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Infolawyer, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 57383
Experience:  Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
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You helped a client with a restoration mitigation company

Customer Question

you helped a client with a restoration mitigation company billing dispute 4 yrs ago. Our issue is with such a company
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 year ago.

what can I answer for you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im a retired exec helping a friend, who was out-of-state on a work pjct when an elec. fire occurred in his home attic; notified by his 30 yr old daughter who was living there. Documents show; he contacted his ins co the next day and his daughter was moved to a motel.As per the homeowner, via a fone call w/ his agent, he rejected a settlement of 12 to 15k, saying "just fix the house, contact me on any decisions and keep me in the loop". Afterwhich, a letter from the ins co. confirms that following a mtg w/ the agent and Mitigation company, the homeowner approved the ins pay 23k for cleaning / repair to the structure.---We note that recent access to the fire departments own report is written "light smoke in residence. Estimated damages 10k", and the fire was put out using a canister... so no water.
---We note that recent access to the invoice for fixing the residence states that total drywall replacement was about 3 x 3 ft.
---We note: the homeowner never saw the home until it was already repaired.However payment to date has exceeded 70k. of which 30k + was paid when the homeowner regained access to the house. On this date of payment, homeowner asked and was told it was the final payment. Then 4 months later, another 32k is billed, hence our investigation begins.1. From day 1 the mitgitation company succeeded to refuse to discuss billing / provide any invoicing to/with the homeowner, always saying there was no need, as the ins co. had approved payment. Homeowners repeated demand for it secured an agreement to send the doc's, which repeatedly never arrived.
.2. During which, the ins co changed the claim manager 3 times, w/ ea new person denying responsibility for what the prior employee did or approved. The ins co. failed to inform/discuss Contents Cleaning w/ homeowner, denying the policy holder the option of taking a settlement by authorized the work. Homeowner had believed the daughters contents had merely been boxed and placed in storage.3.Invoices were finally recently secured from the ins co., both explaining what the recent 32k bill is for, and separately showing broad fraudulent billing on the structural work. The ins. co, claims that in their view, since all has been paid, they have closed the claim.4. After strong letters from me, the mitigation co. just emailed doc's I'd requested, specifically the signed contract for the CONTENTS CLEANING. Ignoring that the homeowner at no time gave power of attorney (written of verbal) they falsely claim the homeowner told them the daughter would sign on his behalf. And instead a contract, an emergency 'work authorization' (w/ contract verbiage) was used, and the signature is not a signature at all, but 5 printed letters that must be code for something. This work order approval is dated after the ins agent and mitigation company assessed the damages, also states the daughter is the homeowner.
Thus essentially, the mitigation co. claims they had a tenant sign a 'work order' for a property owner, which moreover, solely cleaned the tenants possessions; since the homeowners own possessions were being stored in a separate building on the property, as he actually lives btwn his home in Alaska, traveling to job sites, or w/ his daughter at his Oregon home.Moreover, since the daughter has never returned to the home, the returned contents remain stored in 2 bedrooms. And the daughter states she only recalls seeing 1 paper, and that was for the structural repair. But we now see hand written on the work-authorization document, the description of work to be performed is "mitigation of CONTENT and STRUCTURE". Which, in believing the personal possessions were to be stored while the work was done, one can interpret the word 'STRUCTURE' as the bones of the house (studs, sub-flooring) and the word 'CONTENT' (non-plural) as meaning surface materials (drywall, carpet, etc).Concerning the 'contents'; 90 to 95% of the items cleaned do not belong to the homeowner. Plus the vast majority of items would never have been authorized for cleaning, had this option been presented (do I mention bottle caps).
Additionally, on the inventory list just received, is listed for example 110 pr of shoes and 22 jackets that do not exist.
And, since few of items belonged to the homeowner, upon returning to occupy the residence, he purchased everything from furniture, to linens, kitchen ware, etc.
Before this CONTENTS CLEANING billing claim was even known to exist, the homeowner believed total payment concerning personal possessions was the ins. co pmt to replace the sofa.To conclude: again, discovery of additional (contents cleaning) invoices was was not known until 4 months after the homeowner regained access/occupancy to the residence.Thank you for your assistance in the matter.
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 year ago.

You have a few options. Let me outline them. You can pursue a complaint in civil court. You may sue for losses suffered plus costs and interest. You can also file a complaint with the attorney general office. You can threaten these options before pursuing and use for leverage. local counsel can also get involved! I wish you the best. I trust the answer has been helpful. kindly let me know.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
amex just called to verify the cg was ligit. of course we said it was
Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 year ago.

Agreed. Let me know if I can clarify anything else. I wish you the best. I trust the answer has been helpful. kindly let me know.

Expert:  Infolawyer replied 1 year ago.

awaiting your reply, thanks.