5 On Your Side

Durham Woman Gets Refund Runaround Over Vacuum Cleaner

Posted November 17, 2005

— You know the products you see on late-night infomercials. One Durham woman wishes she would have never picked up the phone and ordered something.

When Rassie Muqtasid saw a TV ad for a Singer Lazer Storm Vacuum for $100, she used her debit card to order it.

"The vacuum cleaner that I have is a little old and outdated and I really wanted something a little smaller," she said.

However, when Muqtasid checked her account the next week, it showed Singer took out $253.90. She called and was told she ordered four vacuums and it was just the first installment.

"What would I want with four vacuum cleaners?" she said.

Muqtasid canceled the order and was told her account would be fixed in five days. After a number of days, nothing happened. Muqtasid called again, but was told it would take 20 days to resolve her account.

"I was just livid," she said.

But after weeks of waiting, e-mailing, getting stuck in an automated phone system and still no credit, she was fed up.

"I'm like, these people have $253.90 of my money and I can't talk to anyone," she said.

Five On Your Side did some searching on the Internet and found plenty of others with similar complaints about their orders for the Lazer Storm Vacuum. It also found out a company called Tactica International manufactured the vacuums for Singer.

The Better Business Bureau has 330 complaints against Tactica, many of which involve billing or credit issues. The issues were serious enough that Singer pulled out of the relationship and had its name removed from the product.

When Five On Your Side called Tactica, a customer service manager promised to rush the refund.

"I just want my money back," Muqtasid said.

An attorney with Singer said because of customer complaints, it ended its agreement with Tactica and filed suit.

A Tactica attorney does not think 330 complaints are high, considering the amount of business they do. As for the numerous complaints about getting four vacuums, he said it could be confusion over an offer to get four vacuums for the price of two. He says they are no longer running that ad.


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