(WSVN) - It’s a fact of life: you are going to face hurdles and headaches. Another fact of life: Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser are going to be here to help you overcome your problems. How? Let’s take a look.

This is how we hope every Help Me Howard ends

Denise Toupin: “Thank you so much. I’m going to kiss you, I think.”

If you’re happy, we’re happy that we got what you needed.

Maudell Smith: “If anybody needs any help, you gotta call Help Me Howard.”

The only thing better than solving your problem is helping you avoid the problem.

Patrick Fraser: “Hello, everybody, I’m Patrick Fraser.”

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “And I’m Howard Finkelstein to give you a few suggestions on how to fix common problems before they turn into major problems.”

Patrick Fraser: :Let’s begin with associations, condo or homeowners. Lately, they seem to be even bigger bullies than before. From stranding a wheelchair-bound man without an elevator, to trying to take a woman’s mobile home, how can you beat a board, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein: “Know the association rules. Stay aware of what is happening with your board and property manager. In any dispute, keep everything in writing, preferably emails, to have proof of what transpired and what they said. Finally, get on the board or get a friend elected to the board.”

Patrick Fraser: “Something that has exploded: online scammers, tricking you or hacking into your bank accounts. No easy answer, but what’s the best one?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Be suspicious and on guard. Don’t respond to emails or phone calls from any email or number. If you think your bank is calling, call your local branch, not the number the caller gave you. Of course, never give anyone your account or private information, and for any account, do two-step verification. It’s more work for you, but it’s a roadblock for hackers.”

Patrick Fraser: “Rent is sky-high, and landlord-tenant problems seem to be increasing along with the rent. What’s the best way for a renter to handle a bad landlord?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Get away from them, and the way to do that for a major problem like no hot water, doors that don’t lock, send them a letter giving them seven days to correct the problem, and let them know you will move out and you get your security deposit back when you do.”

Patrick Fraser: “Let’s do some quick ones. You’re buying a used car.”

Howard Finkelstein: “Read the contract, and don’t buy as is without your mechanic checking out the vehicle.”

Patrick Fraser: “You’re bogged down battling the government bureaucracy.”

Howard Finkelstein: “Talk to their boss. Go up the chain of command, and if that fails, contact your local politician.”

Patrick Fraser: “How do you win a fight with a business?

Howard Finkelstein: “Always pay with a credit card, and if you get ripped off, file a dispute with your credit card company. Also, give the business a bad online review.”

Patrick Fraser: “Speaking of businesses, I’ve never seen so many complaints about contractors. A lot of them are taking the money and disappearing. If you hired a contractor, what would you do?

Howard Finkelstein: “Talk to other people who have used the contractor. Check with the state’s department of business and professional regulation to make sure the license they show you is in their name and active. And finally, pay only for the work after each piece of the work is done.”

Patrick Fraser: “And of course, if you do your best and still get double-crossed, give us a call, where our goals are these words.”

Anneli Liebig: “If it wasn’t for Help Me Howard, I would have never gotten this boat out of here.”

Alexandria Crossman (hugging Patrick): “Thank you so much.”

David Prince: “Thank you so much, Help Me Howard.”

Patrick Fraser: “We’re starting our 26th year of Help Me Howard.”

Howard Finkelstein: “We have been so lucky to be able to help thousands of you.”

Patrick Fraser: “And of course, if you need help in 2024, we aren’t going anywhere. You’re staying with me, aren’t you?”

Howard Finkelstein: “I am, Patrick.”

With Mr. Finkelstein, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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