We all have headaches to deal with — whether it’s a hacker, a crooked contractor or a shifty salesman. That’s why we have Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to help you avoid those hurdles in your life, and that’s why they are here right now.

This is how we want every Help Me Howard to end.

Mary Bradley: “Thanks to Help Me Howard and Mr. Patrick, I have a car.”

Our goal? Make you happy.

Jill Putney: “I cannot thank you enough. We would never have received them back if it wasn’t for you.”

The only thing better would be if you didn’t have any problems, so let’s try to help you avoid them.

So many problems begin with your signature. Signing a contract that binds you to a deal, so how can you protect yourself, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein: “Of course, you read the contract at your pace. Don’t be rushed, whether it’s to lease a car or a new roof, but where people get tricked, the salesman is telling you things the company will do for you. But those things are not in the contract, and when trouble comes, it will be your headache, so write those promises in the contract and get both sides to sign it.”

Hackers make lives miserable. A crook stole $720,000 from Blanca’s bank account. We helped get it back.

Another one stole Pearl’s Instagram link to her floral business. We were able to help her get that restored.

But Howard, how can you avoid those heartless hacks?

Howard Finkelstein: “When it comes to banking, anything involving financial assets or transferring money, make sure you have two-step verification to give you greater protection. It might be inconvenient to you, but it’s a big headache to hackers. And you can also install two-step verification on your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and others.”

If you live in a condo, you know too many condo commandos are ruining the lives of owners. How can you fight to defeat them?

Howard Finkelstein: “Of course, you have to go to the meetings to know what a board is doing before it’s too late, and remember, help is available. If the elevators keep breaking, contact the county; they can make the repairs happen. If a board is acting illegally, the state has a condo ombudsman that can provide help, and if you think the board is stealing your money, contact the police and the state attorney. But do something.”

What if you are a renter and are close to being homeless because you can’t afford the rent anymore?

Howard Finkelstein: “This is simply supply and demand. Rents will only come down if people won’t pay the high prices, but a quick solution? Dade and Broward have renter assistance programs that give you money to help pay the landlord. The links to apply for that are under this Help Me Howard story.”

One final question. We hear from so many people who get ripped off by crooked businesses that it makes you afraid to repair or fix something, so how can you know you are signing up with a good business?

Howard Finkelstein: “The strongest weapon consumers have is the reviews online. Talk to people who have done business with them, ask the companies for former customers and talk to them. Don’t give big deposits, only pay for the work that has been completed, don’t pay ahead of the work, and if all that fails, small claims court is your last resort.”

Or contact us. We want to to leave you smiling.

Victoria Hoods: “I am very glad I got Help Me Howard.”

Daniela Alzate: “Thank you. We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.”

Believe it or not, we are beginning our 25th year of doing Help Me Howard. You were 13 when we started, right, Howard?

Anyway, the problems aren’t going away, and neither are we.

Howard Finkelstein: “If you need help, we would love to hear from you.”

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

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Broward Rental Assistance

Miami-Dade Rental Assistance

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


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