There’s just no telling just how long lockdowns and stay-at-home orders will last as we try to ride out the coronavirus pandemic. In just four weeks, an astonishing 22 million Americans are out of work.
If you find yourself in this unfortunate position, there’s an app that can help. You may have even already heard of it.
Now, this virtual lawyer has new features to help you shortcut the unemployment filing process and work with companies that you owe money to delay payments.
What is DoNotPay?
The simplest way to describe DoNotPay is as an automated legal service. Have you ever wanted to take revenge on a spam caller, take action against price gouging, fast forward through call waiting or have a quick guide to what the document you’re supposed to sign is actually saying?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, the service might be worth the $3 a month fee. A new feature released last week aims to help cash-strapped users impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and its latest is focused on those struggling to file for unemployment
Across the country, millions and millions of people are out of work, and the process to file for unemployment can range from annoying to downright impossible. That’s where DoNotPay’s automated systems come in.
Through the DoNotPay app or website, users can look up unemployment info by state, then fill out the required paperwork through a chatbot. The service will submit the forms.
DoNotPay also lets users set up robocalls to their local unemployment line every hour, then get a call back when someone answers.
DoNotPay Covid-19 Relief
“DoNotPay Covid-19 Relief is an initiative that we have been working on to help the millions of workers and business owners losing their jobs,” DoNotPay founder Joshua Browder told Komando.com. “It’s called DoNotPay COVID-19 Relief— the first product that will extend your rent, credit card and bill payments because of the epidemic.”
Although some companies are waiving or extending payments, others are passing their desperate financial situation on to their customers with strict deadlines and late fees, Browder said. As bills pile up, consumers should be focused on taking care of their families, not worried about being slightly late on a payment, he said.
Here’s how it works:
- DoNotPay identifies any payments where you can qualify for an extension and waiver of late fees. It works with most types of payments, including rent, credit card and utility bills.
- First, it will reach out to the company to make a compassionate and polite request. The average extension granted is two weeks, Browder said.
- If the company denies the request, DoNotPay will then send a second legal request, using the full force of the local and state laws. This request includes both longstanding laws, such as a ban on unreasonable late fees in housing matters and recent measures like N-28-20 Executive Order From The State of California.
- There’s also the option to report the corporation to a state attorney general if you feel they are engaging in particularly exploitative practices.
The second request can give users peace of mind that they won’t be evicted or face consequences for paying on time, Browder said.
That peace of mind can go a long way. And when money is tight, we all know every cent counts. Tap or click here to see all the freebies currently offered by companies during the coronavirus pandemic.
How to set up an account
If you’re new to DoNotPay and want to try this service, follow these steps to set up an account. Keep in mind there is a $3 monthly fee, so you’ll have to provide your credit card.
- Navigate to the DoNotPay site.
- Click Sign Up.
- Link a credit card. You’ll be automatically be signed up for a monthly subscription.
- After you create an account, find the options you have access to on the left-hand side of your screen.
- Choose the service for you, from bill extensions to finding hidden money, and follow along with the on-screen instructions.
It’s important to remember that while it is a helpful tool, DoNotPay is not a magical problem-solver. DoNotPay estimates its gouging protection, which is done by way of helping customers sue companies, results in success about 50% of the time.
RELATED: Many of us are feeling powerless to make an impact right now. Consider helping to find the cure. All you need to do is donate some your resources, and we’re not talking money. Tap or click here to learn how to use your computer’s processing power to help scientists.