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Call Collett: Homeowners learn of class action settlement with new AC after closing on new home

It was  supposed to be a no hassle home buy.

“It’s a new build,” Jeremy Tumblin explained. “You’re not supposed to have any issues, right?”

But 15 months after closing on their Johns Island Mungo Home, Mackenzie and Jeremy Tumblin say the air conditioner stopped working.

Fixing it cost the couple $450 initially. The technician who fixed the unit warned them about issues with defective evaporator coils. Turns out, the family is part of a class action settlement with Lennox, the maker of their air conditioner, over the design.  According to court records, nearly a million people qualify for the settlement over units bought between 2007 and 2015.

“I called you because a ton of people have this problem,” Mackenzie explained. “People aren’t speaking up. They are just paying out of pocket.”

The Tumblins spent more than $8,600 within the first three years in their new home.  They opted to buy a new unit when theirs stopped working a second time. The cost of labor and repairs would have been roughly half that, but there’s no guarantee the old unit would ever work right, they said.  

Homeowners, like the Tumblins trying to collect on the settlement, say it’s a feat.   

“This particular settlement is extremely complicated,” Jay Ward, attorney with McGowan, Hood & Felder, explained.

Ward is a class action attorney whom consulted with News 2 on this story. He points out several problems with the settlement, including a difficult filing process; a lack of staffing to process claims; and issues with the contact numbers for homeowners to use to ask questions.   

The Tumblin’s unit was initially repaired in June 2016.  They filed their claim in August of 2016. They received a $75 rebate in April of 2018.  The rebate is for use on a future service.  But since the family replaced their unit when it stopped working a second time, it’s not likely they will be able to use the rebate.        

“I’m the angriest with Mungo builders,” Mackenzie explained.

The family is frustrated that Mungo Homes installed the unit amid the federal court battle, which started in 2013. The family closed on their home in February 2015.

“This was not a recall. No manufacturer – include Lennox -- had failures across the board, in every unit,” Kim O’Quinn, Corporate VP of Marketing, explained via email.

“The coil corrosion issue is an HVAC industry issue, not just a Lennox issue, but we have full confidence in how the manufacturer has chosen to work on a resolution with homeowners. We’re happy to pass along information on how to contact Lennox, or direct them to Quality Builders Warranty Corporation who covers the warranty on all Mungo Homes,” O’Quinn wrote in a formal statement to News 2.

It took the Tumblins nearly two years to receive their first payout, the $75 rebate. They are still waiting to see if they are eligible for the second payout of $550.

Lennox denies the design is flawed, but settled to avoid the cost and risk of a legal battle. 

“Multiple replacements still does not mean that formicary corrosion was actually the cause,” a spokesperson told News 2.  “At least two replacements are required to be eligible for reimbursement.” There isn’t a timeline on when homeowners will receive payouts.

“Because of the nature of the settlement, the time to submit claims for some class members can extend for several more years, depending on each claimant’s particular circumstances,” according to Lennox. 

There is no live support for this case.  Attorneys recommend contacting the judge in the case directly to complain if there are issues with the processing of claims.

The settlement won’t extend to future homebuyers who purchase homes with these units. The settlement covers units between October 29, 2007 through July 9, 2015 that have at least one uncoated copper tube Lennox brand, Aire-Flo brand, Armstrong Air brand, AirEase brand, Concord brand, or Ducane brand evaporator coil.

The Settlement provides an Expanded Warranty and Reimbursement Program. The Expanded Warranty and Reimbursement Program includes: (1) a one-time $75 service rebate; (2) an aluminum tube or coated copper tube Replacement Coil after the first coil replacement; (3) up to $550 as a retroactive reimbursement for labor and refrigerant charges for the replacement of the Original Coil in the event there is more than one coil replacement; and (4) up to $550 as reimbursement for labor and refrigerant charges for each uncoated copper tube coil replacement after the first replacement. Expanded Warranty and Reimbursement Program benefits require replacement of an Original Coil due to a coil leak within five years after installation.


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