Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Help Me Howard: 2009/2010
As the New Year gets rolling, we can be certain of one thing, new problems will pour in. It happened last year, it will happen this year. So to look ahead at the solutions, we look back at common problems with Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- We have been doing Help me Howard for 11 years, and the problems don't go away. Just change from one to another.
P Lets count down the top seven beginning with number seven, medical issues.
Nicholas started drinking and says he accidentally took too many sleeping pills. When his doctor called it-attempted suicide, his insurance company refused to pay his $17,000 medical bills. Once we reminded his insurance company that the law required them to pay they wrote a check.
Patrick Fraser: "Howard, when you open a medical bill it can be frightening."
Howard: "Check you policy before you to for any procedures. Check with your insurance company and if you think they are giving you the wrong answer, complain to the government agencies that regulate insurance companies."
At number six animals, cavilers, Cocker Spaniels even raccoons. They'll take the cats food away animals can make you smile, but if your pet hurts someone you have to pay.
Before the economy headed south, cars were the most common complaint. Now, they have slipped to number five.
Whether its a bad car repair, a used car dealer that doesn't care or a car warranty that wont pay, they are all headaches and while they are different they have one thing in common, you can protect yourself by slowing down.
Howard Finkelstein: "Take your time make. Sure you know exactly what it is going to cost you. Exactly what you are going to get for that cost and check out the company before you do anything at all."
Number four is not new but it's worse than ever before. Problems that come from being unemployed.
Jim: Its hard when you cant find a job and you are willing to work."
Jim couldn't get the unemployment he was entitled to. We got the state to send out his money.
Jim: "I'm still waiting."
But getting paychecks for people who did work can be extremely difficult.
Howard Finkelstein: "Basically, there is little you can do. So if you work for a company that's struggling and the checks stop or slow down, you may need to quit and get another job."
At number three, government agencies are having problems with their budgets and many people are convinced to solve the problem.
The bureaucrats are coming after you. Whether it was a building department or these cameras being set up all over South Florida to nab traffic violators, cities and counties are raking it in from the pockets of struggling taxpayers, and it seems to be getting worse.
Howard, can a government agency start assessing more fines to balance their budgets?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes, its that simple, yes."
Patrick Fraser: "You will never be a good politician with direct answers like that."
Number two always hovers around the top cause condo commandos never go away.
Ariels: "It was hilarious I thought I was on an episode of the show punked."
Ariel's problem might have been the silliest. Her association painted handicapped lines around her car and a few minutes later a cop ticketed her for parking in a handicapped spot, but other associations tried to top them."
This association required criminal background checks on incoming residents, incoming 5-year-old residents.
At this association, parents were fined if their kids came outside to play.
Patrick Fraser: "Howard, last year I got criticized for criticizing condo boards, but so many boards just make it so easy."
Howard Finkelstein: "There are good condo boards and bad boards. If you have a bad board get on it and make it a good one."
And our biggest complaint this year wasn't in the top 20 five years ago
Number one, foreclosure problems ethically and morally.
Chad: 'What he is doing is wrong? He is cheating the system?"
Chad was paying rent to his landlord, little did he know his landlord was in foreclosure and had been pocketing his rent and not paying his mortgage.
Marilyn: "This is terrible and I am sick of it."
Marilyn lives next to a building in foreclosure. Neither the owner, the bank nor the city did anything.
Jeff: "I guess I'm dumbfounded by it, I mean why wouldn't they want to work with you."
But the biggest foreclosure nightmare is happening to people like Jeff trying to save his home, but feeling like the bank just doesn't want to help him.
Patrick the foreclosure issues have exploded on South Florida very difficult, very complicated and very common, but what can people do?
Howard Finkelstein: "This has become one of the largest new areas of the law and rules are being written to help people struggling with foreclosures, and just because says they have a right to foreclose doesn't always mean they do or can so fight for your home."
Howard and if it doesn't or you have a problem you need help with give us a call. We are the only people in South Florida who are happy to hear about your problems.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
#7 MEDICAL ISSUES
Florida Department of Health
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
Broward County Animal Care and Regulation
Miami-Dade County Animal Services
#5 CAR COMPLAINTS
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
How to Buy/Lease a New Car
Motor Vehicle Repair
Florida's Lemon Law Program
#4 OUT OF WORK
Florida Agency for WorkForce Innovation
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
#3 GOVERNMENT BATTLES
Florida State Agency Listing
A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies
#2 CONDO PROBLEMSFlorida's Office of the Condominium Ombudsman
Tallahassee Office: Phone: 850.922.7671
Ft. Lauderdale Office: Phone: 954.202.3234
Landlord In Foreclosure Searches in the tri-county area:
Broward County Clerk of the Courts
Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Courts
Monroe County Clerk of the Courts
U.S. Help for Homeowner Links:
Attorney General - Florida Mortgage Fraud Hotline 1-866-9-NO-SCAM