Updated: January 29, 2012 2:14AM
Dear Fixer: On Oct. 25, I put a freezer on layaway at the Tinley Park Sears. Four days later, I got a call from Sears telling me that the freezer was recalled and no longer available.
I had made a deposit of $100. First, I was told I could pick up my refund on Saturday; however, I was unable to do so and Monday was Halloween. When I went there Tuesday, they told me they were cutting a check in Texas and I would have it by Nov. 4.
Well, Nov. 4 came and no check. Then I was told it would be eight to 10 days. Well, that also came and went and still no refund!
I did nothing wrong. They cashed my check, kept my money, canceled my order and will not give me my money back. ... Sam’s Club has one for the same price, but I’m $100 short.
I realize it isn’t a lot of money to some people, but it is to me.
Dear Pat: The Fixer was happy to retrieve your hundred bucks, and we didn’t even have to call out the Fixer bloodhounds to do it. We were able to find a sympathetic ear at Sears headquarters, where they quickly straightened this out. They’re sending you a check for $100 and a $50 gift card to make up for the trouble.
Your letter reminds us that lots of other readers will be using layaway plans this holiday season. Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission:
Always get the policy in writing, and understand the terms: how much time you have to pay; when the payments are due; the minimum payment required; possible fees.
Find out what happens if you miss a payment or are late. Will the contract be canceled?
If you change your mind, can you get a refund? If so, will you get all your money back?
Check out the company’s record with the Better Business Bureau, Illinois Attorney General and online complaint sites. Don’t do layaway at a financially troubled business that might close its doors.
Keep detailed records of your payments.
Dear Fixer: Last Jan. 28, I had Randy Remblake, owner of R&R Decorating, give me a price to paint my living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway. I hired him, and I also mentioned I needed a new storm door. Randy said he could do that, too.
I gave him $100 to install the door, then later I gave him another $280 for the door itself.
The painting job was completed March 2. Randy said it would take about four to six weeks to get the door. I talked with him April 7, and he said he had been busy with another job but would be finished by the end of the following week.
Several more weeks passed. At one point he said the door had been damaged and the store had ordered another one. I told him to forget it and just return my $380.
On June 2, Randy left a message saying that because of all the problems, the store owed him a free door and I would also get my money back. He said it would take three weeks.
Then he told me on July 12 he would bring the money to my home that day. He never showed up.
Dear Vera: When Team Fixer talked to Remblake in mid-August, he said this had been a huge “fiasco,” but he promised you’d have your money within a week. Well, a few weeks passed and still no refund.
We again called Remblake in early September. He apologized and said his mother had died, but he would make good on your refund.
It’s now November, and we have yet another excuse. This time, he’s in the middle of buying out his partner in R&R, who is his brother, and there are some financial issues to work out.
For the rest of us: When hiring a contractor, always get a signed contract detailing the full price, start date, completion date and specific materials, and put down only a minimum deposit. For more tips, go to suntimes.com/fixer.
Dear Fixer: I sought help from Bosley hair restoration in June. I was sold a laser comb and a six-month supply of hair products to address my problem, since I was not a candidate for hair restoration.
I paid $850 total. I received the comb. The hair products were to be shipped to me. However, the products that arrived were incorrect.
I notified the Chicago office and was assured that I would be sent the correct products and a return label to send back the wrong ones. After that, I received another shipment, but that was also incorrect. Also, I got no shipping label.
After many phone calls, I did receive one, three-month supply of one of the products — Rogaine — but not the rest of what was supposed to be a six-month supply of various products. Again, I made more phone calls and was referred to a representative in California.
I finally was sent a return label to send back the two large boxes of incorrect products, all of them untouched, which I returned with the promise that I would receive a refund for my order. I was willing to pay for the Rogaine. They acknowledged the receipt of the boxes and assured me again I would get a refund. I am still waiting. Please help.
Dear Eileen: We sympathize with your frustration over getting two incorrect shipments and then sending them back with no refund in sight.
Once we contacted Rob Spurrell, Bosley’s vice president of sales and marketing, this got fixed in a hurry. Spurrell immediately got with the shipping folks and directed them to refund $450 to you to cover the cost of the package you had ordered. You can keep the Rogaine for free.
Getting the runaround over a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at www.newssunonline.com , where you’ll find a simple form to fill out. You’ll also find a list of consumer contacts and tips.