The Associated Press: FEMA Offering Refunds on Trailer Sales
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency, responding to concerns about formaldehyde in trailers issued to hurricane survivors, said Thursday that it would offer refunds to people who bought them after their initial use.
The federal government began selling trailers in 2006 through online auctions and to victims of the intense 2005 hurricane season. Sales were suspended in July last year because of the fears about formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory problems.Hundreds of people in Louisiana and Mississippi are suing manufacturers, accusing them of providing FEMA with trailers that contained high levels of the toxin after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which devastated much of the Gulf Coast
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The following press release found on Media-Newswire proves that as always nothing is simple with FEMA:
GSA auction sales, refunds for the purchase price of travel trailers and park models will be offered for units purchased through GSA auctions on or after July 24, 2006, until such sales were suspended in July 2007. Individuals who want to return their travel trailer or park model unit must contact FEMA within a 60-day period beginning January 17, 2008.
For units sold by FEMA directly to disaster assistance applicants occupying the unit, FEMA will offer to refund the purchase price of any travel trailer or park model sold on or after July 31, 2006, until such sales were suspended in July 2007. The refunds option applies to disasters declared on or after Aug. 29, 2005. Occupants will have 60 days from the date of notification to request a refund.
Buyers must have purchased the units directly from FEMA or GSA. The refunds will be provided upon repossession of the units.
Individuals and disaster applicants, who have questions regarding the purchase of their unit, may call FEMA at 1-866-562-2381 or, TTY 1-800-462-7585.
Purchases through GSA
FEMA will notify via e-mail each individual who purchased a recreational vehicle ( travel trailer or park model ) sold to the public as excess by FEMA through GSA on-line auction sales. The e-mail will include the refund period and procedures for requesting a refund. Buyers will need to send a written request for a refund to FEMA within 60 calendar days of the initial public notification date, January 17, 2008. The written request must include the GSA Sales Contract Number, the purchaser's name, the purchase price and the purchaser's receipt for payment.
Buyers must submit a Direct Deposit form with an original signature to allow for the electronic deposit of funds and an unsigned, voided check or deposit slip along with a signed and completed Trailer Refund Checklist form. Both forms will be provided via the e-mail notification.
Purchasers must return units to the designated FEMA facility and they will need to turn over the Certificate to Obtain Title, if the purchaser still has the document, and title to the unit itself. FEMA will not reimburse purchasers for upgrades or work done to the unit; individuals are responsible for arranging for transportation or travel and paying for the associated costs.
Refunds will be transmitted to the purchaser's bank account by direct deposit within 30 days of the unit's physical return to the designated FEMA facility.
Refund requests should be sent to FEMA at the following address:
Attn: Logistics Current Operations Branch
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street SW, Room 330
Washington, D.C. 20472
Purchases Directly From FEMA
FEMA will mail a letter to each disaster assistance applicant who purchased their recreational vehicle ( travel trailer or park model ) directly from FEMA between July 31, 2006, and July 31, 2007, for major disasters declared on or after Aug. 29, 2005, notifying them of the option and procedure for seeking a refund. Buyers who wish to seek a refund will need to contact FEMA within 60 calendar days of the date of the notification letter they receive.
Applicants who contact FEMA through the toll free number will be transferred to the appropriate Transitional Recovery Office ( TRO ) or field office in order to process the refund request. The TRO or field office will obtain the original Certificate to Obtain Title from the applicant, if the purchaser still has the document, and any other titles the applicants obtained for the unit.
FEMA will deactivate and haul away recreational vehicles for occupants who want to return the units to FEMA for a refund. Refunds will be transmitted to the purchaser's bank account by direct deposit within 30 days of the unit's physical return to FEMA.
For occupants still residing in the recreational vehicle and who are in need of, and remain eligible for, housing assistance from FEMA, a caseworker from the respective field or Transitional Recovery Office will work with the applicant to help them move them into other housing.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.