20 Aug 2019

Quake-hit homeowners baffled as Southern Response bosses silent

From Checkpoint, 5:14 pm on 20 August 2019

Another day, another Southern Response no-show. And Christchurch homeowners are asking where the company's chief executive Anthony Honeybone and its board chairman Alister James are, and why neither are speaking publicly.

It follows a High Court ruling last Friday which found the organisation had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct when it deliberately withheld information from a customer leaving them hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

This was due to two detailed repair analysis (DRA) documents being produced - with the company only offering customers the lower one.

On Monday night on Checkpoint former EQC Minister Gerry Brownlee denied knowing about the practice until Friday.

But that's left some homeowners shaking their heads.

For Ross and Ellie Williamson, their battle against Southern Response has cost them dearly - and not just financially.

"Anxiety came to the fore ... Ellie's got a couple of health problems and that didn't help at all, didn't help me either."

They sold their Dallington home as is after it was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes.

They received a settlement from Southern Response for $334,095.

But five years ago they realised that something was amiss with their detailed repair analysis - which showed how much it would cost to fix the house. But a part of it was blanked out.

The full DRA was costed at $464,884.

They are now part of class action against Southern Response.

Last night Minister Brownlee told Checkpoint, until reading Friday's judgment, he had no prior knowledge Southern Response was running a two quote detailed repair analysis system.

Southern Response, through an external communications agency, has repeatedly denied interview requests and has instead asked for written questions.