Updated: April 19, 2011 5:07AM
Dear Fixer: Back in March, ComEd dropped a 40-foot-long pole on my front lawn.
I have been calling and writing ever since to get it removed, with no luck. The operators will not give me anyone higher to talk to — just the runaround.
I would like to sell my house, but with the pole in the front lawn it’s a little hard to list.
The pole was meant to be a replacement for another pole, which is not even on my property. It’s on my neighbor’s.
Can you please help?
Charles Rice Jr., Joliet
Dear Charles: You told The Fixer that all spring and summer you had to mow around that stupid pole, all the while wondering why it was dropped off but never used. Obviously, there was some sort of disconnect, because you told us there was a work order under your neighbor’s address but still nothing was done.
The Fixer had a little better luck. After we brought it to ComEd’s attention, within a few days a crew came out and hauled it away. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that the grass grows back next spring.
No pride in this company
Dear Fixer: During a big storm in June, we had a sewer backup that deposited three feet of water in our crawl space. We called American Pride Plumbing in Oak Lawn for an estimate.
They said we needed to have a hole dug in the back yard and new drainage tubing installed. They quoted us $2,320. We agreed to the work and put down half the money for a deposit — $1,160.
We talked to our neighbor after the plumber left, and he said he didn’t think we needed that much work. We got another plumber out, who said we only needed to have our line rodded.
We called American Pride Plumbing three hours after their initial visit to cancel the work and ask for our deposit back. The owner said he would send a check in seven to 10 days. We never received anything.
When we called again, they said, “Who are you?’’ Another time when we called to inquire about our money, they actually said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?’’
We filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but we want our money back. Please help.
Judy Cypher, Chicago Heights
Dear Judy: We just love such tales of stellar customer service. The American Pride Plumbing people must have a whole jar of grumpy pills at their place, because when Team Fixer called, we got the same response. Owner Eli Christiansen left us an angry message, saying he was working to get your money back and that we should never call him again. Yikes!
You did get a money order for $160 — only a mere thousand dollars short — with an explanation that the company was in bankruptcy and would refund your money incrementally. But we couldn’t find any bankruptcy filing for the company or its owner.
After two more months of unreturned phone messages left at three different numbers, we still haven’t received any further reply from the company. You might as well cash that money order. Let us know if you get any more of your deposit money back.
Past due, but already paid?
Dear Fixer: I’m 54 years old and a mother of three. I recently sent a letter of dispute to Value City Furniture because they were charging me for unnecessary interest on an account I had already paid off.
I sent them proof of the dates that they had given for me to pay off my balance in order to prevent interest charges. I also sent them receipts that showed that I had paid off my balance before the due date to avoid paying any interest.
I was supposed to avoid these charges by paying my balance of $74.99 before July 22, and I paid it on June 5.
In response, I got a letter from World Financial Bank informing me that “in order to have avoided finance charges ... payment in full was due by 7/31/2010. ... Your payment was received by us on 7/22/2010 which was past the due date listed above; therefore the finance and other charges on the account are valid.”
This is ludicrous. July 22 is before July 31, and yet it was still considered late and that’s how I got stuck with the interest? I don’t understand this at all.
Georgina Flores, Chicago
Dear Georgina: It did seem weird that a bill you paid on June 5 was listed as being received on July 22 and then being called late because it was due on July 31.
Luckily, The Fixer managed to connect with a sympathetic customer service manager at Value City, who was able to pull the billing folks at World Financial Bank out of the apparent time warp they’d fallen into. The $560.24 in finance charges has been taken off your account and will not be billed again.
Getting the runaround about a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at www.suntimes.com/pcds/ssl/scn/fixer.html. Or mail a description of your problem to: The Fixer, The Beacon News, 495 N. Commons Drive, Suite 200, Aurora, IL 60504.