Widow Alleges Outrageous Financial Abuse

     VENTURA, Calif. (CN) – An elderly, ill widow claims in court that a remodeling company and bank are demanding $8,300 and threatening to take away her home for minor home repairs she refused four times.
     Emma Jean Hill, 86, sued U Save Remodeling and EnerBank USA in Superior Court.
     Hill says she is an unemployed widow who is completely dependent on “her monthly Social Security check, financial support from family members and a small rental unit behind her home.”
     It all began on July 10 this year, as she sat on her porch with her 65-year-old daughter, who has diabetes, congestive heart disease and cancer in remission, Hill says.
     “While sitting on her front porch, Mrs. Hill was approached by a man who let himself in through the front gate, uninvited. He identified himself as a representative of U Save, and that he wanted to talk to her about installing new windows,” the complaint states.
     Hill herself is recovering from open heat surgery, has cataracts, severe arthritis, an artificial knee and is hard of hearing, she says in the complaint.
     Hill says she could not afford to remodel her house and told U Save’s pitch man “no at least 4 times” but he “persisted and continued to convince her to install the windows” until she finally gave in.
     Hill says the man, who is not identified in the complaint, had her sign a contract, but she could not read it because it was illegible.
     “Mrs. Hill could not read the fine print of the document, and told the U Save representative that she could not read it,” the complaint states. “The U Save representative told her specifically that she could pay off the windows for an initial down payment of $300, and a payment plan of $50.00 per month with ‘NO INTEREST.’ The document called for the outrageous job price of $4,850.00 (for 3 average size windows and 2 small windows and a railing on a small 3 step concrete patio).”
     A week later, U Save employees came to her house to install the windows, Hill says. “In the process, they damaged blinds in the house, and left the alarm system disconnected. Mrs. Hill had to pay $90 for the alarm company service call to repair the damage. Likewise, it cost approximately $185 to replace the damaged blinds.”
     Then, the widow says, a woman from U Save began calling her house two or three times a day, asking if any paperwork had come in the mail.
     “Mrs. Hill does not have an answering machine, and U Save would call and let the phone ring anywhere from 20 to 50 times each call,” the complaint states.
     About a month after the windows were installed, Hill says, a packet arrived in the mail from EnerBank USA.
     Enerbank is based in Salt Lake City; U Save has a California contractor’s license, Hill says in the complaint.
     The complaint states: “Contained within the packet from EnerBank USA was correspondence and loan paperwork, with a pre-assigned account number for Mrs. Hill, seeking her signature on a ‘payment authorization form’ for payment of $4,550 and agreement to an interest rate of 17.05 percent and finance charges of $3,781.96.”
     Hill says she did not sign the application, so the defendants threatened and harassed her to “coerce” her into signing the papers.
     She adds: “Defendants told plaintiff that $4,850.00 was a good deal for replacement of five windows and installation of a small railing.”
     “Since receipt of the EnerBank USA loan packet, Mrs. Hill has continued to receive daily multiple phone calls from U Save. In addition, U Save is calling Mrs. Hill’s children, and sending text messages and emails,” the complaint states.
     In addition to this daily harassment, Hill says, U Save has sent “multiple men” to her house, “in a thuggish effort to threaten plaintiff into signing the EnerBank USA financial papers,” and has threatened to take away her home.
     The complaint states: “On August 22, 2012, while escorting Mrs. Hill to the hospital, her daughter received a text message from a woman at U Save stating ‘We have someone from our company outside ur (sic) mom (sic) house (sic) we need the document (sic) if not we will have to put a lean (sic) on the house.'” (Parentheses in complaint.)
     Hill says she is suffering from “fear, anxiety, nightmares, and is currently afraid to be alone at her home. The threats made by defendants … have made her fearful of losing her home as well.”
     Hill accuses U Save and EnerBank of conspiring to “abuse and take advantage of persons like Mrs. Hill, acting in concern to trick them into agreeing to work, then trick and harass and intimidate and coerce them into abusive loan programs to make them pay not only for the work itself, which was overpriced, but also high levels of interest … for the purpose of financial gain.”
     She seeks punitive damages for elder abuse, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and disgorgement of all “wrongfully obtained monies and profits.”
     She is represented by Kevin Chaffin.

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