Sun-Protective Clothing: Wear It Well
It's important to understand the labeling information on sun protection products and shop carefully before heading to the beach, tennis court or park.
Taking the "Bait" Out of Rebates
Rebate offers can be irresistible to consumers, slashing the price of consumer goods at the time of purchase or promising partial or full reimbursements after the purchase.
All That Glitters... How to Buy Jewelry
Buying jewelry can be fun, exciting and confusing. Whether you're considering a gift of jewelry for someone special or as a treat for yourself, take some time to learn the terms used in the industry
Buying Gold and Gemstone Jewelry: The Heart of the Matter
If you're planning a gift of gold or gemstone jewelry for your sweetheart, take some time to learn the terms used in the industry. Start with the basics. Carats and karats. What's the difference? Simply put, a carat is a unit of weight for gemstones, including diamonds; a karat is a unit for measuring the purity of gold.
Website Woes: Avoiding Web Service Scams
If you're interested in using the Web to expand your small business, be cautious. Some unscrupulous companies, claiming to provide free web design and hosting services, are billing small businesses for services that were never authorized and have little value. The bogus charges usually appear on businesses' phone bills an illegal practice known as "cramming" or on fraudulent invoices.
Using Internet Access Products
Remember the days when a personal computer was the only product that would let you surf the Internet and send and receive email? They're history!
General Guide for Online Consumers
It can be difficult judging the quality of a business from thousands of miles away. To determine a websites reliability, you should rely on various factors, such as recommendations from family and friends or the sites membership in a trustmark or trust seal program.
Buying Cashmere? Avoid Pulled Wool
Cashmere. The very word evokes images of luxury, warmth and softness. The ultra-fine wool, from the undercoat of the Cashmere (or Kashmir) goat, is indeed a premium fiber - one that generally costs a good deal more than mere sheep's wool.
Buying a Washing Machine? It's a Load-ed Question
If you're in the market for a new washing machine, consider sinking your clothes into an energy-efficient one. It will not only conserve energy but, closer to home, can help lower your utility bills.
Shedding Light on Your Bulb Choices
You want it to provide the amount of light you need, to last a long time -- particularly if it's for a hard-to-reach place -- and not to "break the bank." You want it to be energy efficient as well. The fact is, new energy-efficient light bulbs can save money on your electric bill, while saving energy, too
Take Charge of Your Credit
The holiday shopping season is in full swing. Whether you're shopping online, by phone or at the mall, chances are you'll use a credit card for some of your purchases. The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips to keep in mind when you shop.
Petal Pushers: Is Your 'Local' Florist Really Long-Distance?
Flowers are a great way to celebrate a birthday, cheer up a sick friend, or simply brighten someones day. Your local florist is just a phone call away, or so you think. Some unscrupulous telemarketing firms are posing as local florists, charging you higher fees and taking business away from legitimate florists in your town.
TooLate.Com: The Lowdown on Late Internet Shipments
If the company is unexpectedly unable to ship as promised, it is required to provide adequate notice to consumers. Notices must be sent to the buyer promptly, with a revised shipping date. The consumer must be allowed to agree to the delay or cancel the order and receive a prompt refund.
Shopping for a Home Equity Loan?
If you decide that the timing’s right for a home equity loan, ask your friends or family for recommendations of lenders. Then, <strong>comparison shop</strong>. Comparing loan plans will help you get a better deal
Selecting Home Appliances
Purchasing home appliances can be mind boggling. With all the different manufacturers, models, and features offered, it's hard to know where to start. And since appliances account for 20% of your home's gas or electric bill, you have to consider energy efficiency as well. Before purchasing water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, or cooking appliances, read these tips from FCIC.
General Buying Tips - Before you buy
Before you spend another dollar, invest a few minutes reading this section of the Handbook. The Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) has brought together information from federal agencies and various consumer organizations to help you make smart choices and avoid scams.
General Buying Tips - Service Contracts and Extended Warranties
Sellers of cars, major appliances and other expensive items may try to sell you a service contract or extended warranty. Service contracts can add hundreds to your purchase price and are rarely worth the cost. Some duplicate warranty coverage you get automatically from a manufacturer or dealer.
General Buying Tips - Product Safety Recalls
Ready to buy a used vehicle or other second-hand product? Check to be sure it hasnt been recalled for safety reasons. Some recalls ban the sale of an item while others ask consumers to return the item for replacement or repair. Sometimes a seller provides a part that reduces the danger of using the product
General Buying Tips - Quick Consumer Tips
A savvy consumer is always on the alert for con artists and other shady efforts to separate you from your money. To protect your money and avoid being a victim of fraud, keep these things in mind
Internet Service Providers
With thousands of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offering to connect you and your computer to the Internet, choosing the ISP that is right for you can be overwhelming. Some ISPs are very large and well-knownlike AOL, MSN and Earthlinkwhile others are literally one-person operations. Some companies strictly limit their service to providing Internet access.
Many consumers are now able to choose both local and long-distance phone service providers. These companies offer many optional services such as voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, paging, and wireless services
As Gas Prices Rise, so do the Number of Scams
Gas prices are reaching all time highs. So too is the volume of advertising for "gas-saving" products, designed to appeal to consumers looking for ways to improve fuel efficiency. Although there are practical steps car owners can take to increase gas mileage, the Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be wary of gas-saving claims for automotive devices or oil and gas additives.
Tips to Avoid Online Escrow Fraud
If you purchase "big ticket" items at online auction or classified ad sites, you probably know the value of using an online escrow service. For a small fee, it will hold your payment until you confirm that you received the product you were promised within an agreed upon period of inspection.
Is A New Computer on Your Shopping List?
When determining how best to dispose of your electronic equipment, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips.
What to Watch Out for when Purchasing Disposable Credit and Gift Cards
Disposable credit cards and gift cards, also known as pre-paid or pre-denominated cards, have become very popular. These cards are usually sold by retailers, banks and major credit card companies
Travel Insurance ?Is it Necessary?
Before you finalize your vacation plans for the summer, be sure you have given careful thought to whether you need to purchase travel insurance. There are circumstances that could cause you to cancel your trip, return home early or force you to seek emergency medical treatment while traveling.
Cellular Service Plans - Which is Right for You?
Cellular phones can be extremely useful, but to be cost-effective you must choose a service plan with the options that best suits your needs. Service plans make up the bulk of cellular costs, so it would help to know what to expect when your bill arrives rather than be blindsided by unexpected fees.
Products and Services Offered to Protect Your Identity
Thousands of Americans are victims of identity (ID) theft each year. The sad part is, most ID theft victims do not know how or when their identity was stolen. They often find out when an irate creditor or collection agency calls or a credit card is declined. To help consumers protect their identity, a number of credit monitoring and insurance protection programs are being offered by some companies. But, are these products right for you?