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Firm's lifetime was shorter than the warranty's

I had a contract with Alpha Aluminum in Largo for a roofover on my home. In early spring of 2002, the city of Clearwater was "smoke testing" the vent lines/water flow of individual homes, and it was discovered that our vents were not cut through the roof. As a result, the smoke escaped around the soffit. The city's workers pointed out the defect. I called Alpha Aluminum; someone was to come out the next weekend to correct the problem. No one came.

I'm not sure this is a health hazard, but I do have a lifetime guarantee on the roof. Something must be done. I cannot locate anyone under any of the addresses and phone numbers I have for the company. Now what? Betty Barofski

Response: Unfortunately, it appears that the company has gone out of business. Letters sent to Alpha Aluminum in Largo and Ruby A. Enterprises in Palm Harbor, a name under which it was also doing business, were returned. The phones have been disconnected. We're sorry we were unable to help.

Rusting fence nails

In September, Florida Fence replaced the fence at my home. This was a custom-built, on-site job, with no prefabricated sections. On the second day, when it became clear that the crew was about to run out of nails, the foreman sent his wife to a hardware store to get some. She returned a short while later, and the job was completed as planned. We paid the remaining balance on the $2,500 job, as my wife and I were very satisfied and thought the fence looked great.

After about four weeks, we noticed that the nail heads were beginning to rust badly. I contacted Florida Fence several times, and about 10 days before Thanksgiving, our salesman, Bob Malina, stopped by. The rust had begun to run down each fence board about 1 foot.

The sales rep and I inspected the fence and discovered that about half of the job had rusty nails. It became evident that the nails used the first day and beginning of the second had not rusted. Only the nails that the foreman's wife had purchased were rusting and staining each board.

The sales representative called the owner of Florida Fence. He happened to be in the area, and within five minutes he joined us. Another inspection followed with the same conclusion, "bad batch of nails." He agreed to fix or replace the nails and fence boards, and said we would be contacted.

After approximately three weeks, I called the sales rep. He explained that the receipt for the nails purchased by the foreman's wife could be not be found but not to worry, because even if the company that sold the nails would not help, Florida Fence would still repair my fence. During this time, the rusted areas were getting worse and the rust lines longer.

After Christmas, I again contacted the sales rep and was told that the affected sections of fence would be replaced the first week of the new year. In the middle of January, I was told that the company would get to our job real soon. At this point, I have decided not to keep calling Florida Fence but rather contact you in the hope that you may be able to help. Richard Schramel

Response: Nicholas Miller, president of Florida Fence of Tampa Bay, said that the nails were purchased from a large hardware chain and his company has been trying to seek a solution from it. However, the receipt for the purchase has been lost by the installer, so his company is at a dead end. The plan, he said, is to replace the material and install new fence on the existing posts.

Fences last for 10 to 12 years and spending a couple of months trying to get the situation resolved did not seem excessive, he said. His company has always intended to correct the problem; it just didn't want to replace the materials in question and have the same thing happen again.

According to the timetable that Miller gave us, the replacement work should be completed by now. He said that he would use an alternate supplier if no satisfactory agreement could be reached with the hardware store.

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.

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