TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Angela Coffey lost her job as a server last week after the restaurant where she worked was forced to close its dining room.
“I went in and they said there was no need for me to be there,” Coffey said.
She immediately worried about bills due right now, especially the payment on the Nissan Rogue she bought three months ago. She says she called GTE Financial to ask to skip this month’s payment and was told no.
So she knew she’d Better Call Behnken. Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken called GTE on Coffey’s behalf and within 30 minutes, she received a phone call from GTE and an offer to skip the next payment.
“I always pay my bills, I just need extra time to find a new job,” Coffey said. “People are worried and stressed, and we don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
Coffey isn’t alone, a growing number of workers from various industries are finding themselves in similar situations.
The coronavirus pandemic has left many without work or fearing they could lose jobs. As restaurants had to close dining rooms amid a statewide mandate, many were forced to lay off their entire staff.
Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a halt on evictions and mortgage foreclosures during this pandemic, and many major auto companies announced that they are working on customer assistance programs for those who lose jobs.
However, many still tell Better Call Behnken they are having a difficult time making a deal with lenders. Financial experts advise consumers to try to negotiate a deal with creditors to skip payments, and be prepared to make tough choices about which bills to prioritize.
In Coffey’s case, after questions from Better Call Behnken, GTE called her to say they want to help. They are letting her skip this month’s payment.
GTE provided 8 On Your Side with a statement following our story.
At GTE Financial, we care about our members and know that many may be adversely affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. When our valued members are going through hard times, GTE wants to help. As you know, changes associated with the Pandemic have been extraordinarily fast, but we are responding in real-time to the difficulties our members find themselves in, and we will be with them both now and far into the future.
In this particular case, we are providing the member with the help she needs during these challenging times.GTE Financial Statement
“They said we’ll take this slowly and see how it goes,” Coffey said. “I am so relieved. Thank you so much.”
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