1. Archive

Apartment notice means "calendar' month

I gave a written, 30-day notice to Imperial Palm Apartments on Feb. 12, stating my intention to vacate my apartment on March 13. My notice was promptly rejected and I was told that I had to pay rent for the full month of March.

My lease clearly states that residents can give 30 days' notice to terminate the lease and get the security deposit refunded. Because I gave 30 days' notice, I feel I should only have to pay rent through March 13. Joseph Ferencz

Response: Your lease agreement was from Dec. 1, 1996 to Nov. 30, 1997. Included in the agreement is a typed statement that residents may give 30 days (calendar) notice to terminate their lease. According to the apartment management, all rentals at Imperial Palms commence on the first of any given month and the 30-day notice refers to a calendar month.

We have heard from Frank Silcox, the apartment manager, that you have paid through the end of March and your security deposit will be refunded.

Refund granted

On Jan. 21, I purchased dining room furniture, a sofa sleeper and a love seat from Rooms To Go on U.S. 19 in Clearwater. The total price was $2,674.96.

Part of the sales presentation was an offer to apply stain protection to the fabric on the sofas. I initially declined. However, when I was shown a demonstration in which water flowed off the fabric like water off a duck's back, I was persuaded to order the protection.

When my furniture was delivered in February, I tested the fabric in front of one of the delivery men. The water soaked completely into the cushions. The delivery man called his dispatcher to report that the furniture apparently had not had the stain protection applied. I called Rooms To Go customer service and was told that some fabrics would absorb liquid but that I had a three-year guarantee against staining.

I spoke to the manager and asked for a refund of the $101.63 I had paid for the fabric protection. I told him I would not have purchased it had I not been led to believe that the material would shed liquid as it had in the demonstration. He remained unmoved and told me his customers did not normally pour water on their new furniture.

I sensed the conversation was about to become ugly so I terminated it. I really believe that there is someone in this company who can appreciate that I was shown a different product from the one that I received. I also believe that the manager of this store is not that person. Elmer Kirby

Response: Kara Coover, corporate troubleshooter, wrote that after thoroughly reviewing your account, they decided to refund the full amount that you paid for fabric bonding.

We were glad to hear that you got your refund. We also would like to thank you for the wonderful image of water streaming off furniture as off a duck's back.

New contract, new price

I have had a subterranean termite treatment contract with an exterminating company since 1988. The beginning of March, when the inspector arrived for the annual inspection, I was informed that the renewal fee was $64 instead of $49 as per the contract. I refused to pay because I never received a written notice of such an increase, so the inspection was not performed.

I am waiting for the written notice to be sent to me before rescheduling the appointment. Please advise as soon as possible if I am obligated to pay this increase and if so, what is to prevent this company from doing so next year? Timothy Healy

Response: Unless you have a written contract that guarantees a specific price for a specific number of years, the company can increase its charges. Your contract states that the warranty is renewable annually, provided the contractor visually inspects the premises and that you pay the renewal fee. Nowhere does the contract state that the price will not be increased.

Rental leases offer a similar example. The annual lease is guaranteed for the term of the lease, but once the lease is up, the price can be raised.

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.

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