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'LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE' COMES UP SHORT

Q: I'm writing on behalf of my husband. Two months ago he ordered books through a television advertisement and used his credit card to pay. The bill arrived before the merchandise.

The order finally arrived, but the merchandise was all wrong. It came with three books, two of which were alike, and nine copies of the same CD. We don't even own a computer! The invoice shows a charge of $209.45.

I returned the merchandise, sent certified mail, return receipt requested. We received the signed receipt, but no refund. I called the customer service number (which isn't toll-free) several times and left messages, but no call was returned. I sent a letter. No response.

I'm hoping your help will resolve the matter.

Julianna Hathaway

A: Your husband's order was made to ITV Direct, an infomercial marketing company that claims to provide "a life-changing experience for our customers."

Catherine Ratcliffe, vice president of customer satisfaction, said ITV takes "all customer service inquiries very seriously." Perhaps, but it certainly didn't respond to your inquiries until Action intervened on your behalf.

Ratcliffe told me only that the company had been in contact with you and that the issue was resolved. You called to let me know you'd been told the refund would be made to your credit card. It will probably take at least one billing cycle before the refund shows up.

Uncoordinated repair

Q: We responded to a recall notice in the Times for our Maytag dishwasher, model MDB 7100 AWWW. A Maytag representative confirmed that our dishwasher was included and told us to turn off the power at the circuit breaker. She said we should receive a repair kit within seven days with instructions for contacting an appliance service company. The costs of the kit and the service to repair the dishwasher were to be paid by Maytag.

It was stressed that the repairs would be expedited at no cost to us. It was also stated that we could choose not to accept the repair and receive a check for $75. We chose to have the repair done.

When the kit didn't arrive after 11 days, we called back. The representative we spoke with said he would check on it. He also said that he would fax instructions for repair to an appliance service in Clearwater and have that business contact us. Shortly after hanging up with Maytag, we got a call from the service. The man asked if we had the repair kit and, when we told him no, he said he couldn't schedule a repair until the kit arrived.

We are not familiar with this business and would like to have the opportunity to check it out before having it work on our dishwasher. We didn't like feeling pressured to use it.

Nearly two weeks later, we received a letter from Maytag that instructed us how to arrange for repair service, assuming we had already received the kit. It included a list of appliance services we could choose from. The letter was useless because we still had no kit.

Once more we called Maytag. The representative said some people received duplicate kits. We had to convince her we hadn't received even one. She promised to have one mailed.

Another two weeks have passed and still no kit has been received. Can you help?

James Rardin

A: Your kit was finally delivered by FedEx on the morning of April 3. With any luck, your dishwasher is once again in service, repaired by a company of your choice.

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 33731Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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