Banks, utilities asked to waive fees over storm

Posted at 1:49 PM, Dec 03, 2014

New York's attorney general has asked 75 companies, including banks and utilities, to waive late payment fees for some western New York residents because of the recent snowstorm.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Wednesday that he's also directing housing counselors and legal services providers to help residents resolve damage claims or issues with contractors. The advisers are part of Schneiderman's "Homeowner Protection Program," which usually assists residents facing foreclosure.

The Homeowner Protection Program can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-855-HOME-456 or online at www.AGHomeHelp.com.

The storm brought up to 7 feet of snow and disrupted mail services in some areas for days, potentially delaying payments due to lenders or utilities.

Schneiderman says residents in the affected areas need help and could face more problems if they have to deal with late fees from utilities, credit card companies and mortgage providers, too.

"We don't want to see the severe effect, or the long term effect, of one's credit rating hurt because of something like this," added Schneiderman.

The Attorney General's Office is investigating 60 complaints of price gouging related to the storm. Officials say senior citizens were the primary targets of scammers, including one who charged $3,600 for roof clearing and another who charged $700 to clear a driveway.

Schneiderman says his office sent 39 cease and desist letters warning companies about price gouging during the storm in an attempt to recover money for over-charged consumers.