Staten Island seniors fight big bill after Ida contractor estimate dispute

Nina Pineda Image
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Staten Island seniors fight big bill after contractor estimate dispute
Since Ida, 7 On Your Side has been hit with a flood of insurance dilemmas or contractor controversies.

WESTERLEIGH, Staten Island (WABC) -- Since Ida, 7 On Your Side has been hit with a flood of insurance dilemmas or contractor controversies.

A couple of Staten Island seniors were blindsided by a big bill, nearly two times the original estimate.

"I go crazy, I couldn't believe what happened," said homeowner Tereza Morcos.

A month after Ida's wrath turned the Morcos' Staten Island basement into a sewage swamp, they're still cleaning up the mess.

"Just muddy, murky, stinky," said Susan Morcos, the homeowner's daughter.

She's not just referring to the pool of black sewer water that backed up into the basement, Susan Morcos is worried the company she hired to pump, cut, and sanitize her parents' home is trying to clean them out.

"That's just unacceptable, it's not anything I would agree to," Susan Morcos said.

Susan is referring to an initial contract she signed estimating the work would cost $8,000 to $10,000. She never saw a line stating the "actual price" "could exceed the estimate."

And then, days after the job was finished, she says she was blindsided by a final bill for more than $17,100.

"And they never came back to me to say there's going to be additional work that's going to be done," Susan Morcos said.

But, when she called the business to complain, she says she was told her mom, Tereza, had signed off on the final bill, with her finger on one of the crew members' smartphones.

"Did you know what you were signing?" Nina Pineda asked.

"I asked the guy, he told me this was for the equipment return, that's all," Tereza Morcos said.

Susan said she was the one who originally had signed the agreement, so she was confused why they would ask her mom to sign something, especially when she had no idea what she was signing for.

But for two retirees on a fixed income, the additional $7,000 was a deal breaker for their daughter.

"I spoke to a manager, he said the best he can do is take $1,000 off the bill," Susan Morcos said.

That's when Susan called 7 On Your Side.

So, 7 On Your Side called the national office and the owner of the local franchise they said they stood by contract 100% and were honest and transparent, but agreed to negotiate for their work and knocked $7,000 off the bill to under $10,000.

"We would like to thank you guys," homeowner Samir Morcos said.

"It was miraculous. I was almost in tears, I couldn't believe that that you can do this for us really," Susan Morcos said.

They will pay less than the high end of the original estimate.

"If you ever feel like someone really slighted you, 7 On Your Side will totally be there for you," Susan Morcos said.

The big takeaway is to read your contract carefully, even the fine print, and if you don't agree with any clauses simply don't sign it.

More 7 On Your Side | Frontline nurse, Navy veteran gets some help after Ida wreaks havoc

7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda stepped in to help a family displaced by Ida



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