Facts On Consumer Protection Fraud

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Warranties... Guarantees... And Your Rights

Warranties and guarantees are a manufacturer's or seller's promise to stand behind its product or service.

On most major products, warranties must be:

  • Easy to read and understand.
  • Available for consumers to look at before they buy the products.
  • Labeled either "Full" or "Limited."
  • A full warranty means:
  • A defective product will be fixed or replaced free of charge within a reasonable time.
  • Consumers will not have to do anything unreasonable to get warranty service.
  • If the product cannot be fixed, the consumer gets the choice of receiving a new product or a full refund.
  • The warranty is good for anyone who owns the product during the warranty period.
  • A limited warranty is anything that provides less coverage than a full warranty.

A limited warranty may:

  • Cover only parts and not labor.
  • Cover only the initial owner.
  • Allow charges for handling.
  • Require you to return the product to the store.

Implied Warranties

While a product might not have a written warranty, under state consumer rights laws, consumers are guaranteed certain implied warranties. A "warranty of merchantability" comes automatically with every sale and is the seller's promise that a product is fit for its ordinary use. A "warranty of fitness for a particular purpose" is created if a consumer buys a product relying on the seller's advice that it can be used for a particular purpose.

1. Before hiring a home improvement contractor, check out the person's references, make sure they have a local, fixed address, and always get a written contract that explains the terms of your agreement.

2. If someone promises you that you are guaranteed to get a loan or other credit, and asks for a fee in advance, don't do it!! It's against the law to charge an up-front fee (except for a credit report and appraisal for a mortgage).

3. Watch out for the real cost of magazines being sold by telephone or door-to-door they are usually very expensive. Get a copy of a written contract before you agree.

4. If you don't know who the person on the other end of the phone really is, do not give out your credit card or bank account number unless you are sure you want to buy. Never give out your credit card or bank account number unless you are sure the person you are speaking with represents the company or group you choose to do business with.

5. You do not have to pay for information about job vacancies with the U.S. Government or Postal Service. And, there are no "hidden" or "unadvertised" jobs with the Government or Postal Service.

6. Watch out for fraud on the Internet!! Just because it's advertised or posted on-line doesn't mean it's legitimate. Be cautious about giving out credit card numbers and other important information. Scam artists work the Internet, too!

7. Pre-paid funeral and burial contracts can save you money and heartache. If you are considering purchasing funeral or burial needs in advance, take your time and shop around. Ask for everything in writing before you agree to buy and check out the seller and the deal before you buy.

8. There are no risk free, high return investments. If the deal is alleged to be foolproof, guaranteed and only available for a day or two, walk away and save your money for a legitimate investment. Get advice from family members or a trusted professional before you invest.

9. If your car needs repair work, take it to a garage you know and trust, or find one by asking friends and relatives. Get the estimate in writing. Repairs and costs cannot exceed the estimate without your prior approval.

10. There are no "quick and easy" ways to lose weight. Weight loss takes time and effort. Be wary of exaggerated claims and long term financial commitments. Talk to a health professional about diet programs before you spend money.

11. Make sure your toll-free call is really toll free. Although 800 and 888 numbers start out at no charge, pay attention to the recorded instructions, because the call might be changed to a toll call. If you don't want to be charged, hang up before charges start.

12. Watch out for phony or unscrupulous charitable solicitations, especially by telephone. Ask for information in writing before committing to a donation and before you give out your credit card information. Many phony charities have names that sound like legitimate ones, so be careful. Check out the charity before you give.

13. Just because a group has "police" or "firefighter" in its name doesn't mean its members are police officers or firefighters. Watch out for solicitors especially telephone solicitors asking for money for those groups. Many times the money goes in the pockets of the solicitors instead.

14. Debt collectors cannot harass you or call you at work if you tell them that such calls are not permitted. If you contest the debt, do so in writing to the debt collector and the debtor. Do not ignore efforts to collect legitimate debts you owe, as that can lead to long-term harm to your credit rating.

15. There is no way to "repair" a legitimate bad credit history. It is illegal for someone to charge money in advance to clean up your credit history. It is also illegal to create a new "credit identity." There is no such legal program, and trying to change your credit identity violates numerous state and federal laws.

16. Be alert for criminals invading your home by telephone. Telemarketing scams steal more than $40 billion dollars a year from Americans. If you don't know the person, hang up!!!

17. Have you been called and told you've won a prize, but eventually you've been asked to make a purchase or donation, or send money for taxes, handling and the like? That's illegal!! Don't give out credit card or bank information, and hang up at once!!

18. If you have lost money to fraudulent telemarketers, be wary of people calling you and offering to help you get that money back. Usually it's for a fee in advance, and that is illegal. Almost always, that's someone who is connected with the person who ripped you off the first time. Hang up!!


 

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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