Inside Seven On Your Side

August 11, 2008 12:26:46 PM PDT
Seven on your Side helps consumers get back hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.Each week Eyewitness News' Tappy Phillips and Producer Steve Livingstone write out their thoughts in our Seven on your Side blog. They will talk about what's coming up each week. To contact Seven on your Side, CLICK HERE.

Week of August 11th...

We have a wide range of stories this week.

On Monday we help a woman who didn't realize she had a hearing problem until she had her ears checked. It turns out she had been missing the sound of her pet birds, conversations and even wind chimes. After she got the hearing aids, her world opened up. But she was baffled as to why her insurance company hadn't reimbursed her. After Seven on Your Side got involved, we found out that her doctor was something called a "participating provider." That means that instead of the amount he charged the woman, he had to accept the amount the insurance company paid him. Once we got this straightened out, the doctor accepted the money from the insurance company and refunded all the money the patient had paid him.

On Wednesday we rescue a young woman who was about to get married. She had rented a house near Cape May for her family to stay after the wedding. But her father passed away suddenly and the wedding had to be postponed. Then the owner of the rental house would not refund the bride's money. Until we contacted the landlord who refunded part of the money.

Then Friday morning (look for us on the 5am show ? not our usual 11pm slot,) we have the story of a nightmare involving movers. A Jersey company packed up a woman's belongings for a move to Texas. And after all her furniture was on the truck, they demanded an extra $5,000 or her stuff would go into storage. Turns out this company has a history of complaints and we get federal investigators involved to get her possessions delivered.

Scams to warn you about (Tappy Phillips)

We have some scams to warn you about.

Last Monday we did a story about a woman who was taken in by a Mystery Shopper scam. The web offer said the company would pay her to rate the customer service at local retail outlets. They sent her a check for several thousand dollars and asked her send most of it back through Western Union. The check they sent her was a forgery. But the money she took out of her account was real. And when their check bounced, she was left deep in debt.

This is a variation of something known in law enforcement as the Nigerian Loan Scam because it originated in Nigeria where it was hard to trace the perpetrators. This scam promised you a loan, if you sent them a pre-payment up front. Or they said you had won a lottery or inherited a fortune; you just had to send them thousands in order to get millions.

Legitimate Mystery Shopper companies will never send you a check or ask for money back. Legitimate loans or lotteries do not require up-front payments. Don't be lured into these scams!!!

We also did a story about a possibly misleading on-line offer. A woman booked a trip on-line and saw a box offering her a 20% discount on the trip she just booked. She clicked on that box. Then for over a year, a company she had never heard of, took $11.99 out of her checking account every month. It turns out the second company, an entertainment discount company, had gotten all her account information from the first site where she booked the trip and used it without her permission.

So be careful of any offer that looks too good to be true and always read all the fine print.

This week at 7 on your side (By: Steve Livingstone) Tappy looks at a 'Mystery Shpper Scam', The IRS owing one viewer $3,000, and information on credit report misery. Monday at 5: You think you just found a great part-time job of a mystery shopper. (A vocation where you get paid to shop, eat and travel.) All you have to do is write up a report on your experience. But what you don't know is you may have been victim to a complex counterfeit check scam. We tell you the tip off to the rip off and we have a mystery shopping expert who will answer all your questions on how to get started working for a legitimate mystery shopping company. For more on this story, CLICK HERE

Wednesday at 5: A Queens woman says she thought she was just getting a discount on travel. but then withdrawls started coming out of her checking account. Withdrawls she says she knew nothing about. When she couldn't stop them, she called for seven on her side. We tell you how these internet deceptions work and how to avoid them. For more on this story, CLICK HERE.

Friday at 11: Your credit report and credit score. They determine whether you'll be allowed to borrow money, even what rate you'll get. Employers and insurance companies may even look at them. A low score could jack up your insurance rates and even make you less attractive to employers. One Brooklyn viewer found her credit score took a 200 point hit through no fault of her own. It was so damaged she couldn't get a mortgage. We help her repair it and give advice on how to check your own credit report for free.

JULY 7th-July 11th
This week at 7 on your side (By: Steve Livingstone) Tappy goes after a problem landlord and takes on two big companies, insurance giant MetLife and Sprint. We help consumers get $100,000.

Monday at 5: A New Jersey teacher paid $11,000 for a Belmar shore house. But the house was unlivable. Tappy hits the beach to confront the landlord and get her money back...(Tappy's thoughts) We have a sad, but cautionary tale today about a young teacher from northern Jersey who rented a cottage in Belmar, NJ, for the entire summer. She gave the landlord a total of $11,000 for the season. But when she went to move in over Memorial Day weekend, she found the house a wreck: there was no screen in the front door, the house was unlocked, the refrigerator was moldy, there was garbage strewn around the kitchen and light fixtures dangled from the ceiling. It was filthy and dangerous. And, as she later learned, it had not been inspected so it was not legal to rent it out.

We found the landlord's brother who owns adjacent rental property. He claimed the town of Belmar had a grudge against the family. But when we asked the town buildings inspector, he said no one had even applied for an inspection. He also told us that the landlord had served 5 days in county jail for renting out another uninspected house.

But when the brother gave the excuse that his brother just got out of rehab, I took exception. It didn't seem that the landlord's personal problems should ruin a young teacher's summer.

Finally, after our prodding, the landlord's family raised the money to pay her back.

This is a good lesson to all summer renters: make sure the property is properly inspected and has no outstanding violations before you give the landlord any money.

To read more on the story, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday at 5: The father of three is battling cancer. All he wants is his life insurance from his previous job restored. Tappy goes up against insurance giant MetLife to give a dying man some piece of mind.

Friday at 11: The veteran did two six month tours serving on the front lines for his country. He paid his cell phone company, Sprint, to suspend his account. But when he got back from his tour he found Sprint charged him $1200. We get the vet some payback.


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