Nine months into the effort, NBC-owned WRC Washington has recovered $1 million for consumers seeking help.
The station’s consumer investigative unit, NBC4 Responds, hit the milestone Monday after helping a woman get her home out of foreclosure, said Susan Hogan, the reporter who heads the efforts. The house is valued at $251,000.
A mortgage company had already started auctioning the property when a realtor called WRC asking if the station could assist the homeowner, who is mentally ill, and her caretaker. The women had not paid the required homeowner's insurance, Hogan said.
The mortgage company had the legal right to foreclose the home, Hogan said, but nonetheless worked out a payment arrangement with the homeowner and called off the auction. “We gave them the bigger voice,” Hogan said.
The story will air during Monday’s 5 p.m. newscast.
Since its inception last May, NBC4 Responds has successfully recovered money in 142 cases, only some of which wind up being on-air stories. The bulk of the cases, Hogan said, involve small claims stemming from incomplete services, unpaid refunds and wages and faulty products.
NBC4 Responds launched as part of a groupwide initiative, which established consumer investigative units across the NBC-owned stations. The idea started at the Telemundo-owned stations with the Spanish-language Telemundo Responde franchise.