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AAA gets lease transaction in gear

In May I leased a 1994 Buick LeSabre from Scott Buick. The transaction was supposed to be monitored by AAA's car-buying service, which is supposed to get all the figures pertaining to the transaction from the dealer, usually within six weeks.

In June, AAA said there was a "slight delay" in getting the paperwork from the dealer. They still don't have it.

I have contacted Scott Buick without success. GM in Detroit says it can't help me. AAA says it cannot force Scott Buick to comply with its voluntary agreement.

I just want to be sure I got a fair deal.

Robert Murphy

Response: The folks at Scott said they faxed the information to AAA. AAA said you were slightly overcharged. You tell us you got a refund check for $156. Glad to hear your problem was resolved.

Insure expensive mailings

What is the best way to mail expensive jewelry: UPS or what?

J.R.

Response: If the jewelry is valued under $500, the best method might be Federal Express, which insures items only up to that amount. Economy Fed-Ex service for a package up to 2 pounds, including pick up and delivery, costs $8.35.

For items more than $500, you could send it registered mail return receipt requested. A piece of jewelry weighing up to 2 pounds, fully insured for $10,000, would cost around $13.

The folks at UPS said they would not even accept an item for shipping if they knew it were a family heirloom or had sentimental value _ in other words, not replaceable. UPS insurance coverage is 35 cents per $100 with the first $100 free, so jewelry valued at $10,000 would cost $34.65 just for insurance.

Local jeweler Robert Kaniss suggests that before shipping jewelry you either take a picture of it or set it on a copy machine and photocopy it. Write the date and value of the piece on the picture and keep this record in case it gets lost.

Carpet negotiations unravel

We bought carpeting from Gulf Coast Flooring and Repair for our coin laundry a year ago. Within a few weeks the seams began coming apart. Both the owner of Gulf Coast and an independent inspector said the carpet was defective.

In January we got a new carpet. We paid the $106 difference for an upgraded one but the seams on it are also coming apart.

Again an independent inspector came out, but this time Gulf Coast said we cannot see his report. Gulf Coast says the carpet is good. We feel we got bad carpeting and would like our money back. Now the owner of Gulf Coast does not return our phone calls.

At our laundromat up north, a similar carpet lasted nine years.

Your help would be appreciated.

Helen Lombardo

Response: Michael McInnes, owner of Gulf Coast Flooring and Repair, said the 100 percent Olefin carpet you bought is not made to withstand constant water and detergent damage.

He said he had a carpet representative stop by and inspect your replacement carpet and his report confirmed McInnes' conclusion that the carpet was not defective.

We got a copy of the first inspection report, which said the carpet was raveling at all the major seams, showed signs of delamination in high traffic areas and had irregularities in the rows of tufts, making row-cutting of the seams impossible. The irregularities had caused considerable seam ravel and the delamination contributed to the problem. In short, the report said, your complaint was justified.

McInnes did not send us a copy of the second report.

He said he has periodically repaired the seam damage in your replacement carpet, but you are never satisfied. He said he believes he has done everything in his power to make you content.

Because you are obviously not content, we suggest you hire your own inspector to check out the carpet.

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 your 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. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Upon request, names will not be published.

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