Here you can learn how to avoid consumer scams, protect yourself when shopping on or using the Internet, learn about warranty and contract cancellation rights, and make smart decisions when buying a pet.
Email may feel like a private, one-to-one conversation safe from prying eyes, but email is about as confidential as whispering at the White House. Your messages can be intercepted and read anywhere in transit, or reconstructed and read off of backup devices, for a potentially infinite period of time.
Everyone who hops on the Internet or posts a website has to affiliate with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), a company that acts as a gatekeeper for access to the Web. An ISP can range in size from America Online (AOL) with millions of users, to a small Mom & Pop business with a server in the garage.
There are several federal laws that allow you to cancel certain contracts within a few days of signing them. These laws are sometimes called "cooling-off rules" and apply to contracts made during door-to-door or trade show sales, contracts for home equity loans, or delayed mail order or Internet purchases. In addition, some states' laws allow you to cancel contracts for health club memberships, dating services, and weight loss programs, among other contracts.
If you are buying an insurance policy, or making a claim on an existing policy, take steps to protect yourself. By understanding the details of your policy before you buy it, and then gathering appropriate information when you have a claim, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome. Here's
Every state has a consumer protection agency, and many cities and counties have similar agencies. Consumer protection agencies are a valuable resource to consumers. They perform all kinds of functions, including: educating consumers about their rights publishing pamphlets explaining state consumer protection
What rights does a person have if their picture was taken and then posted to an Internet website without permission? Is the person entitled to any of the website's profit? Can the person sue if the picture was uncomplimentary?
I bought my mother a $75 gift certificate for a facial about a year ago, but just discovered she never used it! The certificate has a six-month expiration date. Is there any way she can still redeem this?
What are the legalities of canceling a contract for which services are no longer required? Specifically, the contract was for the services of a matchmaker who would arrange for nine matches. However, after only three weeks and one match, the individual who had entered into the contract met someone -- not a client of the matchmaking service -- and no longer had need of the matchmaking service. Only about 50% of the service fee had been paid up front. Is the person obligated under the contract for the remainder of the service fee -- about $800? The matchmaker has threatened to take this person to small claims court if the balance is not paid.
I recently signed a contract with a health club: downpayment of $100 and $56 a month for three years. Later, I realized that I cannot afford to pay $56 a month. The health club says I cannot cancel the contract now and I have to pay the money regardless of whether I use the membership. What can I do?
My 15-year-old son signed a contract for cell phone service without my knowing. Now he's supposed to pay $29.95 a month for a year. He isn't paying (or using the phone) and the cell phone company keeps calling me to demand payment. What should I do?
I've been sent a number of DVDs that I've collected in a pile in my living room. I never ordered them and want to send them back. The DVD company keeps sending me bills that I don't think I should have to pay. What are my rights here?
Many of the laws controlling dog sellers are aimed at pet shops, but some also affect anyone who puts an "adorable puppies for sale" classified ad in the paper after the family dog has a litter of pups. Here are the basics. Special License Requirements If you keep more than a certain number of dogs,