Wetumpka tornado survivor has a warning for others

Wetumpka storm victim left with large bill

WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Mark Moody is still feeling the effects of riding out the tornado in Wetumpka seven months ago.

“Even my hands, when I hold them out, will tremble now," Moody explained. And compounding the shakes is what happened the very next day.

“I’m told this gentleman has done the same stunt," Moody said.

He says a man drove down from Jefferson County, identified himself as a contractor, and used a clean-up volunteer on the scene to contact Moody to see if he could slap a blue tarp on his house.

“Yes. I said it does need a tarp," Moody explained.

Mark Moody says he was hit with a $15,000 bill from a man who identified himself as a contractor shortly after the Wetumpka tornado.
Mark Moody says he was hit with a $15,000 bill from a man who identified himself as a contractor shortly after the Wetumpka tornado. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Looking back, the homeowner regrets it but also says he was still rattled from the storm and wasn’t thinking clearly. But that’s not the real issue; the blue tarp was never put up. The contractor instead stapled and nailed the ‘felt’ covering on a home that was deemed irreparable by Moody’s insurance company.

The contractor promptly sent Moody a bill for a whopping $15,000.

“I’d like to forget this ever happened to me but I doubt I ever will," Moody said.

He says his insurance company paid the $15,000 but only after Moody threatened to sue them, a threat that cost him close to $4,000 in legal fees. And that is what Moody wants to get back, and that’s not all.

Moody's insurance paid the bill, but only after he threatened to sue them. That cost him more than $4,000 in legal costs.
Moody's insurance paid the bill, but only after he threatened to sue them. That cost him more than $4,000 in legal costs. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

“The State of Alabama Building Commission, whom I am under the impression has got him under investigation," said Moody, who has also filed reports with the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office.

This kind of thing happens all too often after a storm.

“Because there are more opportunities and that’s based on the weather," said Emily Nichols, Consumer Protection Specialist with the Alabama Attorney General’s office.

Nichols says the key thing to remember is to never give anyone permission to do anything when you’re emotionally upset from a storm and to only deal with your insurance company during the aftermath of a storm.

Moody admitted he has no idea how this will turn out, but he is certain of this: never again will this happen to him. He learned a lesson the hard way.

“If I had a moment to think, I doubt I would have fallen for it," the storm victim added.

It’s a reminder to remember not if the next storm hits but when.

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