28 Aug 2015

'Take your cheques and go'

6:28 pm on 28 August 2015

The daughter of an 86-year-old Christchurch woman says she had to threaten to call the police before two Earthquake Commission (EQC) staff members would leave her mother's home.

Mandy Fraser's mother Violet. EQC staff tried to "bully" her to settle her quake claim.

Mandy Fraser's mother Violet (pictured) owns an earthquake-damaged home in Bromley, Christchurch. Photo: Supplied

Mandy Fraser has power of attorney over her mother and has previously declined a $25,000 cash settlement on the Bromley home.

She said, after telling EQC again this week that she did not wish to settle, two workers arrived at the house on Wednesday with an envelope containing two cheques.

"My mother started to open it, and then she took the cheques out and she sort of threw them across the table at me.

"And I had a look and said 'Oh, this is ridiculous, come on, out you go. Take your cheques and go'."

Ms Fraser said she asked the EQC staff to leave multiple times, but they refused.

"He leant over my mother and he went to kiss her, so she moved her head and he kissed her on the cheek.

"And then he got down on his knees in front of her chair, and tried to get her to sign the claim off as finished."

Ms Fraser said she had been disputing her mother's claim since 2011, because she believed the damage to the property was structural, not just cosmetic, as EQC argued.

She said her mother was shocked after one of the workers stood over her chair and demanded she sign the offer.

"He was shaking it at her, telling her 'you can sign it'... I just stood up to him every inch of the way."

Ms Fraser said the EQC staff left after she threatened to call the police.

She said despite trying to get them to take the cheques with them, they left them at the house.

She posted them back to EQC the same day and also lodged a complaint about the visit on the phone.

She said she lodged a second complaint the following day after being told by EQC it had no record of her first one.

Commission responds

A spokesperson for EQC said the commission had spent a "great deal of time and effort" in resolving the claim.

"EQC has considered an independent engineering report, its own engineering reports, a report from the property's private insurers as well as the reports provided by the customer."

The spokesperson said EQC was satisfied that it had correctly assessed all earthquake damage.

"EQC determined to cash settle the earthquake damage for a number of reasons, all of which have been explained to the customer."

The spokesperson said the customer and her daughter had been informed that the visit was to take place on Wednesday.

"During the visit by two staff members, it was explained that the purpose of the visit was to bring a letter, which explained EQC's final position with respect to compensation for repairs."

EQC confirmed it had received a complaint about the staff members' visit.

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