For some time now a garbage truck has been coming to this housing complex at 4100 62nd Ave. N. It picks up the garbage bins, lifts them over the truck and then shakes and shakes to get rid of the trash. This happens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 a.m. There is nothing wrong with them making the noise, but isn't there a law about no noise between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.? What can I do about it? Whom do I complain to? Imagine this waking you three times a week and having to lie there and listen to it being repeated until the truck is out of earshot.
Response: After determining that the company that picks up your garbage is Waste Collection Services in Clearwater, we passed along your complaint. A dispatcher assured us that in the future, garbage trucks will stay away from your housing complex until about 7 a.m.
Apparently most garbage companies schedule their pickups so that industrial areas are serviced as early as 5 a.m., but residential areas are left until later. And apparently most of these companies are willing to adjust their pickup schedules if you call and tell them that one of their trucks is waking you up.
According to Lyle Smith, Pinellas Park Environmental Technical officer, noise laws generally require that the noise be continuous and above a certain decibel level, as in loud music. But barking dogs, crowing roosters and noisy garbage trucks more likely would fall under a nuisance law.
Should a garbage company not cooperate, you might check to see whether your city has any laws limiting the hours in which garbage trucks may operate.
Motor club slow on refund
In October, the American Association of Retired Persons billed me for my yearly dues on their motoring plan. I sent a check for $33.95. Then in November they billed me again, and I inadvertently sent another payment.
Upon realizing my error I promptly called the Amoco Motor Club and was informed by Tammy to submit copies of both checks to her attention. I did but received no response.
In February I called again. This time Helen said to send second copies of the canceled checks to her attention. I promptly complied. Still no reply.
On May 9, I again called. I was connected with Dana (there appear to be a lack of last names in this plan). He said he could not locate Helen and asked for information from both my canceled checks. Since I had already sent two copies to no avail _ I refused.
I sincerely hope you can do something. I cannot get anyone to budge.
Response: In your own words, "I am pleased to inform you that within two days of getting your card, I received reimbursement from the Amoco Club.
"It appears that you succeed when normal methods fail. Thanks for your help."
Timeshare customers gypped
In May 1989, I received a postcard offering to sell my timeshare unit. I called the Timeshare Owners Foundation and gave them my VISA number. They charged me $495 and promised to sell my unit in one year or give me a $1,000 bond.
My unit was not sold, and I did not receive the $1,000 bond. When I called the company, I learned they had gone out of business.
Can you help me?
Response: Timeshare Owners folded in September 1989 after less than a year in business. The Better Business Bureau of West Florida received 281 complaints about the company. About 18,000 customers had paid the $495 fee (which adds up to $9-million _ not bad for a year's effort). Customers were promised a $1,000 bond if their units didn't sell, but the most anyone received was a zero-coupon bond worth less than $80.
In November 1989 the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Timeshare charging it with making false claims as to the availability of clients. A federal court has ordered the company to stop such deceptive practices. Under the terms of a settlement agreement, Timeshare is required to pay a total of $1,250,000 into a consumer redress fund.
Timeshare customers who contact the FTC, 901 Market St., Suite 570, San Francisco, Calif. 94103 are supposed to get a partial refund in about six to nine months.
Check law, then fix odometer
The odometer on my car has been broken for a while now. Because I have no plans to sell the car, I haven't worried about it.
But can you tell me the legal ramifications of getting it repaired? I know there are laws about tampering with odometer readings. So how do I get it fixed legally?
Response: According to Lt. Cyrus Brown of the Florida Highway Patrol, when repair shops replace or repair odometers they must comply with the Federal Odometer Fraud Violations Law of 1987.
Under that law they must reset the odometer at zero and document the mileage at the time of repair on a sticker on the inside of the driver's door.
Also, on the back of your Florida title there is a little block which says "warning, odometer discrepancy." You must check that box to alert potential buyers that the odometer has been repaired or replaced.
That should take care of any legal problems when you sell the car.
Mail order shopping has risks
I bought a television converter from U.S. Buyers Network in August. It did not satisfy me so I returned it. The company acknowledged receipt of the unit and requested a photostat of my canceled check before they would send me a refund. I sent the photostat in December.
In January they sent me another unit. I immediately returned it saying I wanted a refund. That cost me more postage to get a second signed receipt.
So now I am out $23.95 for the unit plus $8 in postage and two photostats. What more can I do to get my money back?
Could you please help? You have a better brand of persuasion.
Herbert G. Bruns
Response: The customer service people at U.S. Buyers Network tell us that a refund check for $19.95 is on its way. So it would seem you not only got stuck for your postage costs, but for theirs as well.
There is a lesson to be learned here about the costs and risks of mail order shopping.
Perry Mason Club information
Where can I write for information on the Perry Mason Club?
Response: Write to: National Association for the Advancement of Perry Mason, 2735 Benvenue, 3, Berkeley, Calif. 94705.
Medicare slow to pay $305 bill
Can you help us with a Medicare problem?
Until my husband retired in March 1989 I was on his Equicor group insurance plan and Medicare was the secondary payor. Since then I have only a Medicare supplement with Equicor so Medicare is now the primary payor and Equicor is the secondary payor.
Concerning the enclosed $305 bill, which is over a year old, I have written several letters and completed five forms trying to convince Medicare that it was my primary payor at the time. I have also called Medicare and been told a rush would be put on it since the bill was so old. Still the bill hasn't been paid.
Can you get Medicare to pay it?
Response: Medicare's customer service representative wrote us on March 1 that, after investigating your claim, it was determined that Medicare was your primary payor at the time of the claim. The claim was to be adjusted for payment.
Then on April 30 Medicare wrote again to say that a "minor problem" had caused a delay but that they would be checking on your claim on a daily basis to ensure it was processed and paid as soon as possible.
Another month has passed. Have you heard anything or do we need to write Medicare again?
Yes, I did receive a postcard from the Nomore Runs Pantyhose on May 24 with the message that my delivery will be made in July.
Thank you for taking the time for my problem.