1. Archive

IRS releases refund for back support

I don't know if you would consider this a consumer complaint but it is a complaint. It has to do with child support and the IRS. My husband has a court order to pay child support to me. He was behind and the IRS intercepted his income tax refund for 1996. This happened in October 1997.

My husband is now more than $500 in arrears, and the IRS still has the $600 income tax check collected in October. I have contacted child support and IRS on a daily basis since November. The only answer I get is, "Yes, we show the tax check coming in and an audit to see if you should get this is in progress." Do you think there is anything that can be done to expedite this situation? Gail Beach

Response: We hesitate to take credit for lighting a fire under the IRS, but we're glad you have finally received a check for the back support.

100 capsules? Try 41

What can you do? About four to five weeks ago I wrote to Nutraceutical Corp.'s Solaray Inc. in Utah. I told them I bought a 100-capsule bottle of No Flush Chromiacin. When I opened the container, the plastic wrap around the lid was intact as was the tab to open the bottle. But instead of 100 capsules there were only 41.

Because this was not the fault of the health food store where I purchased the bottle, I did not hold it responsible. It was clearly the fault of the manufacturer. It owes me something, a letter of acknowledgment, a replacement of the 59 missing capsules or a coupon for another order.

Edward Wisdo

Response: Ali Ercanbrack, quality assurance director for Nutraceutical Corp. in Ogden, Utah, said that every effort is made to ensure that each bottle contains the correct number of capsules/tablets. Both the company's employees and quality control personnel routinely verify the accuracy of the bottle filling machines. Unfortunately, errors do occur, he said. For your inconvenience, two complimentary bottles have been sent to you.

We'd like to point out that even though the fault did not lie with the health food store that sold you the chromiacin, you could probably have still returned the bottle to it. Many stores will exchange the item in such cases and then deal directly with the manufacturer or its representative to get a replacement for its shelves. Feedback from customers is one way a store is able to gauge the quality of the wares it sells.

New plants replaced

On June 26, Laurel Oaks Nursery in Odessa did some landscaping work at my home. Within two weeks, eight of the plants had died. I spoke with David Endress, the owner, who said he would replace the four Pacific juniper and four golden lantana and also take a look at the soil in an attempt to determine what had killed them. At the end of July, I spoke with Endress again and he said he would be out the following Thursday with the plants. He did not come.

Since then, I have left several messages on his answering machine and at his office, but he has never called me back nor has the work been completed. I wrote him a letter a couple of months ago, but he has not responded to that either. Can you help me get those plants? Laura Strehle

Response: Thanks for letting us know that your complaint has been taken care of. We take it this means you have your new plants.

$200 comes up missing

In October we signed a contract with a termite company to have our home tented for wood termites. Our home was tented the beginning of December and when we returned two days later, I found that $200 had been stolen. I had hidden it, believing that it would be safer hidden in my home than taking it to a motel.

I notified the termite company on several occasions and was told to contact the police department. I did so and gave a verbal account of what had happened. From that time, I have been in contact with one of the sergeants who has asked the company for written histories of the employees who worked at our home and who had access to it. I had to leave a key behind so the windows could be opened after the tent was removed.

On March 9 the sergeant interviewed all the men who had been on the job. As expected, they all denied the theft. That ended the police investigation on the case.

I have subsequently talked to several people at the termite company. They all have said there is nothing the company can do and suggested I might have misplaced the money and forgotten where I put it. When one of them came to pick up the check for the tenting, I showed him my hiding place and how it showed signs of being disturbed.

This company has insurance so I see no reason for it not paying me for the theft. This has been a big loss for us. Gertrude Amodio

Response: Unfortunately you have no proof that the money was stolen, so it boils down to your word against another's. We're sorry we couldn't help. In hindsight, your home was probably not the best place to hide the money; it would have been safer in your bank.

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. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.