Petersburg man stuck without heat, air conditioning for 5 months: 'It's a shame'

Petersburg man stuck without heat due to supply chain shortages
Posted at 9:00 PM, Nov 05, 2021

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Reverend Michael Malone retired from the episcopal ministry nearly a decade ago, after suffering a failed heart surgery and multiple strokes. While he’s grateful to be living independently at his home in Petersburg, Malone says it’s been challenging living alone.

“Some days are better than others,” Malone says. “I fall too much but that goes with the territory I suppose.”

Malone says his challenges have become even greater over the past five months, living in extreme temperatures due to a broken heating and air conditioning unit. Thursday night, temperatures in Central Virginia fell below freezing for the first time.

“It’s tough enough getting started in the morning these days without cracking the ice in the basin," Malone sighs.

In late June, Malone says he contacted the home warranty company that he purchased when he bought a home seven years ago, to inform them of the broken heating/AC unit.

The warranty company, now under the ownership of Cinch Home Services, contracted a service provider to come to Malone’s home, but the problem wasn’t resolved. After a visit from two other technicians, Malone requested a new service provider in August.

“Then those people came out and said you need a new coil and it’s probably more reasonable to replace the unit since the coil involves a lot of labor,” Malone explained. “So I’ve been waiting ever since.”

The Petersburg service provider that was contracted in August to fix the heating/AC unit told CBS 6 that unfortunately, the company’s hands were tied. A company spokesperson says they’ve been waiting on Cinch Home Services to provide the necessary parts to fix the unit. The company says it’s been in constant contact with Malone and Cinch Home Services to check on the claim’s status.

Cinch Home Services has a phone recording and internet messages, indicating that a national supply chain shortage has resulted in long wait times for parts. However, a company spokesperson responded to CBS 6 on Friday afternoon saying that the long wait-time associated with Malone’s claim was “unacceptable.”

“The delay in finding a resolution for Mr. Malone’s claim is unacceptable, and in no way meets our high standards for customer service and satisfaction. Upon investigating the matter, we determined there was a delay in getting the required part to the service provider. We have reached out to Mr. Malone and elevated his claim to the utmost priority, and will do everything we can to ensure the repair is completed as soon as possible. We will also waive any non-covered charges and refund the deductible associated with this claim.”

As a pastor, Malone says he understands the virtue of patience but is relieved that Cinch is taking responsibility and fixing the problem. Despite his relief, he says he’s still disappointed that it took reaching out to CBS 6 to get a response from the company.

“It’s a shame it’s gotten to this point,” Malone says. “(I’m feeling) taken advantage of for sure. If this issue happened to me, it’s happened to other people. This is a national corporation, so I’m sure I’m not the only one to complain.”