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Payments kept furniture in storage, Florida dream alive

I guess you might call this one of those fact is stranger than fiction stories. It has to do with my association with Southern Transfer and Storage, which began more than 11 years ago.

At that time I was living in New York. I was very ill with a systemic bacterial infection and in a great deal of pain.

When it first occurred I had planned to move to Florida since the sun seemed to help with the infection. I sought out Southern Transfer to store my property until I was settled. As it turned out, I didn't move to Florida because of the illness and my subsequent financial difficulties.

Although I am a college graduate, I was nearly homeless at one point and almost ruined financially because of this illness. At a great sacrifice, I continued to make monthly storage payments to Southern Transfer. The dream of moving to Florida kept me going.

Finally my infection responded to a new antibiotic and I got better. Then I learned that some of the payments I made to Southern Transfer had not been credited. I contacted the bank from where I had purchased the money orders and spent $42 getting copies of all the receipts.

I wrote to Southern Van Lines (the name had changed) last September and in October, calling their attention to the fact that I had proof of these payments. The company has not answered.

I'm beginning to feel that Southern Van Lines isn't storing my property, but holding it captive. Since I am not able to come to Florida to deal with this, I need someone there to help me.

Thank you for your courtesy, understanding and time.

G. Russell

Response: Hope Larson, office manager with Southern Van Lines, tells us it took some time to dig up your payment records since they go back so many years. However, she finally has gotten them together and determined that only two payments in 1988 were not credited. They total $98.37, and she is crediting your account for that amount.

That leaves a balance of $26.14 due on your account through January of this year.

Good luck, and let us know if you finally make it to Florida.

Astronauts can carry policies

My co-workers and I want to know if astronauts can carry a life insurance policy on themselves. If not, are their families taken care of it anything happens to them?

P.G.

Response: American space travelers routinely are required to sign a release absolving the government of liability in the event of their deaths. But they are free to buy their own life insurance policies.

Policies are available through Lloyd's of London insurance exchange and through the government _ Federal Employees Group Life and the NASA Employee Benefits Association.

Military astronauts are automatically insured through the military. There is also an Astronauts Foundation that takes care of the education of children of deceased astronauts.

The surviving spouses and underage children of government employees are entitled to annuities benefits even though the deceased astronauts don't buy life insurance.

Schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe was covered by a $1-million life insurance policy that had been given to her by Corroon & Black Inspace Inc. in honor of her role as the nation's first private citizen to participate in a space mission.

Reaction

Awhile back someone wrote in your column that readers should send pet food coupons to Friends of Strays.

That was a nice thought, but we are being bombarded with these coupons and truthfully cannot use them. The reason: it is cheaper for us to buy pet food in bulk.

It is a shame for people to waste their time and money on stamps to send us these coupons. Please ask them not to send anymore.

Peggy Hagan

Shortly after I wrote you, I received my Mr. Ed Tote Bag. Thank you.

Christine Vail

Cannot thank you enough for helping me get my Best of Charlie Rich tape. It's wonderful having you there to help people.

Dolores O'Hagan

If you have a question or your attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, c/o the City Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731, or call 893-8171 to leave a recorded request.

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