(WSVN) - We’re counting down the top seven problems South Floridians faced this year and some ways to solve them in the next year. Let’s bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

2021, well it was better than 2020. At least we got a COVID vaccine, and life returned a little closer to normal.

But of course, the 12 months were filled with twists and turns, problems you needed help with, and problems we wanted to help you solve.

Let’s go to the seventh most common problem you contacted us about, beginning with your job.

Not as many headaches as in years past, maybe because with so many openings, people could just change jobs.

A waitress at a fancy waterfront restaurant was fired after she refused to serve alcohol to minors.

Reyner is an Uber and Lyft driver. His camera captured customers berating and attacking him. When he notified his bosses, they fired him.

At number six, contractors got a category of their own, and we don’t mean it as a compliment. Viewers told so many stories about them taking deposits and disappearing. Others took the deposit then tried to raise the price, claiming COVID sent the cost of materials soaring. The list of complaints went on and on.

And the legislature has now passed a law to protect customers. If a contractor takes money and doesn’t do the job or walks away from the job, it could be a crime.

At number five, businesses that viewers felt ripped them off. Haiba’s bank refused to release the insurance money after a fire destroyed her kitchen.

Haiba: “So they got it and kept it.”

A used car dealer sold Jean a car without airbags.

At number four, the government. One city wanted Mike to produce proof his father pulled a permit when he built this small building back in the ’50s.

Dan’s alarm company didn’t notify him his silent alarm was going off at night. The city fined him $2,600 because police had to respond to the alarms. We got the city to waive the fees.

Dan: “We are absolutely delighted we called Help Me Howard.”

The solution to battling the government is actually simple. Be the squeaky wheel. Call, send emails and go up the chain, even talking to your elected officials.”

Number three, personal irritating problems you were hit with. A man pointed two spotlights at Kathy’s windows.

Kathy: “I feel like somebody is looking right into my family room.”

She couldn’t get him to stop, we did.

All the townhouses here have termites, but Norma’s neighbor is refusing to let them tent the building.

Norma: “I’m afraid that the house is going to collapse.”

At number two, the word we want to just go away: coronavirus. It seems like years ago, but in the beginning of the year it was tough to get the vaccine. Ninety-five-year-old Georgia Rogers couldn’t physically stand in line for hours to get it.

Georgia: “They tell you, ‘Make a reservation.’ How in Sam hell are you going to make a reservation?”

Debbie got a bill for her COVID shot.

Debbie: “For $106, I said, ‘No, I am not going to pay it.'”

Let’s hope COVID doesn’t get in the top seven in 2022.

And the biggest problem we saw in 2021, associations. Many boards were just nasty. One fined a woman for walking on the grass. One wouldn’t give a 100-year-old woman a decal to get into the complex. I could go on, but you don’t want to hear it all.

The best way to protect yourself is to get involved and get on the board, otherwise you have to live with rules set by other people.

One thing many of the stories we just mentioned have in common, we were able to help you get them solved.

As we head into our 24th year of Help Me Howard, we would love to help you take care of your problem. Get in touch with us. Here is the contact information, you would rather look at that than our ugly faces anyway.

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

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