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It took a while, but ceiling should be fixed

I had Quality Ceiling coat my ceilings with a popcorn finish Jan. 28. I paid in full ($546) the same day.

By the next day, due to using too much water in the popcorn mixture, the ceiling finish ran down the walls in one room and stained them. Then the ceiling came loose in a couple of places.

I have since called Quality Ceiling six times to repair the damage but have had no response.

Joseph Mundy

Response: John Pesce, Quality Ceiling president, responded to our second (certified) inquiry June 7, saying he has not forgotten about you.

His secretary has recently tried to reach you twice, unsuccessfully, Pesce said. "We have been extremely busy due to the amount of storm damage that we are working on."

This type of service is usually done in the afternoon and it is a matter of being able to reach you when there is a serviceman in the area, Pesce said. Your repair will be fitted in as soon as there is available space.

Meanwhile, you wrote May 27 that Quality Ceiling had called and asked if you would be home that afternoon or the next. You said you would be home both days but no one showed up.

On June 15, Pesce told us he had repaired your ceiling and offered to give you paint to cover the stained walls. He said he hoped that that settled the problem and that you are now pleased with the work.

Seal windows in storm

In the event of an approaching hurricane must all the windows of a house be closed?

In the past we were told to slightly open windows away from the wind to equalize air pressure. Does that theory still apply? How about in the case of a tornado warning?

J. P.

Response: After inspecting damage from Hurricane Andrew, experts say that it is best to cover all windows and not try to compensate for pressure changes by leaving some open. Most of the window damage caused by Andrew came from objects flying through them, not from pressure changes popping them out.

Insurance adjusters in Dade County declared some homes with broken windows to be total losses, news reports said, because the cost of repairing rain and wind damage exceeded the cost of replacing the house.

If you do not have shutters, buy plywood and have it cut to the proper size for each window. If you wait until a storm is on the way, plywood may be scarce. And if your roof does not blow off, protecting your windows could mean the difference between saving and losing your house, experts say.

Should a tornado take aim for your house, we suggest you save yourself and forget the windows.

Restaurant not at fault

On Mother's Day I took my mother and family to Kally K's restaurant in Largo. When we tried to use a coupon we had clipped from the St. Petersburg Times that says on the bottom "celebrate Mother's Day with us," we were told we could not use the coupon that day.

Nowhere on the coupon does it say "except Mother's Day." This is false advertising and should be stopped.

When I asked to see the manager, the waitress came back and agreed we could use the coupon, but by this time my mother was very upset.

What can you do about this problem?

Jill Morton

Response: We traced the problem to the advertising department at the St. Petersburg Times. The restaurant ran a special menu on Mother's Day and that ad's bottom line should have stated that the specials were not valid on Mother's Day.

The Times apologizes to you, your family and the restaurant.

Kally K owner Dan Lookreti was philosophical.

"Mistakes happen," he said.

How to check on stocks

My mother died recently, leaving some stock certificates from Ohio and South Carolina in her safety deposit box. These certificates date back to the early 1940s and early 1950s.

Where do I go or whom do I contact to see if these have any value?

R. B

Response: The addresses of virtually all corporations are listed in manuals published by Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Value Line. Look for them in the public library.

If one of these companies has gone out of business, changed names or merged with another company, you might contact M. Smythe & Co., Suite 271, 26 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 to help trace the securities. Last we heard M. Smythe was charging $50 for each company it researches.

Action solves problems and gets answers. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call the Action number, 893-8171, to leave a recorded request for Action.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or on our voice mail system; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies.

We may require additional information or reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a complete mailing address. Upon request, names will not be published.

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