Jewish World Review June 22, 2000 /19 Sivan, 5760
Pie story hard to swallow
DEAR BRUCE: After enjoying a rather pleasant meal in a local cafe, you can imagine how surprised I was when I bit into a piece of blueberry pie and found a pebble. Unfortunately I was biting down pretty hard and broke off a perfectly good tooth.
When I showed the pebble to the owner, he was very sympathetic but said that there was nothing that he could do, that he had purchased the pie from a bakery.
When I contacted the bakery, they said that there was nothing that they could do since I couldn't prove that the pebble was in the pie. It is true I was dining alone, and no one was a witness, except the waiter when I called it to his attention.
What can I do? -- O.S., via e-mail
Dear O.S.: I am afraid that you are stuck for the cost of a new cap. You must understand that restaurants and food manufacturers are bombarded with charges of foreign material in their products. More often than not, there is absolutely no way it can be proved, or for that matter, disproved. You can understand why they would be reluctant to pay a claim.
In the case of packaged products, they will offer you coupons for money off your next purchases. You may say that you don't want to buy those products again, but unless you can demonstrate credibly that the product was contaminated, there is very little that you can do. Given the propensity for false claims, you can understand why they are so reluctant to honor your claim.
DEAR BRUCE: My wife bought a car in April of this year and financed it through a major credit company. In May she made her first payment on the loan. Fifteen days later she received a check in the mail from the company for $56 and the attached stub stating that she had overpaid this amount on the loan, which was now paid in full.
She called them and said that this must be a mistake, that she owed about $11,000. They said there was no mistake and would be sending the title to us. Two other calls to other individuals said the same thing. We don't want something that is not ours. -- S.D., via e-mail
DEAR S.D.: What a problem to have! I am not sure that there is much more that you can do. Diogenes certainly has found an honest man and woman. You have contacted them three times. I would send them a letter, keeping a copy for yourself. If they continue to insist that it is paid for in full, then you might want to try the following: Every month, make a car payment to an escrow account of your own in your name.
You know what the money is for, and the likelihood is that sooner or later they will catch on, and you will have all of the paper backed up and the money to make good.
Congratulations on your honesty. It is refreshing.
DEAR BRUCE: I am looking at buying a service inventory business. They use software machines to inventory both small and large retail businesses. The owner is asking $32,500 for this home-based business, which grossed $64,000. I want to stay in my regular job until at least the end of the year. Do you think that I could handle this with some help from my wife or a hired hand, or should I just wait? -- D.B., via e-mail
DEAR D.B.: First of all, you may not have the opportunity to wait. If there is another offer for the business, she will probably take it. I am assuming that this is a one-person business, and after expenses, she probably netted somewhere between $40,000 to $50,000 a year. If this is the case and the seller has contracts to perform these services, I think the price is fair.
As to trying to run the company and keep your present job, that might be a difficult thing to do. However, if your wife is going to work in the business full time for the rest of the year, you could keep the enterprise going until you are ready to enter it full time. I have no problem with that at all. It sounds like it might be a nice little
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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