South Florida Family Cancels Home Warranty Contract After Denied Claims

One South Florida couple canceled their home warranty contract after they said it was not worth the hassle.

Jeanne and Jay Johnston reached out to NBC 6 Responds after they say three claims for their air conditioner, ice maker and hot water heater were denied or not fixed to their satisfaction.

One claim was for a broken air conditioner.

"Your arm is dripping in sweat, you have fans on in the house to run your electric bill even higher, it's miserable," Jeanne Johnston said.

The couple says their frustration is with Choice Home Warranty. They paid $2,700 when they signed up for a five-year plan less than a year ago.

"Nothing here was fixed," Jeanne said.

The couple has already made the decision to cancel their warranty policy.

The AC unit was serviced last September, but by October they say it wasn't working again.

The company advised them to pay out of pocket to hire another company to do a leak test which wasn't covered.

"It's 90 degrees outside and we are lucky if the house cools to 81 or 86," Jeanne said.

Then when their ice maker had issues, the company approved a technician to fix it but did not cover repairs to the part that crushes ice and releases it through the refrigerator door.

"If they fix an ice maker then why are they not fixing the motor in the door," Jeanne said.

When their hot water stopped working, they say a repair claim was denied after the company said it wasn't being properly maintained. The couple disputes that.

"I complained again and threatened to cancel the policy and at that point, they said they would cut us a check for just the water heater that doesn't include labor," Jay said.

Like many other home warranty companies, Choice Home Warranty states in its User Agreement that they have "the sole right to determine whether a covered system or appliance will be repaired or replaced."

The user agreement also lays out what's "included" and "excluded" in the policy.

The Johnston's admit they should have done more research before signing up, but they are not alone in their frustration.

NBC Responds units across the country have received 97 complaints about Choice Home Warranty since 2016.

The company has earned a C rating with the Better Business Bureau. More than half of the complaints are "problems dealing with the product or service."

Three years ago, the company agreed to pay $780,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the New Jersey Attorney General after they were accused of using "deceptive tactics to deny consumers' claims."

"I would like to see Choice Home warranty make this right. Give us the money we are due and no more," Jay told us.

When the Johnston's canceled their policy, Choice Home Warranty agreed to refund the couple $1,100.

Choice Home Warranty did not respond to our request for a statement, but the company did respond to the Johnstons' complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

The company stated "Our Mission at Choice Home Warranty is to provide property owners with peace of mind by offering a high quality, easy, and affordable way to protect their most valuable asset. We are committed to providing a positive customer experience and we take all feedback very seriously. Choice Home Warranty provides home warranty service coverage on the systems and appliances listed as 'Included' under the terms of the User Agreement sent to you at purchase…"

The company also stated, "Reviewing your policy with CHW, you paid a total of $2700 for a 5-year term. CHW has paid a total of $767.30 in authorized claims. The policy has been canceled and CHW has refunded back to your credit card a total… $1100.20."

After NBC 6 Responds reached out to the company, the couple heard from them. Choice Home Warranty agreed to pay an additional $1,015 as a "goodwill gesture."

In order to get that money, the couple was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement which they chose not to do. They instead disputed the charge through their credit union and got reimbursed for the full settlement amount of $2,115.

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