7 On Your Side: NJ woman waiting months for billion-dollar company to refund $59.11

Nina Pineda Image
Friday, April 15, 2022
Woman waiting months for billion-dollar company to refund $59.11
7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda regularly recovers six-figure amounts for Eyewitness News viewers. But this time, she solved a problem worth just $59.11.

COLTS NECK, New Jersey (WABC) -- 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda regularly recovers five- or even six-figure amounts for Eyewitness News viewers. But this time, she helped solve a problem worth just $59.11.

While the amount owed was small, the frustration felt recovering the money was through the roof. The reason: The company owing the money is a household name worth billions.

Verizon's net worth stands at $224 billion, yet Diane Belforti was baffled as to why couldn't get the $59 the wireless giant owed her.

"I guess I didn't want to give up these just on principle," she said. "I just think it's simply wrong."

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The money belonged to her late father, Bud Joy, who died from cancer last year. The credit was for his disconnected cell phone, but getting the tech company to cut a check has taken the family longer than settling everything in the estate.

"Every single aspect of it, including selling his house, you know, investments, banking, everything, and this was the final thing that I just could not get resolved," Belforti said. "I feel like my father is of that generation, like $59 might not mean a lot to a lot of people, but it's $59 my father worked hard for."

She and her husband took over the small family business her dad ran, an appliance store that's been in Red Bank for 60 years. His dad, Paul Joy, founded Better Housekeeping in 1939. Metal was in short supply because of World War II, so they repaired -- not replaced -- appliances when broken.

The average wage was 30 cents, so someone would have to work 25 eight-hour days to to earn the $59 needed to buy a Westinghouse electric washer.

"My dad was 6'4''," Belforti said.

The mountain of a man knew his cancer was terminal, so he organized all his affairs. His two daughters got power of attorney and became will executors, and they made smart moves like adding their names to bank accounts, titles and investments.

The cell phone bill was one thing they didn't think would be an issue.

"I had no way to log into my father's account online," Belforti said. "He was 86 years old. He didn't even log on to an account."

She had to send letters from the court and his death certificate, but the check never arrived.

"I don't think I ever reached that point (of giving up) until I contacted 7 On Your Side," Belforti said.

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So we contacted Verizon, and eight emails, five texts, and 10 days later, Belforti got the money.

"I finally have the check," she said. "I am so appreciative to 7 On Your Side, because there's no way I could've resolved this on my own."

A Verizon representative said the company would not comment on the case because of customer privacy.



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