By Laura Speroni
As Peak season is ending and the Claims Season begins, take note to a few topics we have recently experienced that we thought would be good to share with the DAB Community.
We are witnessing an uptick in property damage claims. More than several were filed well past the seven calendar days allowed post- delivery; a couple were months post-delivery. We always request the service member forward pictures preferably, time stamped to us of the damage they are claiming as well as their description of damage, location in the home and how it was caused. Several of the complaints were regarding driveway damage. When we requested close pictures to show the damage in perspective, it was witnessed that the driveway had pre-existing damage which we did not repair. We also use tools like google maps or Zillow type listing places to see what the driveway looked like before the move even took place. When we presented our finding to the members on this specific claim they responded, “Oh I just moved in and didn’t realize it was there.”
We also received a claim for severely soiled areas on carpeting on a stairway and landing. I enlarged the member’s photos and could see the soiling was old and widespread. The loading crew snapped a picture of the stairway at 9:30 AM BEFORE beginning service. I presented the time stamped photo to the member, and he changed his tune and accepted $99 for basic cleaning for the slight soiling, we caused instead of hundreds of dollars he requested.
It is becoming increasingly evident that we need to have time stamped pictures to prove our innocence. We have used pre-move videos to counter claims where items claimed were never part of the survey or we used them to prove the condition of items before we serviced the shipment.
Oriental and Persian rugs were claimed as damaged in transit for $16,000. The pre-move survey clearly demonstrated the member had the rugs already rolled and standing up in a basement closet that was not accessible to the surveyor as they were already pre-packaged by a 3rd party company and the member verbally confirms that in the pre move video yet claiming we stained and damaged the rugs.
JEWELERY!! A pre-move survey saved us from a claim involving jewelry and a play station console. During the Pre-Move survey, the surveyor asked that the carton be opened. There was no PlayStation console inside the box as claimed only some games. No jewelry on the survey mentioned at all. Members also tried claiming soiled couch. On the pre-move it is clearly seen in the video the couches were seen stored outside and uncovered.
One member submitted an inconvenience claim for $5600. Submitting receipts for housing, clothing, meals, and shoes. His total shipment weight was 260 lbs and contained a few clothing items, couple pairs of shoes, a chair, and a bicycle. He falsely tried to get compensation for his residence on base. He denied our offer of $420 due to the inconvenience of his shipment being delivered after the RDD and said he would go to the MCO. Several weeks later, he sent an email stating he would like to accept the $420 we offered over his $5600 originally claimed.
All in all, be diligent and do your homework. Claims kill this industry and unfortunately, we are seeing more and more claims filed that are just blatant and outright untruthful because they have gotten savvy at navigating their way through the process. Also don’t forget to check out this months DAB HOUR on claims Sept 21st at 1 pm EST!