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Family blames home warranty company for lack of heat

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ELWOOD, Ind. -- A family forced out of their home in the frigid temperatures say they believe their home warranty company is to blame for their broken furnace.

CBS4 Problem Solvers visited the Conner family on Friday and found the temperature in their home at 55 degrees.

"It’s been one thing after another," mom China Conner said.

Conner, her husband, and her two kids have been sleeping at a neighbor's home for two weeks. They say they've battled their broken furnace for much longer: since back in October.

The family bought their Elwood home in March and bought a home warranty, at the suggestion of their real estate agent.

The company, HSA Home Warranty, sent crews out to fix the air conditioning over the summer. Conner said a Greenwood company, Zoom Mechanical, ended up replacing the unit.

"We had to pay $400 (or so) out of pocket," Conner said.

Conner said she was fine with that, but then the furnace stopped working, too. Since then, she's had multiple visits with multiple companies, and still no reliable heat.

"I could probably redo my own furnace by the end of this whole thing," Conner said.

Conner said two contractors traced the problem back to the wiring from the air conditioning repair.

CBS4 Problem Solvers found that Zoom Mechanical holds an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, after it did not respond to customer complaints. A number of the customers who complained also said they were referred to Zoom by their home warranty company.

The number of Zoom Mechanical's website did not work when CBS4 Problem Solvers tried calling it this week. The company did not respond to multiple emails sent through its site.

HSA Home Warranty also proved hard to contact. After waiting on hold for 40 minutes, a customer service representative told CBS4 Problem Solvers she could not release any information, transfer the call, or refer us to any media representative.

Emails to HSA and to its parent company, American Home Shield, either bounced back or were not returned.

Conner said she's figured out a way to work around the furnace issues, by bumping up her thermostat two degrees at a time, but it has remained unreliable. She said she was given the option to either pay $1,700 for a replacement, or take a $400 pay out to go to her own contractor.

The family said they are still trying to get a fix, and in the meantime, they're reassessing their decision to buy a home warranty in the first place.

"You know you’re going to pay a little bit out of pocket, but you don’t think it’s going to be an issue to fight this much to get a problem fixed," Conner said.

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