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By Pam Leibfried
Sunday was World Consumer Rights Day. It is commemorated on this date because on March 15, 1962, the U.S. Congress approved the first Bill for Consumer Rights, as championed by President John F. Kennedy. In honor of this anniversary, today I’d like to share with you some tips and resources that will help you to ensure that your rights as a consumer are protected when it comes to your financial transactions.
Read the fine print when you sign any financial document! Is the “free” offering only free for the first 60 days and after that, you’ll be automatically enrolled at a high monthly fee? Does the “low-low rate” for the loan only apply for the first six months, and then the rate skyrockets? If you only read the inch-high headline at the top of the ad, you may not know what you’re really signing up for. Keep in mind this old expression: Let the buyer beware! [Quick tip: Although the magnifying glass headline was a joke, if you do need some magnification to read small type, check at craft stores; I found a 5”x7” magnifying sheet in the embroidery aisle of a craft store, and it was dirt cheap.]
Before you make a big purchase, do some quick research online. If you’re unfamiliar with the company, check to see if the Better Business Bureau has received a lot of complaints about it. Do online reviewers mostly trash it? If so, that great deal may come back to bite you.