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Call Kurtis: My House Burned Down and I Got Ripped Off

MODESTO (CBS13) — The fire in April destroyed Jeanie Kendrick's plans.

"My dream was to retire and have the American dream. My own home," she said.

Two days after the devastating fire gutted her mobile home, she and her granddaughter Denette say two women from CRDN Textile Experts showed up unannounced to the burned home.

"They told me my insurance company sent them," she said.

"I said, 'State Farm sent you?'" Denette recalls. "And they said, 'yes.'"

Jeanie and Denette say the workers told them Jeanie's insurance policy had a special rider to cover dry cleaning services for the items that weren't destroyed in the fire including clothes, shoes and bedding. Jeanie recalls the women presenting her a contract to sign, but she didn't have her glasses on to read it.

"I asked what it is," she recalls. "And she said it's just to assure us your insurance company will pay it."

After taking her belongings, Jeanie says she contacted her State Farm agent which said he didn't send the company. He also told her she didn't have a special rider to cover dry cleaning. That contract she signed said if insurance wouldn't pay, she would have to cover the bill. CRDN invoiced her nearly 17-thousand dollars.

"I was like, 'Oh my God.'" Dinette said. "We don't have it. How are we going to pay you?"

Consumer Attorney Stuart Talley says if this company's workers lied saying the insurance company sent them if it didn't, that would violate California law.

"It is illegal under California law to make any false or misleading representation to sign up for a service," he said.

We reached out to CRDN. The company said, "We are very confident we did nothing wrong." It claimed a restoration company called Servicemaster referred them the job. Servicemaster confirmed it did, but claimed State Farm approved the referral. It's something State Farm denies saying, "Any customer with a claim should consult with their claim representative first, prior to signing a contract with a vendor for service."

When we pressed Servicemaster on who at State Farm told them it was okay to send out the dry cleaner, they couldn't tell us. Servicemaster claims it made no money off the referral and was just trying to help.

After we got involved. CRDN dropped Jeanie's bill from nearly 17-thousand dollars to 4-thousand. Unhappy about the experience, she's glad to have her stuff back.

State Farm says the contents portion of Jeanie's coverage could be used to pay for the dry cleaning, but she says she was underinsured and didn't get enough money to cover the damage and rebuilding her home.

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