All posts tagged consumer rights

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Friday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Friday!

It’s National Consumer Protection Week! Direct Selling Association member companies of the direct selling industry have long been consumer protection supporters, which is why we’re excited to promote this important event each year. You can learn more about avoiding fraud and scams in the marketplace on our National Consumer Protection Week 2015 page here. And tell your friends on social media, too, by using the hashtag #NCPW2015.

To help you learn a bit more about how the direct selling industry protects consumers and consultants, we’re having a contest! Visit our site each day this week to enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card! We’re giving one away each day this week, Monday – Friday, March 2-6, 2015.

To enter, answer the question below. We’ll choose one correct answer at random to win. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Carrie, our winner for Friday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Wednesday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Wednesday!

It’s National Consumer Protection Week! Direct Selling Association member companies of the direct selling industry have long been consumer protection supporters, which is why we’re excited to promote this important event each year. You can learn more about avoiding fraud and scams in the marketplace on our National Consumer Protection Week 2015 page here. And tell your friends on social media, too, by using the hashtag #NCPW2015.

To help you learn a bit more about how the direct selling industry protects consumers and consultants, we’re having a contest! Visit our site each day this week to enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card! We’re giving one away each day this week, Monday – Friday, March 2-6, 2015.

To enter, answer the question below. We’ll choose one correct answer at random to win. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Wednesday’s winner, Carmen M. Garrett!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Monday!

National Consumer Protection Week Contest 2015 – Monday!

It’s National Consumer Protection Week! Direct Selling Association member companies of the direct selling industry have long been consumer protection supporters, which is why we’re excited to promote this important event each year. You can learn more about avoiding fraud and scams in the marketplace on our National Consumer Protection Week 2015 page here. And tell your friends on social media, too, by using the hashtag #NCPW2015.

To help you learn a bit more about how the direct selling industry protects consumers and consultants, we’re having a contest! Visit our site each day this week to enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card! We’re giving one away each day this week, Monday – Friday, March 2-6, 2015.

To enter, answer the question below. We’ll choose one correct answer at random to win. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Monday’s winner: Suzi Israel!

DSEF & BBB: Back to School? Shop Smart!

DSEF & BBB: Back to School? Shop Smart!

back-to-school-150x150By Kelsey Owen

Getting ready to go back to school? Join the crowd! In 2012, $83.8 billion dollars were spent on back-to-school shopping in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation. That breaks down to the average person spending around $688.62 on their children in grades K-12.

Of course, not everyone will spend that much, but before you dive into buying new clothes and supplies, check out these back-to-school budget tips from BBB:

Make a shopping list. Even if you don’t know the exact school supply list, you should get an idea of school clothing and other school needs. Make a list for each child, but start by “shopping at home” for items that you may already have left over from last year. For some items, it’s worth spending a bit more (a high quality backpack will last for years).

Create a budget. Do a quick price search online for the items on your list and add them all up. Be sure to clip coupons, and make note of discount codes and any cash-back or rebate programs. If you goal is to reduce spending, now is the time to decide how much you want to cut.

Set up email alerts at your favorite stores. Monitoring pricing early on is key to finding good deals on quality products. Many sites will have an informed community of savvy shoppers on their blog or in their forums who willingly share deals, exclusive coupons, rebates and insider information on where and when to find the best prices, popular models and links to helpful resources. These alerts will assure you don’t miss out on the hottest, and/or limited, opportunities.

Take advantage of discounts. Many stores offer student and teacher discounts on hot items like laptops and uniforms. Retailers will be trying to make room for fall fashion and the newest models, so there are incredible savings to be had on older items.

Shop tax-free. Some states offer a tax-free holiday specifically for the back-to-school shopping rush in August. Check out the “2013 State Sales Tax Holidays” list to see if your state offers any tax-free shopping deals.

 

DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit www.bbb.org/us for more information.

DSEF & BBB: Before You Sell Your Electronics, Safeguard Your Personal Information!

DSEF & BBB: Before You Sell Your Electronics, Safeguard Your Personal Information!

blue_with_website-225x30022By Jason Mcglone

The market for used and refurbished electronics is understandably huge; it’s often a really good way to get a gadget for less than full price.  What’s more, you can still stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest in tablets, cellphones and computers.

Whether you’re selling or buying used or refurbished electronics, you’ll want to be thoughtful when it comes to personal information.  It’s vital to safeguard your personal information and to be sensitive of others’, as well.  If you don’t you could risk embarrassment at best and identity theft at worst.

If you’re selling a phone or computer, BBB recommends that you be sure that you wipe all the personally identifying information from it before you ship it off to the person, or business, to which you sold it.  This should be a fairly simple task that almost any competent user can achieve.

If you’ve never attempted to wipe the personal information from an electronic device, or would like to have a resource on hand to walk you through it just in case, the blog Lifehacker has guides on how to wipe your smartphone and the best approach to tidying up your computer.

Should you be in the market for used or refurbished electronic equipment, you might consider wiping its information before you begin any heavy usage.

For more information about selling or buying used and refurbished electronics, see the “Technology” category on the BBB.org Blog.

DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit www.bbb.org/us for more information.

DSEF & BBB: Trick Your Brain Into Saving Money

DSEF & BBB: Trick Your Brain Into Saving Money

Close-up of human hand inserting two euro coin into piggy bankBy Kelsey Owen

Looking to save a little money? You may want to try “tricking your brain.” According to a new report from Chase Blueprint, a specific section of the human brain lights up when we face a choice, such as, say, spending money on something that we know we shouldn’t. The report goes on to say that, “Only 25% of us are born with the ‘good’ variant of that gene. Some people are simply better than others at self-control, and neuroscientific studies have shed light on why this is the case.”

While science (read: SCIENCE!) shows that our brains are more likely to choose the self-indulging choice, there are ways to “trick our brains” into being smarter about money. Not convinced? Lifehacker has put together a few scientifically proven strategies to be a better financial version of yourself than you ever thought possible.

Adopt a new mantra. For this exercise, you’ll be using the help of a fancy scientific term known as a “heuristic,” which is essentially a rule of thumb that you live by to make decision-making easier. You probably already have many money heuristics that you abide by every day—whether you’re conscious of them or not. If you have bad money habits that you’d like to improve—from getting zinged by bank fees to overspending on gifts—come up with a specific heuristic to help you combat each one. Psychologists have found that we tend to feel poorly about ourselves for breaking the rule, even if we created it. Weird, but helpful.

Make saving a no-brainer. In an experiment called Save More Tomorrow, employees were asked to save more for retirement by signing up for a 401(k), then voluntarily increasing contributions by a set amount every few months. The results? Over the course of 28 months, the average participant’s savings rate jumped from 3.5% to 11.6%. By having the money come directly out of their paychecks, before it hit their bank accounts, the participants never missed the money. Essentially, they bypassed the portion of their brains that loves temptation and activated the slow-thinking region that promotes self-control.

You, too, can apply this bit of trickery to any savings goal. Simply pick a start date, set calendar alerts for set times when you want to up your contributions, and then sit back and watch your balance grow. Certain banks and brokerages will even automate the process for you by letting you program a percentage amount by which you can increase your contributions over time.

Pick a plan and stick to it.  Have debt to pay off? There’s a way to outsmart your brain here too. Researchers chalk the success up to three factors: choosing a particular plan, committing to the idea of allocating a certain amount to repayment each month and engaging peer support (read: those telephone or email reminders from friends). Once again, effort trumped any underlying genetics.

Spend on your best self. To make your money behave the way you want it to, you need to first decide who you are and then make your budget obey that identity.  It can be hard to just “save” blindly or “not spend so much” when you don’t have a larger goal driving you. But if you’re someone who believes that providing for your children is important, you’ll be a lot more likely to make financial decisions align with your principles. Humans have a desire to see themselves in a certain light, and we’ll reject anything that conflicts with that reality. It’s a phenomenon known as identity reinforcement theory. In other words, you can override bad money behavior by adopting good habits that reflect the person you really want to be.

To read the full article, visit lifehacker.com/how-to-trick-your-brain-into-banishing-bad-money-habits-952152494.

 

DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit www.bbb.org/us for more information.

DSEF & BBB: Online Shopping Taxes to Be Implemented

DSEF & BBB: Online Shopping Taxes to Be Implemented

ecommerce3-150x150By Nicole Bradley

According to The Wall Street Journal, online purchases will soon be subject to taxes. The Senate has passed a bill putting an end to tax-free online shopping; however, the final vote is set to occur on May 6. This bill, titled the Marketplace Fairness Act, enforces states to require online sellers all over the country to collect sales tax on any online purchase made by their residents. In the past, online retailers have greatly benefited from not having to charge shoppers with sales tax. With this luxury coming to an end, Web stores are now part of corporate support helping to aid the passage of the new bill.

Chief Executive of eBay, John Donahoe, explains that this bill will damage smaller retailers in that it will treat them the same way larger merchants are treated; however, these larger merchants have greater tax-collection capabilities.

Is this fair? What do you think?

For more information visit, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324743704578445220306876996.html.

DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit www.bbb.org/us for more information.

DSEF & BBB: 7 Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen

DSEF & BBB: 7 Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen

Identity-Theft-150x150By Katie Burgoyne

Many people associate “Identity Theft” with a major security breach on their credit or debit card which results in the loss of thousands of dollars. Dramatics aside, identity theft is a very serious crime that happens more often than you would like to believe. Besides banking fraud, your identity can be compromised in a slew of other ways.

The first step towards protecting yourself is identifying where you are at risk.  An article by HowLifeWorks.com refers to some common channels through which fraud can occur:

  • Insurance – Someone uses your Social Security number to obtain the insurance they need, such as home, automotive, etc.
  • Medical – Someone uses your health insurance to get treatment, costing you money while placing incorrect and potentially harmful information in your medical records.
  • Criminal – A person gets arrested and is able to believably claim that they’re you. Then they jump bail, and the cops are hunting for you.
  • Driver’s License – Someone steals your license and makes a duplicate with their image.
  • Social Security – This gives thieves open control of your life, including buying houses in your name and then defaulting on the loans.
  • Synthetic – A person uses information from numerous victims, creating a new bogus identity; this makes it extremely difficult to figure out what’s going on and how many victims are involved.
  • Child – Most children have Social Security numbers, but we seldom check to see if they have a credit file. That means criminals can use their identity for years and never be caught.

To read the full article, visit http://www.howlifeworks.com/finance/7_Ways_to_Have_Your_Identity_Stolen_379.

DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit www.bbb.org/us for more information.

DSEF & BBB: The “Skinny” on Weight Loss Advertising

DSEF & BBB: The “Skinny” on Weight Loss Advertising

blue_with_website-225x30022By Melanie Alakkam

It’s almost swimsuit season, and the weight loss industry is energized!  Marketdata Enterprises forecasts the US weight loss industry will reach $66 billion in 2013. Most people aspire to have that “bikini body” by summer.  With so many diets, weight loss programs, and pills on the market today, which plan or program is right for you?

Advertisers should be prepared to show the facts that claims are based on. Here’s where BBB plays a role, by asking businesses to show substantiation for claims in advertising.

In its ongoing review of advertising, BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas recently reached out to Bouari Clinic of Frisco, TX. The clinic offers a weight loss assistance program. BBB asked for proof of these claims:

  • The average male patient loses up to 1 pound of fat per day.  
  • The average female patient loses up to ½ to ¾ pounds of fat per day.
  • The average female may expect to lose about 25 lbs in 40 days and the average male may expect to lose about 35 lbs in 40 days.
  • Bouari Clinic Advantage Oral Spray regulates and improves the function of organs and glands to normalize their activity… to stimulate healthy weight-loss by way of hormonal balance and improved function.

The BBB Code of Advertising states that advertisers should be prepared to substantiate any claims before publication, and also states that claims about performance, efficacy, and results should be based on recent and competent scientific data.

Ultimately, Bouari Clinic of Frisco failed to substantiate, modify or discontinue the scientific and results-oriented weight-loss claims that were challenged by BBB in Dallas.

Similar concerns were raised by BBB serving Southern Nevada with the franchisor, Bouari Clinic, LLC, but there was no response.

With so much invested in weight loss each year, both financially and emotionally, BBB recommends doing some research on a company prior to transacting business.   It’s easy to check out a business at www.bbb.org or use the free BBB iPhone app, www.bbb.org/iphone.

One place to start is to weigh the claims made about a weight loss product. As the saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” What kinds of claims should you look out for? Beware of promises like these:

  • Lose without diet or exercise!
  • Eat all your favorite foods!
  • Instant weight loss, guaranteed!
  • Just take a pill (or shake or bar)!
  • Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!

Be leery of programs that promise you will lose weight without diet and exercise. The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about short-term dietary changes. It’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses. For more tips, see “Weighing the Claims in Diet Ads” from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Contact your Better Business Bureau if you find or fall victim to advertising claims that are “too good to be true”.

 

DSEF and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit www.bbb.org/us for more information.