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Remainder of rebate is on its way

We ordered a computer from Gateway on May 22, with the promise of a rebate of $550. To date we have only received a partial payment of $350 and have been put off again and again. Now our calls are not being returned.

When the computer arrived, there was no rebate slip in the carton. I called, and one was mailed. The rebate slip, when it arrived, had incorrect dates of purchase, and we couldn't use it with our purchase. I called again. Another slip was mailed.

When the corrected slip arrived, I filled it in and mailed it the next day. The small print informed us that processing would take six to eight weeks.

In July we inquired as to where our rebate was and received an e-mail stating we would be contacted. On July 25, we received another e-mail that said a rebate of $350 was being sent to us. I immediately replied by e-mail, stating that both our name and the amount were incorrect. My husband also called Gateway customer service, which confirmed we were to receive $550.

Two days later, we received another e-mail from the rebate company, requesting proof that we were to receive $550. I immediately scanned and e-mailed a copy of the rebate slip I had already mailed it.

We received no further e-mails after that, so I started calling Gateway customer service. On July 30, I was told the additional $200 was in the mail. More calls followed, but still no money. Please help us get our $200. Mary Glasson

Response: According to Gateway's customer service representative Jay Janssen, you submitted everything correctly, but there was a problem with the rebate company. You should get your money this week. Let us know if you don't.

Replacement shipped

On Aug. 7, I mail-ordered two bras from ClearPoint Direct.Com. The cost was $9.98 plus $3.75 shipping and handling, for a total of $13.73. When I received the merchandise three to four weeks later, the bras did not fit properly, so I returned them for a different size. I enclosed a stamped envelope with the return since I did not want to pay $3.75 for what actually cost 36 cents to ship. It is now Oct. 21, and I have received neither any merchandise or acknowledgement. I would appreciate your help. M.K. Westerman

Response: According to ClearPoint Direct.Com in Champlain, N.Y., the merchandise you returned was received on Oct. 26 and the replacement was shipped on Oct. 30. The company does not feel it was negligent in any way. It has a toll-free number you could have called to inquire about your return. Sometimes the postal service takes longer to deliver merchandise than ClearPoint would prefer.

You expressed concern in your letter that the company charged $3.75 for shipping and handling, yet the actual postage was only 36 cents. It is a rare company nowadays that passes on the exact shipping charges to the customer. Most charge either a set amount regardless of the order total, as in this case, or an amount that is set by the total dollar figure of the order.

Plus, don't overlook the "handling" part of the charge, either, since someone has to take the order, pull it from the shelves, prepare it for shipping and so on. Our suggestion when returning merchandise is to send it by merchandise return receipt requested. That way you have a record not only that, but also when, it was received.

Computer is received

In September 1999, I was laid off my job after 15 years. I went to WorkNet Pinellas' One Stop Center at the unemployment office in St. Petersburg to see about being trained for another job. In February, I started training in medical billing and coding, and finished the course in May. When I finished, I was supposed to get a computer. I have been calling but still don't have it.

My case manager doesn't know why not, nor does she know why my training has not yet been paid in full. I had problems throughout the course with this, since the company that initially was to pay pulled out of the program. Please help me get my computer, since I did finish the course. Pamela Bullard

Response: Thanks for letting us know that you finally received the computer that was part of the training package arranged by One Stop Center through

WorkNet Pinellas, which administers the county's welfare-to-work program, unemployment and one-stop career centers.

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 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.