3 On Your Side

Homeowner says warranty company won't repair A/C

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

With the help of a crane, Jody Clute is having a new air conditioner installed on her roof. It's a big investment she's been worrying about ever since her old air conditioner recently broke down.

"I don't have to worry about it for another 10 years,” Clute said about her new air conditioning unit. “I bet that's a weight off your shoulders,” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked.

"Yes, that is a weight off my shoulders," Clute said.

The new air conditioner cost Clute nearly $3,000 out of her own pocket. It's money she says she shouldn't have had to pay because she has a home warranty with a company called Choice Home Warranty. “That’s the reason I got the warranty. It was to cover the air conditioner in case something happened," Clute said.

According to Choice Home Warranty's website and brochures, they'll pay to fix anything for a homeowner. Clute showed your side a long list of items they say they cover.

Clute says the list was impressive and was enough to convince her to hand over nearly $1,100 to Choice Home Warranty for three years' worth of coverage.

So, as you can imagine, Clute didn't stress that much when her old air conditioner broke down and she called Choice Home Warranty. The company wound up sending out a technician who eventually gave Clute some unwelcome news. "The bad news was that the air conditioner was over 20 years old and the compressor was not replaceable,” Clute remembers the technician telling her.

Choice Home Warranty’s website states, "If the technician comes out and cannot perform a covered repair, Choice Home Warranty will replace the unit." But Clute says Choice turned down her claim, saying she failed to properly maintain her air conditioner, causing it to break down. "They go, ‘Well, you need to give us records for the last five years for the maintenance.’ “And I said, 'How is that even possible?  I've only been in the house for three years, and he says, ‘We are denying the claim based on improper maintenance.'"

After arguing her case, Clute says Choice Home Warranty offered to reimburse her $200. Frustrated with the small amount, she contacted 3 On Your Side instead.

3 On Your Side researched the company and discovered that back in 2015, Choice Home Warranty agreed to pay the state of New Jersey nearly $779,913 after the Attorney General there sued the company on behalf of angry consumers who had similar complaints as Clute.

3 On Your Side also got a hold of the warranty company to discuss Clute's situation. And, once we did, they decided to pay Clute $1,500 which is their maximum reimbursement according to their contract. The check should arrive next week.

Clute says she's happy 3 On Your Side got involved and assisted in getting $1,500 to help offset the cost of her new air conditioner. But, she says her recent experience tells her that home warranties are not worth the money. “I have no intention of buying a warranty again. They don't do any good," she said.

3 On Your Side appreciates Choice Home Warranty resolving the issue as they did. Again, 3 On Your Side attempted numerous times to speak with someone from the company. One representative called us back just one time to say they would reach out to Ms. Clute and they did. However, the company avoided our follow-up inquiries for an explanation regarding this issue.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Hide bio

Contact 3 On Your Side