ORANGE BEACH, Alabama (WALA) – SCROOGED BY THE CLAIMS PROCESS – It’s supposed to be the season of Christmas cheer, but for some businesses affected by the oil spill, this year has been anything but merry, and some are still waiting for checks in their stockings.
When the emergency payments ended on November 23, Matt Drouillard, who owns Printing Zone in Gulf Shores, finally received a response from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
“We’ve shown that we’ve lost money. They’ve never said anything about needing more paperwork. They just denied us outright,” said Drouillard.
He was told that his business, whose biggest customers are beach rental companies, wasn’t affected.
“The property management realty companies don’t have the people staying in their condos or their houses, they don’t need the parking passes or the reservation certificates or any other forms they might need during a normal period,” Drouillard said.
Drouillard is still trying to get answers, but just last week he says he received conflicting responses from the claims office. Now he doesn’t know what to believe.
“It’s very possible I could be looking to March or longer before I know anything and then I’m not guaranteed anything at all even then,” he said.
OTHERS IN THE SAME PREDICAMENT
While Drouillard continues to wonder when he’ll get paid, right next door, at Sunscape rentals, they’re wondering the same thing. We first spoke to owner, Patti Wooley, a couple of weeks ago and since then, she’s finally heard from the claims office.
“At least now we got a name, we got a phone number and they are calling us, which is great,” Wooley said. “This is a first.”
But even so, she’s still waiting for her check. Wooley says she won’t accept a final payment and she’ll continue to seek interim payments until she’s sure business will rebound.
Back at the printing zone, Drouillard would accept a final payment to end the nightmare. He says he won’t give up hope as Christmas nears.
“We’re going to keep going and we’re going to make it no matter what,” he added.
NEARLY HALF DENIED
Earlier this week, Feinberg said most of the denied claims were due to a lack of documentation. Nearly 300,000 emergency payments have been denied, almost twice as many as have been paid.