Monday, December 31, 2012
Help Me Howard: 7's Top 7 - Help Me Howard
There were many common problems and some unique cases for Help Me Howard this past year. Tonight, a look back.
WSVN -- Hello everybody I'm Patrick Fraser back for another year of Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "And I am Howard Finkelstein and we are glad to be back because we truly enjoying helping you."
This past year created a lot of headaches for a lot of people. So many that we couldn't pick the seven top problems we got. So we have a tie for number seven, beginning with jobs.
You gotta have one to pay the bills and many people had trouble with theirs. Felicia got unfairly fired as a security guard. Stephan got let go and an angry ex-boss's bad reference cost him several jobs and April couldn't get her ex-boss to to sign a paper to get the money she was entitled to.
Howard Finkelstein: "Tied with jobs at number seven, people and their one of a kind problems. From Maria who discovered the cemetery plot she had bought for her husband was numbered 666 to Tom, the Good Samaritan who saw a man wreck his motorcycle and stopped to help; the rider sued him.
And then there was Jim who discovered why he had no credit.
He had been declared dead by a credit card company."
At number six, insurance headaches. From Cathia getting her rates jacked up by citizens because their inspector made a mistake to Deanna getting hit with a $19,000 medical helicopter ride, to Jo-Ann unable to collect on her late daughters life insurance. It's tough for a person to fight a big powerful insurance company.
Howard Finkelstein: "It's tough for a person to fight a big powerful insurance company. The most important thing is to know what your policy says. Know the state rules and when you battle them, put everything in writing. And don't give up, that's what they count on. Keep fighting."
At number five is neighbors problems with their neighbors. Like the Coral Springs dispute that exploded when one neighbor constantly parked in front of the others house instead of their own home. The lawsuit that came after an 8-year-old bumped into a car that was blocking a sidewalk and the family being stung by a neighbors bee hive.
At number four we had property problems. From a foreclosed home with a tree threatening Thomas' house to the rash of squatters taking over homes for sale. To a condo association issuing a special assessment and when Patricia couldn't pay, threatening to slap a lien on her home and foreclosing on it.
Howard, your home used to be your castle. Now it can be a case of concern.
Howard Finkelstein: "There is no way to plan for alot of this stuff. One thing you can do, make sure you have homeowners insurance."
The third most common problem was plain old crooks. Keven got scammed online when he sold his prized pair of Lebron James sneakers. Identify thieves ripped off so many South Floridians and the indignity for Jesus, his building recorded a crook stealing his bike. The security guard paid to watch for crooks was in la-la land.
Howard you are a criminal defense attorney, is there anything you can do to avoid being a victim of crime?
Howard Finkelstein: "Just the basic things your mother told you. Be aware of your surroundings, don't go to bad areas, keep your doors locked and in the case of identity thieves, keep an eye on your credit report."
At number two, battling businesses. Bruno bought a car from a used car dealer and later found out the odometer had been rolled back nearly 80,000 miles. And jason hired a debt relief company to help him; they took his money and only created more problems for him.
Howard in having to deal with businesses, I have learned the bigger they are, the better they listen.
Howard Finkelstein: "And whether it's a big or small business, deal with one with a good reputation. And be careful, don't always go with the cheapest price. Sometimes its true, you get what you pay for."
And the winner or loser for the most common problem in South Florida this year. You battling your government agencies.
We could have set up a bureau for complaints on Miami Beach. People upset about getting tickets because their tag frame was partially covered the word Florida, ticketed for handing out a flyer, not getting ticketed for going topless on the beach and many other cities irritated their residents.
Miami closed off access for an alcoholic anonymous club, complaint after complaint about code enforcement across South Florida with taxpayers convinced it's all being done to generate money to run the cities and counties.
Howard, how do you deal with a government agency?
Howard Finkelstein: "Short answer here. Be the squeaky wheel, go up the chain of command, send letters, faxes, make sure every bureaucrat, elected official knows about your problem.
And in defense of government agencies when we contact them, the majority, the smart ones, admit their mistake and fix it. Sometimes they don't and that's what makes our job tougher.
Howard Finkelstein: "You are going to have problems in the coming year. You can't afford an attorney, an investigative reporter, a cameraman to make you look good, so contact us.
We would love to help you. Have a great safe year. With this Help Me Howard with that guy named Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser 7News.