The lights are still on in Keh-Jiann Pan’s office, Marjan Sadegh has a beautiful new deck on the back of her house, and Denise Roney is on the road again after settling with the MBTA. Tom Bluthardt may get a date by Valentine’s Day, farmer Chuck Currie has been made whole by a slow-footed insurer, and JoAnn Becker, who was turned away from a trip to Vietnam by a travel company because she is blind, has taken up ballroom dancing — and loves it.
As we edge into 2018, I wanted to check back with some of the people I wrote about last year:
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Last fall, Eversource came within 72 hours of shutting off the electricity in Keh-Jiann Pan’s business condo in the South End after he refused to pay a bill of $23,000 to the region’s largest energy company.
Pan e-mailed me and I took up his cause in a Nov. 10 column. Now, it looks like Eversource may accept a small fraction of what it contends Pan owes.
The problem began in 2006, when an Eversource crew busy assigning accounts in a new building somehow skipped over Pan’s unit. For years, Eversource pumped electricity into the condo without billing anyone. When it finally discovered its oversight, Eversource came down hard on Pan, who thought his $400-a-month condo fee covered electricity. Eversource demanded that he immediately write a check to the company for $23,000, or pay almost $30,000 financed over five years.
After the column appeared, Eversource offered to settle for $15,000. Pan said no. All along, he has insisted that Eversource produce records of actual electricity use, which apparently don’t exist.
Pan’s current offer is $720; Eversource’s is $3,600.
Eversource has spent thousands on lawyers and other expenses in its protracted battle with Pan.
Give it up, Eversource. You’re only compounding your mistake.
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Marjan Sadegh finally has her new deck — and for less than half what Lowe’s originally said it would cost her.
After Sadegh was forced to pay $25,000 upfront last spring, the contractor hired by Lowe’s tore down her old deck. But the new one never materialized, only delays and excuses.
Finally, after I wrote about her dispute in an Oct. 9 column, Lowe’s agreed to refund her money, add an extra $5,000 for the aggravation, and let her keep the decking material stacked in her driveway.
Sadegh hired her own contractor, who built her a new deck for $11,000.
“I’m certainly looking forward to using it this summer,” she said.
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Denise Roney spent way too much time last year battling the MBTA, after a T manager driving a T vehicle suddenly turned left on a Lynn street and smashed into Roney’s car.
The crash occurred in early June. Roney could no longer drive her car and she had no collision insurance. That meant her insurer would not pay to repair or replace it. But because the crash was the fault of the T manager, Roney was entitled to repairs or replacement paid for by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
If only she could get the T to return a call. By the middle of August, a frustrated Roney e-mailed me. Why can’t the T follow through on processing her claim?
Even before the column was published on Aug. 24, the T started returning calls. But she still had to wait two more months before she was paid for her totaled vehicle.
In the end, Roney got $9,000 for her 2008 Ford Escape. She then paid $12,000 for a 2012 Ford Escape with about 15,000 fewer miles on it.
But what really burns her is the $800 the T took off the top of the settlement for “salvage value.” Most insurers take possession of a totaled vehicle and sell it for parts. But the T doesn’t take totaled vehicles. So it reduces the settlement amount.
Roney said she got nothing for the totaled Escape. In fact, it was a headache to get someone to take it away. I asked the T how it came up with $800 as the value of salvaged parts. It’s based on an appraiser’s telephone conversations with three auto parts suppliers, the T told me.
Why do I have less than 100 percent confidence in the T’s handling of the salvage value?
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Tom Bluthardt has a promise of a date before Valentine’s Day. Bluthardt was featured in a Dec. 11 column after he came to me complaining he had paid $1,000 to Boston Matchmakers and gotten only one (dead-end) date in 10 months.
Matchmaker’s national corporate office called Bluthardt after the column appeared to offer him another year free of charge, plus a personal matchmaker checking in with him monthly.
(In an e-mail to me, the national office pointed out that Matchmakers provides “referrals,” not “dates.” But I’m sticking with “dates.”)
Bluthardt said the company promised him at least three dates.
And since his story and picture appeared in the Globe, Bluthardt has been contacted directly by two interested women. He went out with one of them, but, alas, no sparks.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said.
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Chuck Currie is the Raynham farmer who got the run-around on his claim for compensation from a towing company after his organic produce was destroyed in a freak accident at a farmers’ market in Somerville, as recounted in an Oct.14 column. After six months, the insurer finally came through with the $2,812.50 it owed to him.
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After a July 24 column on JoAnn Becker, who had been excluded from a group tour to Vietnam because she is blind, Overseas Adventure Travel apologized and offered her a free trip with a companion. Becker hasn’t yet taken that trip.
But she does take the Red Line now a couple of times a week to the Arthur Murray Dance Center in Cambridge, where she is learning the tango, cha-cha, foxtrot, rumba, and waltz. She said she was taken aback by some of the negative comments made about her after the column appeared, including that she selfishly expected assistance from other travelers on her tour.
“Of course, I’ve never seen anyone dance, but I love music and I wanted to try it,” she said. “It’s been such an uplifting experience. All the instructors have been so welcoming.”
She sent me a video of her dancing, which you may find uplifting.