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Q MY GIRLFRIEND purchased a new portable CD player for me last May 20 as a birthday present.

The store that sold it to her also sold her a "lifetime service" guarantee for an additional fee. I took the unit outside on Sept. 2 and accidentally dropped it. I then took it back to the retailer, who instructed me to take it to the service center, and that's when the problems began.

I was told that the unit would be repaired at no charge. After many phone calls and a few visits back to the store, I still do not have the unit. I finally spoke with a manager, who told me that there would be a charge after all to repair the machine.

It's been over three months since I took it in to be repaired and I think it's time that they stop lying to me and get the machine fixed and returned to me.

-- K.H., Amherst
A THEY'RE MORE THAN willing to fix the unit, but flatly deny anyone lied to you or that their lifetime service program was misrepresented.

The manager of the service center explains: "We are the service center for the store, which offers a lifetime service if they pay a $1 registration fee. If the customer chooses, lifetime parts is also available for 10 percent of the original cost. This entitles the customer to service and parts for the unit they purchased. This unit was purchased by his girlfriend, who registered the unit for both lifetime service and parts.

"A copy of the receipts used by the selling store, which details the lifetime service policy, clearly states that any physical damage voids the offer of lifetime service.

"We also have a copy of the claim check given to him when he dropped his unit off to be repaired. This likewise states that physical damage is not covered by lifetime service.

"I was able to track this unit and spoke with the technician who is working on it. He told me that he has spoken with the customer on three separate occasions, and that he has detailed the situation to him. The technician was forced to order the parts, required to complete the repair, from the manufacturer and was told that the parts were on national back order and therefore not immediately available. At this date, we are still waiting for these parts to arrive.

"The charges for the work on this unit will be $43.80 for parts and $49.90 for labor, totaling $93.70, plus tax. We have done our best to satisfy this customer and it is unfortunate that he was unhappy with the attention we provided him."

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