The burglary victim had software on his iPad that used satellite technology to trace his stolen phone to a house in Sherwood, Nottingham, but when police broke into the home there was no sign of the iPhone, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Homeowner Robert Kerr said he has been left with a bill of nearly $800 for a new door.
"The victim of the burglary has almost made me a victim by saying the phone was in my house when it was not," Kerr said.
"How accurate are these trackers? I'm unsure whether they can pinpoint a phone to a specific house."
Some technical experts agreed, saying while the stolen phone app was impressive it could not locate a phone to a single address in a built-up area.
Kerr said he has written to police to complain about the incident, but received a letter from a police attorney saying he would not be receiving compensation.
"The iPad showed the location of the iPhone inside your property in Rufford Road," the letter said. "Officers reasonably believed the offender was hiding inside the property with the stolen iPhone."