1. Archive

Not all will get impact fee refunds

I need the straight scoop on impact fees.

We moved to Florida in January 1991 and registered two cars. I don't understand if we will get our money back or when. I need the money because I am ill and can't work. Vincent Nardiello

Response: In July 1990, Florida began charging a $295 impact fee on new vehicles brought into the state. People hollered but nobody did much about it until Orlando lawyer Christopher Kay filed a class-action suit on behalf of some new residents.

That suit covered only people who had paid the fee after July 1991. That's when the law's wording was changed to mention specifically vehicles that had previously been titled out of state. The 1990 law was probably unconstitutional, Kay said, but after the change it was unconstitutional "on its face."

The courts have determined that the people who were included in the suit will get their money back, but with no interest and minus attorneys' fees. A hearing to determine those fees has been set for July 6.

A second class-action suit was filed in circuit court in Indian River County on behalf of the people excluded from the first suit. The courts dismissed that suit on the grounds that the people had waited too long to file.

Meantime, State Rep. Robert J. Starks, R-Winter Park, filed a bill requiring the state to refund the money to the people who were left out of the first suit. That bill failed to pass in the Florida Legislature.

Starks' office says he is seeking support for a similar bill he plans to file next year.

You may yet get lucky but we would advise against holding your breath.

Magazine marketer gone

My son ordered Football Digest magazine on Nov. 9 and canceled the order Nov. 11, 1994.

I wrote to ask when his $48 check would be returned and got no response. In February, I tried calling the company in Carson City, Nev. All lines were busy.

My son still does not have his money back. Please help. R.K.

Response: Our letters were also ignored so we called the Carson City Better Business Bureau.

They said when the company that sold your son the magazines, Best Marketing Inc., went out of business seven months after opening, it had 66 complaints filed against it.

The BBB said that while the company operated out of Nevada, it did not sell magazines in that state so Nevada authorities are not taking action against it.

Sorry we weren't able to help you.

Christmas greetings in April

I ordered $46 worth of Christmas cards from the American Cancer Society in Sarasota last November but have not received them. I phoned three times but still no cards. Any help will be appreciated. Joan Henderson

Response: Happy to hear you received your cards (on April 1). You say the fault lies with the card company and not the American Cancer Society.

Glad we could help.

If you have a question for Action, or your 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.