Dear Sun Spots: I am hoping you will be able to help me regain money from online company Purity Service. I also want to alert others about this scam.

In August I saw an ad on the Internet referred by a friend. I should have known the ad was too good to be true. I was placing the order for what was supposed to be all for a dollar plus $3.50 shipping. I noticed as I was completing the process that there was going to be an additional $8.95 for some other shipping issues. I attempted to cancel the order but there was no option to refuse the order. I immediately called the customer service line number attached to the site. A customer service rep informed me that the order could not be canceled but all I needed to do was return the package unopened at my own cost. As soon as I received the package, I sent it back. I kept the postage receipt and assumed all was settled.

Months later in October I noticed a charge of $89 was removed from my checking account from that same company. For the last six weeks I have phoned them, e-mailed them and faxed them, and my matter is not resolved. They asked me to prove the charge on my account; I did. They asked for a copy of the return mail receipt with my reason for returning the package, and I did. I now fax them the receipt and e-mail them on a daily basis. Every once in a while they e-mail back and say that they cannot read the receipt or the note. So I darken the memo and re-lax it, etc. Then they ignore me. I am hoping you can help me resolve this issue. I have done everything they have asked of me, proven over and over again. They have taken my money without authorization. It has been more than six weeks, and I still cannot get them to return my money. I cannot afford to have what little money I do have taken out of my account. Thank you in advance for any help you provide. – No Name, Auburn.

Without an account number, a representative at Purity was not able to assist Sun Spots with the specifics of your situation. Kathy, a customer support member for Purity, explained that they send out a trial kit and the customer can either keep it and be charged the full price or return the unused portion to not be charged. She said customers must pay postage to return the items because refused packages are often not received in time and there is no record of the return. They recommend that customers get a tracking number.

If Purity does not receive the return, they ask for the tracking number or a postal receipt as proof of return. Kathy notes that in her three years of working for Purity, all postal receipts they have received have the date of the return along with the zip code the package is returned to. If the information is not on the receipt, then that is not proof of return.

The customer can either get a re-ship that they would keep for the full price or get a partial refund. She said if the customer is unhappy with the policy, they would then need to speak with a supervisor by calling customer service at 866-363-6797, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Dear Sun Spots: I enjoy your column. In answer to a request from Dinah Hughes, Nov. 27, I would like to submit our favorite German smothered beef dinner, handed down from one generation to the next in our family.

Rinse your stew beef in cold water and place in saucepan with enough very cold water to cover bottom of pan. Add a small chopped onion for every two pounds of beef. Add some salt and pepper. Start at the very lowest simmer. When meat is almost finished cooking, add about two cups water, turn heat to medium. You may add cubed turnip at this point. When finished, make gravy by thickening with about 2 tablespoons of flour by adding cold water a little at a time. Add this to beef. This is great to serve with mashed potatoes. Also, you may eliminate turnip if not to your liking.

This will take about two hours or more to cook, depending on tenderness of meat.

This is also great stock for German vegetable soup (without gravy). Add water to kettle with diced carrots, diced potatoes, diced turnip. Hope this is what she had in mind.
Katherine Lawler, Mexico.

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