Consumer Information Blog - for 2014-June

Driving a deal on a used set of wheels

With the average price of a new car idling at over $31,000, you might be thinking about buying used. After all, the average price for a used car from a dealership is about $18,000. You can buy used cars through a variety of commercial outlets: franchise and independent dealers, rental car companies, leasing companies, used car superstores, and online. Of course, you can buy directly from an individual, too, but that route comes with limited consumer protections. Here are a few tips from the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Cosmetics company crosses the line(s)

Check out ads for some skincare products and you might have to flip back to the cover to see if you’re reading a beauty magazine or a science text. A company may use technical terms and say its claims are “clinically proven,” but the Federal Trade Commission is concerned that’s not always the case.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

A scam-free vacation

Heading out of town? Make sure you come back with a nice post-vacation glow and not a case of identity theft. Here are some things you can do to lessen the chances you’ll be a victim.

A call to collect, loaded with lies

The law is clear: debt collectors can’t use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices. Debt collectors who cross that line will end up in trouble with the FTC. That’s what happened to RTB Enterprises, Inc., a Houston company that collected debt as “Allied Data Corporation.” Collectors for Allied called people and pretended to be lawyers, made false threats to sue, and told lies to get people to pay unnecessary fees. Now Allied and its owner are the ones in court.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Librarians gather in Vegas, and the FTC is there

Next week, the city known for high-rolling gamblers, world famous entertainers, and The Mob Museum will host another fascinating and diverse group of people – librarians. Librarians serving students, scientists, historians, the military and communities across the country will be at the American Library Association’s 2014 Annual Conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

A “work at home” scheme that didn’t work

Claims you can “Make Big Money Working From Home!” can show up online, on utility poles in the neighborhood, even on your phone. Some promotions that sound promising are cover-ups for a con, like the sham payment processing business that took more than $5.4 million from people in less than a year. The FTC stopped the operation, and has reached a settlement with two individuals and six of the companies involved

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Home-based businesses: Do you really need these services?

The operators of a telemarketing scheme that allegedly took millions of dollars from people trying to start home-based businesses have agreed to settle charges brought by the FTC and the New York and Florida Attorneys General. As part of the settlement, the defendants are banned from selling business development services and work-at-home opportunities, and must surrender more than $15 million in assets.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

The latest scam targeting Spanish-speaking consumers

You know those commercials you see on national TV selling everything from clothing to electronics, even weight-loss products? It’s tempting to call the number on the screen, many of us do. When you place an order, you trust that the company you call will send quality products. But the latest scam targeting Spanish-speaking consumers shows that isn’t always what happens.

A handy consumer resource

How does a fixed rate mortgage compare to a variable rate mortgage?
What can you do about a store that doesn’t honor its refund policy?

What if you have a complaint about an insurance company?

The world can be a tricky place for consumers. It takes time and energy to research companies, compare products, and stay up-to-date on the latest scams. At times, it might feel like a full time job. The 2014 Consumer Action Handbook can help, and it’s now available to order or download for free.

It’s getting hot out there…

It’s plenty warm in much of the country, signaling the official start of the summer. Need some ideas on how to make the price tag linked to hot weather burn a little less? We’ve got some tips for you. 

Image of thermostat