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Office mixup ties up customer's refund check

I bought a used SUV from AAA Automotive Financial Services. I dealt with a representative from the dealer, CU AutoSource. It was suggested I purchase an extended warranty from Sun-coast Schools Federal Credit Union, but when I had trouble finding someone to help me, my CU rep said she would take care of it. I sent her a check for $1,267.95, made out to SSFCU. The check cleared my bank July 14. When I hadn't received my warranty papers after six weeks, I started calling SSFCU. I was shuffled among departments, finally landing in the auto warranty division. I was told my Social Security number wasn't in its system so, as far as it was concerned, I had purchased nothing. I contacted AAA Financial Services, but people there said they couldn't help me. I called the representative at CU AutoSource who helped me buy the warranty, but she had left the company. I want a refund of my check.

- Erin Lindsay

Vicki Lovett, vice president of loan operations at Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, called us and said a breakdown of communication began when you first called to ask about your warranty. When your name couldn't be found in its member list, no one at SSFCU raised a red flag, nor was there any record of your call. Lovett said the credit union takes these matters seriously, and she apologized.

"I finally received a refund for $1,267.95," you wrote.

Lovett also sent a $25 gas card and said she'll use this incident to reinforce proper procedure.

Inspector needed

Can you recommend someone to inspect my mobile home?

- H. Borowski

We can't recommend an inspector, just help you find one.

Real estate professionals work with inspectors and may give you a referral. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations. Look in the Yellow Pages under "building inspectors" or "home inspectors." Be sure the inspector has experience with mobile homes.

Florida does not regulate home inspectors, but here are a few professional organizations that can help: the Suncoast chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors, www.ashisuncoast.com, toll-free 1-800-743-2744; National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, www.nachi.org, toll-free 1-877-346-3467; National Association of Home Inspectors, www.nahi.org, toll-free1-800-448-3942; and Florida Association of Building Inspectors, www.fabi.org, toll-free 1-800-544-3224.

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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