At the time I needed ambulance service, my HMO was Prudential. Over the years, I have had to use ambulance service and the bill was no more than $50 to $75. For the transport on Feb. 12, 1999, however, I was informed that the $690.95 charge would be my responsibility. My telephone calls to various departments at Prudential offered no explanations as to why it refused to pay this bill. I wrote to Prudential, and the only response I received was an initial on the return receipt card!
In the meantime, Sunstar Emergency Medical Services is pressing me to make this payment. I spoke to Sunstar and it was kind enough to send a letter to Prudential, but no response was forthcoming.
If, for some reason, Prudential felt it did not want to pay for this claim, why didn't it respond to any of the letters? If I had a satisfactory reason as to why it refused to pay, perhaps I would be more understanding. In the meantime, I am paying Sunstar $50 a month toward the bill. If you could shed some light on this situation, I would be very grateful. Charles Scelzo
Response: Charles Brand, complaint consultant for Prudential HealthCare in Jacksonville, said that your complaint was referred to him for review. He has communicated directly with you, he said, but due to confidentiality cannot let us know what that communication was. He told us to feel free to contact you to follow up with our concerns. So we did, and you let us know that Prudential's response was to pay the claim. You also said no explanation was offered for why payment was denied to begin with. In any case, we are glad this has a happy ending.
A refund and apology
I would appreciate your help in recovering $40.45 from Valley Asphalt in Cincinnati, Ohio. While living in Dayton, Ohio, I returned two rolls of 24- by 100-foot silt fence to the company's plant on Oct. 18, 1999, and was assured I'd be reimbursed.
The company has not responded to my requests. Perhaps it considers the $40.45 insignificant, but to an 81-year-old retiree with health problems and expenses it is no small amount, especially considering my main source of income is Social Security. Charles Adams
Response: Tim St. Clair, chief financial officer for Valley Asphalt Corp. in Cincinnati, Ohio, said a check for $40.45 was in the mail to you. He apologized for the lengthy delay in sending your refund, also that you had to write a letter to your Florida newspaper for any action to be taken.
Pharmacy bill paid
I filled a prescription at a pharmacy on Jan. 16, but because Blue Cross Health Options did not have us in its computer yet (our plan went into effect Jan. 5.) I had to pay the charge of $326.38. My co-pay is $25 on each prescription, so Blue Cross owes me $276.38. As you can see by the enclosed records I have kept, I have talked to about 15 different people on numerous occasions since April.
I have been told that checks have been sent on half a dozen occasions. They never arrive. Over the course of these phone calls, the amount of the checks I have allegedly been sent has been mysteriously reduced from the $276.38 I am owed to $251.38.
I have been very nice to all the people I've spoken with because I know you "don't kill the messenger," but I'm afraid if I keep calling, I'll get testy and that won't get me anywhere either. This is why I need you to help me. I was "dragged up" to be a lady, and I'd like to remain one. Jean Giering
Response: Thanks for letting us know you got your check. We're relieved you did not have to resort to being unladylike.
Contacting elusive firm
On June 10, we sent an order and check to J.D. Marvel Products in Champlain, N.Y. Our check was cashed June 25, but we have yet to receive the merchandise. We tried calling the company several times, a long-distance call, and ended up only listening to messages and music. We have also written, to no avail.
We contacted the Better Business Bureau here and in Buffalo and were told that this company actually is located in Quebec, Canada. We wrote to the company at the address provided. So far we have not heard from that address either.
What do we need to do in order to receive the merchandise or get our money back? E. Kim
Response: According to a fax we received from the customer service department of J.D. Marvel Products in Champlain, N.Y., your order was shipped mid-August. If you have still not received it, you are asked to call the company. Unfortunately, the toll-free number we were given to pass on to you has been disconnected or is no longer in service. Let us know if your order has still not arrived.
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, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, 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 complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of 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.