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Slow refund sparks some changes


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 12, 2001

I've been trying to get my money back from National Collector's Mint since last September. I returned three gold and three silver certificates by insured mail. The company contends that it didn't receive them, so I got a photocopy from the post office showing the package was delivered and sent it to National Collector's Mint on Dec. 8. No response.

I sent another letter Jan. 2. Same thing. It seems as if my $129 is not going to be returned. I also doubt the company will live up to its claim that if I returned the certificates, I would get a $2 gold certificate for my trouble. I'll be lucky if I just get my own money back. George Spachman

Response: Peter Blumenthal, chief operating officer of National Collector's Mint in Washington, D.C., said that you are indeed due a refund. A refund check for $135 ($129 for the returned merchandise and $6 for the return guarantee on the offer) is on its way to you. He said steps have already been taken to prevent this kind of incident from happening again.

Magazines have arrived

On July 26, I sent in a form to order two sets of 21 Word Find magazines for $31 from Ebb Publishing in Mount Morris, Ill. As you can see, the check was cashed, but no books were sent. I would appreciate all the help I can get. Marvin Williams

Response: Thanks for letting us know that your magazines finally arrived.

Recent recalls

The following products, distributed nationwide and in Florida, were recalled between Feb. 2 and 8:

About 3.8-million "Planet Discovery" Kid's Meal toys (distributed during January 1999 and 2001) by Chick-fil-A; the suction cup on the toy can come off, presenting a choking hazard to young children. They are plastic disks depicting all of the planets plus the moon and the sun. Return the planet toys to a Chick-fil-A restaurant for a free replacement premium or a small Icedream. Call (866) 736-5914.

Toy vehicles -- airplanes, cars, dump trucks, trains and fire engines sold under the PLAYGO brand name -- by Supreme Toys (H.K.) Ltd.; small parts can break off the toy vehicles, posing a choking hazard to young children. Cut the remote control cord off the toy, discard the vehicle, and mail just the cord to Supreme at 8348 C, Olive Road, St. Louis, MO 63132 for a $5 refund plus the cost of postage. Call (800) 567-1774 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

About 400,000 gun locks by National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF); under certain conditions, these locks can open without the use of a key, giving unauthorized access to a firearm. The locks resemble a bicycle cable lock and have a red cable with a black padlock. Red vinyl bands around the top and bottom of the locks read, "PROJECT" and "HOMESAFE." "MADE IN CHINA" and "30mm" are imprinted on the bottom of the locks. The gun locks were distributed in clear plastic cylinders with Project HomeSafe literature. Law enforcement agencies distributed the gun locks free from September 1999 through October 2000. Call (800) 726-6444 to receive a free replacement gun lock. Web site:

About 2,900 wooden dog pull toys by Pottery Barn Kids; wooden pegs can come off and pose a choking hazard to young children. Call (866) 428-6467 between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

42,516 units of paprika by Badia Spices; possible contamination with salmonella. Affected product is 2-ounce bottle with UPC# 33844-00011 and lot number 120400 on the cap. Call (305) 629-8000.

Sources: SafetyAlerts at; Consumer Product Safety Commission at, (800) 638-2772; Food and Drug Administration at

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, (800) 333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise by mail, we need copies of both sides of canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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