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Lawn mower sale hits some tough turf

My husband and I attempted to purchase a Cub Cadet lawnmower July 2 at Home Depot in Spring Hill. We wished to use a coupon we had received in the mail for 10 percent off. During checkout, the cashier called the manager for approval of the coupon. He refused to honor it because he said the store had an agreement with the manufacturer not to honor coupons on its products. The manager admitted the coupon does not restrict Cub Cadet mowers.

We have tried to speak with customer service numerous times, but all calls were forwarded to India. The representatives we spoke to there reaffirmed the store manager's words.

We tried to call the district manager, but he hasn't returned our messages. No one from the headquarters in Atlanta or the legal department did either. Can you help?

- Mary Scaglione

Neither Home Depot's advertisement nor the coupon itself includes Cub Cadet products among its use restrictions. Several other manufacturers and products are mentioned.

You let us know that after being contacted by Action, representatives from Home Depot spoke with you about a resolution. "This was after 12 phone calls and numerous messages," you said.

It was agreed you would receive a $250 credit to your account, but after two billing cycles, it hadn't shown up. "I have attempted to contact Home Depot and have not received any response," you told us.

We sent another inquiry and received a response from resolution specialist Laura McGuire. In her research, she found the credit had not been processed as requested. She resubmitted the order; that should be reflected on your next statement.

She apologized for the delay.

Incident is a reminder

I discovered AOL had been charging me for Internet service for more than a year. It was never ordered or received. I wrote the billing operations and services center twice and asked for a refund and cancellation of further charges. I received written confirmation of cancellation, and two months' credit. I do not think that is enough; I was being charged without my knowledge or consent for more than a year.

I did use AOL's free 1,000 minutes promotion but didn't sign up for service afterward. I think a telemarketer I spoke to got my account information from there. I believe this is called "slamming."

- Kathleen Remsen

Slamming involves illegally changing a consumer's local or long-distance telephone service or Internet service without permission. You didn't make clear the nature of the telemarketer's call, nor did you say your Internet service was changed. If this wasn't the case, we don't believe you were slammed.

You state that you were charged without your knowledge or consent. It's possible that neither is entirely true.

Many trial promotions automatically enroll customers for service when the trial period is up. In other words, they put the burden of refusal on the customer. That's why it's so important to read terms and conditions when taking advantage of these offers. You may have authorized service by not telling AOL you didn't want it.

The fact that it took you more than a year to notice the charges illustrates the need to examine each and every billing or bank statement when you receive it. Had you done so, you may have avoided much effort and frustration.

Thanks for letting us know we helped you receive a full refund.

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. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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