On March 25, 1998 a fire was occurred at a home in San Jose California. San Jose Fire Department investigated and a report was filed revealed a malfunctioning water heater. Home insurance company hired a fire investigator at Fire Cause Analysis to investigate and determine the cause of the fire. Fire Cause Analysis removed the JC Penney manufacture water
heater to their lab for detail analysis. Two detail reports consist of 44 pages was provided by Fire Cause Analysis concluded the failure of the gas thermostatic control valve from the water heater led to the starting of the fire.
Homeowner insurance company paid for structure and smokes damages; however refuse to pay for replacement of the water heater due to the cause of the fire then suggested to contact JC Penney for recover to the out-of-pocket amount. On January 12, 1999 homeowner contacted JC Penney (John Ruppert, a*s. Mgr.) for assistance. Mr. Ruppert indicated to contact Liberty
Mutual Insurance Company who is insuring for JC Penney (Damon Oshita, Liberty Mutual at 714-937-1400 x627). Mr. Oshita indicated the case was assigned to Sharolyn Heffron at 1-800-781-1888 (x2868).
On January 19, 1999 homeowner contacted Ms. Heffron. A statement was given to Ms. Heffron regarding the fire and request for further assistance to recover the amount out of pocket. Ms. Heffron asked to send all documents to Liberty Mutual for review. On January 20,1999 a mail package was sent to Ms. Heffron. The package contained the following items:
(1). A copy of San Jose Fire Department Report.
(2). A copy of Fire Cause Analysis Reports.
(3). A copy of Property Repair Estimate Report.
(4).A copy of Car Repair Cost.
(5). A cover letter including the JC Penney water heater model number and the claim to recover out of pocket amount of $1520 ($1100 deductibles, $420 water heater replacement). The package was sent to Sharolyn Heffron, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, P.O. Box
168568, Irving Texas 75016.
On February 26, 1999 homeowner contacted Mr. Heffron to confirm if the package was received, Ms. Heffron confirmed. The same day, Mr. Heffron sent a letter with a file number P288-015159-01 with the incorrect date of loss on the letter (3/1/98 instead of 3/25/98 unknown intention) and indicated she is attempting to locate the information for the JC Penney in their archives.
A month went by, on March 24, 1999 homeowner contacted Mr. Heffron to follow up on the status. On March 25, 1999 Ms. Heffron sent a letter stated still waiting for information from JC Penney then go on stated "I will notify you once I have obtained the information as to what, if
anything, we will be able to do to resolve this matter with you."
Two months went by; on May 12, 1999 homeowner contacted Mr. Heffron and left a voice message for status on the case, no responses. On May 16, 1999 homeowner sent a letter to Ms. Heffron indicated it has been four months since submitted documents and analysis to Mutual Liberty. The letter also stated that Liberty Mutual have 30 days to resolve this matter
otherwise the homeowner is force to pursue consumer affair then follow by legal action, no reply from Ms. Heffron or Liberty Mutual.
Three months went by, homeowner contacted several lawyers but consistently gotten turn down due to the total amount of $1520 is not big enough for the lawyer to get involve. HELP!
On March 6, 2000 homeowner sent another letter to Ms. Heffron indicated over nine months ago a letter was sent but still have not received any reply. Then closed with this is the last opportunity for Liberty Mutual to resolve this matter; if still do not receive any reply in 30 days the homeowner is force to pursue consumer affair and legal action. As of today, April 25, 2000 still no reply from Ms. Heffron or Liberty Mutual. I guess I am a little guy that does not have the resources to go against Liberty Mutual. Luckily, recently I'd seen a story on TV news regarding
Badbusinessbureau.com helping out little guys, I thought maybe Bad business bureau can help me; "fighting for the small people like myself against a giant like Liberty Mutual or JC Penney."
San Jose, CA 95124