We’ve discussed quite a bit over these last 6 weeks here in The Forum.
And on this particular page, where I have taken to sharing some of my opinion, personal experience and information, I’ve touched on a range of emotions over the last six weeks. I talked with you about being thankful. Appreciative. About crying, laughing, screaming and praying. About being inspired. Encouraged. Happy. Sad. Proud and privileged.
Now I’d like to talk about being frustrated. I do so with the hope that it will inform you, save you the same trouble and also demonstrate that the only way to be helped is to have information. We are not only being information deprived, we are also the recipients of misleading information, scamming and downright trickery.
Case in point #1:
A conservative estimation to the damage done to our home, without any consideration of personal contents, is $120,000. This includes a new roof, emergency repairs, mold remediation, replacement of storm doors, entry doors, washer/dryer, new boiler and hot water heater, electrical and plumbing replacements, repairs and installations, demolition, carting, gutters, frame out and sheetrock basement, replace collapsed staircase and painting-–I’m sure I left some stuff out but you get the general idea.
A check came from our homeowner’s insurance policy for $17,000.00 It was endorsed to us and to our mortgage company, Chase. The one in the same Chase who was kind enough to grant us, as they did for all their affected customers, disaster assistance relief until February. No mortgage payments for the next three months and no late penalties. Of course all that money becomes due on February 13th but it was a great help to have extra cash around at the time when most needed.
In order to cash the check, it had to be endorsed by us and then by Chase. It was when going for that endorsement that it really hit me ––we are at the mercy of a system that is making this struggle increasingly unbearable.
When I got to the bank I learned that I could not get the endorsement because the mortgage payment was not current. I explained that we had a letter to show that we were part of the Disaster Relief Assistance Program and that we were not late until February 15th.
It was further explained to me that it did not matter and it was the policy of the bank not to endorse checks when affiliated loans were not current. But have no fear, we had a few different choices––first we could pay the November mortgage payment, bring the account current and then get the check endorsed or we could have the check put in a special escrow fund and get half up front and leave the other half in escrow. As soon as 90% of the work in our house was done and the bank sent and inspector to verify it was done, we could get the other half! Hey Chase that’s very helpful. You’ll give me MY remaining $8,500 back after you make sure I have spent $108,000. In the back of my head I can still hear that commercial––”You’ve got a friend at Chase Manhattan.”
Case in point #2
I registered with Rapid Repairs, and the first thing I did was to ask for a detailed list of what they provided and what they were responsible for. I was told to speak to the inspector that came to the house and they would explain everything.
And so without information I spent $8,000 on a heating and hot water system and installation–here’s how the conversation went when Rapid Repairs showed up at our house:
Rapid Repair Man: “Hey lady, why did you put the furnace and hot water heater in? We would have given that to you.”
Me: “We had no heat and hot water but it’s ok–here I have the bills. The stuff was only put in after I spoke to you guys 10 days ago.”
Rapid Repair Man:. “I’m sorry we don’t reimburse.”
I’m sure you have gotten the point by now.
If you’re asking yourself questions like “Am I living in the United States of America?” “How could this be happening to us?” and of course the most ill-advised question of all time, “How much worse could it get?” Then I believe you’d like to talk about being frustrated too.
And maybe with enough talking we could bring about a way to end some of our common frustrations.
I hope that you will accept an invitation from The Forum to send us your similar frustrations. It is our mission from this moment on to try and get answers to the questions that are burdening all of us.
We are in the information business and at no time has the gathering of information ever been so challenging.
On the same hand, there has never been a better time to test the old adage there is strength in numbers.
We ask that you use our research skills and resources by calling, writing, faxing, emailing, texting, Twitter or Facebook.
I don’t care how you get to us. Whatever the question is we will try to get your answers.
Be safe. Be strong. Be informed.
Be sure that we will do everything we can to help this community recover.