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Column: Kay Jewelers warranty brings frustration, not assurance

Q: My husband and I purchased a necklace at Kay Jewelers on Jan. 29, 2004. We've purchased numerous items from it.

We also bought a warranty. Under its terms, the necklace has to be inspected twice a year. When I took it for the first inspection, I noticed the warranty was in the name of Jennifer Wargin, not my husband, Jeffrey Wargin. I asked an associate about it and she told me not to worry, it happens all the time. She crossed out the other name and wrote mine in.

The next time I came for an inspection, I tried again to get the warranty fixed and the associate wouldn't help me. She was more concerned with getting me to sign up to be called for jewelry shows. Each time I've tried to get the problem fixed over the years, no one has taken me seriously.

I most recently visited the store in Countryside in January. An associate called a toll-free number on my behalf and was told there was nothing that could be done to fix the name the warranty was issued under. I was told to call the number another day.

I did. The representative I spoke with, Dennis, also said there was nothing to be done, even though I still have the original receipt. When I pressed him for an explanation, I was told, "it's in the computer." Can you help?

Melissa Wargin

A: One wouldn't think that changing a name in a computer and reissuing a warranty in 2008 could be so difficult.

Kay Jewelers is one of several retail names for Sterling Jewelers Inc. I sent your complaint to David Bouffard, vice president of public relations for Sterling. He was quick to respond, but would say only, "For privacy purposes, please understand that we cannot resolve customer service issues through the media." He asked that I contact you for details. You were gracious enough to provide them.

You received a letter from Farha Nowak for Kay customer relations. She apologized for the mistake and stated, "Unfortunately, we cannot provide you or your husband, Jeffrey, with a new receipt for your diamond necklace."

Nowak obviously hadn't read your complaint.

So I sent a second inquiry to Bouffard, explaining that your complaint was about the warranty, not the receipt. Nowak then phoned, you said, "and left two in a row, rather unprofessional messages on my machine, indicating she was less than thrilled I haven't dropped this matter."

In one of the messages, you said Nowak told you that because of the previous inspections you had, your name was correct in the computer system.

"I'm completely confused by this," you said. "The last time I spoke with her she told me it wasn't in my name and she had to talk to her point-of-service department and get back to me."

The thing is, some of your inspection records are in your name and some are in the name of Jennifer Wargin. You said Nowak told you that as long as you keep your paperwork, "it will just look like someone named Jennifer Wargin gave me this as a gift."

"I'm truly exhausted with dealing with them," you told me, "and am hoping I never need to use the warranty. I am really not sure what would happen. Would there be a problem?"

The attitudes of the associates you spoke with and Nowak seem to indicate that a Kay Jewelers warranty will be honored regardless of whether the name on the warranty matches the name of claimant.

If so, one wonders why no one at the company could tell you that. If not, I think the extent of your documentation will be sufficient to prove you are the warranty holder, should it become necessary.

Verizon confusion

is company's goof

Q: My mother passed away on Feb. 6. I lived with and cared for her for 15 years. When she died, I asked Verizon to transfer the account to my name. I've been paying the bills for several months.

Verizon requested I fax a death certificate, which I did. It also requested I visit the Countryside store so it could photocopy my driver license and Social Security card, which I did.

In the past three weeks, I've spent countless hours on the phone with Verizon employees. They make endless changes to the account, which generate work orders to install equipment that is here.

Now I've received a demand that I return a long list of equipment. Some of it is running my Fios Triple Freedom package, but much of it was never a part of any contract I had with Verizon. The equipment is worth more than $1,200.

None of the employees I talked to knows what to do and won't refer me to a supervisor who might have the knowledge. The seemingly endless stream of errors is getting scarier and more frustrating each week and my e-mail is flooded with ads from Verizon to sell me more products.

Linda Lysne

A: I'm sorry for your loss.

Debby Kampert, manager of state government relations for Verizon, initiated the investigation into your complaint. She explained that what you believed to be a bill was actually a return authorization form for equipment. It also explains the charges for all equipment that Verizon could provide a customer. It was sent to you by mistake when Verizon closed out your mother's account.

Since you took over the account and no equipment needs to be returned, you can disregard the form. A Verizon customer support representative spoke with you personally to explain this and offer the company's apology.

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Column: Kay Jewelers warranty brings frustration, not assurance 04/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2008 9:58am]

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