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TAPE-EATING VCR DAMAGED IN TRANSIT

Q I PURCHASED A Symphonic brand VCR from Rosa's on Oct. 12, 1986. At an additional cost, I also purchased a two-year parts and labor service contract. Within 90 days of the purchase, the VCR made its first of seven trips to the repair center. The main problem was that it literally eats the VHS tape by curling and creasing the tape so that the tape is useless. The VCR has damaged approximately 20 to 25 VHS tapes of various brands.

During the past two years the problem has not been resolved and the service contract has now expired. Rosa's service department has informed me that for future repairs I would have to send the unit via UPS to the Symphonic Corporation in New Jersey. I shipped the VCR to New Jersey and, in addition to the original problem, it was further damaged during shipping because it was not shipped in its original packaging. I was informed it will cost me $467.03 plus $55 for labor for a total of $522.03 to repair a VCR that originally cost me $248, in addition to the $75 service contract. I am baffled that in order to repair the VCR it is going to cost me twice what I paid for it and I am extremely angry that I must pay that money in order to hopefully resolve a problem that has gone unrepaired in the past two years. At the present time the Symphonic Corporation has possession of my VCR, who is awaiting my decision regarding repairs.

--A.N., Depew
A WE'RE ALSO A BIT baffled as to why Rosa's or Symphonic did not offer you a replacement VCR at some point during the past two years and after seven attempts to repair the same problem had failed. That certainly could have been an option, but one they have not chosen to offer.

The real problem now is that Symphonic is claiming that the "poor packing" of the VCR when you sent the unit to them resulted in extensive damage to the machine in transit. It is that damage that has resulted in repair estimates that exceed the value of the unit.

Obviously, it makes no sense to pay that kind of money for a VCR that never could be properly repaired while under warranty and with no guarantee that the proposed repairs will be successful.

There's an outside chance that filing a claim with UPS (assuming the shipment was insured) might be successful, but not if they can prove you failed to properly pack the unit.

Another possibility is your filing a claim in Small Claims Court against the seller and the service center.

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