LEESBURG, Fla. — Pam Green from Leesburg, who moved into a retirement community, thought a home warranty was the ideal solution for her older home.
Green told Action 9, “All of the appliances, the furnace, the air conditioner, everything was old.”
She signed on to monthly payments with Choice Home Warranty after getting a good sales pitch.
According to Green the company let her know, “It does not matter the age of your appliances. They cover everything.”
Around Thanksgiving there was cold snap and the policy was tested. After the heater refused to kick on she filed a claim.
“And it’s been a nightmare,” said Green.
A technician from a company sent out by Choice Home Warranty determined the furnace was not repairable. In fact, Green said they “red-flagged” it and told her not to use it. They warned that she and her husband Richard could die from carbon monoxide poisoning.
From there she claims she faced delay after delay and days went by with no answers. Eventually, Choice Home Warranty sent another company to try to repair it. When that second company also couldn’t get it working, her claim was approved.
As part of getting the claim covered, though, she had to agree to pay more than $1400 for what Choice Home Warranty called “non-covered costs.” But even after she agreed to pay the $1,400 and made more calls for updates, Green said there were more delays.
“I expected within a short period of time to have things rolling, but I have yet to hear from them. This was the 13th of December,” she told Action 9 on January 9th.
The company has a “B” rating with the Better Business Bureau, but has more than 4500 complaints in the past year.
BBB president Holly Salmons said, “Consumers best bet is to do your homework before you buy this type of plan.”
Salmons recommended when buying any home warranty to carefully consider the cost of the policy versus what any expected repairs might cost. Also, consumers are advised to learn as much as they can about the company.
“May only find out after the fact or when it’s too late, that the company doesn’t respond, they don’t respond in a timely manner or the claims process is difficult,” Salmons said.
The Arizona Attorney General’s office sued choice home warranty in 2019, accusing the company of consumer fraud with allegations of deceptive and unfair advertising. That case is still ongoing.
The Florida Attorney General’s office received 50 complaints about the company just last year.
As for the Greens, they’ve been stuck using space heaters trying to stay warm wondering if Choice Home Warranty will help them.
“Just feel like this company could care less. They’re certainly not people oriented. I would say it’s profits over people,” Pam Green said.
After Action 9 spoke with the Green family and reached out to Choice Home Warranty, a contractor for the company let her know it’s pulling a permit for replacing the unit. So far, Choice Home Warranty has not responded to Action 9.
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