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COMPANY PROMISES A FREE FILTER CHANGE

Q: My dilemma involves Water Express Corp. My contract states that I get a free filter change. What I received, by UPS, was a package containing the filters.

I believe the owner overcharged me and is ashamed to approach me, but I do not wish to hire someone just to change the filter.

I would appreciate your help to get it done.

Helen Peppas

A: Ron Yacketta, owner of Water Express Corp., said the entire matter is just a misunderstanding. In an e-mail he told Action that he had phoned you and explained he would have the filters sent to you and your son could install one. "Apparently she now has no one to put them in for her," Yacketta wrote. He promised to make arrangements to take care of it for you "ASAP." I guess his ASAP isn't the same as mine because nearly three weeks later, I'm sorry to hear you're still waiting.

It may be a long wait

Q: In November 2005, an employee of Resorts International and Travel contacted us and solicited the right to sell our timeshare. During her sales presentation, among other promises, she said Resorts International guarantees to sell the timeshare within 180 days and, if not, the company would send us two round-trip airline vouchers good for 18 months to 20 different destinations. Our contract states the same, though in a somewhat different manner.

The timeshare did not sell in 180 days, but we have yet to receive our airline vouchers.

Since June 2006, my wife or I spoke with customer service representatives and the director of customer service. They all promised to resolve the matter, but we're still waiting.

Please help us recover either the vouchers or the $400 they're supposed to be worth.

Richard Perkins

A: Resorts International and Travel LLC is an Internet advertising business. It doesn't and can't actually sell timeshares. The contract states that the company, "specializes in co-op advertising, marketing and promotion of timeshare resorts worldwide."

Despite repeated requests to company president Mark Goolsby for investigation and response to your complaint, none has been forthcoming. The company has an unsatisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau for just this reason.

The BBB warns consumers to treat these kinds of offers with caution.

"Request detailed written information about the company's services, find out where they currently advertise and visit other Internet listings the company may have," it advises. The companies can't provide sale or rental statistics because the properties they advertise are "For Sale (or Rent) By Owner." With no way to verify effectiveness, there's little incentive for consumers to pay a fee. That's why guarantees like the one you had are tempting.

While Resorts International puts that guarantee in writing, it's only as good as the company that stands behind it.

Followup: bankruptcy

Thermogard Hurricane Protection of Palm Harbor, the subject of a recent column, has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. The deadline for filing claims against the company is April 16. For information on the case, call attorney Timothy B. Perrenich at (727) 669-2828. Thanks to reader Thomas Maier of Hicksville, N.Y., for the alert.

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.

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