Carmel man warns ‘home warranty’ didn’t cover broken air conditioning

CARMEL , Ind. -- Despite buying a comprehensive package from a home warranty company, a Carmel man says he had to pay for his broken air conditioner out of pocket.

Sushil Guragain's air conditioning went out on July 5th, at a time when temperatures were nearing 90 degrees in central Indiana.

"I was working from home (and) I noticed that the temperature wasn't going down," Guragain said.

Guragain said he assumed his coverage from Choice Home Warranty would cover the broken unit, since he paid the company nearly $2,000 for a "total package" back in 2015.

"I had some smaller claims earlier and it wasn't an issue," Guragain said.

Instead, the company denied Guragain's claim, saying it would not cover the cost of a new air conditioning unit. Guragain said the company never sent a technician to look at the unit, instead claiming he had not maintained the system properly.

"I asked them, 'How did you know I did not maintain the system? You have not asked me for (any) maintenance records (and) you did not send your technician," Guragain said.

Guragain submitted maintenance records, saying he'd just paid for a yearly tune-up in June. Then, he said the company claimed the damage was "not due to normal wear and tear," despite Guragain obtaining three separate opinions from local companies that listed the cause as wear and tear.

"They’re just coming up with one reason after another," Guragain said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers looked into Choice Home Warranty. According to a posting by the Better Business Bureau, the state of New Jersey sued the company and it settled the lawsuit in 2015 by paying back more than $700,000 and agreeing to revise its business practices.

The state's complaint alleged that Choice Home Warranty "used deceptive tactics to deny customers' claims, such as denying claims if the consumers were unable to submit multiple years' worth of maintenance records."

In addition, the Better Business Bureau has received more than 2,900 consumer complaints against the company in the last three years.

CBS4 Problem Solvers contacted the company and got a hold of a manager. He did not send a company statement, but did contact Guragain after our phone call. Guragain said he offered to pay back the remainder of his money, around $1,500, and cancel his policy. Guragain accepted the offer and said he decided it was best to part ways.

Guragain said he thought he was buying something different from what he got, which is why he wanted to let people know to do their research before they commit.

"I wanted to make others aware of this situation, because I know there are a lot of people like me that are looking for a home warranty," Guragain said.

As part of its settlement with the state of New Jersey, Choice Home Warranty agreed to put a disclaimer on its website, saying it is not actually offering a warranty, but instead what you get is a service contract.

Guragain filed complaints with the BBB and Indiana Attorney General's Office.

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