The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 15, 2001 · Page 32
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 32

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 15, 2001
Page 32
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E4 SUNDAY. APRIL 15, 2001 CONSUMER THE SALINA JOURNAL CONSUMER CORNER Be wary of discount clubs Trial memberships, offer for big discounts can turn into big bills Dear Attorney General Stovall: I decided to order some merchandise from an infomercial. During the ordering process, the telemarketer offered me a 30-day trial membership in a discount club. I thought the deal sounded great, so I agreed. However, after reviewing the materials, I decided there GARLA STOVALL Kansas Altonwy General were too many strings attached to the offer, and I called to cancel. The lady 1 spoke to convinced me to purchase $100 in gift certificates to give the club another chance. Now, the 30-day trial period has ended, and I have been charged a $96 membership fee plus the $100 for the gift certificates. In addition, I have yet to receive the gift certificates! When I called to cancel, the number had been disconnected. Attorney General Stovall, I feel like I have been taken for a ride. Can you help me? Dear Kansas Consumer: Consumer Protection division contacted the company, and they have refunded your money They also informed us they have filed for bankruptcy, which may explain why you could not contact them by phone. Though we were able to obtain a refund for you, it may become increasingly difficult for other consumers to receive refunds because of the bankruptcy Retail discount clubs often advertise in infomercials or pay telemarketers who are taking orders for other products to offer their services. They promise huge discounts for products ranging from airline tickets and other travel incentives to electronics and household products. While the savings they promise sound significant, many people find they can find better or equivalent deals on their own. I want to warn all con­ sumers to carefully consider whether to join a retail dis- ' count club, even for a trial period. Most of these companies offer trial memberships that require you to call and cancel if you do not want to continue. Otherwise, they will automatically bill your credit card for the membership. This tactic, caUed negative option buying, often is undisclosed to consumers when they agree to the trial membership. Consumers have no idea they will be charged unless they carefully read the membership materials they receive in the maU, or until the credit card bill comes. This can be especially shocking to the many consumers who do not even receive the membership packet until the 30-day trial period has expired and they believe they can no longer cancel. Furthermore, the membership automatically will renew for another year if the consumer does not cancel. We also have information this particular company shared consumers' credit card numbers with its "affiliates." Consumers then were asked to purchase trial memberships in these "affiliate" companies and did not realize the affiliate had their credit card number to charge. These consumers were surprised when they received a charge to their credit card account. The best way to avoid this situation is to ask how a trial membership wUl be billed. Also, you should carefully scrutinize your credit card statements each month. Consumers also have had a hard time receiving the promised refunds when they do cancel. The consumers may not dispute the charge on their credit card because they are promised a refund. After waiting months for the refund, the consumers find out the deadline to make a dispute with their credit card company has passed and they are stuck with the charge. If you are interested in a buying club membership, make sure you understand the criteria and parameters of that membership before you sign on. Ask lots of questions and be wary of giving out your credit card number unless you are completely comfortable with the deal. If you are having trouble with a buying club, please contact my Consumer Protection division at 1-800-432-2310. HP EMPUYEE BENEFIIS •Health •Life •DisabiUty •401K •Cafeteria •Retirement C aii T he E xperts I n E mpioyee B enefits You Have CHOICES In Health. Life a Oisabiiify insurance Stop RECALLS Ford warns of defect in 2002 Explorers DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is warning customers of a defect that can break the rear windows on some 2002-model Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer sport utility vehicles. Ford, the world's second- largest automaker, said it has asked dealers to pick up the affected vehicles, provide a leaner vehicle and make the repair, then wash, vacuum and return the affected SUVs to customers with a full tank of gas. Though it labored to make the redesigned Explorer defect- free in the wake of last summer's Firestone tire recall. Ford said the rear liftgate glass on certain new Explorers and Mountaineers may shatter or detach when shut. Ford has fielded 35 complaints about the problem, which occurs when brackets holding the liftgate glass loosen. Of 56,652 affected Explorers and Mountaineers built from early February to March 30 at Ford plants in Kentucky and Missouri, 12,669 already have been sold. Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said. DaimlerChrysier recalls Ram pickups WASHINGTON — Daimler- Chrysler AG is recalling 701,000 Dodge Ram pickup trucks in 21 "salt belt" states because a spring on a hood latch can corrode and cause the hood to fly up unexpectedly. The recall involves 1994 through 1999 models registered in states where there is a lot of salt on roads, either from the ocean or because of efforts to remove ice from roads. The states include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michi­ gan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. DaimlerChrysier also is recalling 1994 through 1996 Rams with diesel engines in all states. The throttle cable could fray or break, resulting in a loss of throttle control. From Wire Service Reports feeling! like a jro-yo Are you tired of stock market uncertainty? Consider investing your money in a solid community bank where your money helps the local area in a safe, secure, guaranteed investment. And, no sales commissions are charged. Give us a call. All the BANK you '11 ever need. FIRST BANK ' •• Ms)• KANSAS Member FDIC Lefl to Right: Angela, Dennis. Katiiy. Kirk and Franees. Memhcr FI)1C Salina (785) 827-3600 Solomon (785) 655-2941 Abilene (785) 263-9332 Solomc Cito Bciiilc 60S MAGNOLIA, SALINA eenmtuktwns] RENAISSANCE STUDENTS OF THE WEEK SALINA HIGH SCHOOL SOUTH "^Crystal Lee is a Senior at South High where she carries a 4.11 GPA. She participates in band where she is the section leader, orchestra, and vocal. She is also involved with the Salina ijnrnphony and "Youth Symphony; She is a member of the 1st Covenant Church Youth Group. She helps with tutoring and music lessons. Crystal plans to attend K-State and double major in Math and Music Educa.tion. Daughter of Gary and Marsha Lee SALINA HIGH SCHOOL CENTRAL • Megan Weil is a junior at Central where she carries a 3.83 GPA. She participates in soccer, school newspaper (Pylon), editor-in-chief, student council representative, and a member of NHS (National Honor Society). She also participates in Junior Leadership Salina and she belongs to First Covenant Church. Megan would like to attend either the University of Kansas or the University of Nebraska. She plans to major in medicine and be a orthopedic doctor or surgeon. Daughter of Lynette and Jeff Weil SOUTH MIDDLE SCHOOL • Mireya Davila is a seventh grader at South Middle. She teaches Sunday school classes. She says that she likes all of her teachers. Mireya would like to giet good grades and renaissance cards. She also wants to try to not get in trouble at all. Daughter of Maria G. Davila ROOSEVELT-LINCOLN MIDDLE SCHOOL Sarah Kresae is a seventh grader at Roosevelt. She participates in SHOCS, and Teens in Christ. Sarah plans to go to college and work ^yith animals or become a nurse or secretary. Daughter of Richard and Martha Kresae Sponsored by X '^SalinaJournal Cmmting cmmunilies wilh ir\formlim *The Renaissance program is a partnership between business and education to recognize and reward academic excellence, continuous improvement, and citizenship. Salina Journal Connecting communities with informatim Subscribe to the Salina Journal for 13 weeks at the low rate of $3 .46* a week and we'll send you a comic strip umbrella! * Kansas state sales tax included. New Subscribers only. rrn !v ""7 "T • I ^J T ^S; I would like a comic strip umbrella! ' I want a 13-week/7 days a week Salina Journal subscription for almost 24% off the newsstand price at the low rate of $3.46 per week. / understand that you will send my umbrella when you receive my payment. (Total Cost $45.00) Name Phone Address. City State -Zip. •Bill Me QCharge my: QVISA QMasterCard QDiscover Card # Exp. Signature sertdTo: the SalinB Jouraol Connecting (Xfm!«amHM& tdth t>)/onnation 333 S. Fourth, Salina, KS 67401 FoFascer Service OK 785-823-6363 or 1-800-827-6363

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