DEAR SUN SPOTS: Please answer this question, as I’m sure others may not know this. When you have a savings account in a bank, does the bank or state have the right to take your money if that account isn’t used in three to four years? Also, when you have a car repaired and what they do is not the problem, do they have the right to keep charging you for what they think it is and not what the real problem is? Thanks. — K.B., Bath

ANSWER: Without knowing the exact details, Sun Spots can’t be sure what applies to your situation, but in general, a bank account that remains unused for a certain period of time, frequently one year depending on the state, is considered dormant. This often happens when someone dies and their family is not aware of the account or if someone moves and leaves no forwarding address. Dormant accounts revert to the state, which then attempts to locate the account’s owner(s).

According to maine.gov: “Once the property has been reported to the state, the state treasurer publishes all unclaimed property of $10 or more on the Internet — Maine’s database (www.maine.gov/treasurer/unclaimed_property/online/) and nationally (www.missingmoney.com/). The state treasurer also searches for the owner by publishing names of owners with $250 or more. State legislators are an important part of owner outreach. The state treasurer uses other outreach opportunities including information booths at fairs and malls. The state treasurer serves as the custodian until the property is claimed.”

If your money is at a financial institution, there may be fees associated with maintaining a dormant or low-balance account. For example, you might have a checking account that is free as long as you maintain a certain balance, but there is a fee if you drop below, say, $500. They will keep deducting those fees each month, which will eat into the balance, until you deposit more funds.

As for auto repairs, say you go to the mechanic and tell him you hear a squeak in the front end. He takes a look and says your brakes are worn and replaces them. You pay for the repairs and drive away, but the squeak is still there. If the brakes really were worn and he actually did fix them, even though that wasn’t what was making the squeak, you still owe him for the brake work.

Afterall, it’s not uncommon for more than one thing to be wrong with a vehicle, and misdiagnosing what’s wrong with a vehicle must happen to even the best mechanic occasionally, but if the problem isn’t fixed on the second try, you might want to look for a different mechanic. Or investigate the possibility that this is one of those unscrupulous garages which isn’t really fixing what’s wrong and simply taking advantage. In that case, you could go to another mechanic and ask them to verify that the work you paid for was actually done, and done correctly. Lastly, it’s always a good policy to ask the mechanic for the defective parts he removed from your car.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I would like to know what the numbers were for MegaMillions on Aug. 25. — Dana Deletesky, Auburn

ANSWER: You can look up old MegaMillions numbers at www.megamillions.com/numbers/pastdrawings.asp. The numbers for the day you want were 3, 12, 19, 22, 40 MegaBall 2. You can check the numbers for other Maine Lottery numbers at www.mainelottery.com.

DEAR READERS: Ryan Karkos of Shear Madness called Sun Spots after the column on the closing of his business appeared last week and said that he would reimburse those who have gift certificates. Send a copy of your receipt or gift certificate to him at 868 Pownal Road, Auburn, ME 04210. Be sure to include your full mailing address and a phone number in case he has a question.

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 e-mailed to [email protected]


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