Guest Column: Mayor's sewer line pitch slightly out of tune

In a letter dated September 15, our mayor, Richard Anderson, describes the many benefits associated with a care-free life devoid of sewer pipe issues. In a unique approach to marketing, Mayor Anderson apparently completely endorses the company, Sewer Line Warranties of America (SWLA), and suggests that it would be a sound idea for Kingmanites to avail themselves of this much needed protection, to the tune of about eight bucks per month.

Doesn't sound like much: In fact, sounds like a pretty cheap price to pay for not tossing about in my bed at night concerned that the sewer line on the house will boil over with a nocturnal frothy brown mix that will likely engulf us in a sea of putrid household emissions. Sounds like a good deal until one reviews the SLWA website, http://www.slwofa.com/slw-sewer.html. Then, two things become apparent:

Foremost, the FAQ page was not reachable after several attempts. I had a few questions before signing up, since the letter soliciting payment by Mayor Anderson was completely devoid any details significant to an insurance of any type, except those found on matchbooks 40 years ago.

Questions like, What does SLWA cover? How long does it take to get repairs done? What are the prequalifying criteria for the specific home? What if the sewer line is covered by a poured patio?

And, finally, Who are these people(?) and why is Mayor Anderson sending out a letter to Kingman's water customers laden with prophesies of doom?

Unable to reach the FAQs, I went to the referred site for their Better Business Bureau (BBB) membership. It's a long one: http://www.bbb.org/pittsburgh/business-reviews/extended-warranty-contract-service-companies/service-line-warranties-of-america-in-canonsburg-pa-16002086/complaints.

It's enough to keep you busy for quite a while. And it was enough to push me away from SLWA: Too many experiences documented, each with a reply from SLWA that begins with, "Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience or frustration that may have been caused ... " I don't know what percentage of their insureds actually file a claim, but complaints seemed to be disproportionate. Read them and decide for yourself.

Notwithstanding their highly apologetic replies, in all of the many instances, the reality is that many of their insureds ended up without sewer service for a ponderous period of time (thus without water use), or co-paying an amount that, really, made the payment of a fee for insurance financially impractical.

I'm surprised Mayor Anderson didn't take the time to make this simple review before signing his name to this letter.