Dear Sun Spots: I have a problem and I think there was a solution in Sun Spots, but I don’t remember where – probably in the last three months. My problem is: I have upgraded my computer and need to get rid of the old one. I remember reading that a place in Windham or the State Prison was reconditioning them for schools. Could you or the staff please find me the address? I am a waste-not want-not user-upper. Thank you for any help. – Vi Gerber, No Town.

Answer:
The information you refer to ran in the Jan. 28, 2003 column. The program is called “Computers for Schools and Libraries.” Contact the Maine Correctional Center, P.O. Box 260, South Windham, ME 04082-0260 (207-893-7000 and ask for Darrell Lee) for information and instructions regarding the donation of your old computer.

Dear Sun Spots: I am planning a move from Arizona to Maine. Recently I watched a show on Dateline about moving company rip-offs. Could Sun Spots or its readers tell me how to find a company that I can trust to do a good job at a reasonable rate. If there is someone who has had a good experience with a moving company, please e-mail me their name, at [email protected] – Marjorie Gowdy, Auburn.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, Sun Spots would recommend you go with family and friends’ recommendations. According to the American Association of Retired Persons’ Web site you should also:

• Find a reputable mover, getting referrals from friends, neighbors and co-workers. Check whether the company is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association and has agreed to independent arbitration of any claims. See if the Better Business Bureau or state consumer protection agency has a record of complaints on this firm. Ask if the company has been in existence long. Find out what movers the corporate relocation companies rely on.

• Get estimates from about three companies. Have a walk through with a company representative to point out exactly what you want transported and packed. You can get an estimate over the phone, but be sure it is backed up in writing as to whether it is a binding estimate or nonbinding. A binding estimate is guaranteed, while a nonbinding estimate may be lower but can drastically increase at the end of the move. Always get the estimate in writing.

• Understand the costs. Moving charges are a combination of weight, distance and services.

• Purchase insurance. The mover probably provides minimal insurance at no extra charge, but this may not be enough. This insurance is based upon weight not the value of an item. Other insurance options should be available as an extra expense that may give you more protection. Check your homeowner’s insurance for any moving damage coverage.

• Packing up. Some things such as jewelry or plants you will want to pack and move yourself.

• Make an inventory. Know what goes into each box and make sure the head of the moving company legibly and accurately inventories each item as it’s loaded. Review the list before signing the bill of lading.

• Filing claims. Take pictures of major items before the move to prove their pre-move condition. When unpacking take more pictures.

For more information on moving: check out the AMSA online at www.moving.org; articles about moving issues and solutions at www.consumersunion.org/other/move1.htm, and USDOT comprehensive guide on your rights and responsibilities at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/factsfigs/moving.htm.

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). 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 posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Inform Us section under Press Release.


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