Consumer Alerts

  • Avoid offers that seem "too good to be true."
  • Avoid impulse buying on major items.
  • Compare the price and quality of the merchandise at other retailers.
    Check with product quality magazines such as Consumer Reports or individuals that own and use the product or service.
  • Check to see if the business has the required business licenses.
  • Ask the business for references of previous customers.
  • Check on the reputation and reliability of the business being dealt with.
  • Contact the BBB or local regulatory agencies to ascertain the number and nature of the complaints filed against the business.
  • Make sure warranties, guarantees, contracts and alterations to contracts are in writing.
  • Read all advertisements, warranties, guarantees and contracts fully and carefully.
  • Know what the refund policy is.
  • Do not be pressured into buying; take your time.
  • If you purchase a product and are making payments over time, be aware of and understand all finance and interest charges, monthly payments, applicable fees and the total cost.
  • Make sure the purchased price matches the advertised price.
    Keep all receipts and documents of the transaction.
  • Keep an eye on all credit card transactions and retrieve the card promptly.
    If a problem arises, try to resolve the dispute with the business. Utilize the chain of authority to bring about resolution.
  • In order to help preserve your rights, and to help avoid the "he said, she said" cycle, telephonic communications should be summarized and written in a letter to the business. Certifying the letter is a good idea.
  • If you cannot resolve the dispute, file a small claims action, retain a private attorney, contact a mediation organization, or file a complaint with the local consumer protection agency or the applicable regulatory agency.
  • Do not be afraid to hang up on any unsolicited telephone call.

Beware of Telemarketers who:

  • use high pressure sales tactics.
  • insist on an immediate decision.
  • request a credit card number or social security number for anything other than a bona fide purchase.
  • wants to send someone to your home to pick up the money or requests that you send payment via overnight delivery.
  • make statements that something is "free" and then follows it by a requirement that you have to pay for something.
  • will not provide references that you can contact or any written information about the product, service, charity or the business itself.
  • ask many questions of a personal nature regarding your marital or financial status, social security number, date of birth, the makeup of your household, or your schedule or routine.
  • ask you to withdraw or transfer from your bank account to theirs.
  • play on your emotions, by telling you of personal hardships, crisis or "bad luck."
  • use a business name that sounds like a governmental agency.
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