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Dear Consumer Ed: My family and I have been living in an extended-stay motel for the past six months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I lost my job, and my husband’s work hours were cut in half. We have not been able to pay our motel bill for the last two weeks. The manager is now threatening to kick us out if we cannot pay by the end of the week. Is this allowed? Do we have to move out immediately?
Dear Consumer Ed: I receive monthly Social Security benefits that are deposited directly into my bank account. I just received notice that my bank account was garnished by a creditor and that my funds have been frozen and will soon be turned over to the court. I thought that Social Security benefits were exempt from garnishments of creditors. What can I do to stop the garnishment and get access to my money?
Dear Consumer Ed: A debt collection agency has been harassing me about a retail debt that was incurred many years ago. They are calling relatives and my employer and going into details about the debt, providing home addresses and vehicles my children own. They are threatening to send legal documents to my employer even though there has been no filing with the courts. When I asked the caller to provide the spelling of the company name and the address, the woman would not provide the information and proceeded to yell, curse and insult me. Aren’t these actions illegal? I just want to get them to stop calling me and others about this. What can I do?
Dear Consumer Ed: I see stores charging exorbitant prices for groceries, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. One store I went to is charging $11 for six rolls of toilet paper and $6 a pound for ground beef. Isn’t this price gouging?
Dear Consumer Ed: Are vehicle service warranties transferable to new owners of those vehicles?
Dear Consumer Ed: I believe that my homeowners association is misusing homeowners dues. What can I do to figure out how this money is actually being spent?
Dear Consumer Ed: How do I obtain the name of a property owner?
Dear Consumer Ed: I purchased a leather loveseat from a furniture store. Within the first week the leather started to fade. When I reported the problem to them, they said I could exchange it or get a store credit. I don’t want to buy any furniture from them because the quality of their products seems to be poor. I just want my money back. Can they refuse to refund my money?
Dear Consumer Ed: I bought an older vehicle that was advertised as having 104,000 miles on it. I later ran a vehicle history report on the car, which showed that the car had over 180,000 miles on it! The dealer claims he didn’t know the mileage was wrong. Can I get my money back?
Dear Consumer Ed: A year ago I overpaid an ambulance service and am having a hard time getting the overpayment returned. I have called several times, but nothing has happened. What can I do?