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Tracks too cold in horn mystery

In May 1995 I took my 1991 Regal Buick to Ed Morse Auto Plaza in Port Richey, where I had purchased it. The horns were not working, and I was told they would have to be replaced.

I said I wanted to see the old horns when the job was done.

Two and a half hours later the car was ready. I asked for the old horns. They said the horns were gone with the junk truck an hour earlier.

When I complained about this to the dealer I was ignored.

I wrote to the Buick Motor Division in Orlando but never heard from it, so I decided to write Action because I believe I was ripped off.

Thank you for any help you can give me. Daniel Goinski

Response: Since 13 months had passed from the time of the repair until he got your complaint through Action, it was impossible for him to investigate and resolve it, said Philip Humbert, Ed Morse general manager. He said his customer relations manager and other members of his staff had not heard about your complaint before this, either.

It is his company's policy to return all parts to customers upon request, Humbert said. Parts are not saved unless required to support a warranty claim to a manufacturer, he said.

There is no "junk truck" making pickups of this nature, Humbert said. With your vehicle out of warranty, there was no need to save the horn.

Ed Morse has a full-time customer relations manager on his staff to assist customers in resolving any complaints, he said, and his company also holds owner's orientation seminars with customers to be assured of good communications.

If you would like, he would be happy to meet with you and explain his company's position, Humbert said.

According to State Statute 559.905, when a customer requests repairs on a motor vehicle, the cost of which will exceed $50, the shop must prepare a written estimate in advance of doing any repairs. The estimate must include, among other things, "a statement allowing the customer to indicate whether replaced parts should be saved for inspection or return."

Statute 559.909 says, "Upon request made at the time the repair work is authorized by the customer, the customer is entitled to inspect parts removed from his vehicle or, if the shop has no warranty arrangement or exchange parts program with a manufacturer, supplier, or distributor, have them returned to him."

Since you did not send Action a written estimate, we don't know if this request was made in writing.

Reaction

Please tell J.G. (Action column of July 9) to keep trying to get a refund from the company that made the work-at-home-stuffing-envelopes offer.

I wrote six letters asking for a refund. No reply. Then I wrote a complaint to the Postmaster and sent a copy of that letter to the company.

Guess what? I got my check! B.H.

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.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; 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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