Direct Source delivers on its hat offer
Q: On Nov. 13, 2008, I ordered a cap for my husband through a magazine ad for Direct Source.
I sent my order and a check for $13.90. The check was cashed, but I haven't received the cap.
I have written to the company twice, asking for either the item or a refund. I haven't received any response. Can you help me?
A: Thank you for letting us know you received your cap. After your confirmation, Action received a letter of explanation from Direct Source.
According to the letter, your order was received and originally shipped on Nov. 21. The hat was later returned to Direct Source by the post office as undeliverable with no forwarding information.
On Jan. 23, the company received your letter and in response, reshipped the Senior Discount Hat to your correct address. Direct Source did follow up with a phone call to ensure that you received the cap.
Hats off to the company for its handling of the problem!
Be careful: It's tax time, and scammers are out in full force
In these hard economic times, people are relying on tax refunds to lift a financial weight off their shoulders. The Better Business Bureau has advised taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams that devastate families struggling to make ends meet.
"Given the current economic downfall, a tax refund can stimulate much-needed cash for individuals encountering a financial hardship," said Karen Nalven, BBB president. "The BBB is warning consumers to be wary of tax-related schemes that may unnecessarily cost you more when you can least afford it."
Some companies claim that they can reduce the amount owed to the government by working with the IRS. Some TV ads even have endorsements from customers who claim their taxes were reduced to only pennies on the dollar.
The BBB says, unfortunately, it has heard from many consumers who have paid thousands to companies with no reduction of their taxes owed and some who never even contacted the IRS.
It suggests seeking the advice of an IRS enrolled agent, CPA or tax attorney. The IRS will work directly with you to negotiate an offer, but "the taxpayer has to demonstrate that they are in extreme financial hardship," according to the BBB.
Another option is to set up an installment plan with the IRS, which can be established without paying a company thousands of dollars. Each year, the agency accepts about 3 million installment agreements.
Be wary of e-mails that appear to be from the IRS. These examples of phishing report an issue with the taxpayer's refund and often include links to Web sites. If you click to the link, you may then be prompted to submit Social Security numbers and bank account information.
Forward those e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org, a mailbox set up to compile them. If the IRS has any questions or concerns regarding a tax return, it won't contact you by e-mail.
The BBB advises the fastest and most secure way for consumers to get their refunds is to file online and allow a direct deposit into their bank accounts. Taxpayers can have the money in as little as eight to 15 days.
For more information, visit www.irs.gov or call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040.