Welcome to the FTC’s Home for Consumer Information

Looking for consumer resources from the FTC? They’re at consumer.ftc.gov, a new URL for information from the nation’s consumer protection agency.

What’s different? The site is dynamic and integrates a slew of features, including videos and games, better search results, and a blog. The information has been streamlined to highlight actionable, practical tips about a wide range of topics — from getting your free credit reports, buying a car, and protecting your personal information all the way to evaluating claims for weight loss products, judging potential business opportunities, and dealing with those irritating, illegal robocalls. A new Scam Alerts page features blog posts, searchable by topic, that can save you money, headaches, and time.

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Comments

What are the rules on unsolicited text messages to the cell phone listed on the do not call directory? I am getting unsolicited text messages, and I have to pay for them. Can I file a complaint?

Hi, Regina, the FCC handles complaints about unwanted text messages. You can find tips and advice about that here: www.fcc.gov/guides/spam-unwanted-text-messages-and-email

I am a veterinarian who has to purchase items in bulk (because that is the only way they are packaged ie 10 boxes in a carton) and try to look for the good deals like promotions. I also want to stock up for when things go on back order, which happens often; however, I recently have been put on a 'do not sell to list' from Elanco, makers of Reconcile, Asurity, Comfortis and Trifexis. The same company Bayer just litigated against. Elanco never contacted me to say there was a problem but just told veterinary wholesaler they could sell to me. How are they allowed to do that? I have no written agreement with Elanco, how can they justify who they will and will not allow other companies to sell to?

Hi, The FTC has a factsheet about suppliers who refuse to sell products to certain businesses or individuals: http://www.ftc.gov/bc/antitrust/refusal_to_supply.shtm. You also might be interested in the FTC's recent Pet Medications Workshop, http://www.ftc.gov/opp/workshops/petmeds/index.shtml, where there was some discussion about suppliers. Finally, you might want to check with your local consumer protection office to see if there are any local laws that apply: http://www.usa.gov/directory/stateconsumer/index.shtml.

I recently reviewed my credit file with experian and I had disputed items in my file months ago and they have yet changed the report in which i was denied credit. I then called the reporting agency and tried to dispute the information again among other information that was disputed over 5 years ago and ask them to do a dispute on those items again because there was not response from the creditors. the credit reporting agency refused to reopen the case because they said they already did one investigation and they do not have to do another one. is this true??

Hi, you may want to take a look at our article, Disputing Errors on Credit Reports, www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0151-disputing-errors-credit-reports. You can dispute the item with the business, as well as with the credit reporting agency. If the agency doesn't remove the disputed information, you can ask that they include your statement about the dispute with your report. If you'd like to file a complaint, visit ftc.gov/complaint.

This has to be a scam right? A lottery frew my email address and I've won £1,000,000.00. I have never won much in my life..though I sured did get excited

Hi, scam artists often use lotteries and other prizes as bait. Here's a list of common email scams: www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0002-common-online-scams

I was just contacted about being a sweepstakes winner and asked to post a $750.00 dollar security to receive a envelope with my check in it. Is this real? The caller says he's calling from Consumer Protection, Wash. D.C. can you post a response? I'm new to computer use so bear with me. I'll return in 15 min.

Hi, Carl, you should never pay to receive a prize or lottery winnings. Scam artists may claim that you have to pay upfront for taxes, insurance, or other fees, but legitimate organizations will never ask you to pay for a prize or gift. You might be interested in our articles about Government Imposter Scams (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-imposter-scams) and Prize Offers (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0199-prize-offers).

Have a question, when you sign up for auto pay of a service with a credit card, isn't the company required to send a statement at least 10-15 days before it is due? This company charges your credit card account and then mails a statement 5-10 after the fact.

Hi,

It's true that if you have payments automatically deducted from your checking account and the payments vary each month, then you should receive a bill 10 days before the automatic debit takes place, but that doesn't necessarily apply to credit card accounts. You can read more about your rights for checking accounts here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0218-electronic-banking. On the other hand, there are protections for your credit card that allow you to dispute billing errors (for example, if you were charged the wrong amount, or charged twice). You can learn more about that in our article Fair Credit Billing: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0219-fair-credit-billing.

If you have a complaint about a specific company, please visit www.ftc.gov/complaint to report it. The blog is a great place to let us know about consumer protection topics that interest you, but we can't accept official complaints via blog comments. Thanks!

I recently refinanced by mortgage loan. It was not a pleasent experience. I would like to have someone review the papers. Where can I get help? My lending statement has "L paid mortgage insurance" but each month it is withdrawn from my escrow account. I was required to pay home owners insurance up front, but they also paid it through my escrow account. Where can I get help if I feel a mortgage company conduct is illegal or they have made errors in lending papers?

Hi, Debi,

You may want to have a lawyer review the paperwork. Our article, Hiring a Lawyer, might help: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0180-hiring-lawyer.

Also, there are non-profits that help provide legal services for low-income Americans. To find a local office, visit http://www.lsc.gov/find-legal-aid.

This is perfectly legal and correct. There is upfront mortgage insurance and upfront homeowners insurance. You then pay the ongoing insurances monthly through your escrow account. You are not being scammed.

I have a payment arrangement with a business and am keeping up with my payments to them. There is a new manager who wants to change the arrangement and make me pay everything now. Can he do that?

Is the FTC still providing hardcopy brochures and resources? If so, where on its website will I find the materials? Thank you.

Hi,

The FTC does provide printed resources. To view and order materials, please visit www.ftc.gov/bulkorder. These same materials are featured throughout consumer.ftc.gov on the right hand side of the page. You also can print any article directly from consumer.ftc.gov by clicking on the print icon.

By the way, you might be interested in our page for consumer advocates: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0010-consumer-advocates

My elderly mother was recently approached by midwest public insurance adjusters company in which they would make repairs on her home free of charge.So they put in a claim in to her home insurance policy which approved a certain amount for the repairs but the company"midwest public insurance adjusters company did not come out and made any repairs and kept over $1200.00 off the money approved by her insurance company.Can the FTC help her get that money back to make the repairs needed?

Federal Trade Commission
http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog
Re: Annual Percentage Rate - Payday Loan – Truth in Lending Act of 1968
Your Web Site http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0097-payday-loans
I am a lone consumer advocate for the TRUTH being used in the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) of 1968 by using the mathematically-true method of expressing the Annual Percentage Rate. On your website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0097-payday-loans you state the APR on a payday loan to borrow $100 with a $15 fee (finance charge, better name called “periodic interest”) for 14 days is 391%, without illustrating the mathematical calculation. That APR is in accordance with the simple-interest method stipulated best in TILA at Part 226, Appendix J(b)(1) http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/6500-1950.html#fdic6500appendixjtopart226 “The annual percentage rate shall be the nominal annual percentage rate determined by multiplying the unit-period rate by the number of unit-periods in a year.” [Emphasis supplied]´ The SIAPR calculation is (using Excel mathematical symbols: add +, subtract -, multiplying *, divide /, compound ^) 15% * 365/14= 391.071%. Three decimal are shown since TILA states that the APR stated shall be within one eight of one percent (0.125%) from the actual APR. One decimal would do. The mathematical true APR is the Compound APR (CAPR), historically called the Effective APR, is the rate for a period compounded for the number of periods in a year. Using that compound method the mathematically-true APR, the CAPR, is 3,723.661%, calculated as the ((1+0.15)^(365/14) -1)*100. The mathematically true CAPR is not merely close to the tolerance of 0.125% from the SIAPR, it is 26,660 of that tolerance of 0.125%, calculated as (3723.661%-391.071%)/0.125%. Augmenting that incorrect method is the word “nominal” which is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary © 1968 and Webster’s Dictionary © 1958, both define “nominal” as “not real or actual.” Who put that truthful word “nominal” in the sentence? Probably Senator William Proxmire (Democrat), author of the legislation on TILA. (He did not accept political donations.) In 1974 I wrote to a finance professor at Purdue, who gave seminars before and after the TILA law on Truth in Lending. I stated that TILA should use the CAPR. I have his return letter of 10/8/1974 in which he stated that the compound method was correct, but he was involved in the selection in TILA and because of the cost of computing [compounding] the simple-interest method was selected. Back then rates were low and periods were long (monthly or longer). At those conditions, up to 5.5% monthly, the SIAPR was within the tolerance. But now for conditions as a payday loan or overdraft the differences in the SIAPR and CAPR are astronomically different. A overdraft fee of $35 for an overdraft over $5.00, which has to be paid in 7 days, has a CAPR of 12,293,970,845,101,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000% (calculated as (((1+(35/5))^(365/7))-1)*100. The overdrawl, itself alone, did not change the New Worth of the lender since the Asset, “Deposits” is reduced and the Liability, “Owed to depositors” is reduced. But the lender’s Net Worth is increased of $35. The Return on Asset is the percent above. The expression of the CAPR should be required on the overdrawl notification. Notification of overdraft should be presented to the borrower before an overdraft transaction is completed.

What are the consumer rights to providing account numbers to mortgage loan underwriters? Are there any guidelines that FTC can provide as what can be requested by the loan companies?

I've been requested by Chase underwriters to disclose my full bank account number even though I provided 3 months worth of statements that contain my name, address and the last 4-digits of the account. The 4-digits bank account is shown on my paycheck stubs.auto-deposit account and I've only show 4 digit on the loan application.

I'm hesitant in disclosing this information as anyone can easily use this number to make an ACH/online payment, or even create fake checks to steal directly from my bank account.

Is it customary or allowable to for a business to charge late fees on an account when there is a past due amount that is under an approved payement arranagment that is being met by the consumer?

What criteria is used in determining your credit score? Do they use every time there is an inquiry to your credit report and also if you cancel a credit card on your own not because of bad credit does your credit score get lowered

We recently went to an "open house" at Direct Buy. We signed the contract and paid a deposit. Something didn't seem right so 2 days later I called the corporate office (the local store was closed), and asked to cancel my contract. I was told I would have to contact the store. After many attempts and calls I was told the contract was not cancelable? Now I have the finance company wanting money. Is there anyway to get the contract cancelled since this business is a scam?

How can i protect my cell phone from unauthorized internet access when i no longer have a home computer or wireless internet at home etc.

Some cell phone companies will allow you to put a data block on the phone number.

How do I add additional information to a complain I filed with the FTC?

My ID Theft became more severe once it was reported to the credit bureaus. Experian - The Worst! Had 3-4 Scam Debt Coll. for same fraud a/c trying to collect from me! When on EXP. Site, I reviewed their products; most of which were expensive programs only for 'Debt Collectors': Stating - Catch your runaway debtor! So, telling the bureaus can work against you, because Scam artists search for people like me. it becomes 'let's Jump On the Band Wagon'. They send illegal summons, verbal threats; all of this on top of dealing with the theft! A Living Nightmare.

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