Dear Consumer Action:
In 2007, I purchased a new pickup truck that came equipped with satellite radio for one year free of charge. I was very pleased with it, so decided within a few weeks to buy the lifetime subscription for almost $400. It was transferable three times to an installed or portable unit in another vehicle.
But when I traded in the truck and got a new vehicle and portable unit, the satellite radio company wouldn't honor the lifetime subscription. Representatives said the policy had changed, and subscriptions could no longer be transferred to a portable unit. - R.F., Pittsgrove Township
We contacted the company and asked it to take another look at your situation, as you decided to take the lifetime subscription based on an earlier set of policies, which should still be honored for you. The company recognized you should be "grandfathered in" with the old policies, and has now activated service to your portable unit.
Dear Consumer Action:
I would like other consumers to be aware of a potential scam regarding a carpet-cleaning business. It advertises to clean two rooms for $99. However, before, during and after the cleaning process, they overpower you to purchase extra items and services.
I agreed to pay extra for the company to spray stain guard on the carpet, which the technician said would allow spilled liquids to bead up rather than sink in.
Well, it didn't work. I have called the company several times, and finally the owner said the stain guard was only guaranteed for 30 days! The technician never told me that when he was advising me to buy it!
I now rent a carpet cleaner from our local grocery store and do it myself! - Name withheld
Your experience is not unusual, and it's not limited to carpet cleaning. Any time you have a service provider in your home, you might be subject to a hard-sell approach. It's important to be prepared for it and to head it off by saying, "I can't make a decision until I see the offer in writing and have time to research it."
That way, the salesperson knows you aren't going to make an impulsive decision, and will either show you the details in writing or back off the idea altogether.
Who knows how much business companies have lost because of such aggressive behavior?
Consumer Action will respond to each properly submitted letter about a problem or question, either in this column or by letter or phone. Letters must include copies - not originals - of all relevant documentation and a name, address and phone number at which you can be reached. Send letters to: Consumer Action, The Press, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, NJ 08232.