ADT refund finds its way to customer after detour
By STEPHANIE ZIMMERMANN firstname.lastname@example.org May 6, 2012 5:00PM
THE FIXER HAS SAVED YOU
Updated: June 8, 2012 8:15AM
Dear Fixer: In early February, I contacted ADT to find out about installing a home security system in addition to having my renter’s insurance policy. A gentleman came to my home and showed me some products. I gave him $200 in cash and agreed to pay the remaining $200 upon installation.
Later, when I spoke with my husband, he felt the security measures were excessive. After reviewing the system and looking at my renter’s policy, I decided to cancel when ADT called to confirm the installation date.
The man on the phone agreed to start the 30-day process of refunding my $200 deposit. I never got the deposit back. I have called and left voicemail messages, but can’t get through to anyone.
Please help me, Fixer!
Lisa Adams, Chicago
Dear Lisa: You told The Fixer that when you considered getting a home security system, it was to prevent losing your money — not to give away $200 for nothing.
We got in touch with ADT’s PR director, Bob Tucker, at corporate offices in Florida. It turns out this was nothing sinister: Apparently, they had mailed you a money order for the $200 back in February but you never received it. Tucker guessed that it was an address mix-up but you said you never really found out what happened.
ADT ran a trace on the money order to confirm that it was never cashed by anyone else and then sent your refund to a currency exchange for you to pick up. The currency exchange was in Bellwood, a 40-minute drive from your home, which wasn’t so great, but you told us you’re relieved to have your money back.
This is a good chance to remind everyone that it’s usually best to put a deposit on a credit card rather than paying cash. Getting a refund on a credit card is a lot faster.
Fixer reader Mike Mannino forwarded a fake email to us that was so clever, we imagine quite a few people will click through. It came from email@example.com and claimed Amazon.com had canceled an order he’d placed.
But Mike hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon in a few months, so he knew not to click on the link. There are scores of online complaints about this scam. If you get a message like this, don’t click through. Besides moving you to a different website, the link could infect your computer with a nasty bug. (Thanks for the warning, Mike!)
Doggedly difficult problems
We at Fixer HQ have been getting mail from customers of Pet Airways, a company that arranged for pets to travel out of Midway and other airports and which apparently is having some financial woes.
Last week, a reader told us she was notified just a few days before a January flight that her two dogs would not be traveling to Arizona to meet her. She had to spend more than $1,300 to have two family members fly out there with the dogs on a regular human flight.
Pet Airways had told her they’d refund the $583 for the canceled flight and give her a $1,000 voucher for a future trip, but that money, too, was a no-show.
We advised her to seek a refund through her credit-card company, since it looks like Pet Airways isn’t exactly swimming in cash right now. According to its annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Pet Airways had only about $38,000 cash on hand at the end of 2011 and a cumulative loss of $13.5 million after just two years.
Another reader who wrote to us had success getting her credit-card charge reversed. Anyone else with a canceled flight and no refund should try the same. Good luck!
Thanks to contributor Mike Nolan.
Getting the runaround over a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at suntimes.com/fixer , where you’ll find a simple form to fill out. You’ll also find a list of consumer contacts and tips. Because of the large volume of submissions, The Fixer can’t personally reply to every problem. Letters are edited for length and clarity.