ORANGE BEACH, Alabama — On Thursday, Wayne Riser received a letter from BP PLC.
The four-paragraph letter twice referred to an enclosed check to compensate him for income that he lost when the Gulf oil spill all but sunk his boat painting and fiberglass repair business.
“By cashing this check,” the letter said, “you acknowledge that BP has paid this amount as compensation for your claimed losses.”
All well, Riser said, except there was no check in the envelope.
“I said, ‘These hammerheads are holding these checks to where they can draw the interest on the money,'” Riser recalled.
Riser was one of hundreds of claimants who received such letters in recent days.
“It’s cruel,” said Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon. “It shows just how dysfunctional (BP’s) whole process is, and it again counters everything they say about the job they’re doing.”
BP spokesman Ray Melick said that Worley Catastrophe Response, which the oil giant has hired to write claims checks, described the omissions as the “result of systems issues.”
BP declined to disclose exactly how many checkless letters were mailed but said it was aware of the mistake occurring in at least two states: Alabama and Florida.
BP, Melick said, regrets the situation. “What we’ve found is that in most cases checks were sent out when the error was realized,” Melick said Tuesday. “We’re trying to get it taken care of as soon as possible.”
Anyone who received such letters and has yet to also receive the corresponding check is asked to contact a BP claims office, Melick said.
For his part, Riser received a check on Saturday, two days after the checkless letter and some 12 days after he requested expedited payment from BP. The check, Riser said, was made out to “Wayne Kiser.”
See letter here: http://blog.al.com/live/2010/08/bp_sends_letters_with_no_check.html