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INMATE LOCKED OUT ON HEADPHONE ORDER BY DICK CHRISTIAN

Q I ORDERED A SET of headphones at a cost of $42.32 from a mail-order house in Maspeth, N.Y., and sent them a money order for $50, leaving a credit of $8.68 on my account.

I am incarcerated in a state correctional facility and was informed that my having these headphones were against the institution's rules. I sent back the headphones along with a letter explaining why I was returning the product and asking that they refund my money. That was in February, but I have never received my refund or any response from them. I would appreciate your help.

-- S.D., Comstock, N.Y.
A YOU'RE GOING TO have to provide the company with more information before they can help you.

"We have no record of receiving a package from this customer," says J & R Music World in Maspeth. "Furthermore, he apparently did not contact us for a return authorization number. Instructions for returns are printed both in our catalog and on the back of each invoice: Each package needs a return authorization number (the receiving department may refuse delivery if this number isn't on the outside of the package).

"We told this customer to place a tracer on the package. Either it arrived at our location or it did not. If it did, and was accepted, someone would have signed for it. In that case, he could request a written proof of delivery from the carrier. If he sent that to us, we would proceed on an exchange or a refund for him -- whichever he requested. If J & R did not receive the package, then the customer could submit a claim with the carrier.

"Since we have no record of any return requests or packages received, we are stymied without further information."

The burden of proof, it seems, is now on you, but it shouldn't be difficult to have your facility's business office file a tracer on your behalf.

Consumer gram
. . . To Howard Bingel of Buffalo from Ruth Ann Jackson, supervisor of Consumer Affairs for National Fuel here: "A representative of our Tonawanda Servicenter visited the property on May 23. He observed a slight settlement in the area where we did the work six years ago. We will certainly stand behind our workmanship, and we will follow up on work that is one and two years old. However, we don't believe that the length of time involved here is reasonable and that National Fuel should be held responsible." . . .

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