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Suzanne Palmer, Times Staff Writer

News Administration manager Suzanne Palmer joined the Times in 1989, and has worked as a news archivist, reader services manager, Action column researcher and Action columnist before moving into her current position in news administration. She is responsible for newsroom support services, content licensing, and event planning such as political debates and conventions.

Email: spalmer@tampabay.com

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  1. Some non-cable TV viewers still having digital reception problems

    Consumer

    Some non-cable viewers still have digital reception problems

    A recent question to Ask the Times from reader Pat McQuaide really got folks riled — mostly because they thought we bungled the answer. Action decided to take a stab at it this time.

    McQuaide wrote because she was unable to watch WEDU on her new digital, flat-screen television after the switch to digital transmission. We hadn't heard that complaint previously, but we've certainly heard about it now....

  2. Direct Source comes through with cap

    Consumer

    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?

    Marie Froeba...

  3. Bank decided which loans would be paid off during refinancing

    Consumer

    Bank picked which loans would be paid off as part of refinancing

    Q: The law firm of Waller, Mitchell & Barnett handled the closing for the refinancing of my mortgage. The purpose of refinancing my home included receiving monies to discharge several high interest rate loans. I was in no particular rush to close, but the underwriter set a closing date of Oct. 10, 2008, to which I agreed after informing them I was leaving on a business trip that day. ...

  4. Action: Under rebate plan, get preapproval before replacing toilet

    Consumer

    Sisters replace toilets to reduce water use; why no rebate?

    Q: I am writing for my 85-year-old mother and her 80-year-old sister. In 2007 they made a call regarding the Southwest Florida Water Management District's and Pasco County Utilities Department's toilet replacement rebate program. They were told they would receive $100 after they replaced their existing toilets, which they did at the end of 2008. ...

  5. Action: Insurance procedures led to improper claim denial

    Consumer

    Insurance procedures led to improper claim denial

    Q: My wife and I, ages 84 and 88 respectively, were involved in an auto accident on Jan. 14, 2008. We were both taken by ambulance to the emergency room. I was released the same day, but my wife complained of chest pains and was admitted for two days of observation. ...

  6. Auto repair bill turns up much higher than anticipated

    Consumer

    Auto repair bill turns up much higher than anticipated

    Q: I took my 1999 Volkswagen Jetta to Western Auto Home & Garden Center in Hudson to have some repair work done.

    The initial estimate of $1,144.07 was for a long list of recommended repairs. Within the first week I was informed that it would take longer to get the correct parts and cost much more than the original estimate, but I did not receive a copy of the new invoice until I picked up my car. That was 19 days after I brought in my car; the total cost came to $1,844.07....

  7. Action: Refund from Trilegiant after unintentional membership enrollment

    Consumer

    Be cautious with free trials that turn into paid subscriptions

    Q: I am being charged for a service I did not subscribe to by TGL Shopper. The order was placed on my Chase credit card.

    I paid these charges inadvertently without looking to see what they were for. They were being made every month, so I checked further and wrote to Chase, as well as TGL's customer service center. ...

  8. Action: Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee members, contact info

    Consumer

    Stamp advisory committee members, contact information

    Q: I've been unable to get any information about the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee.

    I've tried the post office, but all I get is who the postmaster is or the manager of stamp development (Terrence W. McCaffrey) but nothing more.

    I'd like to know who is on the committee, how they're chosen, by whom and for how long....

  9. Action: Digital converter boxes a source of displeasure

    Consumer

    Displeased with digital converter box purchases

    Q: I bought two Magnavox digital converter boxes Jan. 13 at a local retailer. I used my two $40 government coupons to help pay for them.

    A friend stopped by and showed me a story from some newspaper about this model. I was very upset by what I learned.

    I took the boxes back to the store in Pinellas Park where I bought them, but they refused to give me a credit for the coupon value. They gave me a very rough time. Then I took them to the store in St. Petersburg and a similar thing happened there. They sent me back to the store where I bought the boxes....

  10. Get digital TV converter, or apply for coupon, now

    Consumer

    Get digital TV converter, or apply for coupon, now

    The switch to DTV has been delayed to June 12, but the time to prepare is now.

    Broadcasters started to transmit in digital as well as analog even before the Feb. 17 deadline.

    If you're using an analog television set with an antenna and you don't wish to subscribe to cable or satellite service or buy a new TV, you'll need a digital converter box. With it, the digital signals your antenna is pulling down over the air are converted into analog signals for your TV to process. You'll notice the signals are much clearer and sharper than analog. ...

  11. Inaction delays switch to digital TV

    Consumer

    Digital TV switch delayed because many failed to act

    A media blitz has been alerting the public for months that television would change forever on Feb. 17. That was the date set for the conversion of television signals from analog to digital transmissions.

    Cable TV operators, broadcasters, consumer electronics manufacturers, community groups and the government have collectively spent at least $1.3 billion to tell consumers about the transition to digital television....

  12. Action: The peanut product salmonella problem, in a nutshell

    Consumer

    The peanut product salmonella problem, in a nutshell

    Is there salmonella in my peanut butter?

    How many of us thought we'd be asking that question of the perennial pantry staple?

    Federal health officials launched a criminal investigation against Peanut Corp. of America's Blakely, Ga., peanut processing plant last week. It was there that the contaminated shipments of peanuts and peanut products originated....

  13. Action: After much back and forth, Verizon billing issues resolved

    Consumer

    After much back and forth, Verizon billing issues resolved

    Q: On Aug. 20, I ordered new phone and DSL service from Verizon for my condo in Sun City Center.

    At the time, I agreed with the representative to unlimited local and long-distance service, no installation fees, free DSL service for six months and then service at a rate of $24.99 per month and a bundled monthly cost of $48, which included taxes, fees, Internet security and voice mail service....

  14. Action: Figuring out fees for insurance on registered mail

    Consumer

    Confusing wording makes postal transaction difficult

    Q: Recently, my wife needed to send some stock certificates to a firm in Providence, R.I. I took the envelope to the Belcher Road post office.

    The clerk initially filled out the registered mail form indicating that the insured value was zero. I told him I wanted to declare the value at $10,000 for insurance purposes. He readily made the change and rang up a charge of $10 for registered mail and $4.10 for insurance....

  15. Action: More phone numbers that put consumer help at your fingertips

    Consumer

    Clip and save, Part 2: Consumer help is just a phone call away

    Today we continue with Action's list of most requested resources.

    Health care

    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: for information and resources; toll-free 1-800-633-4227; www.cms.hhs.gov.

    Medicare Beneficiary Helpline: toll-free 1-800-844-0795.

    Agency for Health Care Administration, Consumer Assistance Unit: licenses and regulates health care facilities; takes complaints about quality of care or bills from health care facilities hospitals, nursing homes, ACLFs, home health care companies and HMOs; toll-free 1-888-419-3456; www.fdhc.state.fl.us....