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Car owner thinks he has been taken for a ride over bill

I went to Oil Can Henry's service station in June for an oil change. They said I also must get a filter change, lubrication and fluid check, and it would cost $25. I agreed. I parked my car over the service pit and turned the engine off.

When the serviceman was finished, he told me to start the engine for transmission and power steering fluid check.

The car would not start.

The people in the pit said they did not know what was wrong. After about 20 minutes, we pushed the car outside. The manager insisted that I must pay the bill before leaving or having the car moved. I objected but had no choice. Since I had no way home, I called a taxi and that cost $17.

The next day, my mechanic looked at the car and found the fuse for the fuel pump was blown. He put in a new fuse and charged me $32. He said he thought the servicemen had dislodged a connector near the oil filter, and when I turned on the ignition switch the fuse blew.

I passed my bills along to the manager who said he was looking into it, but a month has passed and no call.

In addition to my outside expenses of $49, they obviously did not complete their $25 worth of service work because to check transmission and power steering fluids, the engine has to be running.

Frank Holladay

Response: This is what the folks at Oil Can Henry's had to say:

When your car would not start, they inspected it thoroughly and could find no wires disconnected. Your own mechanic checked it the next day and found a blown fuel pump fuse.

In this particular car, the oil filter is located in such a way that the wires to the oil pressure sending unit do not have to be disturbed to remove the oil filter. They consulted with other mechanics as well, and all agreed that an oil and filter service could not cause the fuse to blow.

They also learned that blown fuel pump fuses are a common occurrence in your type of car.

As for the taxi bill, they say when you called for a ride from the station, you were quoted a price of less than half the "bill" you presented to them, which was handwritten on a yellow piece of notebook paper. When they called Yellow Cab to question the fare, they were told the bill could not be correct.

Oil Can Henry's has a policy of honoring any warranty claim by a customer if there is any doubt at all that its procedures caused a breakdown of a customer's vehicle, says the company's president, Peter Cramer, and if you had any basis for a reimbursable claim, they would honor it. You already have been told that you do not, he said.

Can anybody find a Widget?

Help!

In the June issue of Guideposts, there was a story about the Widget, a little gadget that helps start lawn mowers. The article said the inventor had brought the gadget to Tampa where people cut grass year-round.

I have tried in vain to buy one in this area. No luck. I tried writing the magazine but fared no better.

The correct name for the gadget is Push-N-Start.

Virginia Mincey

Response: We called Charles Herman, the inventor. He says the gadget works only on Briggs & Stratton engines with the fuel tank below the carburetor. The screw-on gas cap must be 1\ inches.

It is available by mail for $4.99, including postage and handling. Send a check to Herman Industries, Box 142, Cyril, OK 73029.

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