Blog Archive

Hurricane Florence has finally made her slow exit from North Carolina.  Unfortunately, in Hurricane Florence’s wake there is a path of destruction from the winds, relentless rain and floodwaters.  If you have returned home to flood damage, you may be overwhelmed by the task of cleaning up and starting over.  Fortunately, there are many resources that can guide you in safely cleaning up and securing your property.

Before you start the cleanup process, you need to make sure that your location is safe from utility, structural and environmental hazards.  Practice safety first:  be aware of your surroundings and wear protective clothing when addressing flood damaged property.   The NC State Extension office  NC Disaster factsheets are a great resource for things you should consider and do in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.  Take pictures of the damage prior to clean up to assist with insurance claims and disaster relief assistance. If you are unable to stay in your home, contact FEMA by telephone 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY) or visit  Disaster Assistance for help.

Is your home covered by homeowners and/or flood insurance?  A trained professional can identify wind driven water damage vs. floodwater damage so contact your homeowner policy insurer as well and your flood insurance provider regarding damage.  Check out this article from CNBC regarding insurance claims for a general overview of the claim process.

Farmers should immediately contact their crop insurance agent.  Document by email or writing the instructions given to you by the agent and follow those instructions carefully.  Take photos of flooded fields and damaged crops before the water recedes.  Do not destroy any crops unless instructed to do so by your crop insurance agent or adjuster.  Contact your local extension office, or contact the attorneys at Mills Law, for more assistance.

Is your property eligible for FEMA Disaster Relief?  Call or contact FEMA Disaster Assistance to determine if your property is eligible for assistance.   Currently, Federal Disaster Assistance is available in the following North Carolina counties:  Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne.  Is your home outside of these counties?  Additional counties maybe added as damage assessments are completed so continue to check with FEMA for possible assistance.

Here is a quick list of Flood Recovery Resources*:

North Carolina State ExtensionNC Disaster Factsheets at:  https://ncdisaster.ces.ncsu.edu/disaster-factsheets/recovery/

FEMA Disaster Assistance:           Telephone number: 770-220-5273

https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance

American Red Cross:                      Telephone number:  800-733-2767

Search for Family Member:  https://safeandwell.communityos.org/zf/safesearch/search

Disaster Recovery Guides and Resource Library:  https://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery-services.html

Download the FREE American Red Cross mobile app at Apple App Store or Google Play for updates and emergency information

Find the Red Cross Location nearest to you:  https://www.redcross.org/find-your-local-chapter.html

North Carolina Department of Public Safetyhttps://www.ncdps.gov/news/press-releases/2018/09/18/fema-finding-assistance-after-hurricane-florence

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Flood safety tips:  https://www.cdc.gov/features/flood-safety/index.html

Flood damage cleanup: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup/facts.html

Mold cleanup guide: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup-guide.html

OSHA:                                                   Generator safety tips:  https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/portable_generator_safety.pdf

*Remember: Your local Police and Fire Department can assist in emergency situations and will have contact information for local flood recovery resources

Hidden Cost of “Rent to Own” and “0% Financing” Purchases

The allure of a shiny car or a beautifully furnished home can make the low monthly payment options of “Rent to Own” and “0% Financing” appear to be an affordable, quick and easy purchase decision.   Here is what you need to know about purchase plans:

  • Rent to Own purchase plans allow consumers to “purchase” items and pay for them over long periods of time. The rental payment periods often extend past the useful life of the item.  Buyers can find themselves burdened with rental payments on an item that has little value or may no longer perform the function for which it was purchased.   “Rent to Own” payment plans are often offered on overpriced products.  This repayment plan results in an expensive purchase for the buyer and a large profit for the financing company.
  • 0% Financing purchase plans allow consumers to buy now and pay later without incurring interest charges.  For the consumer, the purchase now and pay later option can be very tempting.  Unfortunately, many individuals are not able to adhere to the rigorous repayment schedule set forth in the purchase contract.  The business is playing the “odds” that the buyer will not always make the monthly payment on time or payoff the account before the 0% financing period expires.    Suddenly the buyer’s great “deal” on the purchase became an expensive purchase.

These financing options combined with high pressure sales tactics may influence buyers to purchase items that they would not otherwise be able to afford.  Unexpected life events can quickly change a buyers’ financial situation turning that low monthly payment into a crippling financial burden that can create painful budgeting and financial distress for years to come.

For more information read these articles….

Rent to Ownhttp://www.ncdoj.gov/Consumer/Purchases-and-Contracts/Rent-to-Own.aspx

0% Financing:   https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/when-buy-now-pay-later-ends-costing-you-more-much-n690256

Car Lease Informationhttps://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0056-financing-or-leasing-car

In our Bankruptcy Law practice, we help families and individuals suffering emotional and financial distress due to purchase repayment programs.  If you are financially struggling to make ends meet, the Attorneys at Mills Law can offer options for financial relief.    

Call Mills Law today to schedule your FREE consumer debt consultation (919)934-7235.


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