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Seniors given options for business problems

Carbon County seniors who have a problem with a business may be able to resolve the matter by returning the product or making a telephone call.

In some instances, consumers may opt to write a letter of complaint, according to AARP.

However, before doing anything, people should decide what they want the company to do: Refund money, repair the product or exchange the item for a new one.

•Seniors opting to make complaint telephone calls should:

Look for a toll-free customer service number on the product's package. Consumers may also call toll-free directory assistance at 1-800-555-1212 to see if the company has a listed number.

Ask to speak to the consumer affairs or customer relations department or the head of the company if there is no consumer affairs office.

Consumers should calmly and concisely describe the problem and what action they would like the company to take.

People should keep notes detailing who they spoke with, what the company representative said, the date and time. People should also ask when they may expect a response.

If the issue is not resolved and a second call is made, consumers should ask for the name of the person's supervisor so that they can write a letter to him or her.

•Seniors sending a complaint letter or e-mail should:

Type the letter and be specific. Be sure to include name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Include company account numbers if applicable.

People should be reasonable and persistent, not angry or threatening, and include copies of any relevant documents. Consumers should also keep a copy of the complaint letter.

File a complaint with the state consumer protection office, Utah Better Business Bureau or the state agency that regulates the industry or product if the company doesn't resolve a problem in a reasonable time.

•Additional options include:

Stopping payment on a check.

Disputing charges through credit card companies. Consumers do not have to pay the charges while the bill is in dispute, but the interest will still accrue.

In additions, Carbon County seniors may contact the "Write-A-Wrong" program of AARP's Legal Counsel for the Elderly Inc. The program, established to help older persons resolve consumer problems, will organize and write letters as well as provide contact information for the company with which people have a dispute. Write-A-Wrong is free to individuals older than 60 years of age with an income totalling less than $20,000 and to families with an income of less than $25,000.

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