this business's direct mail solicitations, specifically that the solicitations' layout may cause consumers to perceive the letters as coming from the consumers' utility companies and not an independent business selling home warranty or insurance coverage.

BBB also received customer complaints concerning coverage issues, specifically that when a problem occurred, it was not covered by the policy.”

In a similar ploy, a company called True Auto is sending area residents a notice that insurance on their vehicle has expired and they should return the convenient form enclosed in order to ensure they remain in compliance with the law.

“They sent me notice that the insurance on my truck had expired,” said one Goldendale resident who preferred not to be identified. “But I sold that truck more than a year ago. That’s what made me suspicious.”

The company’s name doesn’t even appear on its letter. The only sign of its name is at the bottom of the letter, where it gives its email address.


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