By STEPHANIE ZIMMERMANN
April 28, 2012 7:02PM
THE FIXER HAS SAVED YOU
Dear Readers: Last month, we brought you the story of Nick Ricci of Oak Lawn, whose family bought a laptop computer from Best Buy two years earlier. He had paid $149.99 extra for a two-year protection plan, which turned out to be a good thing because the computer had lots of problems.
Nick told us the machine would overheat and either freeze up or shut down at the most unexpected moments. Best Buy had repaired it several times and had diagnosed some software and virus issues, but they wouldn’t authorize a replacement computer because the same hardware problem hadn’t occurred four times.
The last time they tested it, after The Fixer got involved, they couldn’t find a hardware problem. And by now, the two-year plan has expired.
When we last left Nick, Best Buy’s corporate office had promised him a $100 gift card as a goodwill gesture for his troubles.
But Nick recently got even better news: The staff at the Best Buy store in Crestwood — Nick mentioned Dan, Trey, Iggy, Jeff and Mike — and Randy from the Geek Squad teamed up to end Nick’s hassle for good. They gave him a complete refund for the original computer and gave him another gift card, for $300, from the Geek Squad headquarters. With that, Nick was able to get a new computer and put the troublesome laptop behind him.
Nick told The Fixer he got “the best customer service anyone could ask for” from this crew.
And now, we will consider this … really fixed!
Attorney general vs. home repair contractors
Home repairs are frequently at the top of consumer complaint lists, and now a bunch of local operators are in hot water with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The AG last week filed lawsuits against four local home repair contractors who allegedly operated as unlicensed insurance adjusters and defrauded consumers out of more than $165,000.
Madigan filed lawsuits against Blue Rose Restoration of Roselle; Amazing Exteriors Inc. of Algonquin; Team-Mark Construction Inc. of Chicago, and AP Contractors Inc. of Berwyn.
Madigan said the contractors preyed on homeowners after storms or disasters. Her office gives these tips for homeowners who are approached by so-called “storm chaser” repair crews:
† Be wary of contractors who go door to door to offer repairs.
† Insurance adjusters must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Insurance, and roofers must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
† Call the AG’s Consumer Fraud Hotline, (800) 386-5438, to check out contractors.
† Get written estimates from multiple contractors and don’t be rushed. Get all terms in writing. Never pay in full upfront and don’t pay in cash.
A consumer’s tale of woe
Amy of Lake Villa is psyched for summer, and to kick things off, she went online to get lawn tickets for a show at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park.
Only problem is, she paid more than she had to when she accidentally wound up on a website that wasn’t Ravinia’s ravinia.org. Not realizing she was now looking at the website of a third-party ticket seller, Amy called the phone number listed on the site and placed her order over the phone.
“Instead of only paying $33 for lawn tickets, I ended up paying a few dollars more, plus shipping,” Amy wrote The Fixer. “This was a costly lesson — to pay attention to the Web address you enter.
“This seller does not offer refunds or exchanges, so I am stuck paying over $100 for general admission lawn tickets. Lesson learned.”
What is a Costly Lesson? It’s an UNFIXABLE problem that cost someone a lot of money but holds a valuable lesson for the rest of us. If you have something to warn the rest of us about, e-mail email@example.com with Costly Lessons in the subject line. For Costly Lessons, we leave out last names to prevent further embarrassment.