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Fixer readers brag about the ‘Good Guys’

Robert Bautsch GreWestern Curta  Drapery   Linen  20 S. 19th Ave. Thursday December 22 2011 Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Robert Bautsch of the Great Western Curtain & Drapery & Linen 20 S. 19th Ave. Thursday, December 22, 2011 Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 22, 2012 1:27AM

Dear Readers: All year, Team Fixer is working on your stickiest consumer situations — everything from disappearing mortgage payments to ruined vacations. We’ve heard from perfectly healthy readers whose credit reports listed them as dead. We’ve fixed leaky appliances, busted computers and exploding televisions.

And we’ve heard lots of stories about horrible customer service.

That’s why we look forward to this time of year, when readers send us their submissions for our annual The Fixer’s Good Guys (and Gals). Thanks to everyone who sent in a letter about businesses or employees who went out of their way to help someone — in gestures big and small. We hope you enjoy these as much as we did.

Happy Holidays,

The Fixer

* * *

Dear Fixer: I have a story about a “Good Guy” — or should I say some “Good Guys” — who provided me with some amazingly generous and professional service this year. In a lot of ways they were angels to my daughter and me.

I am a single mom who was laid off more than two years ago. I haven’t found a job in my field, so I am now working four part-time jobs to support us.

Back in late June, I had a problem with our washing machine. It was shaking and making loud thumping noises. I was referred to A-Chicago Appliance Service Company ( by a friend. I spoke to an extremely kind and knowledgeable man, who I found out was the owner, Albert Iwaniec. I explained the problem and asked about scheduling an appointment. He diagnosed the problem over the phone. He told me what to do to fix it — and it worked. It didn’t cost me a cent, and believe me I don’t really have a cent to spare.

Then, in early November, we had a problem with our dryer. I immediately called A-Chicago Appliance Service Company and spoke with Albert again. He arranged a service technician on my schedule, which is not easy. The service technician was on time, really nice and seemed to know what he was doing. He found out what was wrong with my dryer and had the part in his van. He fixed it quickly and then he vacuumed and cleaned around, in and under the dryer to prevent a fire.

We talked and he found out about my employment situation and then he met my daughter. He only charged me for the service call and the part — he did not charge me for his labor or the dryer maintenance service. He told me to consider it an early holiday gift — he wished us a Happy New Year and said he knew it would be a better year.

I don’t get a lot of sleep these days, but not worrying about a dryer fire, and not spending a fortune to have a working washer and dryer sure gives me peace of mind. There are so many companies out there today that are strictly business — strictly about making the bucks and unfortunately, a lot of them don’t even provide you with professional service. It was really refreshing to find a service provider who is not like that.

Julie Higgins, Glenview

* * *

About a year ago I purchased glasses for my 7-year-old son from Visionworks. Since my older daughter had never broken her glasses, I did not purchase the insurance for my son. But about six weeks later he broke his glasses, snapping the bridge in two.

I contacted the store to purchase a replacement piece and was told that the frame was discontinued. They did, however, provide enough information that I was eventually able to track down the manufacturer. The manufacturer said that indeed the frame was discontinued — but it had been discontinued several years earlier. I was bothered when I realized that Visionworks had been selling a discontinued frame. We would have most likely selected different frames if we had known this.

So I wrote a letter to the president of Visionworks and shared our experience with him. That was the end of it as far as I was concerned.

But then, a few weeks later I received a phone call from the president of Visionworks himself. He apologized and thanked me for taking the time to write to them rather than just walk away frustrated. I was very impressed and told him how surprising and refreshing it was to hear from him and not someone to whom he delegated the problem. He then said he had found the same frames at their Vernon Hills store, and that they were replacing the broken glasses at no charge.

We certainly were not entitled to a replacement, as we did not have the insurance. But Visionworks wanted us to be satisfied and return to them for our eye care needs.

Jennifer Uren, Mundelein

* * *

Last year around this time my uncle passed away. We had to make an eight-hour drive and it took a lot of phone calls to coordinate travel plans and accommodations. I have my mom and my brother on my cell phone plan and needless to say, we went well over our allotted minutes.

I called T-Mobile to increase my minutes and got a very friendly and sympathetic customer service rep who was able to make the change. He went the extra mile by back-dating the change so my bill only went up to the higher plan price instead of all of the minutes we went over (which would have cost significantly more).

He also added 100 extra minutes to each phone at no charge just in case we needed that extra little bit. I cannot tell you what a relief it was to not have to worry about coming home from such a sad event to an enormous cell phone bill.

Shari Douglas, Kenosha, Wis.

* * *

Last spring, our sump pump and back up pump went out (yes, during the monsoon-like rains we were having!). I called around to see who had one in stock the size we needed. Valerie at the Home Depot in Alsip verified they had one, so we quickly went to pick it up.

When we got there and were loading it into our cart, Valerie was coming down the aisle and asked if we had just called. She asked us about our broken sump pump and said it had a lifetime warranty and if we brought it in we would get the replacement for free.

We told her we didn’t know it had a lifetime warranty, as it was put in as a package deal with new drain tiles 12 years ago. We didn’t have a receipt. She said it didn’t matter — they just had to have the broken pump.

We went home and got our old pump and she made sure we received our refund. I think Valerie went above and beyond for us, and because of her we saved over $200!

Sarah Frazier, Chicago

* * *

At the beginning of November 2010, just before I left to escort a group of clients on a trip to Japan, I took down my curtains to be cleaned so they would look nice for Thanksgiving. I told Bob Gautsch of Great Western Curtain & Drapery Cleaners in Maywood that there was no hurry to clean them since I would not be home until the week before the holiday. Halfway through the trip I received a call from my sons telling me that my husband had a massive heart attack and died. My daughter and I hurried home to make arrangements for the funeral and for the shiva (home visitation) to follow.

Several friends came over to help us and one of them noticed we had no curtains. She called Bob and told him what happened. He had not cleaned the curtains yet, but told her we should not worry. Bob stayed up halfway through the night to clean them. Then he arranged to come over the next day, during the funeral service, to hang them. And on top of all this, he refused to take any money.

He does a wonderful job cleaning linens and curtains, and he has such a generous heart. My family will always remember his kindness.

Marlene Mann, River Forest

* * *

Jewel-Osco pharmacist Amy Read went above and beyond the call of duty the night before Thanksgiving, as we tried to fill a new prescription for a scopolamine transdermal patch. My brother-in-law had recently been hospitalized and the patch was prescribed to assist his breathing.

Amy made us aware of a current shortage in the drug and then contacted several other stores so that we could combine and complete the prescription. Amy helped to make a stressful situation a little less so. Thanks, Amy!

Sue Milnamow, Naperville

Getting the runaround over a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at, where you’ll find a simple form to fill out. You’ll also find a list of consumer contacts and tips.

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