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There's phone communication for all

When you ran a problem in your column a few months ago about a person with a speech impediment who could not use the phone to arrange transportation, you missed your chance to help all speech- and hearing-handicapped persons by telling them about the free relay service available from the state. It hears and speaks for them so they can communicate as quickly as anyone else. Vera Lebedeff

Response: Several readers informed us of this service and we're happy to pass it along.

The Florida Relay Service links the deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and speech-impaired to anyone anytime by phone. This is how it works.

Using a regular telephone and a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you place your call (local, long distance, international, collect, person-to-person, third party or credit card). It is intercepted by a communication assistant at the relay service center in Miami. The assistant calls the hearing person you wish to reach and tells them how the system works.

That person speaks to you through the assistant, who types a word-for-word message that appears on your TDD. You respond through your TDD and the assistant relays your typed message orally to the hearing person.

Hearing persons can also reach you by calling the relay center.

There is no charge for the service, except for long-distance calls, which are offered at discount rates. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Florida law says residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf and blind or speech-impaired must have access to basic telecommunications services at reasonable and affordable costs. To that end the Florida Public Service Commission appointed a private, non-profit corporation, Florida Telecommunications Relay Inc. in Tallahassee, to oversee the administration of an equipment distribution program.

To qualify for free specialized telecommunications equipment you must be able to prove your Florida residency (driver's license, voter registration, etc.), and be certified deaf, hard of hearing, deaf and blind or speech-impaired by an appropriate health-care specialist.

The company distributes about 85 TDDs per month and 2,500 volume-control telephones. It also trains recipients to use the equipment.

For information about this service, have a family member or friend call (800) 222-3448.

Barefoot and patient

What must I do to get what I ordered from Carol Wright Gifts _ a pair of velveteen flat purple slippers in size 6-wide? I just received my third pair in a size 6, not 6 wide. Last time I got a size 7.

I also got a $1 discount coupon because I am a most valued customer. Well, I must be their most patient one as well because I've been trying to get this order straightened out since June.

I did finally get the long leg flare panties I ordered. Then I got a $2.90 check and a letter saying it was for postage I'd spent returning the wrong sizes and that although the slippers they had just sent had a different order number, they were really size 6 wide.

They are not! Lorry King

Response: Keith Diltz of Carol Wright Gifts said they have reshipped your order and that the new number assigned to the particular size and color you ordered differs from the number in the ad, but there is no difference in the product.

You say you got your fourth pair of size 6 slippers and they are not 6 wides. We will write once again to Carol Wright Gifts and suggest that a refund of your money would save you both a lot of postage, time and frustration.

Even more jails needed!

Is it illegal for two adults to cohabit in Florida? J.K.

Response: Florida Statute 798.02 says "if any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together . . . they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree . . ."

Judges occasionally make reference to this statute, but we don't know of anyone who has ever been arrested and charged with breaking it.

Marie King, Pinellas County assistant state attorney, said the reason for that is it would be extremely difficult to prove that a couple was living together "lewdly and lasciviously. They would have to do something that offended and disturbed their neighbors _ some behavior that could be proven in court to be lewd and lascivious."

King said the law is probably still on the books because lawmakers have found it useful.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. 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, or, outside of Pinellas, (800) 333-7505, ext. 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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