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Home Warranty Company Refuses To Pay For Furnace Repair Until CBS 2 Investigators Get Involved

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A suburban homeowner accused a national home warranty company of reneging on its promise. CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker has the cautionary tale of a man fighting to get his furnace fixed.

"Imagine never paying for home repairs again." It's that kind of advertisement from Choice Home Warranty, along with scores of five-star rave reviews, that convinced Tom Delillo to buy a $350 policy.

All was well until his furnace went out.

"In the wintertime, that's a big problem," Delillo said.

Choice immediately sent a repairman.

"He tightened some hoses and said it would be fine," Delillo said.

But it wasn't fine. Delillo took pictures of a puddle under the furnace after the repairman left.

"They didn't fix it," Delillo said.

John Beening, founder of JNL Climate Control, told Delillo the leak was the result of a crack or hole in the furnace.

He concluded a part needed to be replaced, and it would cost about $1,300. Delillo was sure Choice would reimburse him, but a company representative indicated the malfunction was due to "rust and corrosion," concluding, "we are not responsible."

"Now I'm getting very angry," Delillo said.

Choice has clearly angered a number of customers.

In 2015, the company agreed to pay $780,000 to settle a consumer fraud complaint alleging Choice "used creative and deceptive means to deny their customers' claims."

In 2017, the Better Business Bureau accused Choice of "offering incentives to customers who submit positive reviews" without disclosing it. A few months later, Choice added the disclosure.

"It makes you skeptical as to what can you trust? What can you believe?" Delillo saidl

After months of emails and phone calls, Choice offered Delillo $600, but he rejected it.

"I feel cheated," he said.

CBS 2 reached out to Choice. After an hour-long conversation, we got an email about its millions of satisfied customers. Delillo got more.

"Amazingly, I just received a call from Choice Home Warranty claiming that they apparently made an error, and would like to discuss payments with me," Delillo said.

The final offer from Choice was full reimbursement. Delillo said Choice Home Warranty told him they are sending his money, but with the extreme cold this week, and no mail delivery the past couple days, he's still waiting for the check.

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