Buyer beware: Homeowner shares horror story getting warranty company to take care of A/C

RIVERDALE, Ga. — For three months, an Atlanta woman has been trying to get her home warranty to repair her broken air conditioner.

All summer it’s been down.

Every day, Carla Smith cranks the window A/C unit she had to buy this summer and tries to stay as close as possible to it.

It’s been since June that the air conditioning in her Riverdale home has been broken.

“I have stayed in hotels from time to time because it’s so hot, just to cool off. It’s been miserable,” Smith said.

She said that she pays $43 a month to Choice Home Warranty for protection in just this kind of emergency.

“The first thing they said is, ‘Ms. Smith, we cover everything,’” Smith said.

But all summer, she’s fought to get them to fix or replace the unit. Techs have been out four times over three months.

“I’m mad. I spent my money with Choice and they throw me under the rug,” Smith said.

This week, Choice sent Smith an email denying the claim, saying the unit failure was not from normal wear and tear but instead from lack of maintenance.

But Smith gets the unit serviced every year and it’s Choice Home Warranty which has done the most recent servicing as a part of her total care plan.

“I wanted to go through the phone and snatch them by their necks. But I know I can’t. So then I call you all,” Smith said.

Complaints about home warranties are one of the most common to Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard’s Consumer Action Center.

Channel 2 Action News has repeatedly reported on issues, like Verlin Lester’s attempts to get a fridge replaced in 2022.

“I am so frustrated with all this,” Lester said at the time.

And Eric Ebell had a broken A/C unit in 2021.

“We were without air conditioning for four weeks,” Ebell said.

Smith said she did get one new notice from Choice Home Warranty recently -- that her monthly payment has gone up from $43 to $51.

“That money I paid them, I could have set aside for a rainy day,” Smith said.

And that’s the advice from experts like Howard. Create your own rainy-day fund instead of paying for a warranty.

Gray attempted to contact Choice Home Warranty for comment on this story, but they have not responded.

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