BBB celebrates National Consumer Protection Week

national-consumer-protectionNational Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a coordinated campaign that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions. NCPW 2015 will take place March 1 through March 7, 2015.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) helps people find and recommend businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Thousands of people turn to BBB as the preeminent resource on businesses. Our goal is to go the extra mile in encouraging consumers to take full advantage of their rights.

As part of National Consumer Protection Week, BBB is offering these tips:

  1. Always check out a business with BBB first. Go to bbb.org/central-texas to see a company’s BBB Business Review. A BBB Business Review will tell you how many complaints a company has received, whether the company responded to the complaints, licensing information, ad-related issues and more. You can also find a trustworthy business using BBB Member Pages, which lists local BBB Accredited Businesses by industry.
  2. Get everything in writing and always read the fine print. Contracts are meant to protect businesses and consumers by outlining the terms of the agreement. While it’s natural to want to skim through parts of the long-written terms and conditions, it is important that customers fully understand their rights and what they’re agreeing to. Whenever signing a contract, BBB recommends reading the fine print carefully—even if it means taking it home and sleeping on it.
  3. Protect your identity—and your pocketbook. Fighting identity theft means staying vigilant online and offline. Always shred sensitive documents that include personal financial information such as bank, credit card and Social Security numbers. Monitor your financial accounts closely to quickly detect suspicious activity. Shop online through secure sites by looking for the “s” in “https”. Always confirm that the business is trustworthy before entering your credit or debit card number.
  4. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Scammers know it’s extremely difficult to track money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union, so never wire money to someone one you don’t know. More troubling for victims is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get your money back once it’s been sent via wire. Even if you’ve been given a check to cover the amount you’re wiring, never send money to someone you don’t know personally. The check could be fraudulent, leaving you liable for the money.
  5. Do your research. If you’ve been a victim of a scam or treated unfairly by a business, there are many organizations and government agencies you can turn to for help. You can file a complaint with your BBB at www.bbb.org/central-texas or the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
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