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Refund comes through after News Power intervenes

Q: Last fall, I took out an automobile warranty insurance policy through HP Funding Services in Orchard Park for my son's vehicle. But by the next day, we had changed our minds and I went to the office to cancel the extended warranty policy within 18 hours of signing for it.

The office told us it was no problem and that we should see our refund of $1,699 within 30 days. That was Sept. 15, 2006.

Since then, our calls for the refund have gone unanswered. My son has called many times and has been put off. At some points, my son was calling daily.

The receptionist had me sign the cancellation to Heritage Administration Services, as they were to submit it. Because of our immediate cancellation, no policy number or paperwork had ever been issued. It seems unlikely that HP Funding Service could have even sent the check from our credit union to Heritage.

-- David Wright, Orchard Park.

A: Waiting this out for nearly 10 months is unreal -- on top of no response from the company to your repeated queries.

When we first contacted Matthew Hunter, the owner of HP Funding Services, on July 2, he told us that the colleague who handled your matter was no longer there, and that a refund, such as yours, typically takes 90 to 120 days.

We reminded Hunter that your refund had been outstanding since last September -- well beyond that window of time he referenced. He also questioned why you were calling Newspower for help, and not his company. We reiterated that you and your son had been unsuccessful in getting a company response for several months.

We provided him with your name and phone numbers. We were encouraged that Hunter promised to take care of the matter and would call both you and Newspower the next day, on July 3.

It wasn't that easy, though. After not hearing from Hunter, we contacted you on July 5 because neither Newspower, nor you, had heard from his company. We intervened again, and Hunter had insisted he'd been leaving you messages at your home and office. However, you said you never received any calls from Hunter.

By late Thursday afternoon, you connected with Hunter. You told us that Hunter said he would put a file together and find out how much was owed to you, and that you were supposed to call Hunter back on Monday regarding the refund.

When we called Hunter later on Thursday afternoon, he told us that you would receive the refund and that the matter would be taken care of by early next week. When we reiterated that the confusion over the refund would be published in the Newspower column, Hunter became upset and asked: "I satisfied this [problem], why should it appear [in the paper]?"

After additional conversations with you and Hunter, Hunter acknowledged that your outstanding refund had "slipped through the cracks."

Hunter called Newspower on Friday to say that a refund check totaling $1,746.09 made out to your credit union would be ready for you to pick up at his office that afternoon. He said the additional amount beyond the $1,699 was for interest accrued over the past nine months.

After speaking with you later Friday, we were pleased to learn that you did have the refund check and that, in the end, the right thing was done.

Have a consumer problem? Send a letter summarizing your problem to News Power, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240. Attention: Karen Robinson. Please include a phone number. Or e-mail:

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