Monday, November 29, 2010
Help Me Howard: Postal Insurance
If you have something valuable, it's a good idea to insure it, whether it's a car, a house or a package you are mailing to your aunt Tilly. And if that property is lost of damaged, you assume the insurance company is going to pay, but do they have to pay? It's why one man called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- You don't have to go far to find someone who will tell your their business has gone down the drain, but not Jack France.
Jack France, JMC Fire Protection Services: "Business is real good."
Jack France: "Basically it's because every business has to have an inspection to keep open."
Jack is a fire protection contractor, meaning if you want to pass a fire inspection, you might need him.
Jack France: "So, the fire department comes in and they say, 'Hey I need to see your annual inspection report or your quarterly inspection report,' and that's something I provide to the customer."
If you fail the inspection Jack can do the repairs.
Jack France: "As you can see these are pretty heavy, about 10 pounds of brass."
Recently he ordered brass valves like these for a building. Then discovered they were not needed, so Jack mailed the equipment back to the factory in two separate boxes.
Jack France: "We took out insurance for $1800 dollars on the material."
The smaller box was insured for $300, the other box $1500. Good thing because Jack got a call from the factory.
Jack France: "Explained that the packages had come back empty and they emailed me photos of the package that was empty. It was signed by the post office, by the post people that it was delivered empty and they told me to make a claim."
Both boxes had been ripped open.
Jack France: "I believe they were stolen for the material, the metal."
But Jack thought, fortunately he had insurance, then the check arrived from the post office.
Jack France: "We get a check for $300."
$311 to be exact, but since the valves cost Jack $1800 , since Jack insured them from $1800, Jack was not happy with $311.
Jack France: "We immediately started calling the post office. They explained to us that the magistrate had ordered only this amount to be paid out."
Jack went to the post office, says he showed the manager the invoice for the $1800 valves, showed them the pictures of the boxes, but no luck.
Jack France: "I feel like I am being slighted. I feel like I took out insurance nobody can give me any solid reason why I am not being paid what I obviously insured it for."
Well Howard, Jack wants one thing.
Jack France: "My money."
But if you buy insurance does it legally guarantee you collect on the insurance.
Howard Finkelstein: "This is a simple, clear case. The law says Jack is entitled to the fair market value of the goods, and since they were new, never used, and since he has the proper documentation, the post office has to reimburse him for the $1800 they were insured for."
When I spoke to the post office they cleared up the issue. They told me the $311 check was just for the one $300 box the $11 was for the insurance, that the post office is still considering the claim on the $1500 box. That anything over $300 quote goes into adjudication for a thorough review. Jack says he was told the $311 was for both boxes.
Howard Finkelstein: "Whether your are insuring a house, a car or a box of valves, if you are turned down, if you believe you are right, continue to appeal, continue to fight internally and if that does not work, go to court to make them honor the insurance policy."
Jack is expecting to get a check for $1500, because even though business is good he can't afford to throw away that kind of money.
The post office told us Jack should get a decision on the $1500 claim by Wednesday, and if he is not satisfied with their decision he can file an appeal in writing or you can appeal online.
Like Howard said, no matter what is insured, if you think you are right don't give up.
Someone delivered bad news to you? Wanna stamp out a solution? Don't return to it sender, forward it to us. Neither rain nor sleet nor snow will stop us, but a three day weekend will slow us.
Postal Insurance Claims