Become a knowledgeable consumer, avoid fraud, and make wise consumer decisions. Whether you are buying a car, traveling abroad, or worried about internet scams, arm yourself with valuable information from these consumer-friendly websites.
Nolo's Consumer Protection Section
Check out Nolo's Consumer Protection section to learn about buying, selling, and leasing cars, consumer warranties, identify fraud, travel scams and tips, banking and credit cards, canceling contracts, and more. The articles and FAQs contain useful information, tips, and links to help you become a savvy consumer, avoid fraud, and take appropriate action when you do encounter trouble.
Consumer Action, Federal Citizen Information Center
This consumer-friendly website has links to state, county, and local consumer protection offices and local Better Business Bureau offices and information on how and where to file a consumer complaint. From the website, you can print a sample complaint letter and order or download the Consumer Action Handbook, which contains lots of information about consumer and credit issues.
National Consumer League's Fraud Center
If you are the victim of telemarketing or internet fraud, you can fill out an online complaint form and the Fraud Center will forward it to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. The site also has tips on how to avoid telemarketing fraud, internet fraud, and scams against businesses and the elderly.
Visit this site to order your annual free credit report from all three credit bureaus. Also has FAQs about reporting credit fraud, placing a fraud alert on your account, disputing information on your credit report, and ordering reports more than once per year.
For a small fee, you can obtain your FICO score, understand the factors affecting it, and learn how to improve and protect it. MyFICO's financial help center has lots of information on auto loans, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, and avoiding credit and identity fraud.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
On the BBB's website, you can file a complaint against a local business, view national complaint statistics, and find out the complaint history and BBB standing of a certain business. The BBB also mediates some disputes between consumers and member businesses, and runs the BBB AutoLine program, a mediation and arbitration program for car warranty disputes.
Consumer Reports has been a leader in product reviews for many years, providing information about the quality and reliability of large and small electronics, appliances, home and garden products, baby and toddler equipment, and more. Its annual Car Buying issue has been a consumer favorite for many years. Its money section provides information about banking and credit, personal investing, travel, and retirement products.
Kelly Blue Book (KBB)
Find the value of your used car by checking the Kelly Blue Book online. Or find out what your dealer paid for the new car you plan to buy. Read car reviews, compare cars using the KBB online tool, or order the CARFAX vehicle history of a particular car.
Lots of online information about buying and selling cars, spotting car sales scams, how to get a good deal on car insurance, financing a vehicle purchase, and more. Also check out Edmunds's new car buying guides and car reviews.
The Center for Auto Safety
Learn about automobile manufacturer secret warranty programs, discover typical defects for various car makes and models, and file and view complaints about car warranty issues. This website also provides links to each state's auto lemon laws.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
This government website has information about the latest vehicle and equipment recalls, as well as consumer guides on safe driving and vehicle safety.
This website has loads of online calculators for mortgages, auto loans, credit card payment and interest, investment, retirement savings, college financing, and more. You can also shop for credit cards, mortgages, and other financial products, while comparing rates and terms.
Tons of downloadable pamphlets in many languages on consumer topics such as banking basics, buying cars and car insurance, credit issues, and more. It also has pages of links to consumer resources and an online complaint form.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC's consumer protection center has information about identity theft, buying a car, consumer credit and loans, and telemarketing. You can also report identify theft and file an identity theft complaint with the FTC.
U.S. Department of State, Travel Information
Information about obtaining passports and visas, what to do if your passport is stolen, travel warnings in foreign countries, and tips for traveling abroad.
National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)
NCLC's "For Consumers" section has consumer education brochures, links to consumer information and resources, and a center devoted to student loans.
Federal Trade Commissin (FTC) Teaser Pages
Click on the links in these fake advertisements, and the FTC will give you the truth about lending schemes, diet and diabetes product claims, over-the-counter impotency drugs, and work-at-home rip-offs. The FTC also provides tips on how to spot and avoid these frauds.