Dear Heloise: I bought a pair of porcelain candleholders on a recent trip. I packed them carefully (in air-pocket wrap) in my checked luggage. Upon my return home, the candleholders were unwrapped, and one was damaged. What can I do? -- A Reader, via e-mail
There is something you can do, and it’s good information for all of my readers.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, travelers can file a claim for broken or damaged items if they believe the TSA is responsible. Be aware that there are more than a dozen airports that use other screening services and do not accept TSA claims.
To file a claim, you need to download or request a claim package from the TSA and submit all required paperwork. Download the packet at www.TSA.gov. The main phone number for the TSA is 866-289-9673, and the Claims Management Branch fax number is 571-227-1904.
Some of the things you may be asked for are:
* Purchase receipt (credit-card receipt or, if not available, a bank statement).
* Baggage tags or boarding passes.
* Repair or replacement estimates.
* Photographs of items (if you have them — Heloise).
Mail or fax claim documents to the TSA Claims Management Branch. Within three weeks, you should receive an acknowledgment letter with instructions. But the claim itself can take anywhere from two to six months to complete.
The TSA may not repack items as carefully as you had originally (if at all). So if something is important or valuable to you, put it in your carry-on or have it shipped directly to your house. -- Heloise
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San Antonio, TX 78279-5000
Dear Heloise: I love my children’s artwork and have a hard time throwing anything away. I read in your column about scanning the artwork into the computer. Such a helpful hint!
I have found that there are many Web sites (and even some drugstores) that can take your pictures and make them into a book. I did this with my kids’ work, and loved it so much that I made some for the grandparents. -- Sheila, via e-mail
Dear Heloise: I may have learned this from your column. I’m not sure, but it bears repeating. When potting plants, I put a coffee filter or a piece of landscaping fabric over the drainage holes. No more mud all over the patio when I water. -- Sue P., via e-mail
What a tried-and-true hint! Not only does it keep the dirt in, it also helps keep the hole from getting clogged and not draining. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Most grocery stores have a store directory you can get, or if you are a frequent shopper, you may know where to find things. Make your grocery list in the order of the store layout. If using coupons, have them in order of the list, and mark an item with a “c’’ or something to remind you that you have a coupon for that item.
Happy shopping. -- George in Texas
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