Bill for unwanted magazine worries reader

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I got an envelope through the mail with a bunch of postcards and advertisements that you can sign up for magazines and catalogs. I filled out a handful of postcards for free catalogs.

I later got a bill for one of the postcards I sent out, saying that it was a magazine subscription called Gun Tests. I ignored it, assuming that if I didn’t pay they wouldn’t send me the magazine subscription. I have not received any of these magazines.

A few weeks later I received another bill for the same magazine, but it came through a debt collector. The debt collection letter only states this: “The purpose of this letter is to verify that payment has not been received for the subscription you ordered from our client and to give you an opportunity to resolve this matter before it goes any further.” Is this legal? Can this hurt my credit? — Troy Bouchard, Sabattus

ANSWER: Sun Spots would recommend you return any bills or notices with a note saying “please cancel.” You are not responsible for paying for something you have not received, but it would be a good idea to make it clear that you do not want the magazine. Sun Spots doesn’t see how this could affect your credit, but if you’re worried you can check your credit for free once a year.

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The following is posted at www.ftc.gov, “The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. … The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a central Web site, a toll-free telephone number and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: For the last two months, I have received at least two mailings per week from Saint Matthew’s Churches in Tulsa, Okla. The mailings are addressed to “resident” and promise healing prayers and money management if I send back the enclosures. Is this a scam? If it is, how do I get off their mailing list? Thank you. — No Name, Lewiston

ANSWER: Scam is a strong word, but Sun Spots wouldn’t be in a hurry to send them any money. According to www.saintmatthewschurches.com/StMatthewsChurchesSeedFaith.aspx, there is no St. Matthews Church in Tulsa, rather it is just the chosen location for donations to be mailed to a post office box. If you ignore the solicitations, they should eventually cease. If they send a postage-paid return envelope with their solicitation, you could write “please take me off your mailing list” and return it, which may or may not work.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you for any help. Would anyone know where I can find aloe plants? I’m told the juice heals hard-to-heal sores. I can be reached at 212-2086. — No Name, Lewiston

ANSWER: Aloe plants are common and popular (these plants look rather like a cactus, which are also succulents). You should be able to find one at many garden shops or perhaps the garden section of big box stores, especially now that spring is in the air and they will be stocking up on greenery. Another option is to buy a bottle of pure aloe. Sun Spots keeps a bottle on hand for burns and skin abrasions. Aloe is very soothing, but Sun Spots isn’t sure about sores that are hard to heal.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I was wondering if there is a support group for single people in the Bethel, Rumford, Turner area who do some activities or get together and talk. — No Name, Rumford

ANSWER: Sun Spots had a friend who wanted to meet people and get out. He joined the Maine Outdoor Activity Club (www.moac.org). It worked out well for him — other than a slight fall on Mt. Washington — he met several girls, including his present significant other. Another great way to meet people is to volunteer for a charity. It is easy to talk to someone when you are helping others.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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