2010 Consumer Action Handbook by rltinc

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2010 Consumer Action Handbook. The General Services Administration (GSA) updates and publishes this valuable resource every year. In this handbook, the GSA’s Office of Citizen Services brings you the latest information on your consumer rights and responsibilities.

More Info
									                                    January 2010


Welcome to the Consumer Action Handbook. The General Services
Administration (GSA) updates and publishes this valuable resource every
year. In this handbook, the GSA’s Office of Citizen Services brings you the
latest information on your consumer rights and responsibilities.

I know many American families are struggling to make ends meet, and have to
stretch every dollar. That is why educating and protecting American consumers
is a top priority of my Administration. Publishing this handbook provides critical
information about successfully managing your money, preventing identity theft,
filing a consumer complaint, and other practical information that will be
important to you.

I urge you to take full advantage of this helpful resource to strengthen your
personal financial health and make good decisions in the marketplace.




                                                                                                       GSA Administrator



                                       January 2010

                                       I am delighted to introduce you to the 2010 edition of the Consumer Action
                                       Handbook. This valuable resource, published by the U.S. General Services
                                       Administration (GSA), Office of Citizen Services gives you the most current
                                       information on all your consumer needs.

                                       Additionally, the entire handbook, with hundreds of useful links to online
                                       resources at the Federal and State government levels is available at
                                       www.ConsumerAction.gov or in Spanish at www.Consumidor.gov.

                                       The handbook is just one example of how GSA works to make Federal
                                       information resources readily available to citizens. We strive to make
                                       Government accessible for all citizens, whether online on www.USA.gov or by
                                       phone at 1 (800) FED INFO (333-4636).

                                       Sincerely,




                                       Stephen R. Leeds
                                       Acting Administrator



                                                                                      U.S. General Services Administration
                                                                                      1800 F Street
                                                                                      Washington, DC 20405-0002
                                                                                      www.gsa.gov




                                                                                                                             i
     Table of Contents
PART I: BE A SAVVY CONSUMER  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1                                                        Preventing Online Fraud  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
                                                                                                                                     Spam  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 33
BUYER BEWARE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1                               INVESTING  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 33
 Before You Buy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1                 Online Trading  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 35
 Service Contracts and Extended Warranties  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1                                                                 Financial Brokers and Advisors  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 35
 Product Safety Recalls  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 1
 Identifying and Stopping Fraud  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2                                          PHONES  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 36
 After You Buy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2               Slamming and Cramming  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 36
BANKING  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2                Cell Phones  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 37
                                                                                                                                     Pay-As-You-Go Plans  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 37
 ATM / Debit Cards  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 2                       VoIP  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 38
 Prepaid Cards  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 3
 Savings And Checking  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4                               PRIVACY PROTECTION & IDENTITY THEFT 38
 Unsolicited Checks And Credit Offers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4                                                       Reporting Identity Theft  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 38
CARS .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5        Protecting Your Privacy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 38
                                                                                                                                     Financial Privacy .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 39
 Buying A New Car  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5                        Medical Privacy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 39
 Buying A Used Car  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5                          Online Privacy  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 39
 Dealer Versus Private Party Purchases  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6
 Leasing  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7     SMART HOME SHOPPING  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 40
 Recalls, Lemon Laws And Secret Warranties  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7                                                                    Your Rights: Shopping From Home  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 40
 Renting  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 8      Your Rights: 3-Day Cooling Off Rule  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .41
 Repairs  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9      Online Auctions and Sellers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 42
 Car Repossessions .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9                       TELEMARKETING & UNWANTED MAIL  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 42
CREDIT  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9           National Do Not Call Registry .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 42
 Credit Cards  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 10               Pre-Recorded Messages  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 43
 Credit Reports And Scores  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .11                                    Telemarketing Sales Calls  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 43
 Dealing With Debt  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 12                        TRAVEL  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 44
 Loans  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15    Resolving Air Travel Problems  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 44
FINANCING YOUR EDUCATION  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15                                                                Passports  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 46
 Paying for College 101  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15                             Travel Safety  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 46
 Student Financial Aid  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15                             TV  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 46
EMPLOYMENT  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16                              Cable  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 46
 Employment Agencies  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16                                Satellite  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
 Work-At-Home Companies  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .17                                       Internet TV  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
FOOD AND NUTRITION  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 18                                                UTILITIES  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
 Healthy Food Choices  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 18                               Electricity And Natural Gas  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
 Food Safety  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 18             Water  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
 Weight Loss  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 18               WILLS & FUNERALS  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
HEALTH CARE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 19                             Planning For The End Of Life  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
 Choosing A Doctor  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 19                            Wills  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 48
 Choosing A Healthcare Facility  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 20                                             Choose An Executor .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 49
 Prescription Drugs  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 20                        Funerals  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 49
 Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 21                                                          Veterans Cemeteries  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 50
HOUSING  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 21
 Buying A Home  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 22                      PART II – FIlINg A COMPlAINT  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 51
 Avoiding Foreclosure  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 24                           CONTACT THE SELLER  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                             51
 Moving Companies  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 25
 Home Improvement And Repairs  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 25                                                 CONTACT THIRD PARTIES  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                      51
 Renting / Leasing  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 26                      Dispute Resolution Programs  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                      52
                                                                                                                                     Small Claims Court  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                       53
INSURANCE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 27                         Legal Help And Information  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                    53
 Auto Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 27                   Report Fraud & Safety Hazard  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                        54
 Disability Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 28
 Health Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 28                      SAMPLE COMPLAINT LETTER  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                                                             55
 Healthcare Plans  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 28
 Homeowner/Renter’s Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29                                              PART III – KEY INFORMATION RESOURCES  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 56
 Life Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29                  For Teachers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 56
 Long-Term Care Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29                                         For Persons with Disabilities .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 57
 Other Insurance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30                       For Military Personnel  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 57
INTERNET  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30
 Choosing Service Providers  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30                                       PART IV – CONSUMER ASSISTANCE
 Online File Sharing .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 31                       DIRECTORY  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 60
 Online Copyright Issues  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
                                                                                                                                    INDEx  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .161

ii                                                               To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
               Quick consumer Tips

                        Tips For Using This handbook
  PART I —BE A SAVVY CONSUMER                          PART III —KEY CONSUMER
  Read this section for advice before you make a       INFORMATION RESOURCES
  purchase. To quickly locate specific topics and      Look here for a list of public resources and
  information, look in the Table of Contents           contact information.
  (p. ii) and the Index (p. 161).

  PART II —FIlINg A COMPlAINT                          PART IV —CONSUMER ASSISTANCE
  Turn to this section for suggestions on              DIRECTORY
  resolving consumer problems. The sample              Here you’ll find contact information for
  complaint letter on page 55 will help you            corporate offices, consumer organizations,
  present your case.                                   trade groups, government agencies and more.


   VISIT US ONlINE              A searchable version of this Handbook is available online at
                                www .ConsumerAction .gov and in Spanish at www .Consumidor .gov.




As a savvy consumer, you should always be on the alert for shady deals and scams. To avoid becoming
a victim, keep these things in mind:
1. A deal that sounds too good to be true usually is! Be wary of promises to fix your credit problems
   (p. 13), low-interest credit card offers, deals that let you skip credit card payments (p. 11),
   work-at-home job opportunities (p. 17), risk-free investments (p. 35), and free travel (p. 44).
2. Don’t share personal information with someone you don’t trust. Learn how to recognize fraud by
   following the advice on page 2.
3. Beware of payday and tax refund loans. Interest rates on these loans are usually excessive. Even
   a cash advance on a credit card may be a better option. For more information, see page 14.
4. Real estate agents represent the seller, not the buyer. When buying, consider hiring an agent or
   lawyer to represent you (p. 22).
5. Home improvement (p. 25) and auto repairs (p. 9) are the subjects of frequent complaints. Getting
   a second opinion can help prevent costly mistakes and enable you to make better decisions.
6. Think twice before you rent-to-own. Interest rates on rent-to-own purchases can be very high. If
   you miss a payment, you could end up with nothing. Consider buying second-hand at a thrift shop
   or through ads in your local newspaper.
7. Be cautious of Buy Here, Pay Here lots. If you decide to buy a car from a used car lot, be sure to read
   all of the papers before you sign. Don’t sign contracts that allow the dealership to change the finance
   rate AFTER you leave the lot.
8. Don’t buy under stress. Avoid making big-ticket purchases during times of duress (e.g., coping with
   a death or debt).




         www.ConsumerAction.gov                                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov                  iii
                       parT i – Be a savvy consumer
    Before you spend another dollar, invest a few minutes reading this section of the Handbook to help you make
    smart choices and avoid scams.


    buyer beware                                                  SERvicE cOntRactS and
                                                                  ExtEndEd WaRRantiES
BEFORE YOU BUY                                                    Service contracts or “extended warranties” can add
                                                                  hundreds to your purchase price and are rarely worth
To avoid problems and make better decisions, use this
                                                                  the cost. Some duplicate warranty coverage you get
checklist BEFORE you make a purchase.
                                                                  automatically from a manufacturer or dealer. Ask these
•	 Decide	in	advance	exactly	what	you	want	and	what	              questions before you agree to one of these contracts:
   you can afford.                                                •	 Does	the	dealer,	the	manufacturer,	or	an	
•	 Do	your	research.	Ask	family,	friends	and	others	you	             independent company back the service contract?
   trust for advice based on their experience. Gather             •	 How	are	claims	handled?	Who	will	do	the	work	and	
   information about the seller and the item or service              where it will be done?
   you are purchasing.
                                                                  •	 What	happens	to	your	coverage	if	the	dealer	or	
•	 Review	product	test	results	and	other	information	                administrator goes out of business?
   from consumer experts. See general resources in
                                                                  •	 Do	you	need	prior	authorization	for	repair	work?
   Part III (p. 56) or check the Handbook index (p. 161)
   for specific information.                                      •	 Are	there	any	situations	when	coverage	can	
                                                                     be denied? You may not have protection from
•	 Get	advice	and	price	quotes from several sellers.
                                                                     common wear and tear, or if you fail to follow
•	 Make	sure	that	the	seller	has	all	appropriate	                    recommendations for routine maintenance.
   licenses. Doctors, lawyers, contractors and other
   service providers must register with a state or local          PROdUct SaFEtY REcallS
   licensing agency (p. 122).
                                                                  Before you buy a used vehicle or other second-hand
•	 Check	out	a	company’s	complaint	record	with	your	              product, check the websites listed below to be sure it
   local consumer affairs office (p. 122) and Better              hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons. Some recalls
   Business Bureau (p. 65).                                       ban the sale of an item while others ask consumers to
•	 Get	a	written	copy	of	guarantees	and	warranties.	              return the item for replacement or repair. Sometimes, a
                                                                  seller provides a part that reduces the danger of using
•	 Get	the	seller’s	refund,	return	and	cancellation	              the product.
   policies.
                                                                  If you’re buying a product for a child, be especially
•	 Ask	whom	to	contact	if	you	have	a	question	                    vigilant. Each year, there are about 400 recalls of
   or problem.                                                    children’s products such as toys, clothing and jewelry.
•	 Read	and	understand	any	contract	or	legal	                     Check the websites in the “Check Here For Recalls”
   document	you	are	asked	to	sign.	Make	sure	there	               box for the latest safety recalls. You can also
   are no blank spaces. Insist that any extras you are            sign up for free e-mail notifications at
                                                                  www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. It could save a child’s life.
   promised be put in writing.
•	 Consider	paying	by	credit	card.	If	you	have	a	
   problem, you can dispute a charge made on           ChECK hERE FOR RECAllS
   your credit card (p. 11).
                                                       •	 www .pueblo .gsa .gov lists both government and industry-
•	 Don’t	buy	on	impulse	or	under	pressure.	This	    initiated recalls.
   includes donating to charity.                 •	 www .recalls .gov lists government-initiated recalls, which are
                                                         gathered from federal agencies.
                                                       •	 www .nhsta .gov lists recalls and safety information on
                                                          vehicles and equipment.
                                                       •	 www .fsis .usda .gov lists recalls that involve meat,
                                                          poultry, or processed egg products.
                                                       •	 www .fda .gov lists recalls that involve food, medicines,
                                                          medical devices, cosmetics, biologics, and pet food.

1                             To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
idEntiFYing and StOPPing FRaUd




                                                                                                                           Banking
Look for these warning signs to avoid fraud:
                                                               FRAUD AlERT
                                                               Be on the lookout for these common scams:
•		You	are	asked	for	your	bank	account	or	credit	




                                                                                                                           Cars
   card number.                                                Fake Check Scams – you discover the check is
                                                               worthless after you’ve deposited it and wired money
•	 Someone	you	don’t	know	offers	you	the	chance	




                                                                                                                           Credit
                                                               back to the crook.
   to receive a credit card, loan, prize, lottery or other     Sweetheart Swindles – criminals befriend you
   valuable item, but asks you for personal data to            in online chat rooms or dating sites then request




                                                                                                                           Education
   claim it.                                                   money as a favor, accident or travel expenses.
•	 The	solicitation	looks	like	a	government	document	          Auctions – beware of fraudulent sellers and bogus
   and suggests contest winnings or unclaimed assets           merchandise.




                                                                                                                           Employment
   are yours for a small fee. (The government doesn’t          Lotteries – don’t fall for foreign lotteries. They’re
   solicit money from citizens.)                               illegal to play and may be a scam.
•	 Someone	you	don’t	know	asks	you	to	send	money	              Advance Fee Loans and Credit – it’s illegal for
                                                               telemarketers to charge a fee in advance for help
   to claim a prize, lottery, credit card, loan, or other




                                                                                                                           Food
                                                               getting a loan.
   valuable offer.




                                                                                                                           Healthcare
•		An	unknown	caller	claiming	to	be	a	lawyer	or	in	law	
                                                             aFtER YOU BUY
   enforcement offers to help you get your money back
   (for a fee).                                              Even careful buyers can run into unforeseen problems
                                                             later on. To minimize them, follow these steps after
•		The	deal	is	only	good	“for	today”	or	a	short	period	




                                                                                                                           Housing
                                                             you buy.
   of time.
                                                             •	 Save	all	papers	that	you	get	with	your	purchase.	
•	 A	“repair	person”	suddenly	finds	a	dangerous	
                                                                Keep all contracts, sales receipts, canceled checks,




                                                                                                                           Insurance
   defect in your car or home.
                                                                owner’s manuals and warranty documents.
•	 You	are	given	little	or	no	time	to	read	a	contract.
                                                             •	 Read	and	follow	product	and	service	instructions.	
•		A	sale	item	is	suddenly	unavailable	but	a	“much	             The way you use or take care of a product might




                                                                                                                           Internet
   better item” is available for slightly more money.           affect your warranty rights.
•	 Someone	is	trying	to	scare	you	into	purchasing	




                                                                                                                           Investing
                                                              banking
   credit protection plans.
To learn more about avoiding identity theft and
fraud, go to page 38.
                                                             atM/dEBit caRdS




                                                                                                                           Phones
                                                             With a debit card and personal identification number
                                                             (PIN),	you	can	use	an	Automated	Teller	Machine	




                                                                                                                           Identity
 QUICK TIPS FOR AVOIDINg FRAUD                               (ATM),	to	withdraw	cash,	make	deposits,	or	transfer	
                                                             funds	between	accounts.	Some	ATMs	charge	a	fee	
 Don’t give out personal information .
                                                             if	you	are	not	a	member	of	the	ATM	network	or	are	




                                                                                                                           Shopping
 Be suspicious of anyone you don’t know who
 asks for your Social Security number, credit card           making a transaction at a remote location.
 number, bank account number, password or other              Retail purchases can also be made with a debit card.
 personal data.                                              You enter your PIN or sign for the purchase. Some

                                                                                                                           Telemarket
 Don’t be intimidated .                                      banks charge customers a fee for debit card purchases
 Be suspicious of callers who want you to                    made with a PIN. Although a debit card looks like a
 immediately provide or verify personal information.         credit card, the money for the purchase is transferred
 Tell them you’re not interested and hang up.                immediately from your bank account to the store’s
                                                                                                                           Travel




 Monitor your accounts .                                     account. When you use a debit card, federal law also
 Review bank and credit card statements carefully.           does not give you the right to stop payment. You must
                                                                                                                           TV




 Report unauthorized transactions to your financial          resolve the problem with the seller.
 institution immediately.
                                                                                                                           Utilities




                                                             If you suspect your debit card has been lost or stolen,
 Use a shredder .                                            call the card issuer immediately. While federal law
 Tear or shred credit offers you receive in the mail,        limits your liability for a lost or stolen credit card to
                                                                                                                           Wills




 bank statements, insurance forms and other                  $50,	your	liability	for	unauthorized	use	of	your	ATM	
 papers with personal information.                           or debit card can be much greater, depending on how
                                                                                                                           Index




                                                             quickly you report the loss.


                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                           www.pueblo.gsa.gov                    2
                                                                    PREPaid caRdS
    BEFORE YOU SwIPE YOUR DEBIT CARD                                Prepaid cards issued by banks and other government-
    Although both credit cards and debit cards are                  regulated organizations are a new way for consumers
    easy ways to pay for your purchases, debit cards                to make payments and conduct other financial
    have some different levels of consumer protection               transactions. There are plenty of situations where a
    and the potential for consumer fees. Debit cards
                                                                    prepaid card might be the most convenient choice, but
    are directly connected to your bank account, so
                                                                    be sure you understand the key terms and conditions
    when you swipe your card make sure that you have
    the money in your account to pay immediately. If                BEFORE you buy. Ask these questions when you are
    you don’t have enough money in your account, your               considering a prepaid card:
    bank may “loan” the money and pay the overage.                  •	 What	are	the	possible	fees	associated	with	using	
    However they may charge you up to $35 for this                     the card?
    courtesy, even if the amount they covered was
    for a small dollar amount. There may also be fees               •	 Where	can	the	card	be	used	(online,	at	ATMs,	
    applied to your card when you use your card with                   outside the U.S.)?
    your PIN.
                                                                    Reputable distributors of prepaid cards will give you
    Debit cards don’t offer as much protection against              the terms and conditions in writing or have them
    fraudulent use, or if your card is lost or stolen.              available on their website. If you don’t understand how
    Also, if you need to dispute a purchase, you are in a           your card works, ask for help where you purchased
    weaker position because the merchant already has                it, from your employer (if it’s a payroll card), or by
    the money and it will only be returned if you win the
                                                                    contacting the customer service number on the card.
    dispute.
                                                                    While the federal government does not guarantee
    Another idea to keep in mind is when you use your
    debit card to make reservations for hotels or rental            the same protections for all prepaid cards, many
    cars, a hold is placed on your debit card (and your             “branded” cards voluntarily carry protections that are
    checking account) which can affect your other                   the same as credit and debit cards. Cards with a major
    pending transactions. Even if the hold is removed,              credit card brand logo provide consumer protections,
    it may take as long as a week to make the funds                 such as replacing lost or stolen cards and re-crediting
    available to you again.                                         money after unauthorized use of the card.
                                                                    To obtain these benefits, you must follow the instructions
•	 If	you	report	a	debit	card	missing	before	it	is	used,	           for registering and activating your card. Be sure to record
   you are not responsible for any unauthorized                     your card information, including the customer service
   withdrawals.                                                     telephone number on the back of the card, so you can get
•	 Your	liability	is	limited	to	$50	if	you	report	the	loss	         a replacement if yours is lost or stolen.
   within two business days after you realize your debit            If you have a problem with a prepaid card, first contact
   card is missing and to $500 if you report the loss               the customer service number. If the problem still isn’t
   between two and 60 days.                                         resolved, you may want to file a complaint with the
                                                                    proper authorities:
•	 If	you	have	not	reported	an	unauthorized	use	of	a	
   debit	or	ATM	card	within	60	days	after	your	bank	                •	 For	cards	issued	by	retailers,	contact	the	FTC	
   mails the statement documenting the unauthorized                    (p. 114). You may also file a complaint with your
   use, you could lose all the money in your bank                      local consumer protection office (p. 122).
   account as well as the unused portion of your line of            •	 For	cards	issued	by	national	banks,	contact	the	
   credit established for overdrafts.                                  Comptroller of the Currency (p. 111).
Check the policies of your card issuer. Some offer                  •	 For	cards	issued	by	state	banks,	contact	the	
more generous limits on a voluntary basis.                             FDIC (p. 113) or state banking authority (p. 139).



                                                                     PROTECT YOUR PIN
                                                                     Beware of shoulder surfers. Be suspicious of
                                                                     anyone	lurking	around	an	ATM	or	watching	over	
                                                                     your shoulder while you use your card. Some thieves
                                                                     even use binoculars or cameras to steal your PIN. If
                                                                     you suspect criminal activity, walk away and use a
                                                                     different	ATM.




3                               To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
SavingS and chEcking                                      checks to clear before you can withdraw the money
                                                          from your account?




                                                                                                                         Banking
When it comes to finding a safe place to put your
money, there are a lot of options. Savings accounts,      Overdrafts . If you write a check for more money than
checking accounts, certificates of deposit and money      you have in your account, what happens? You may be




                                                                                                                         Cars
market accounts are popular choices. Each has             able to link your checking account to a savings account
different rules and benefits that fit different needs.    to protect yourself.




                                                                                                                         Credit
When choosing the one that is right for you, consider:    Bounced checks . It’s your responsibility to have
Minimum deposit requirements . Some accounts              sufficient funds in your account to cover checks that
                                                          you write. Your bank will charge you for insufficient




                                                                                                                         Education
can only be set up with a minimum dollar amount. If
your account goes below the minimum, the bank may         funds. Bounced checks can also blemish your credit
not pay you interest on the money you deposited and       record, so you may want to talk to your bank about
you may be charged extra fees.                            overdraft protection.




                                                                                                                         Employment
Limits on withdrawals . Can you take money out
whenever you want? Are there any penalties for            UnSOlicitEd chEckS and
doing so?                                                 cREdit OFFERS
Interest . How much (if anything) is paid and when?       If you cash an unsolicited check you’ve received in




                                                                                                                         Food
Daily, monthly, quarterly, yearly? To compare rates       the mail, you could be agreeing to pay for products
offered locally to those from financial institutions      or services you don’t want or need. In addition,




                                                                                                                         Healthcare
around the nation, visit www.bankrate.com.                those “guarantees” for credit cards or loans, without
Deposit insurance .	Make	sure	your	bank	is	a	member	      consideration of credit history, are probably a scam.
of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).      Legitimate lenders never guarantee credit. For more
                                                          information on how to identify fraudulent solicitations,




                                                                                                                         Housing
This organization protects the money in your checking
and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and IRA     see page 114 or visit www.ftc.gov.
accounts up to $250,000. For more information, see        Legitimate offers of credit often come in the form of




                                                                                                                         Insurance
page 113 or visit www.fdic.gov.                           “convenience checks,” which credit card companies
Credit unions . A credit union is a nonprofit,            enclose with your monthly statement. However, these
cooperative financial institution owned and run by its    convenience checks may carry higher fees, a higher
                                                          interest rate and other restrictions. If you don’t want




                                                                                                                         Internet
members. Like the FDIC does for banks, the National
Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures        them, be sure to shred the checks to protect yourself
a person’s savings up to $250,000.                        from dumpster divers and identity thieves.




                                                                                                                         Investing
Convenience . How easy is it to put money in and take     Contact the proper regulatory agency below.
it	out?	Are	there	branches	or	ATM	machines	close	to	
where you work and live? Can you bank by phone or                type of                 Regulatory




                                                                                                                         Phones
Internet?
                                                               institution                agency
If you are considering a checking account or another
type of account with check-writing privileges, add                                     Regulated by the Federal




                                                                                                                         Identity
these items to your list of things to think about:                                       Deposit Insurance
                                                             State chartered banks
                                                                                       Corporation (p . 113) and
Number of checks . Is there a maximum number                  and trust companies
                                                                                          by state banking
of checks you can write per month without incurring




                                                                                                                         Shopping
                                                                                         authorities (p . 139) .
a charge?
                                                                                           Regulated by the
Account and check fees . Is there a monthly fee for           Banks with National
                                                                                       Comptroller of Currency,
the account or a charge for each check you write?             in the name or N.A.

                                                                                                                         Telemarket
                                                                                       U .S . Department of the
Holds on checks . Is there a waiting period for                  after the name
                                                                                           Treasury (p . 111) .
                                                                                       Regulated by the Office
                                                              Federal savings and
  gOOD NEwS FOR gIFT CARDS                                                              of Thrift Supervision,
                                                                                                                         Travel



                                                               loans and Federal
                                                                                         Department of the
  Under the new Credit Card Accountability                       savings banks
                                                                                          Treasury (p . 112) .
                                                                                                                         TV




  Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, gift
  cards and other similar cards cannot expire within                                      Regulated by the
                                                              Federally chartered
                                                                                                                         Utilities




  five years from the date they were activated unless                                   National Credit Union
                                                                 credit unions
  the expiration date is clearly disclosed. The law                                     Administration (p . 115) .
  also prohibits an inactivity fee on gift cards except
                                                                                                                         Wills




  in certain circumstances, such as if there has been
  no transaction for at least 12 months.
                                                                                                                         Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                       www.pueblo.gsa.gov                       4
     Cars                                                            (www.edmunds.com). For more information, visit
                                                                     www.where-can-I-buy-a-car-online.com.

    Whether you are buying or leasing a vehicle, these               •	 Research	the	dealer’s	price	for	the	car	and	options.	
    tips will help you get the best deal and avoid                      It’s easier to get the best price when you know what
    problems.                                                           the dealer paid for a vehicle. The dealer invoice
                                                                        price is available on a number of websites and in
    •	 Decide	what	kind	of	vehicle	best	suits	your	needs	
                                                                        printed pricing guides. Consumer Reports offers
       and budget.
                                                                        the wholesale price: this figure factors in dealer
    •	 Check	out	the	seller.	For	car	dealers,	check	with	               incentives from a manufacturer and is a more accurate
       your state or local consumer protection agency                   estimate of what a dealer is paying for a vehicle.
       (p. 122) and Better Business Bureau (p. 65). If you’re
                                                                     •	 Find	out	if	the	manufacturer	is	offering	rebates
       buying from an individual, check the title to make
                                                                        that will lower the cost. For more information, visit
       sure you’re dealing with the vehicle owner.
                                                                        www.carsdirect.com and www.autopedia.com/html/
    •	 Take	a	test	drive.	Drive	at	different	speeds	and	check	          Rebate.html.
       for smooth right and left turns. On a straight stretch,
                                                                     •	 Get	price	quotes from several dealers. Find out if
       make sure the vehicle doesn’t pull to one side.
                                                                        the amounts quoted are the prices before or after
    •	 Handle	trade-ins	and	financing separately from                   rebates are deducted.
       your purchase to get the best deal on each. Get a
                                                                     •	 Avoid	low-value	extras	such	as	credit	insurance,	
       written price quote before you talk about a trade-in
                                                                        extended warranties, auto club memberships, rust
       or dealer financing.
                                                                        proofing and upholstery finishes. You do not have to
    •	 Shop	in	advance	and	compare	financing	options	                   purchase credit insurance in order to get a loan. See
       at your credit union, bank or finance company.                   Service Contracts and Extended Warranties (p. 1)
       Look at the total finance charges and the Annual                 and Credit Insurance (p. 9).
       Percentage Rate (APR), not just the monthly
       payment.                                                      BUYing a USEd caR
    •	 Read	and	understand	every	document	you	                       •	 Learn	what	rights	you	have	when	buying	a	used car.
       are asked to sign.                                               Contact your state or local consumer protection
    •	 Don’t	take	possession	of	the	car	until	all	                      office (p. 122).
       paperwork is final.                                           •	 Find	out	in	advance	what	paperwork	you	will	need	
    •		Choose	an	auto	insurance	policy	that	is	right	                   to register a vehicle. Contact your state’s motor
       for you (p. 27).                                                 vehicle department.
                                                                     •	 Check	prices	of	similar	models	using	the	NADA	
    BUYing a nEW caR                                                    Official Used Car Guide (www.nadaguides.com)
    Do your research first and compare vehicles. Four                   published by the National Automobile Dealer
    key resources that offer vehicle performance, service               Association (p. 64) or the Kelley Blue Book
    and safety information are:                                         (www.kbb.com). These guides are usually available
    Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org),                         at local libraries.
    Motor	Trend	(www.motortrend.com),
    Car and Driver (www.caranddriver.com) and
    Edmunds automotive books and network                             MY DEAlERShIP wENT OUT OF BUSINESS . .
                                                                     whAT hAPPENS TO MY wARRANTY?
                                                                     Even if your car dealership has gone out of business, you
                                                                     may	still	have	coverage	under	your	warranty.	Manufacturer	
                                                                     warranties are still valid and are not affected by dealer
                                                                     closures. However, you may have to travel farther to get a
                                                                     certified dealer that can honor the warranty. In the event
                                                                     that you bought a car from an affected dealership, the
                                                                     manufacturer should notify you about where to take your car
                                                                     for service. However, if you have a dealership-backed or third-
                                                                     party warranty and the dealership goes out of business, your
                                                                     warranty may be worthless.




5                                  To call or write an organization, use the directory (p. 60)
                                                                 the examination if the car passes inspection,
 gOVERNMENT FUEl ECONOMY wEB PAgES                               but the seller will pay if significant problems are




                                                                                                                                      Banking
                                                                 discovered. A qualified mechanic should check the
 •	 www .epa .gov/emissweb
    is a green vehicle guide that                                vehicle’s frame, tires, air bags and under-carriage,




                                                                                                                                      Cars
    can help you identify vehicles                               as well as the engine.
    that are fuel-efficient and have                           •	 Examine	dealer	documents	carefully.	Make	sure	




                                                                                                                                      Credit
    clean-running engines.
                                                                  you are buying – not leasing – the vehicle. Leases
 •	 Go	to	www .fueleconomy .gov to                                use terms such as a “balloon payment” and “base
    compare the miles-per-gallon ratings




                                                                                                                                      Education
                                                                  mileage” disclosures.
    of different vehicle models manufactured
    since the mid-1980s.
                                                               dEalER vERSUS
 •		Use	www .fueleconomy .gov/feg/save
                                                               PRivatE PaRtY PURchaSES




                                                                                                                                      Employment
    money .shtml to calculate annual fuel
    estimates.                                                 In general, buying from a dealer is a safer option
                                                               because you are dealing with an institution, which
                                                               means you are better protected by law. The Federal




                                                                                                                                      Food
•	 Research	the	vehicle’s	history.	Ask	the	seller	for	         Trade Commission requires dealers to post a
   details concerning past owners, use, and                    Buyer’s Guide in the window of each used car or




                                                                                                                                      Healthcare
   maintenance. Next, find out whether the car has been        truck on their lot. This Guide specifies whether the
                                                               vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a warranty, and
   damaged in a flood, involved in a crash, been labeled
                                                               what percentage of repair costs a dealer will pay
   a lemon, or had its odometer rolled back. The vehicle
                                                               under the warranty. Keep in mind that private sellers
   identification number (VIN) will help you do this.




                                                                                                                                      Housing
                                                               generally have less responsibility than dealers for
•	 Your	state	motor	vehicle	department	can	research	           defects or other problems. FTC rules do not apply to
   the car’s title history. Inspect the title for “salvage,”   private-party sales.




                                                                                                                                      Insurance
   “rebuilt,” or similar notations.                            Expect to pay higher prices at a dealer than if you
•	 The	websites	www.carfax.com and                             buy	from	an	individual.	Many	dealers	inspect	their	
   www.autocheck.com sell information on the                   cars and provide an inspection report with each




                                                                                                                                      Internet
   history of vehicles gathered from state motor               car. However, this is no substitute for your own
                                                               inspection. Some dealers provide limited warranties,
   vehicle departments and other sources. These
                                                               and most sell extended warranties. Watch out for
   reports are helpful but do not guarantee a vehicle




                                                                                                                                      Investing
                                                               dealer warranties that are “powertrain” warranties
   is accident-free.                                           only, and not “bumper-to-bumper,” full-coverage
•	 The	National Highway Traffic Safety Administration          warranties. It’s best to compare warranties that are
   (www.nhtsa.dot.gov) lists VINs of its crash-test            available from other sources.




                                                                                                                                      Phones
   vehicles and will let you search an online database of      Some dealers provide “certified” cars. This
   manufacturer service bulletins.                             generally means that the cars have had a more




                                                                                                                                      Identity
•	 The	Center for Auto Safety (www.autosafety.org)             thorough inspection and come with a limited
                                                               warranty. Prices for certified cars are generally
   provides information on safety defects, recalls,
                                                               higher. Be sure to get a list of what was inspected
   and lemons, as well as service bulletins.




                                                                                                                                      Shopping
•	 Visit	www.safetyforum.com for a free online
   search of its database of lemons registered by
                                                                   REPlACE TIRED TIRES
                                                                                                                                      Telemarket
   previous owners.
•	 Make	sure	any	mileage	disclosures	                              Check the tread for wear. While the legal limit is
                                                                        2/32 of an inch of tread depth, consider
   match the odometer reading on the car.
                                                                           replacing tires when the tread reaches
                                                                                                                                      Travel



•	 Check	the	warranty.	If	a	manufacturer’s	                                  4 /32 -inch depth. The small difference

   warranty is still in effect, contact the                                     in tread can make a big difference in
                                                                                 braking distance. Buy tires that fit.
                                                                                                                                      TV




   manufacturer to make sure you can use
                                                                                  Find the size and type of tire
   the coverage.
                                                                                                                                      Utilities




                                                                                   recommended by the manufacturer
•	 Ask	about	the	dealer’s	return	policy.	Get	                                      of your vehicle.
   it in writing and read it carefully.                            																								Maintain	proper	pressure.	
                                                                                                                                      Wills




•	 Have	the	car	inspected	by	your	                                                         Keeping your tires properly inflated
   mechanic. Talk to the seller and                                                       will improve gas mileage and
                                                                                         increase the life of your tires.
                                                                                                                                      Index




   agree in advance that you’ll pay for


                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                               www.pueblo.gsa.gov                           6
                                                                        www.leasecompare.com and www.leasesource.com
    BEwARE!                                                             for information on leases and current deals.
    CURB STONINg & TITlE wAShINg                                      •	 Consider	using	an	independent	agent	rather	than	the	
    Curb stoning occurs when a dealer has an inferior or                 dealer.	You	might	find	a	better	deal.	Most	financial	
    damaged car he can’t sell on his lot. He gives the car               institutions that offer auto financing also offer
    to a salesperson to sell through the classifieds, as if              leasing options.
    it were a private party sale. A title history report will
    show that the title recently changed hands and may                •	 Ask	for	details	on	wear	and	tear	standards.	Dings	
    reveal that it is a lemon or an otherwise branded car.               that you regard as normal wear and tear could be
    Be suspicious if the seller’s name is different from the             billed as significant damage at the end of your lease.
    name on the title.
                                                                      •	 Find	out	how	many	miles	you	can	drive	in	a	year.	Most	
    Title washing occurs when scam artists try to sell a                 leases allow 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year. Expect a
    salvage vehicle by concealing its history of damage
                                                                         charge of 10 to 25 cents for each additional mile.
    from a buyer. Although a vehicle’s title should show if
    it has been damaged or salvaged, some states do not               •	 Check	the	manufacturer’s	warranty.	It	should	cover	
    document titles in the same way as other states. By                  the entire lease term and the number of miles you are
    moving a vehicle and its title through several different             likely to drive.
    states, con artists try to “wash” out the title branding of
    salvage or damage. The best way to avoid this trick is            •	 Ask	the	dealer	what	happens	if	you	give	up	the	car	
    to buy only from reputable dealers and/or to get a title             before the end of your lease. There may be extra fees
    guarantee in writing.                                                for doing so.
                                                                      •	 Ask	what	happens	if	the	car	is	involved	in	an	accident.
and what is covered under the warranty.                               •	 Get	all	the	terms	in	writing.	Everything	included	with	
Purchasing a car from a private seller may save                          the car should be listed on the lease to avoid being
you money, but there are risks. The car could be                         charged for “missing” equipment later.
stolen, damaged or still under a finance agreement.                   The Federal Reserve Board of Governors offers a
If a private seller lies to you about the condition of                consumer guide to auto leasing at www.federalreserve.
the vehicle, you may sue the individual if you have                   gov/pubs/leasing/.
evidence and you can find him. An individual is
very unlikely to give a written warranty.                             REcallS, lEMOn laWS
                                                                      and SEcREt WaRRantiES
lEaSing
                                                                      Sometimes a manufacturer makes a design or
When you lease, you pay to drive someone else’s                       production mistake on a motor vehicle. A service
vehicle.	Monthly	payments	for	a	lease	may	be	lower	                   bulletin notifies the dealer of the problem and how
than loan payments, but at the end of the lease you                   to resolve it. Because these free repairs are not
have no ownership or equity in the car. To get the                    publicized, they are called “secret warranties.” The
best deal, follow these advice points in addition to the              National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
general suggestions for buying a car (p. 5).                          (www.nhtsa.dot.gov) maintains a database of service
•	 To	help	you	compare	leasing	versus	owning,	the	                    bulletins filed by manufacturers.
   Consumer Leasing Act requires leasing companies                    If you have a problem with a vehicle that is a safety hazard,
   to give you information on monthly payments and                    check whether the manufacturer has recalled your vehicle.
   other charges. Check out www.leaseguide.com,                       Click on Recalls at www.nhtsa.dot.gov or call NHTSA at


    ThE TRUTh ABOUT CAR TITlE lOANS
    Chances are you have seen or heard an ad for a car title loan to help you make ends meet. In a title loan, a consumer in
    need of quick cash uses the car title as collateral for a short term loan. No job or postdated checks are required. Sounds
    simple enough, right? Wrong.

    What the title lenders don’t say in their ads is that you have to turn over your car title and keys when you get the loan.
    They’ll loan you a small fraction of the car value at sky high interest rates— as much as 25% for one month (300% APR) !!!
    At the end of the month you are expected to pay the whole amount back, plus the interest.

    If you can’t pay the loan there are only two options. You could roll the loan over for another month, with more fees and
    interest. However, as the loan amount increases, it becomes almost impossible to repay the debt. The other option is for
    the lender to repossess your car. Unfortunately, there is no federal regulation of title loans now, but some states have
    put some rules in place to regulate the interest charged by these lenders.


                                  To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
7
                                                              REnting




                                                                                                                               Banking
                                                              Federal law does not cover short-term car and truck
                                                              rentals, but some state laws do. Contact your state
                                                              or local consumer protection office (p. 122) for




                                                                                                                               Cars
                                                              information or to file a complaint.
                                                              •	 Ask	in	advance	if	there	are	any	charges	besides	




                                                                                                                               Credit
                                                                 the stated rental fee. There may be an airport
                                                                 surcharge or drop-off fees, insurance fees, fuel




                                                                                                                               Education
                                                                 charges, mileage fees, taxes, additional-driver
                                                                 fees, underage-driver fees, and equipment rental
                                                                 fees (for items such as ski racks and car seats).




                                                                                                                               Employment
                                                              •	 Ask	if	the	rental	company	checks	the	driving	records	
                                                                 of customers when they arrive at the counter. If so,
                                                                 you could be rejected even if you have a confirmed
                                                                 reservation.




                                                                                                                               Food
                                                              •	 Check	in	advance	to	be	sure	you	aren’t	duplicating	
                                                                 insurance coverage. If you’re traveling on business,




                                                                                                                               Healthcare
1-800-424-9393. Hazards that aren’t listed should be             your employer may have insurance that covers
reported to your dealer, the manufacturer of the vehicle         accidental damage to the vehicle. You might
(p. 61), and NHTSA. If a safety-related defect exists,           also have coverage through your personal auto




                                                                                                                               Housing
the maker must fix it at no cost to you – even if your           insurance, a motor club membership, or the credit
warranty has expired.                                            card you use to reserve the rental.
If you have a vehicle with a unique problem that just         •	 Carefully	inspect	the	vehicle	and	its	tires	before	renting.




                                                                                                                               Insurance
never seems to get fixed, you may have a lemon. Some          •	 Check	refueling	policies	and	charges.
states have laws concerning lemons that require a
refund or replacement if a problem is not fixed within a      •	 Ask	the	rental	company	if	a	deposit	is	required.	




                                                                                                                               Internet
reasonable number of tries or you haven’t been able to           If so, ask for a clear explanation of the deposit
use your vehicle for a certain number of days. Contact           refund procedures.
your state or local consumer protection office (p. 122)




                                                                                                                               Investing
to learn whether you have such protections and what
steps you must take to get your problem
solved. If you believe your car is a lemon:
                                               ChOOSE A SAFE VEhIClE




                                                                                                                               Phones
•	 Give	the	dealer	a	list	of	the	problems	
   every time you bring it in for repairs.     Crash tests can help you determine how well a vehicle will protect
                                               you in a crash. Here are different organizations that perform crash
•	 Get	and	keep	copies	of	the	repair	




                                                                                                                               Identity
                                               tests and rate vehicles:
   orders listing the problems, the work
                                               •	 The	National	Highway	Traffic	Safety	Administration	
   done, and the dates that the car was in
                                                  (www .nhtsa .dot .gov). Each year, NHTSA crashes vehicles




                                                                                                                               Shopping
   the shop.                                      head-on into a wall and bashes them broadside to test their ability
•	 Contact	the	manufacturer,	as	well	             to protect their occupants. NHTSA focuses on evaluating vehicle
   as the dealer, to report the problem.          restraints such as air bags and safety belts.

                                                                                                                               Telemarket
   Check your owner’s manual or the            •	 The	Insurance	Institute	for	Highway	Safety	(www .hwysafety .org).
   directory for the auto manufacturer (p.        A different test by the IIHS uses offset-frontal car crashes to assess
                                                  the protection provided by a vehicle’s structure.
   61).
                                               •	 Consumers Union. Consumer Reports’ annual auto issue rates
                                                                                                                               Travel



•	 Help	other	consumers	avoid	
                                                  vehicles in terms of overall safety. Its safety score combines
   purchasing your lemon by registering it        crash test results with a vehicle’s accident avoidance
                                                                                                                               TV




   at www.safetyforum.com.                        factors – emergency handling, braking, acceleration,
The Center for Auto Safety (p. 117)               and even driver comfort.
                                                                                                                               Utilities




gathers information and complaints             To find out whether a manufacturer has recalled a car for
concerning safety defects, recalls, service    safety defects, contact NHTSA (p. 111). If a vehicle has
bulletins and state lemon laws.                been recalled, ask the dealer for proof that the defect has
                                                                                                                               Wills




                                               been repaired. Used vehicles should also have a current
                                               safety inspection sticker if your state requires one.
                                                                                                                               Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                             www.pueblo.gsa.gov                       8
                                                                  •	 Can	sell	the	vehicle	at	auction.
                                                                  •	 Might	be	able	to	sue	you	for	the	difference	between	
                                                                     the vehicle’s auction price and what you owe.
                                                                  •	 Cannot	break	into	your	home	or	physically	threaten	
                                                                     someone while taking the vehicle.
                                                                  If you know you’re going to be late with a payment,
                                                                  talk to the lender to try to work things out. If you and
                                                                  the lender reach an agreement, be sure you get the
                                                                  agreement in writing. Contact your state or local
                                                                  consumer protection office (p. 122) to find out whether
                                                                  your state gives you any additional rights.


                                                                   CrEdiT
REPaiRS                                                           Like everything else you buy, it pays to comparison
                                                                  shop for credit. For up-to-date interest rate reports on
Whenever you take a car to the repair shop:                       mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, home equity loans,
•	 Choose	a	reliable	repair	shop.	Family,	friends	or	an	          and other banking products, visit www.bankrate.com.
   independent consumer rating organization should                For a listing of credit cards, visit www.cardtrak.com.
   be able to help you. Look for shops that display               The Equal Credit Opportunity Act protects you when
   various certifications that are current. You should            dealing with anyone who regularly offers credit,
   also check out the shop’s record with your state or            including banks, finance companies, stores, credit
   local consumer protection office (p. 122) or Better            card companies and credit unions. When you apply for
   Business Bureau (p. 65).                                       credit, a creditor may not:

•	 Describe	the	symptoms.	Don’t	try	to	diagnose	                  •	 Ask	about	or	consider	your	sex,	race,	national	origin	
   the problem.                                                      or religion.

•	 Make	it	clear	that	work	cannot	begin	until	you	have	a	         •	 Ask	about	your	marital	status	or	your	spouse	–	
   written estimate and you give your okay. Never sign a             unless you are applying for a joint account or relying
   blank repair order. If the problem can’t be diagnosed             on your spouse’s income, or you live in a community
   on the spot, insist that the shop contact you for                 property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana,
   authorization once the trouble has been found.                    Nevada,	New	Mexico,	Texas	or	Washington).

•	 Ask	the	shop	to	keep	the	old	parts	for	you.                    •	 Ask	about	your	plans	to	have	or	raise	children.

•	 Follow	the	warranty	instructions	if	a	repair	is	               •	 Refuse	to	consider	public	assistance	income	or	
   covered under warranty.                                           regularly received alimony or child support.

•	 Get	all	repair	warranties	in	writing.                          •	 Refuse	to	consider	income	because	of	your	sex	or	
                                                                     marital status or because it is from part-time work
•	 Keep	copies	of	all	paperwork.
                                                                     or retirement benefits.
Some states, cities and counties have special laws
that deal with auto repairs. For information on the laws          You Have The Right To:
in your state, contact your state or local consumer               •	 Have	credit	in	your	birth	name,	your	first	name	and	
protection office (p. 122). A consumer guide to auto
repair is available at http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/
consumer/autos/aut13.pdf.                                          BEwARE: CREDIT INSURANCE
                                                                   When you take out a loan for a big purchase, a
caR REPOSSESSiOnS                                                  salesperson may try to sell you credit insurance.
When you borrow money to buy a car or truck, the                   Your credit card company may also encourage you
lender can take your vehicle back if you miss a                    to purchase credit insurance. The coverage may be
payment or in some other way violate the contract.                 promoted as a way for you to protect yourself if your
You should also be aware that the lender:                          property is damaged or lost. Other credit insurance
                                                                   offers promise to make loan payments if you are laid
•	 Can	repossess	with	cause	without	advance	notice.                off, become disabled or die. It is almost always better
•	 Can	insist	you	pay	off	the	entire	loan	balance	in	              to buy regular property, life or disability insurance
                                                                   instead of credit insurance.
   order to get the repossessed vehicle back.

9                             To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                             •	 The grace period . This is the number of days
                                                                you have to pay your bill before finance charges




                                                                                                                           Banking
                                                                start. Without this period, you may have to pay
                                                                interest from the date you use your card or when




                                                                                                                           Cars
                                                                the purchase is posted to your account.
                                                             •	 The finance charges.	Most	lenders	calculate	




                                                                                                                           Credit
                                                                finance charges using an average daily account
                                                                balance, which is the average of what you owed




                                                                                                                           Education
                                                                each day in the billing cycle. Look for offers that
                                                                use an adjusted balance, which subtracts your
                                                                payment from your beginning balance. This
                                                                method usually has the lowest finance charges.




                                                                                                                           Employment
                                                                Stay away from offers that use the previous
                                                                balance in calculating what you owe; this method
                                                                has the highest finance charges. Also, don’t forget




                                                                                                                           Food
  your spouse’s last name, or your first name and a             to check if there is a minimum finance charge.
  combined last name.                                        •	 Other fees. Ask about special fees when you




                                                                                                                           Healthcare
•	 Have	a	co-signer	other	than	your	spouse	if	one	              get a cash advance, make a late payment, or go
   is necessary.                                                over your credit limit. Some companies charge
                                                                a monthly fee regardless of whether you use
•	 Keep	your	own	accounts	after	you	change	your	                your card.




                                                                                                                           Housing
   name, marital status or retire, unless the creditor has
                                                             The Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act
   evidence you are unable or unwilling to pay.
                                                             requires credit and charge card issuers to include
•	 Know	why	a	credit	application	is	rejected	–	the	




                                                                                                                           Insurance
                                                             this information on credit applications. The Federal
   creditor must give you the specific reasons or tell       Trade Commission (p. 114) offers a wide range of
   you where and how you can get a copy of the credit        free publications on credit and consumer rights
   report they used to determine their rejection, if you     at www.ftc.gov. The Federal Reserve Board (p. 114)




                                                                                                                           Internet
   ask within 60 days.                                       provides a free brochure on choosing a credit card and
                                                             a guide to credit protection laws at
•	 Have	accounts	shared	with	your	spouse	reported	
                                                             www.federalreserve.gov.




                                                                                                                           Investing
   in both your names.
•	 Know	how	much	it	will	cost	to	borrow	money.               comparing cards
For additional information on credit, see Buying             •	 Bank	Rate	(www.bankrate.com) provides free credit




                                                                                                                           Phones
a Home (p. 22) and Cars (p. 5). Other sources of                card tips and information.
information include the HUD Housing Counseling
                                                             •	 Consumer Action (www.consumer-action.org) has
Clearinghouse at 1-800-569-4287, the FTC (p. 114), and




                                                                                                                           Identity
the National Consumer Law Center (p. 120).You have              a site that features credit card surveys of interest
the right to a FREE annual Credit Report.
(See “FREE CREDIT REPORTS” box p. 11)




                                                                                                                           Shopping
cREdit caRdS                                                 lOST AND STOlEN
                                                             CREDIT CARDS
                                                                                                                           Telemarket
Chances are, you’ve received “pre-approved” credit
card offers in the mail. Examine the fine print carefully
                                                             Immediately call the card issuer
before you accept any offer for a credit or charge card.     when you suspect a credit
Look for:                                                    or charge card has been
                                                                                                                           Travel




•	 The Annual Percentage Rate (APR). If the                  lost or stolen.
   interest rate is variable, how is it determined           Once you report the loss
                                                                                                                           TV




   and when can it change?                                   or theft of a card, you
                                                             have no further
                                                                                                                           Utilities




•	 The periodic rate . This is the interest rate used        responsibility for
   to figure the finance charge on your balance each         unauthorized charges.
   billing period.                                           In any event, your
                                                                                                                           Wills




                                                             maximum liability
•	 The annual fee . While some cards have no annual
                                                             under federal law
   fee, others expect you to pay an amount each year
                                                                                                                           Index




                                                             is $50 per card.
   for being a cardholder.

               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov                     10
                                                                       •	 If	the	bill	is	correct,	you	must	be	told	in	writing	what	
     FREE CREDIT REPORTS                                                  you owe and why. You must pay it along with any
     You can request a free credit report every year from                 related finance charges.
     the three major credit reporting agencies— Equifax,               If you don’t agree with the creditor’s decision, file
     Experian and Transunion. You may want to request your             an appeal with the Office of the Comptroller of the
     credit reports one at a time every four months so you             Currency (p. 111).
     can monitor your credit throughout the year, without
     having to pay for a report. (If you ask the credit bureaus
     directly, they will charge you a fee to obtain your report).
                                                                       cREdit REPORtS and ScORES
     To order your free report, you must go through www.               A credit report contains information on where you
     annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.                    work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether
                                                                       you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy.
                                                                       Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) gather
     rates, fees and other terms from dozens of credit                 this information and sell it to creditors, employers,
     cards, as well as free brochures and guides on                    insurers, and others. The most common type of CRA
     choosing and using credit cards.                                  is the credit bureau. There are three major credit
                                                                       bureaus: Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com
•	 Card	Web	(www.cardweb.com) lists credit cards and                   – fraud alert 1-888-766-0008; Experian: 1-888-397-3742
   offers e-mail newsletters for consumers, frequently                 or www.experian.com; TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800 or
   asked questions and online credit card calculators.                 www.transunion.com – fraud alert 1-800-680-7289.
•	 Card	Ratings	(www.cardratings.com) lists and
   reviews credit cards, and offers tips and credit                    FicO
   card calculators.                                                   The information in your credit report is used to
                                                                       calculate your FICO score, a number generally
complaints                                                             between 300 and 850. The higher your score, the less
To complain about a problem with your credit card                      risk you pose to creditors. A high score, for example,
company, call the number on the back of your card                      makes it easier it is for you to obtain a loan, rent an
and try to resolve the problem. If you fail to resolve the             apartment, or lower your insurance rate. Your FICO
issue, ask for the name, address and phone number of                   score is available from www.myfico.com for a fee.
its regulatory agency. See the chart on page 4 to find                 Free credit reports do not contain your credit score,
the best federal or state regulatory agency to contact.                although you can purchase your credit score when
                                                                       you request your free annual credit report through
To complain about a credit bureau, department store                    www.annualcreditreport.com.
or other Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
(FDIC) insured financial institution, write to the                     Tips For Building A Better Credit Score
Consumer Response Center (p. 113). You may also file
                                                                       •	 Pay	your	bills	on	time.	Delinquent	payments	and	
a complaint at www.ftc.gov.
                                                                          collections negatively impact your score.
credit card Billing disputes                                           •	 Keep	balances	low	on	credit	cards	and	other	
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have the right to                  “revolving credit.” High outstanding debt lowers
dispute charges on your credit card you didn’t make, are                  your score.
incorrect, or for goods or services you didn’t receive.                •	 Apply	for	and	open	new	credit	accounts	only	as	
•	 Send	a	letter	to	the	creditor	within	60	days	of	the	                   needed. Don’t open an account just to have a better
   postmark of the bill with the disputed charge.                         credit mix; it probably won’t raise your score.
•	 Include	your	name	and	account	number,	the	date	                     •	 Pay	off	debt	instead	of	moving	it	around.	Owing	the	
   and amount of the disputed charge, and a complete
   explanation of why you are disputing the charge.
•	 To	ensure	it’s	received,	send	your	letter	by	certified	
   mail, with a return receipt requested.
•	 The	creditor	or	card	issuer	must	acknowledge	your	                  BEwARE: OFFERS TO SKIP A PAYMENT
   letter in writing within 30 days of receiving it and                If your credit company invites you to skip a monthly
   conduct an investigation within 90 days. You do                     payment without a penalty, it is not doing you a favor.
   not have to pay the amount in dispute during the                    You will still owe finance charges on your unpaid
                                                                       balance. And interest could be adding up on any
   investigation.                                                      purchases you make after the due date you skipped.
•	 If	there	was	an	error,	the	creditor	must	credit	your	
   account and remove any fees.

11                                 To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                                 report for two years.
 CREDIT CARD RESPONSIBIlITY &




                                                                                                                               Banking
                                                                 Anyone who denies you credit, housing, insurance,
 DISClOSURE ACT OF 2009                                          or a job as a result of a credit report must give you the
                                                                 name, address, and telephone number of the credit
 The Credit CARD Act has a sweeping effect on




                                                                                                                               Cars
                                                                 reporting agency that provided the report. Under the
 consumers in the areas of annual percentage rates,
                                                                 Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right
 fees, and disclosure. The law:




                                                                                                                               Credit
                                                                 to request a free report within 60 days if a company
 •	 Limits	card	issuers’	ability	to	increase	the	APR	on	         denies you credit based on the report.
    transferred balances during the first year that the
                                                                 If there is inaccurate or incomplete information in your




                                                                                                                               Education
    account is opened.
                                                                 credit report:
 •	 Restricts	card	issuers	from	applying	new	(higher)	
    interest rates to the existing card balances.                •	 Contact	the	credit	reporting	agency	(CRA)	and	the	
                                                                    company that provided the information to the CRA.




                                                                                                                               Employment
 •	 Requires	companies	to	inform	consumers	of	rate	
    increases or other significant changes at least 45           •	 Tell	the	CRA	in	writing	what	information	you	believe	
    days in advance.                                                is inaccurate.
 •	 States	that	teaser	rates	must	stay	in	effect	for	at	least	   Under The Fair Credit Reporting Act, the information




                                                                                                                               Food
    6 months.                                                    provider is required to investigate and report the
 •	 Requires	issuers	to	mail	monthly	statements	at	least	        results to the CRA. If the information is found to be




                                                                                                                               Healthcare
    21 days before payment is due.                               incorrect, it must notify all nationwide CRAs to correct
 •	 Makes	new	disclosure	statements	clear	and	more	              your file. If the investigation does not solve your
    timely.                                                      dispute, ask that your statement concerning the
 •	 Mandates	that	monthly	credit	card	statements	must	           dispute be included in your file. A notice of your




                                                                                                                               Housing
    prominently display the due date and potential late          dispute must be included anytime the CRA reports
    fees, as well as the interest you have paid during the       the negative item.
    current year, the monthly payment required to pay off        If the information is accurate, only time, hard work,




                                                                                                                               Insurance
    the existing balance, and warn consumers about the           and a personal debt repayment plan will improve
    costs of making only the minimum payments.                   your credit report. Credit repair companies advertise
 •	 Requires	credit	card	issuers	to	post	their	standard	         that they can erase bad credit for a hefty fee. Don’t




                                                                                                                               Internet
    card agreements on the Internet.                             believe it.
 •	 Sets	a	consistent	due	date	for	card	payments	each	           Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit
    month. If the due date falls on a holiday or weekend,        repair companies can’t require you to pay until they




                                                                                                                               Investing
    the deadline is considered the next business day.            have completed promised services. They must also
 •	 Restricts	the	penalties	that	card	issuers	can	charge	        give you:
    for going over the credit limit.
                                                                 •	 A	copy	of	the	“Consumer	Credit	File	Rights	Under	




                                                                                                                               Phones
 •	 Prohibits	cards	issuers	from	issuing	cards	to	                  State and Federal Law” before you sign a contract.
    consumers under 21 unless they have a co-signer or
    can demonstrate that they have independent means             •	 A	written	contract	that	spells	out	your	rights	




                                                                                                                               Identity
    to repay the card debt.                                         and obligations.
                                                                 •	 Three	days	to	cancel	without	paying	any	fees.




                                                                                                                               Shopping
                                                                 Some credit repair companies promise to help you
  same amount, but having fewer open accounts may                establish a whole new credit identity. You can be
  lower your score.                                              charged with fraud if you use the mail or telephone
You don’t rebuild your credit score; you rebuild your            to apply for credit with false information. It is also

                                                                                                                               Telemarket
credit history. Time is your ally in improving credit.           a federal crime to make false statements on a loan
There is no “quick fix” for a bad credit score, so               or credit application, to give a false Social Security
suspect any deals that offer you a fast, easy solution.          number, or to obtain an Employer Identification
                                                                 Number from the Internal Revenue Service under
                                                                                                                               Travel




negative information in Your credit                              false pretences.
Report                                                           If you have lost money to a credit repair scam, contact
                                                                                                                               TV




Negative information concerning your use of credit               your state or local consumer affairs office (p. 122).
                                                                                                                               Utilities




can be kept in your credit report for seven years. A
bankruptcy can be kept for 10 years, and unpaid tax              dEaling With dEBt
liens for 15 years. Information about a lawsuit or an
                                                                 The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to
                                                                                                                               Wills




unpaid judgment against you can be reported for
seven years or until the statute of limitations runs             those who collect debts owed to creditors for
                                                                                                                               Index




out, whichever is longer. Inquiries remain on your


                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                             www.pueblo.gsa.gov                     12
                                                                    •	 Harass	you	with	threats	to	harm	you,	profane	
                                                                       language or repeated telephone calls.
 BE AlERT: “CREDIT REPAIR” SCAMS
                                                                    •	 Make	any	false	statement,	or	claim	that	you	will	
 Before you sign up for fee-based credit repair services,
 beware.	Many	of	the	promised	services	are	either	illegal	
                                                                       be arrested.
 or provide services you can do for free by yourself.               •	 Threaten	to	have	money	deducted	from	your	
 Before you sign up to work with these companies, here                 paycheck or to sue you, unless the collection agency
 are some tidbits to keep in mind:                                     or creditor intends to do so and it is legal.
 •	 A	credit	repair	company	must	give	you	a	copy	of	the	            To file a complaint, contact your state or local
    “Consumer Credit File Rights under State and Federal
                                                                    consumer protection agency (p. 122) and the Federal
    Law” before you sign a contract.
                                                                    Trade Commission (p. 114).
 •	 The	company	cannot	perform	any	services	until	you	
    have signed a written contract and completed a three            Out of Control Debt
    day waiting period, during which time you can cancel            Counseling services are available to help people
    the contract without paying any fees.
                                                                    budget money and pay bills. Credit unions, NIFA
 •	 They	cannot	charge	you	until	they	have	completed	               offices, military family service centers and religious
    the promised services, under the Credit Repair                  organizations are among those that may offer free or
    Organizations Act.                                              low-cost credit counseling.
 •	 It	is	illegal	to	erase	timely	and	accurate	negative	            Local, nonprofit agencies that provide educational
    information contained in your credit history.                   programs on money management and help in
 •	 Suggestions	that	you	create	a	new	credit	history	(also	         developing debt payment plans operate under the
    called file segregation) by requesting an Employer              name Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS).
    Identification Number from the IRS are also illegal.            They are members of the National Foundation for
 •	 You	can	work	to	solve	your	own	credit	challenges,	by	           Credit Counseling (NFCC), an organization that
    requesting a free copy of your credit report through            supports a national network of credit counselors.
    annualcreditreport.com, and by working with creditors
                                                                    Typically, a counseling service will negotiate lower
    to dispute incorrect information.
                                                                    payments with your creditors and then make the
                                                                    payments using money you send to them each month.
                                                                    The cost of setting up this debt-management plan is
personal, family and household debts – these include                paid by the creditor, not you. Ask these questions to
car loans, mortgages, charge accounts and money                     find the best counselor for you:
owed for medical bills. A debt collector is someone                 •	 What	services	do	you	offer?	Look	for	an	organization	
hired to collect money you owe.                                        that offers budget counseling and money management
Within five days after a debt collector first contacts                 classes as well as a debt-management plan.
you, the collector must send you a notice that                      •	 Do	you	offer	free	information?	Avoid	organizations	
tells you the name of the creditor, how much you
                                                                       that charge for information or make you provide a lot
owe, and what action to take if you believe you
                                                                       of details about your problem first.
don’t owe the money.
If you owe the money or part of it, contact the                     •	 What	are	your	fees?	Are	there	set-up	and/or	monthly	
creditor to arrange for payment.                                       fees? A typical set-up fee is $10. If you’re paying a lot
                                                                       more, you could be the one getting set up.
If you believe you don’t owe the money, contact the
creditor in writing and send a copy to the collection
agency with a letter telling them not to contact you.                 DEBT MANAgEMENT ASSISTANCE
A debt collector may not:
                                                                      Several national nonprofit organizations also provide
•	 Contact	you	at	unreasonable	times,	for	example,	                   information and assist people with debt problems.
   before 8 am or after 9 pm, unless you agree.                       •	 American Consumer Credit Counseling. Visit
•	 Contact	you	at	work	if	you	tell	the	debt	collector	your	              www .consumercredit .com or call 1-800-769-
   employer disapproves.                                                 3571.

•	 Contact	you	after	you	write	a	letter	telling	them	to	              •	 InCharge Institute of America. Visit
                                                                         www .incharge .org or call 1-800-565-8953.
   stop, except to notify you if the collector or creditor
   plans to take a specific action.                                   •	 Money	Management	International.	
                                                                         Visit www .moneymanagement .org
•	 Contact	your	friends,	relatives,	employer	or	others,	                 or call 1-866-889-9347.
   except to find out where you live and work.                        •	 Myvesta.	Visit	www .myvesta .org .



13                              To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
•	 How	will	the	debt	management	plan	work?	What	
   debts can be included in the plan and will you get            PAYDAY AND TAx REFUND lOANS




                                                                                                                               Banking
   regular reports on your accounts?                             Payday loans are illegal in some states. Recent
•	 Ask	if	the	counselor	can	get	creditors	to	lower	or	           changes in the law for payday lenders have also




                                                                                                                               Cars
                                                                 made payday loans illegal for members of the
   eliminate interest and fees. If the answer is yes,
                                                                 military. With a typical payday loan, you might
   contact your creditors to verify this.                        write a personal check for $115 to borrow $100 for




                                                                                                                               Credit
•	 Ask	what	happens	if	you	can’t	afford	to	pay.	If	an	           two weeks, until payday. The annual percentage
   organization won’t help you because you can’t afford          rate (APR) in this example is 390 percent! If you




                                                                                                                               Education
                                                                 can repay the loan quickly, it may not appear such
   to pay, go somewhere else for help.
                                                                 a bad deal. But if you can’t pay off the loan quickly,
•	 Will	your	counselor	help	you	avoid	future	problems?	          that relatively small loan can grow into a large
   Getting a plan for avoiding future debt is as                 amount of debt. At 390 percent, a $100 loan will




                                                                                                                               Employment
   important as solving the immediate debt problem.              become $490 in a year and $2,401 in two years.
                                                                 Another high-cost way to borrow money is a tax
•	 Ask	for	a	contract.	All	verbal	promises	should	be	in	
                                                                 refund loan. This type of credit lets you get an
   writing before you pay any money.                             advance on a tax refund – for a fee. APRs as high




                                                                                                                               Food
•	 Are	your	counselors	accredited	or	certified?	                 as 774% have been reported. If you are short of
   Legitimate credit counseling firms are affiliated             cash, avoid both of these loans by asking for more
                                                                 time to pay a bill or seeking a traditional loan. Even




                                                                                                                               Healthcare
   with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling
                                                                 a cash advance on your credit card may cost less.
   (p. 160) or the Association of Independent
   Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.
                                                               Check with your local consumer protection agency




                                                                                                                               Housing
                                                               (p. 122) and the Better Business Bureau (p. 65) to see
 DEBT COllECTION: KNOw YOUR RIghTS                             if any complaints have been filed about the
 If you have been contacted by a debt collection               counseling service you’re considering.




                                                                                                                               Insurance
 agency, you still have rights under the FTC’s Fair            If you have concerns about approved credit
 Debt Collection Practices Act. If a collection agency         counseling agencies or credit counseling providers,
 contacts you, remember:                                       please contact the U.S. Trustee Program, visit




                                                                                                                               Internet
 	•	 Collection	agencies	can	not	contact	you	before	8	am	      www.usdoj.gov/ust or call 202-514-4100.
     or after 9 pm
                                                               Personal Bankruptcy
 •	 They	cannot	contact	you	at	your	place	of	




                                                                                                                               Investing
    employment.                                                Bankruptcy generally is considered the debt
                                                               management option of last resort because the results
 •	 If	you	want	the	collector	to	stop	contacting	you,	
                                                               are long lasting and far reaching. The Bankruptcy
    send a letter to the agency via certified mail to stop
                                                               Abuse and Prevention Act of 2005 established more




                                                                                                                               Phones
    contact. This action, however, will not cancel the
    debt.                                                      stringent rules for consumers and attorneys.
 •	 If	you	have	an	attorney	representing	you	about	your	       The filing process may be difficult for debtors:




                                                                                                                               Identity
    debt, the agency must contact the attorney, not you.       •	 Debtors	must	file	documents	including	itemized	
 •	 Within	5	days	of	contacting	you,	a	collection	agency	         statements of monthly net income, proof of income




                                                                                                                               Shopping
    must send you a written notice telling you how much           (pay stubs) for the last 60 days, and tax returns for
    you owe.                                                      the preceding year (four years for Chapter 13).
 Some practices are strictly prohibited. Debt collectors       •	 Debtors	must	take	a	pre-filing	credit	counseling	
 may not:

                                                                                                                               Telemarket
                                                                  and post-filing education course to have debts
 •	 Harass.                                                       discharged.
 •	 Threaten	harm.
                                                               •	 Debtors	face	increased	filing	fees,	plus	fees	for	
 •	 Make	false	claims,	such	as	representing	that	they	
                                                                                                                               Travel



                                                                  credit counseling/education.
    work for credit reporting companies or misrepresent
    the amount of money you owe.                               •	 The	bankruptcy	petition	and	process	are	more	
                                                                                                                               TV




                                                                  complicated, so it’s very difficult to file without
 •	 Say	that	you	will	be	arrested	if	you	don’t	pay	the	debt.
                                                                  an attorney.
                                                                                                                               Utilities




 •	 State	that	they	are	taking	legal	action	if	they	don’t	
    intend to do so.
                                                               The filing process for lawyers:
 For more information about your rights or to file a
                                                                                                                               Wills




 complaint, contact your state’s attorney general (page
                                                               •	 An	attorney’s	signature	on	a	petition	certifies	
 122) or the FTC.                                                 that the attorney has performed reasonable
                                                                                                                               Index




                                                                  investigation into circumstances giving rise to the


                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                            www.pueblo.gsa.gov                      14
     petition.                                                 are available.
•	 Attorneys	must	carefully	review	documents	such	as	          High schools often hold free seminars on choosing and
   tax returns and pay stubs, as well as ask clients for       paying for college. Another source of information on
   credit reports.                                             financial assistance from both private and government
                                                               sources is www.finaid.org. This site also offers
•	 Attorneys	are	more	apprehensive	about	sanctions.            calculators that can help you figure out how much school
                                                               will cost, how much you need to save, and how much aid
lOanS                                                          you will need.
home Equity loans                                              Many	state	governments	have	created	programs	to	
A home equity loan could be a smart way to pay                 make it easier for families to save for the education of
off high-interest debt or pay for home repairs. But            their children. Visit www.collegesavings.org for links to
consider carefully before taking out a home equity             information on the various state programs, such as 529
loan. If you are unable to make payments on time,              plans.
you could lose your home.
Home equity loans can either be a revolving line
                                                               StUdEnt Financial aid
of credit or a lump sum. Revolving credit lets you             Student Financial Aid is available from a wide variety
withdraw funds when you need them. A lump sum                  of sources including the federal government, individual
is a one-time, closed-end loan for a particular                states, directly from colleges and universities, as well as
purpose, such as remodeling or tuition. Apply for a            from numerous other public and private agencies and
home equity loan through a bank or credit union first.         organizations. Whatever the source, all forms of college
These loans are likely to cost less than those offered         aid fall into four basic categories:
by finance companies.                                          •	 Grants . Gift aid that does not have to be repaid and is
Please see the Housing section (p. 21) for helpful                generally awarded according to financial need.
information about buying, leasing, renting or
                                                               •	 Work Study . The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)
repairing a home.
                                                                  is a federally funded source of financial assistance
installment loans                                                 used to offset financial education costs. Students
Before you sign an agreement for a loan to buy a                  who qualify earn money by working on campus while
house, a car or other large purchase, make sure you               attending school. The money does not have to be
fully understand all the lender’s terms and conditions,           repaid.
including:                                                     •	 Loans . Funds that are borrowed and must be repaid
•	 The	dollar	amount	you	are	borrowing.                           with interest. As a general rule, educational loans have
•	 The	payment	amounts	and	when	they	are	due.                     more favorable terms and interest rates than traditional
                                                                  consumer loans.
•	 The	total	finance	charge,	including	all	interest	
   and fees you must pay to get the loan.                      •	 Scholarships . Offered by the school, local/community
                                                                  organizations, private institutions and trusts,
•	 The	Annual	Percentage	Rate	(APR),	the	rate	of	
                                                                  scholarships do not have to be repaid and
   interest you will pay over the full term of the loan.
                                                                  are generally awarded based on specific criteria.
•	 Penalties	for	late	payments.
•	 What	the	lender	will	do	if	you	can’t	pay	back	the	loan.     FEDERAl STUDENT AID
•	 Penalties	if	you	pay	the	loan	back	early.                   Many	helpful	publications	are	available	at	
The Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to give you          www .studentaid .ed .gov/pubs or you can call 1-800-433-
this information so you can compare different offers.          3243.
                                                               The federal government’s direct loan website, www .dl .ed .gov,
                                                               includes a servicing center.
     FinanCing YoUr EdUCaTion                                  The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook
                                                               Handbook, www .bls .gov/oco provides information on
PaYing FOR cOllEgE 101                                         various careers and their earning potential.
There’s no way around it. A college education is               The U.S. Department of Education’s site, www .edu .gov,
expensive, especially if you or your child goes to a           offers several financial aid guides for consumers.
private school. How much it will cost depends on the           The National Association of Student Financial Aid
college you choose. Once you’ve narrowed your choice           Administrators provides a “Cash for College Guide” with
of college, contact them to find out how much the total        advice, tips and information on financing your education at
cost will be and what scholarships and financial aid           www .nasfaa .org .


15                            To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                                                                                             Banking
                                                              DIPlOMA MIllS




                                                                                                                             Cars
                                                              If you’re ever tempted by an e-mail or ad claiming you
                                                              can “earn a degree based on life experience,” don’t
                                                              fall for it. Any company that offers degrees for a flat




                                                                                                                             Credit
                                                              fee and requires little course work is a diploma mill.
                                                              If your school is not recognized as an accredited




                                                                                                                             Education
                                                              institution by the Secretary of Education, you may
                                                              not be able to receive financial aid and employers
                                                              won’t recognize it.
                                                              To check on a school’s accreditation by the




                                                                                                                             Employment
                                                              Department of Education, visit
                                                              www .ope .ed .gov/accreditation or search the
                                                              Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s
                                                              database at www .chea .org/search.




                                                                                                                             Food
                                                                                                                             Healthcare
                                                             Federal Student Aid Information Center
                                                             The Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)
                                                             can answer your federal student financial aid
                                                             questions and can give you all the help you need for




                                                                                                                             Housing
                                                             free. You can also use the FSAIC automated response
BEwARE: SChOlARShIP AND                                      system to find out if your Free Application for Federal
                                                             Student Aid (FAFSA) application has been processed
FINANCIAl AID SCAMS




                                                                                                                             Insurance
                                                             and to request a copy of your Student Aid Report
Scholarships and financial aid do not require upfront        (SAR). For FSAIC contact information, see page 104.
fees. While there are legitimate companies who




                                                                                                                             Internet
will help guide you through the financial aid and
college application process for a fee, disreputable
companies may ask you for money up-front and                  EMpLoYMEnT
provide nothing in return. Red flags to watch out for




                                                                                                                             Investing
include the following:                                       Times have changed with job-searching, and there are
A “money-back guarantee” to secure a scholarship.            numerous websites now available that post jobs for
Don’t believe it. Unscrupulous companies attach              private	industry.	Many	companies	also	offer	a	way	to	




                                                                                                                             Phones
conditions that make it impossible to get the refund.        apply online. However, these sites and new methods
                                                             do not replace traditional and proven job-hunting
“Secret scholarships.” If a company claims to have
                                                             approaches such as networking, personal contacts,
inside knowledge of scholarship money, they’re




                                                                                                                             Identity
lying. Information on scholarships is available freely       business organizations and interviewing.
to the public. Ask your librarian or school counselor.
                                                             EMPlOYMEnt agEnciES




                                                                                                                             Shopping
Telling students they’ve been selected as “finalists”
for awards. If they ask for an up-front fee, head for        If you’re looking for a job, you may come across ads
the nearest exit.                                            from employment agencies that promise wonderful
Asking for a student’s checking account to “confirm          opportunities. While some companies honestly want

                                                                                                                             Telemarket
eligibility.” If they want bank account information          to help you, others are more interested in taking your
or your credit card number to confirm or reserve a           money. Be wary of:
scholarship, it’s a scam.
                                                             •	 Promises	to	get	you	a	job	and	a	guaranteed	income.
                                                                                                                             Travel



Quoting a relatively small “monthly” or “weekly” fee.
Then asking for authorization to debit your checking         •	 Upfront	fees,	even	when	you	are	guaranteed	a	
account for an unspecified length of time. Ongoing              refund if you are dissatisfied.
                                                                                                                             TV




fees are a sure sign of a scam.                              •	 Employment	agencies	whose	ads	read	like	job	ads.
                                                                                                                             Utilities




Unsolicited offers. Whether it’s an e-mail, phone            •	 Promotions	of	“previously	undisclosed”	government	
call, or it arrived in your mailbox, if you didn’t request
the information, ignore the offer.                              jobs. All federal jobs are announced to the public at
                                                                www.usajobs.opm.gov.
                                                                                                                             Wills




                                                             Get a copy of the employment agency contract and
                                                                                                                             Index




                                                             review it carefully before you pay any money. Check
                                                             with your local consumer protection agency (p. 122)

              www.ConsumerAction.gov                                            www.pueblo.gsa.gov                      16
and the Better Business Bureau (p. 65) to see if any
complaints have been filed about a company.                       MYSTERY ShOPPER JOBS
The Federal Trade Commission (p. 114) sues                        Mystery	shopper	jobs	can	seem	like	an	easy	and	
businesses that fraudulently advertise employment                 lucrative way to earn money. However, many frauds are
openings and guarantee job placement. Contact the                 based on these types of jobs. According to the FTC,
FTC if you have a complaint.                                      some scams require you to pay a fee for the privilege of
                                                                  working for that company. Other companies will send
                                                                  you a fake cashier’s check to deposit; then they will
WORk-at-hOME cOMPaniES                                            instruct you to send the majority of the money to some
Not all work-at-home opportunities deliver on their               other address and to use only a small amount for your
promises. Some classic work-at-home schemes are                   shopping trip. However, when the bank figures out that
medical billing, envelope stuffing and assembly or                the check is not legal, you will be liable for repaying.
craftwork. Ads for these businesses say, “Be part
of one of America’s Fastest Growing Industries.                   Some rules to keep in mind:
Earn thousands of dollars a month from your home!”
Legitimate work-at-home program sponsors should                   •	 Reputable	companies	will	not	ask	you	to	pay	a	fee	to	
                                                                     work for them as a shopper.
tell you, in writing, what’s involved in the program
they are selling. Here are some questions you might               •	 Don’t	deposit	cashier’s	checks	you	receive	out	of	the	
ask a promoter:                                                      blue from companies you don’t know.

•	 What	tasks	will	I	have	to	perform?	(Ask	the	                   •	 Be	skeptical	of	advertisements	for	mystery	
                                                                     shoppers.
   program sponsor to list every step of the job.)
                                                                  •	 Beware	of	companies	selling	directories	of	mystery	
•	 Will	I	be	paid	a	salary	or	will	my	pay	be	based	                  shopping jobs. You can get reliable information
   on commission?                                                    from	bookstores,	libraries,	or	the	Mystery	Shopping	
•	 Who	will	pay	me?                                                  Providers Association (www.mysteryshop.org).

•	 When	will	I	get	my	first	paycheck?                             •	 Mystery	shopper	jobs	pay	modestly.	They	are	a	part-
                                                                     time job at best, and the company will only send
•	 What	is	the	total	cost	of	the	work-at	home	program,	              your pay only after you have completed a job and
   including supplies, equipment and membership                      evaluation form.
   fees? What will I get for my money?
The answers to these questions may help you determine
whether a work-at-home program is appropriate for your           are made to these distributors, not to consumers in
circumstances and whether it is legitimate.                      general. The underlying goods and services, which
Multi-Level Marketing                                            vary from vitamins to car leases, serve only to make
                                                                 the	schemes	look	legitimate.	Most	people	end	up	with	
Some multilevel marketing plans are legitimate.
                                                                 nothing to show for their money except the expensive
However, others are illegal pyramid schemes. In
                                                                 products or marketing materials they were pressured
pyramids, commissions are based on the number
                                                                 to buy.
of	distributors	recruited.	Most	of	the	product	sales	
                                                                 If you’re thinking about joining what appears to be a
                                                                 legitimate multilevel marketing plan, take time to learn
                                                                 about the plan.
                                                                 •	 What	is	the	company’s	track	record?
                                                                 •	 What	products	does	it	sell?
                                                                 •	 Does	it	sell	products	to	the	public-at-large?
                                                                 •	 Does	it	have	the	evidence	to	back	up	the	claims	
                                                                    it makes about its product?
                                                                 •	 Is	the	product	competitively	priced?
                                                                 •	 Is	it	likely	to	appeal	to	a	large	customer	base?
                                                                 •	 How	much	does	it	cost	to	join	the	plan?
                                                                 •	 Are	monthly	minimum	sales	required	to	earn	
                                                                    a commission?
                                                                 •	 Will	you	be	required	to	recruit	new	distributors	to	
                                                                    earn your commission?


17                           To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
Net-Based Business Opportunities                                many foods to identify fat content, fiber and nutrients
                                                                on their labels.




                                                                                                                             Banking
The Federal Trade Commission says that many
Internet business opportunities are scams that
promise more than they can possibly deliver. The                FOOd SaFEtY




                                                                                                                             Cars
companies lure would-be entrepreneurs with false                Food safety in the home revolves around three main
promises of big earnings for little effort. Some tips to        functions: food storage, food handling and cooking.




                                                                                                                             Credit
finding a legitimate opportunity:                               Most	experts	agree	that	practicing	a	few	simple	rules	
•	 Consider	the	promotion	carefully.	                           focused on cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling
                                                                can prevent most foodborne illness in the home.




                                                                                                                             Education
•	 Study	the	business	opportunity’s	franchise	
                                                                The website www.foodsafety.gov is your gateway
   disclosure document.
                                                                to government food safety information, including
•	 Get	earnings	claims	in	writing	and	compare	them	             publications you can download or request. You can




                                                                                                                             Employment
   with the experience of previous franchise and                also visit www.recalls.gov for the latest food safety
   business opportunity owners.                                 alerts and recalls.
•	 Visit	previous	franchise	and	business	opportunity	           For more information, here are some additional
   owners in person, preferably at their place of business.     resources:




                                                                                                                             Food
•	 Check	out	the	company	with	the	local	consumer	               •	 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (p.
   protection agency (p. 122) and Better Business                  105).




                                                                                                                             Healthcare
   Bureau (p. 65). See if there is any record of                •	 FDA’s Food Information and Seafood Hotline
   complaints.                                                     1-888-SAFEFOOD.
•	 If	the	business	opportunity	involves	selling	products	       •	 Partnership	for	Food	Safety	Education	at	




                                                                                                                             Housing
   from well-known companies, verify the relationship              www.fightbac.org, the online resource for Fight
   with the legal department of the company whose                  BAC! With food safety and safe food handling
   merchandise would be promoted.                                  information.




                                                                                                                             Insurance
•	 Consult	an	attorney,	accountant	or	other	business	advisor	   •	 U.S.	Department	of	Health	and	Human	Services	
   before you put any money down or sign any papers.               (p. 105).




                                                                                                                             Internet
•	 Take	your	time.	Promoters	of	fraudulent	business	            •	 USDA	Food Safety and Inspection Service,
   opportunities are likely to use high-pressure                   www.fsis.usda.gov.
   sales tactics to get you to buy in. If the business          •	 USDA	Meat	and	Poultry	Hotline	1-888-674-6854.




                                                                                                                             Investing
   opportunity is legitimate, it will still be around when
   you’re ready to decide.                                      WEight lOSS




                                                                                                                             Phones
                                                                The only proven way to help you lose weight is to
 Food and nUTriTion                                             burn more calories than you consume. If you need
                                                                to lose weight, talk with your doctor about the




                                                                                                                             Identity
                                                                options	that	are	best	for	you.	Most	health	experts	
hEalthY FOOd chOicES
                                                                agree that the best and safest way to lose weight is
To help you make healthy food choices, the federal              to modestly cut calories, eat a balanced diet, and




                                                                                                                             Shopping
government posts dietary guidelines at www.health.              exercise. People usually do best when they reduce
gov/dietaryguidelines. Federal regulations also require         their usual calorie intake or increase the calories
                                                                they use by 500–1,000 per day. This allows you to eat

                                                                                                                             Telemarket
                                                                enough for good nutrition yet lose about one to two
   FOOD FOR ThOUghT                                             pounds a week. Steer clear of harmful tactics such
   Check out these resources for advice, tips and               as smoking, fasting, purging, or abusing laxatives.
   education on food shopping and nutrition:                    Avoid fad diets and other weight loss programs that
                                                                                                                             Travel



                 •	 U.S.	Department	of	Agriculture	(p.	102);    promise fast results or limit your food choices. Ask
                 •	 The	Food	and	Drug	Administration	           yourself the following:
                                                                                                                             TV




                    (p. 106).                                   •	 How	does	the	product	or	service	work?	Does	the	
                                                                                                                             Utilities




                 •	 Nutrition.gov	(www .nutrition .gov).           program emphasize diet, exercise or a combination
                 •	 MedlinePlus	(Click	on	F	for	Food	or	           of both?
                    N for Nutrition at www .nlm .nih .gov/      •	 How	much	will	it	cost?	Ask	for	an	itemized	list	that	
                                                                                                                             Wills




                    medlineplus).                                  includes membership fees and fees for weekly
                 •	 The	Nutrition	Source	(www .hsph .              visits. Ask if there are extra fees for diagnostic
                                                                                                                             Index




                    harvard .edu/nutritionsource).                 tests, food, dietary supplements, or other products

                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                            www.pueblo.gsa.gov                    18
                                                                     •	 What	type	of	attention	will	you	receive?	Will	you	get	
     ACAI BERRY FRAUD                                                   individual counseling or group support? How often?
     Beware of companies that are marketing acai berry               Complaints concerning fraudulent weight loss claims
     products as miracle food to help you lose weight,               should be directed to the Federal Trade Commission
     fight wrinkles, cancer, and heart disease. Although             (p. 114).
     the berries have valuable antioxidant properties, it is
     not a miracle food. Key signs to look for are the use
     of celebrity names to market the products with online
     ads that offer free trials and the use of exaggerated            hEaLTh CarE
     claims. However these free offers turn into pricy
     subscriptions that usually are difficult to cancel. The         For information on healthcare plans, see page 28.
     BBB recommends checking the seller out first or go to
                                                                     Thousands of resources are now available to help
     your local health food store to buy acai berry products.
                                                                     you make health care decisions. Be wary of websites
                                                                     sponsored by companies that are trying to sell you a
                                                                     particular treatment. It’s better to contact reputable
     in the program.
                                                                     associations or visit sites run by government agencies
•	 How	well	does	it	work?	Ask	to	see	the	studies	that	               and	recognized	organizations	such	as	the	Mayo	Clinic	
   back up success claims. Look for how many people                  or the American	Medical	Association	(AMA).	This	
   completed the program, how much weight they lost,                 information should complement, not replace, what
   and how long they kept the weight off.                            you receive from a doctor. Here are some sites that are
                                                                     generally recognized as reliable information sources:
•	 What	are	the	risks?	Get	details	about	possible	side	
   effects. Check with your doctor before you take                   HealthierUS .gov, HealthFinder .gov and
   prescriptions, over-the-counter weight loss drugs,                MedlinePlus (www.medlineplus.gov) provide
                                                                     information on health issues, health care programs,
   or dietary supplements. Diets that require drastic
                                                                     and organizations.
   food restriction should be under the supervision of
   a physician.                                                      Intelihealth (www.intelihealth.com) offers
                                                                     information and advice from the Harvard
•	 How	many	calories	will	you	eat	each	day?	For	diets	               Medical	School.
   under 1500 calories, be sure to check with your
                                                                     HealthMetrix Research, Inc .
   doctor to make sure you get all your nutrients.
                                                                     (www.MedicareNewsWatch.com) offers a quick
•	 What	are	the	staff	qualifications?	Ask	about	their	               reference to programs available in your local area.
   training and experience.                                          Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com) offers an index
                                                                     of diseases and much more.
                                                                     Medical Library Association (www.mlanet.org)
                                                                     links to websites suggested by librarians.
                                                                     Mental Help Net (www.mentalhelp.net) links to a
                                                                     broad range of mental health topics.

                                                                     chOOSing a dOctOR
                                                                     When searching for a primary care doctor, dentist,
                                                                     specialist or other healthcare professional:
                                                                     •	 Find	out	whether	they	are	licensed	in	your	state.	
                                                                        A state or local occupational and professional
                                                                        licensing board will be able to give you this
                                                                        information (p. 122).
                                                                     •	 Research	whether	they	are	board-certified	in	the	
                                                                        appropriate specialty. Visit www.ama-assn.org and
                                                                        www.abms.org for more information.
                                                                     •	 Ask	how	often	they	have	done	the	procedure	you	
                                                                        need and their success rate. You may be able to
                                                                        find some of this information on the Internet. For
                                                                        example, the Center for Disease Control reports the
                                                                        success rates and number of procedures performed



19                               To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                             ExAMINE YOUR lOCAl




                                                                                                                               Banking
                                                             MEDICAl FACIlITIES
                                                             Get statistics on medical




                                                                                                                               Cars
                                                             facilities at these sources:




                                                                                                                               Credit
                                                             www .hcup .ahrq .gov – is a free
                                                             on-line query system that provides
                                                             access to health statistics and information on




                                                                                                                               Education
                                                             hospital stays at the national, regional, and state level.
                                                             www .usa .gov – offers information on health
                                                             facilities in your area and health by age group.




                                                                                                                               Employment
                                                             www .aha .org – is the website of the American
                                                             Hospital Association.
                                                             www .citizen .org – links to a public interest
                                                             organization that provides information on medical




                                                                                                                               Food
                                                             board disciplinary actions.
  by fertility clinics at www.cdc.gov. Some states also




                                                                                                                               Healthcare
  collect and post data on the success of heart-bypass
  surgery.                                                  •	 Nursing Home Compare, operated by the U.S.
•	 Check	whether	there	have	been	any	complaints	or	            Department of Health and Human Services, will
   disciplinary actions taken. Visit www.docboard.org and      help you compare the facilities in many states. Go




                                                                                                                               Housing
   www.healthcarechoices.org for more information.             to www.medicare.gov/nhcompare/home.asp or call
                                                               1-800-MEDICARE	(633-4227).
There are also pay-for-use sites with similar information
                                                            •	 Eldercare Locator (www.eldercare.gov) provides




                                                                                                                               Insurance
including www.QuestionableDoctors.org,
www.Docinfo.org, and www.checkbook.org.                        information and referral services for those seeking
Visit www.healthfinder.gov for more advice on                  local and state support resources for the elderly.
                                                               See page 105.




                                                                                                                               Internet
identifying providers.
                                                            •	 The	American Association of Homes and Services
Filing A Complaint
                                                               for the Aging (www.aahsa.org) is a trade group that




                                                                                                                               Investing
If you have a complaint about the medical services you         represents many nonprofit facilities (p. 156).
received from a physician, you may file a complaint
with	your	State	Medical	Board.	For	a	complete	              •	 The	Assisted Living Federation of America
directory	from	the	Federation	of	State	Medical	Boards,	        (www.alfa.org) represents both for-profit and non-




                                                                                                                               Phones
visit www.fsmb.org/directory_smb.html. You can also            profit assisted-living facilities. Phone: 703-691-8100.
call the Federation at 817-868-4000 to get the phone        •	 The	Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation
number of your state medical board.




                                                                                                                               Identity
                                                               Facilities (www.carf.org) gives its seal of approval to
                                                               qualifying facilities. Phone: 1-888-281-6531.
chOOSing a hEalthcaRE FacilitY




                                                                                                                               Shopping
Report cards on the Internet can help you compare           PREScRiPtiOn dRUgS
health care facilities. Three private websites that rate    Pharmacies may charge widely different prices for
hospitals	based	on	information	collected	from	Medicare	     the same medicine, so it is a good idea to comparison

                                                                                                                               Telemarket
records and other sources are www.usnews.com,               shop.
www.checkbook.org, and www.healthgrades.com.
                                                            •	 Ask	your	physician	and	pharmacist	if	a	generic	drug	
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
                                                               may be appropriate. Generics usually cost less than
Organizations (JCAHO) accredits hospitals, as well
                                                                                                                               Travel




as nursing homes and other health care organizations.          brand	name	drugs.	Many	insurance	companies	use	a	
Specially trained investigators assess whether these           multi-tier co-payment plan for prescription drugs. Be
                                                                                                                               TV




organizations meet set standards. At www.jcaho.org,            sure to ask before filling the prescription.
you can check on a local facility, including how it
                                                                                                                               Utilities




                                                            •	 Consider	using	a	mail-order	or	online	pharmacy,	
compares with others. JCAHO also accepts consumer              especially if you will be taking a drug for a long time.
complaints. You can post a complaint on its website or         They often charge less.
call 1-800-994-6610.
                                                                                                                               Wills




                                                            An increasing number of consumers are replacing a
If you are looking for a nursing home or other assisted     trip to the pharmacy with a trip on the Internet. While
                                                                                                                               Index




living facility, these organizations can help.              there are online pharmacies that provide legitimate


               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov                         20
                                                                      •	 Sell	drugs	without	a	prescription.
                                                                      •	 Sell	drugs	not	approved	by	the	FDA.
                                                                      •	 Advertise	quick	cures.
                                                                      •	 Tell	stories	of	“amazing	results”.
                                                                      If you suspect a site is not a licensed pharmacy,
                                                                      report it and any complaints to the Food and
                                                                      Drug Administration (p. 106) at www.fda.gov/oc/
                                                                      buyonline/buyonlineform.htm.
                                                                      Want to know the side effects of a particular
                                                                      medication? Curious whether a drug has been
                                                                      approved by the Food and Drug Administration? For
                                                                      answers to these questions and other information
                                                                      on approved prescription, over-the-counter and
                                                                      discontinued drugs, visit www.accessdata.fda.gov/
prescription services, there are also some questionable               scripts/cder/drugsatfda. For general drug information,
sites that make buying medicines online risky. Do                     you can also contact the FDA (p. 106).
business only with a licensed U.S. pharmacy. Check
with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy                   MEdicaRE PREScRiPtiOn
to determine if the site is licensed and in good
standing. Visit www.nabp.net or call 847-391-4406.
                                                                      dRUg cOvERagE
An online pharmacy should offer you access to a                       Medicare	offers	prescription	drug	coverage	to	help	
registered pharmacist who can answer any questions                    you get the prescription drugs you need. Everyone
you might have about drug interactions, side effects                  with	Medicare	can	join	a	drug plan to get this
and other safety precautions. Be wary of sites that:                  coverage. If you aren’t sure if a drug plan is approved
                                                                      by	Medicare,	call	1-800-MEDICARE	(1-800-633-4227).	
                                                                      All drug plans approved by Medicare	may	use	this	seal	
                                                                      on their materials:
     MEDICARE FRAUD
     Medicare	fraud	can	occur	when	someone	steals	
     your	Medicare	number	to	obtain	medical	care,	buy	
     medication,	or	submit	fake	billings	to	Medicare	in	your	
     name.	Here	are	some	ways	that	you	can	stop	Medicare	             Like other insurance, if you decide not to enroll in a
     fraud:                                                           drug plan when you are first eligible, you may pay a
     •	 Guard	your	Medicare	and	Social	Security	numbers               penalty if you choose to join later. If you have limited
                                                                      income and resources, you may get extra help to cover
     •	 Only	give	your	Medicare	number	to	your	physician	or	
                                                                      prescription drugs for little or no cost.
        other	approved	Medicare	providers
                                                                      For more information, contact the Centers for
     •	 Hang	up	the	phone	on	telemarketers	that	pretend	
                                                                      Medicare	and	Medicaid	Services	(p.	106).	
        to	be	from	Medicare	or	conducting	a	health	care	
        survey	and	request	your	Medicare	or	Social	Security	

                                                                       hoUsing
        number.
     •	 Be	suspicious	of	offers	for	free	medical	service	in	
        exchange	for	your	Medicare	number;	if	it	is	free	they	
        don’t	need	your	Medicare	number.                              The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
     •	 Review	your	Medicare	statements	to	make	sure	that	            Development (p. 108) funds housing counseling
        your account was not billed for services that you             agencies throughout the country. These organizations
        did not receive. Report questionable charges to               can give you advice on buying a home, renting,
        Medicare	at	1-800-633-4227.                                   defaults, foreclosures, credit issues and reverse
     •	 For	more	tips	on	preventing	Medicare	fraud,	visit	            mortgages. To contact the agency nearest you, call
        www.stopmedicarefraud.gov                                     1-800-569-4287 or visit www.hud.gov. Homeowners
                                                                      with problems that could result in default of their
     If you suspect that you have been the victim of
                                                                      mortgage or foreclosure on their property are
     Medicare	fraud,	contact	the	Inspector	General	at	
     1-800-447-8477 or by email at HHSTips@oig.hhs.gov.               encouraged to contact a HUD-approved housing
                                                                      counseling agency immediately.
                                                                      If, in your housing search, you believe you are being
                                                                      discriminated against on the basis of your race, color,



21                                To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
nationality, religion, sex, familial status, or disability,               can compare the information. Be sure to get the
contact HUD’s Office of Fair Housing (p. 108).                            Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which takes into




                                                                                                                                             Banking
                                                                          account not only the interest rate but also points,
BUYing a hOME                                                             broker fees, and other credit charges expressed as a




                                                                                                                                             Cars
Buying a home is one of the most complex financial                        yearly rate.
decisions you’ll ever make. In addition to the financial                •	 Ask	whether	the	rate	is	fixed	or	adjustable.	The	




                                                                                                                                             Credit
and legal issues involved, real estate agents and                          interest rate on adjustable rate mortgage loans
lenders may not be acting in your best interests.                          (ARMs)	can	vary	a	great	deal	over	the	lifetime	of	the	




                                                                                                                                             Education
•	 Real	estate	agents represent the seller, not the buyer.                 mortgage. An increase of several percentage points
   Consider hiring a buyer’s agent who works for you,                      might raise payments by hundreds of dollars per
   not the seller.                                                         month.




                                                                                                                                             Employment
•	 Get	prices	on	other	homes.	Knowing	the	price	of	
   other homes in a neighborhood will help you avoid
   paying too much.
•	 Have	the	property	inspected.	Use	a	licensed	home	




                                                                                                                                             Food
   inspector to carefully inspect the property before
   agreeing to buy it.




                                                                                                                                             Healthcare
Mortgages
When shopping for a home mortgage, make sure you
obtain all of the relevant information:




                                                                                                                                             Housing
•	 Research	current	interest rates. Check the real
   estate section of your local newspaper, use the




                                                                                                                                             Insurance
   Internet, or call at least six lenders for information.
•	 Check	the	rates	for	30-year,	20-year	and	15-year	
   mortgages. You may be able to save thousands of




                                                                                                                                             Internet
   dollars in interest charges by getting the shortest-
   term mortgage you can afford.
•	 Ask	for	details	on	the	same	loan	amount,	loan	term,	




                                                                                                                                             Investing
   and type of loan from multiple lenders so that you




                                                                                                                                             Phones
                               Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages are the two main types of mortgages, but
                               there is a wide variety of other mortgage products available. Below are pros and cons
       type of                 of just a few of the mortgage products you may want to consider.




                                                                                                                                             Identity
      Mortgage
                                                     Pros                                                cons




                                                                                                                                             Shopping
                               No surprises . The interest rate stays the same      If interest rates fall, you could be stuck paying
Fixed-rate mortgage
                               over the entire term, usually 15, 20 or 30 years .   a higher rate .
                                                                                    After an initial period, rates fluctuate over the
Adjustable-rate	(ARM)	or	      Usually offers a lower initial rate of interest

                                                                                                                                             Telemarket
                                                                                    life of the loan . When interest rates rise,
variable-rate mortgage         than fixed-rate loans .
                                                                                    generally so do your loan payments .
FHA (Federal Housing           Allows buyers who may not qualify for a home
                                                                                    The size of your loan may be limited .
Administration) loan           loan to obtain one . Low down payment .
                                                                                                                                             Travel




                               Guaranteed loans for eligible veterans, active
VA loan                        duty personnel and surviving spouses . Offers        The size of your loan may be limited .
                                                                                                                                             TV




                               competitive rates, low or no down payments .
                                                                                                                                             Utilities




                               Usually a fixed rate loan with relatively low        After an initial period, the entire balance of
Balloon mortgage               payments for a certain period of time                the loan is due immediately . This type of loan
                               (about 5-7 years) .                                  is risky .
                                                                                                                                             Wills




                               Borrower pays only the interest on the loan,         After an initial period, the balance of the loan is
Interest-only                  in monthly payments, for a fixed term                due . This usually means much higher payments,
                               (about 5-7 years) .                                  paying a lump sum or refinancing .
                                                                                                                                             Index




                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                                     www.pueblo.gsa.gov                           22
                                                                   •	 If	a	loan	has	an	adjustable	rate,	ask	when	and	how	
 MORTgAgE & FOREClOSURE SCAMS                                         the rate and loan payment could change.

 •	 Lease-back or rent to buy scams- You are asked                 •	 Find	out	how	much	down	payment	is	required.	Some	
    to “temporarily” transfer the title to your home over             lenders require 20 percent of the home’s purchase
    to the scam artist who promises to obtain better                  price as a down payment. But many lenders now
    financing for your mortgage and allow you to stay in              offer loans that require less. In these cases, you may
    your home as a renter with the option to purchase the             be required to purchase private mortgage insurance
    home back. However, if you do not comply with the
                                                                      (PMI)	to	protect	the	lender	if	you	fall	behind	on	
    terms of the rent-to-buy agreement you will lose your
    money and be evicted like any other tenant.                       payments.
 •	 Fake “government” modification programs-                       •	 If	PMI	is	required,	ask	what	the	total	cost	of	the	
    These scams claim to be affiliated with the                       insurance will be. How much will the monthly
    government or require that you pay high fees in order             mortgage	payment	be	when	the	PMI	premium	is	added	
    to benefit from government modification programs.                 and	how	long	you	will	be	required	to	carry	PMI?
    Remember that you do not have to pay any fees
    to participate in government approved programs.                •	 Ask	if	you	can	pay	off	the	loan	early	and	if	there	
    Some frauds may even use words like “federal” or                  is a penalty for doing so.
    “government-approved” or acquire website names                 There is a long list of sources for mortgages loans:
    that make consumers think they are associated with
                                                                   mortgage banks, mortgage brokers, banks, thrifts and
    the government.
                                                                   credit unions, home builders, real estate agencies and
 •	 Refinance fraud- The scam artists offers to be an              Internet lenders.
    intermediary between you and your mortgage lender
    to negotiate a loan modification. They may even                Reverse Mortgages
    instruct you to make payments directly to them that
                                                                   A reverse mortgage, or a home equity conversion
    the scammer will send to the lender. However the
    scam artist will not forward the payments on to your           mortgage	(HECM)	is	a	special	type	of	home	loan	
    lender and you could still lose your home.                     for homeowners over the age of 62 that lets you
                                                                   convert the equity in your home into cash. As the
 •	 “Eliminate your debt” claims- Some companies
                                                                   homeowner, you do not have to pay back the loan and
    may make false legal claims that you are not required
                                                                   interest for as long as you live in your home. The loan
    to repay your mortgage or that they know of “secret
    laws” that can eliminate your debt. Do not believe             and interest is repaid only when the you die, sell your
    these claims.                                                  home or permanently move out of your house. These
                                                                   mortgages can help homeowners who are house-rich,
 •	 Refinance scams- You are encouraged to sign
                                                                   but cash-poor, stay in their homes and meet your
    “foreclosure rescue” loan documents to refinance
    your loan. In reality, you have surrendered ownership          financial needs.
    of your home because the loan documents are                    Seniors should beware that there can be aggressive
    actually deed transfer documents. You may falsely              lending practices, advertisements that refer to the
    believe that your home has been saved from                     loans as ”free money” or fail to disclose the fees or
    foreclosure until you receive an eviction notice               terms of the loan. To protect yourself, remember:
    months or even years later.
                                                                   •			Do	not	respond	to	unsolicited	advertisements.
                                                                   •		Be	suspicious	of	anyone	claiming	that	you	can	own	a	
 PROTECT YOURSElF FROM MORTgAgE &                                     home with no down payment.
 FOREClOSURE SCAMS                                                 •			Do	not	sign	anything	you	do	no	fully	understand.

 •	 Contact	your	lender	or	mortgage	servicer	first.                •	 Seek out your own reverse mortgage counselor.
 •	 Make	all	mortgage	payments	directly	to	your	lender	or	         There are three types of reverse mortgages:
    mortgage servicer.                                             federally-insured reverse mortgages, proprietary
                                                                   reverse mortgages and single-purpose reverse
 •	 Do	not	trust	anyone	to	make	mortgage	payments	for	
                                                                   mortgages. As with any mortgage it is important
    you and do not stop making payments.
                                                                   to be a savvy consumer and shop for the best deal.
 •	 Do	not	sign	over	ownership	to	anyone	without	
    consulting a lawyer that you select.                           For more information on reverse mortgages, check the
                                                                   directory for the following resources:
 •	 Contact	reputable	housing	counselors	through	HUD.
                                                                   •	 The	Federal	Trade	Commission	(p.	114).
 •	 Do	not	pay	large	up-front	fees.
                                                                   •	 The	Department	of	Housing	and	Urban	
 •	 Get	all	promises	in	writing.
                                                                      Development (p. 108).
                                                                   •	 AARP	(p.	117).


23                             To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                              (p. 114), and the Department of Housing and Urban
 MORTgAgE REFINANCINg                                         Development (p. 108).




                                                                                                                           Banking
 Consider refinancing your mortgage if you can get a          For more information on home buying and mortgages,
 rate that is at least one percentage point lower than        visit www.hud.gov or www.fanniemae.com, or call




                                                                                                                           Cars
 your existing mortgage rate and if you plan to keep          Fannie	Mae	at	1-800-732-6643	(consumer	resources).	
 the new mortgage for several years. When comparing           The Mortgage	Bankers	Association	has	more	
 mortgages, don’t forget to include the extra fees you




                                                                                                                           Credit
                                                              information at www.homeloanlearningcenter.com.
 must pay for the new mortgage. You may be able to get
 some fees waived if you are able to refinance with your
                                                              avOiding FOREclOSURE




                                                                                                                           Education
 current mortgage holder.
                                                              If you miss your mortgage payments, foreclosure may
 BEFORE ChOOSINg A lENDER, DO YOUR RESEARCh:                  occur. This is the legal means your lender can use
                                                              to repossess your home. If you owe more than your




                                                                                                                           Employment
 Get recommendations: Ask friends and family
                                                              property is worth, a deficiency judgment is pursued.
 members for suggestions, especially if they’ve recently
 obtained a loan.                                             Both foreclosures and deficiency judgments have
                                                              a negative impact on your future credit. You should
 Check	credentials:	Mortgage	bankers	are	regulated	by	        avoid foreclosure if at all possible.
 either your state’s department of banking or division




                                                                                                                           Food
 of real estate. Check with the one appropriate to your
 state to see if a lender is in good professional standing.   These steps can help:




                                                                                                                           Healthcare
 Mortgage	brokers	may	be	state	regulated	or	not.	If	not,	     •	 Do	not	ignore	the	letters	from	your	lender.		If	you’re	
 check	with	the	local	chapter	of	the	Mortgage	Brokers	           having problems making your payments, call or
 Association of America or the Better Business Bureau
                                                                 write	to	your	lender’s	Loss	Mitigation	Department	
 to see if their record is clean.




                                                                                                                           Housing
                                                                 without delay. Explain your situation. Be prepared
 Do your homework: Learn about typical mortgages and
                                                                 to provide them with financial information, such as
 ask a question when something looks amiss; a broker
 may be trying to pad closing costs or other fees at your        your monthly income and expenses. Without this




                                                                                                                           Insurance
 expense.                                                        information, they may not be able to help.
 Be cautious online: There are plenty of attractive deals     •	 Stay	in	your	home	for	now.	You	may	not	qualify	
 online, but first make sure you’re dealing with a reliable      for assistance if you abandon your property. For




                                                                                                                           Internet
 broker or lender.                                               example, the Hope for Homeowners program
                                                                 only offers 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to owner
                                                                 occupiers.




                                                                                                                           Investing
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)             •	 Contact	a	HUD-approved	housing	counselor.	
requires lenders to give you information on all closing          Call 1-800-569-4287 or TDD 1-800-877-8339 for the
costs and escrow account practices. Any business
                                                                 housing counseling agency nearest you. These




                                                                                                                           Phones
relationships between the lender and closing service
                                                                 agencies are valuable resources.
providers or other parties to the transaction must
also	be	disclosed.	Many	of	the	fees	are	negotiable.	          •		Contact	Making	Home	Affordable	for	help.	Call	




                                                                                                                           Identity
More	information	is	available	from	the	Federal	Trade	            1-888-995-4673 to talk to a HUD-approved credit
Commission (p. 114), the Federal Reserve System                  counselor who will guide you through your options
                                                                 for free.




                                                                                                                           Shopping
                                                              They frequently have information on services and
  MAKINg hOME AFFORDABlE                                      programs offered by government agencies as well as
                                                              private and community organizations that could help

                                                                                                                           Telemarket
  Making	Home	Affordable	is	a	critical	tool	to	stabilize	     you. The housing counseling agency may also offer
  the housing market. This program can help two               credit counseling. These services are usually free
  groups of people refinance their homes:                     of charge.
                                                                                                                           Travel


  •	 Those	with	a	Fannie	Mae	or	Freddie	Mac	loan	and	         For more information, resources are available at the
     who have experienced a decrease in their home
                                                              following agencies:
     value
                                                                                                                           TV




  •	 Those	who	can	no	longer	afford	their	mortgages	
                                                              •	 The	U.S.	Department	of	Housing	and	Urban	
                                                                 Development (p. 108).
                                                                                                                           Utilities




     due to an increase in their interest rate or a loss of
     income.                                                  •	 The	Federal Trade Commission (p. 114).
  Visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov to find out if           Additional advice, resources and tips for homeowners
                                                                                                                           Wills




  you are eligible. Use their self assessment tools and       can be found under Home Equity Loans (p. 15),
  calculators.                                                Insurance (p. 29), and Home Repairs (p. 25).
                                                                                                                           Index




                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                           www.pueblo.gsa.gov                   24
                                                                    contractors come to your home to evaluate what
                                                                    needs to be done. Be sure the estimates are based
                                                                    on the same work so that you can make meaningful
                                                                    comparisons.
                                                                  •	 Check	contractor	complaint	records with your state
                                                                     or local consumer protection agency (p. 122) or
                                                                     Better Business Bureau (p. 65).
                                                                  •		Make	sure	the	contractor	meets	licensing	and	
                                                                     registration requirements. Your state or local
                                                                     consumer protection agency (p. 122) can help you
                                                                     find out what the necessary requirements are.
                                                                  •	 Get	the	names	of	suppliers	and	ask	if	the	
                                                                     contractor makes timely payments.
                                                                  •	 Contact	your	local	building	inspection	department	to	
                                                                     check for permit and inspection requirements.
                                                                     Be wary if the contractor asks you to get the
                                                                     permit; it could mean the firm is not licensed.
MOving cOMPaniES
                                                                  •	 Be	sure	your	contractor	is	insured.	They	should	
Not all moving companies are the same. Although                      have personal liability, property damage and
many are legitimate, there are some who attempt to                   worker’s compensation insurance for workers and
take advantage of their clients. Follow these guidelines             subcontractors. Also check with your insurance
to help you choose the right mover:
                                                                     company to find out if you are covered for any
Get a written estimate from several movers . Be                      injury or damage that might occur.
wary of very low estimates. Some companies use
the low price to get a contract and later ask for more            •	 Insist	on	a	written	contract	that	states	exactly	what	
money before they will remove your belongings from                   work will be done, the quality of materials that will
their truck.                                                         be used, warranties, timetables, the names of any
Make sure the mover has an operating license .                       subcontractors, the total price of the job, and the
For moves from one state to another, visit                           schedule of payments.
www.protectyourmove.gov to verify a mover’s license.              •	 Try	to	limit	your	down	payment.	Some	states	have	
For moves within a state, check your state, county or                laws limiting the amount of down payment required.
local consumer affairs agency (p. 122).
                                                                  •	 Understand	your	payment	options.	Compare	the	
Make sure the mover has insurance . If furniture                     cost of getting your own loan versus contractor
is damaged during the move, the mover’s insurance                    financing.
should cover it. Ask how to file a complaint if there are
limits to the coverage.                                           •	 Don’t	make	a	final	payment	or	sign	a	final	release	
                                                                     until you are satisfied with the work and know that
Check the mover’s track record . Contact your state
or local consumer protection agency (p. 122) or Better               subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.
Business Bureau (p. 65) to see if there is a history of              Some state laws allow unpaid subcontractors and
complaints.                                                          suppliers to put a lien on your home for bills the
If you have a dispute with a moving company, you can                 contractor failed to pay.
file a complaint	with	the	Federal	Motor	Carrier	Safety	           •	 Pay	by	credit card when you can. You may have the
Administration by calling 1-800-832-5660 or by visiting              right to withhold payment to the credit card company
www.fmsca.dot.gov.                                                   until problems are corrected (see page 11).

hOME iMPROvEMEnt and REPaiRS                                      Be especially cautious if the contractor:
Home improvements and repairs can cost thousands                  •	 Comes	door-to-door	or	seeks	you	out.
of dollars and are the subject of frequent complaints.
                                                                  •	 Just	happens	to	have	material	left	over	from	
When selecting a contractor:
                                                                     a recent job.
•	 Get	recommendations	and	references.	Talk	to	
                                                                  •	 Tells	you	the	job	will	be	a	“demonstration”.
   friends, family and others who have used the
   contractor for similar work.                                   •	 Offers	you	discounts	for	finding	other	customers.
•	 Get	at	least	three	written	estimates.	Insist	the	              •	 Quotes a price that’s out of line with other estimates.

25                            To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                           don’t understand or issues you might have. All
                                                           landlord responsibilities should be clearly stated.




                                                                                                                             Banking
                                                           Always get a copy of the signed lease to keep in your
                                                           records. Any clause or terms in the agreement affects
                                                           ALL parties who sign.




                                                                                                                             Cars
                                                           Tenants who lease or rent property are protected by




                                                                                                                             Credit
                                                           the Fair Housing Act. If you think your rights have been
                                                           violated, you may write a letter or telephone the HUD
                                                           office nearest you (p. 108). You have one year after the




                                                                                                                             Education
                                                           alleged violation to file a complaint with
                                                           HUD, but you should file as soon as possible.
                                                           Each state has its own tenant rights, laws and




                                                                                                                             Employment
                                                           protections. For a state-by-state directory, visit
                                                           www.hud.gov/local. You can also find public housing
                                                           that is available at www.hud.gov. The agency
                                                           (p. 108) offers several housing assistance programs




                                                                                                                             Food
                                                           for tenants and landlords, as well as information on
                                                           rights of residents and displaced tenants.




                                                                                                                             Healthcare
                                                           Ten Tips for Renters
•	 Pressures	you	for	an	immediate	decision.
                                                           1. The best way to win over a prospective landlord
•	 Can	only	be	reached	by	leaving	messages	with	
                                                              is to be prepared by bringing a completed rental
   an answering service.




                                                                                                                             Housing
                                                              application; written references from previous
•	 Drives	an	unmarked	van.                                    landlords, employers, friends and colleagues;
•	 Has	out-of	state	license	plates.                           and a current copy of your credit report with you.




                                                                                                                             Insurance
•	 Asks	you	to	pay	for	the	entire	job	up	front.            2. Carefully review all the important conditions of
With most home improvements, federal law gives you            the tenancy before you sign.
three business days to cancel without penalty. See:        3. To avoid disputes or misunderstandings with




                                                                                                                             Internet
3-Day Cooling-Off Rule (p. 41). Of course, you would          your landlord, get it in writing.
be liable for any benefit already received. State laws
may also provide some protection. And remember, if         4. Ask about your privacy rights before you sign




                                                                                                                             Investing
you finance home improvements with a home equity              the lease.
loan and don’t make your payments, you could lose          5. Know your rights to live in a habitable rental
your home. See Home Equity Loans (p. 15).                     unit – and don’t give them up.




                                                                                                                             Phones
                                                           6. Keep communication open with your landlord.
REnting / lEaSing
                                                           7. Purchase renters’ insurance to cover your




                                                                                                                             Identity
A lease is an agreement that outlines the obligations
                                                              valuables.
of the owner and the tenants of a house or apartment.
It is a legally binding document that courts will          	8.	 Make	sure	the	security	deposit	refund	




                                                                                                                             Shopping
generally uphold in legal proceedings, so it is                 procedures are spelled out in your lease or
important for you to know the exact terms of the lease
agreement before you sign it. Some things to look for
in a lease:
                                                             lANDlORD IN FOREClOSURE?
                                                                                                                             Telemarket
                                                             If the property you live in goes into foreclosure, you
•	 Clauses	that	allow	the	landlord	to	change	the	terms	      still have rights as a renter. Under the “Protecting
   of the lease after it is signed.                          Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009”:
•	 Requirements	/	responsibilities	of	the	tenants	to	do	
                                                                                                                             Travel



                                                             •	 All	tenants	are	entitled	to	a	90-day	notice	before	
   routine repairs such as lawn maintenance, cleaning           being evicted due to foreclosure.
   or notification of repairs.                               •	 Existing	leases	will	be	valid	through	the	end	of	the	
                                                                                                                             TV




•	 Restrictions	that	would	prevent	you	from	living	             lease term. If the lease ends in less than 90 days,
                                                                                                                             Utilities




                                                                you will have a minimum of 90 days notice prior to
   normally or comfortably in the home.
                                                                eviction.
•	 Term	of	the	lease	and	any	important	dates	such	as	        •	 There	is	an	exception:	if	the	new	owner	plans	to	
                                                                                                                             Wills




   when the rent is due, or garbage pickup days.                use the property as their primary residence, you
Read the lease carefully and discuss anything you               may have to vacate within 90 days (even if the lease
                                                                                                                             Index




                                                                extends longer than that time period).


               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov
                                                                                                                        26
      rental agreement.                                            or visit the website of the National Association
 9. Learn whether your building and neighborhood                   of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org),
    are safe, and what you can expect your landlord                which has a database of complaints filed with
    to do about it if they aren’t.                                 state regulators.
10. Know when to fight an eviction notice and when               •	 Find	out	what	others	think	about	the	company’s	
    to move. Unless you have the law and provable                   customer service. Consumers can rate home-
    facts on your side, fighting an eviction notice is              owner insurance companies at www.jdpower.
    usually shortsighted.                                           com/homes/insuranceratings.
                                                                 •	 Once	you	pay	your	first	insurance	premium,	make	
Landlords
                                                                    sure you receive a written policy. This tells you the
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s                   agent forwarded your premium to the insurance
rental assistance program, also known as the Housing                company. If you don’t receive a policy within 60 days,
Choice Voucher Program, allows low-income families
                                                                    contact your agent and the insurance company.
to lease privately-owned rental housing. If you wish to
rent to voucher holders, you should inform the local             If you suspect fraud, call the National Insurance
Housing Authority. For more information, visit                   Crime Bureau’s hotline at 1-800-835-6422. For more
www.hud.gov.                                                     information, check out www.insurancefraud.org.

                                                                 aUtO inSURancE
     insUranCE                                                   Requirements vary from state to state. Check with your
                                                                 state insurance regulator (p. 143) to learn more about
General sources of insurance information include                 individual requirements, as well as insurers you may
the American Council of Life Insurers (p. 156), the              be considering for your policy.
Insurance Information Institute (p. 159), the National           To get the best coverage at the best price, get several
Association of Insurance Commissioners (p. 159), and             quotes from insurance companies. It may save you
your state insurance department (p. 143). You can also           hundreds of dollars a year. Other ways to reduce your
visit www.insure.com.                                            insurance premium are:
When buying insurance, whether it’s home, life, auto,            •	 Raise	your	deductible	on	collision	and	
rental or other:                                                    comprehensive coverages. If you have an older car,
•	 Find	out	whether	your	state	insurance	department	                you might want to drop these coverages altogether.
   offers any information concerning insurance                   •	 Take	advantage	of	discounts.	You	may	be	eligible	for	
   companies and rates (p. 143). This is a good way to              a discount based on the number of miles you drive;
   get a feeling for the range of prices and the lowest-            your age (turning 25 or 50); your good grades if you
   cost providers in your area.                                     are a student; your driving record (no moving vehicle
•	 Check	several	sources	for	the	best	deal.	Try	getting	            violations or accidents in three years); or if you’ve
   quotes from a website such as www.insweb.com,
   but be aware that many online services may provide
   prices for just a few companies. An independent
   insurance agent who works with several insurers in
   your local area may be able to get you a better deal.
•	 Make	sure	the	insurance	company	is	licensed	and	
   covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays
   claims in case the company defaults. Your state
   insurance department (p. 143) can provide this
   information.
•	 Check	the	financial stability and soundness of
   the	insurance	company.	Ratings	from	A.M.	
   Best (www.ambest.com), Standard & Poor’s
   (www.standardandpoors.com), and Moody’s	
   Investors Services (www.moodys.com) are available
   online and at most public libraries.
•	 Research	the	complaint	record	of	the	company.	
   Contact your state insurance department (p. 143),       The Insurance Information Institute offers a wealth of information
                                                           on all types of insurance at www .iii .org. See page 159 for additional
                                                           contact information.
27                           To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                             Act (COBRA). You, not the employer, pay for this
   MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES                                    coverage. When one of these events occurs, you must




                                                                                                                            Banking
   Medicare	beneficiaries	can	compare	HMO	programs	          be given at least 60 days to decide whether you wish to
   at www .medicare .gov and                                 purchase the coverage.




                                                                                                                            Cars
   www .medicarenewswatch .com.                              Some states offer an insurance pool to residents who
                                                             are unable to obtain coverage because of a health




                                                                                                                            Credit
                                                             condition. To find out if a pool is available in your state,
                                                             check with your state department of insurance (p. 143).
  taken a safe-driving course. You might also be able
                                                             Most	states also offer free or low-cost coverage for




                                                                                                                            Education
  to get discounts if you insure more than one vehicle,      children who do not have health insurance. Visit
  insure your vehicle and your home with the same            www.insurekidsnow.gov or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW
  company, have anti-theft devices or have safety            (543-7669) for more information.




                                                                                                                            Employment
  features such as air bags.
You can also find valuable information about car             hEalthcaRE PlanS
ownership in the Cars section (p. 5).                        When purchasing health insurance, your choices will
                                                             typically fall into one of three categories:




                                                                                                                            Food
diSaBilitY inSURancE
                                                             •	 Traditional fee-for-service health insurance plans
Disability can be more disastrous financially than              are usually the most expensive choice. But they offer




                                                                                                                            Healthcare
death. If you are disabled, you lose your earning power,        you the most flexibility when choosing health care
but you still have living expenses and often huge
                                                                providers.
expenses for medical care. When purchasing disability
insurance, ask:                                              •	 Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)




                                                                                                                            Housing
                                                                offer lower co-payments and cover the costs of more
•	 How is disability defined? Some policies consider
                                                                preventative care, but your choice of health care
   you disabled if you are unable to perform the duties
                                                                providers is limited. The National Committee for




                                                                                                                            Insurance
   of any job. Better plans pay benefits if you are unable
                                                                Quality	Assurance	evaluates	and	accredits	HMOs.	
   to do the usual duties of your own occupation.
                                                                You can find out whether one is accredited in your
•	 When do benefits begin?	Most	plans	have	a	                   state by calling 1-888-275-7585. You can also get this




                                                                                                                            Internet
   waiting period after an illness before payments              information,	as	well	as	report	cards	on	HMOs,	by	
   begin.                                                       visiting www.ncqa.org.
•	 How long do benefits last? After the waiting




                                                                                                                            Investing
   period, payments are usually available until you
   reach age 65, though shorter or longer terms are also     APPEAlINg hEAlTh INSURANCE ClAIM
   available.




                                                                                                                            Phones
•	 What dollar amount is promised? Can benefits
                                                             DECISIONS
   be reduced by Social Security disability and workers’     If your health insurer has denied coverage for medical




                                                                                                                            Identity
   compensation payments? Are the benefits adjusted          care you received you have a right to appeal the claim
                                                             and ask that the company reverse that decision. You can
   for inflation? Will the policy provider continue
                                                             be your own health care advocate. Here’s what you can
   making contributions to your pension plan so




                                                                                                                            Shopping
                                                             do:
   you have retirement benefits when the disability
                                                             Step 1: Review your policy and explanation of benefits.
   coverage ends?
                                                             Step 2: Contact your insurer and keep detailed records

                                                                                                                            Telemarket
For more information on disability insurance, visit          of your contacts (copies of letters, time and date of
www.iii.org and www.hiaa.org.                                conversations).
                                                             Step 3: Request documentation from your doctor or
hEalth inSURancE                                             employer to support your case.
                                                                                                                            Travel




Most	consumers	have	health	care	coverage	from	an	            Step 4: Write a formal complaint letter explaining what
employer. Others have medical care paid through              care was denied and why you are appealing through use
                                                                                                                            TV




a	government	program	such	as	Medicare	(p.	106),	             of the company’s internal review process.
Medicaid	(p.	106),	or	the	Veterans	Administration	
                                                                                                                            Utilities




                                                             Step 5: If the internal appeal is not granted through step
(p. 112).                                                    4, file a claim with your state’s insurance department
If you have lost your group coverage from an employer        (see page 143). For more information visit nclnet.or or
                                                                                                                            Wills




as the result of unemployment, death, divorce, or            statehealthfacts.org.
loss of “dependent child” status, you may be able
                                                                                                                            Index




to continue your coverage temporarily under the
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation

               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                           www.pueblo.gsa.gov                     28
•	 Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) offer                    •	 Don’t	wait	until	you	have	a	loss	to	find	out	if	you	
   lower	co-payments	like	HMOs,	but	give	you	more	                     have the right type and amount of insurance.
   flexibility when selecting a provider. A PPO gives               •	 Make	certain	you	purchase	enough	coverage	to	
   you a list of providers you can choose from.                        replace what is insured. “Replacement” coverage
WARNING: If you go outside the HMO or PPO                              gives you the money to rebuild your home and
network of providers, you may have to pay a                            replace its contents. An “Actual Cash Value”
portion or all of the costs .                                          policy is cheaper but pays only what your property
When choosing among different health care plans,                       is worth at the time of loss – your cost minus
you’ll need to read the fine print and ask lots of                     depreciation for age and wear.
questions, such as:
                                                                    •	 Ask	about	special	coverage	you	might	need.	You	
•	 Do	I	have	the	right	to	go	to	any	doctor,	hospital,	                 may have to pay extra for computers, cameras,
   clinic or pharmacy I choose?                                        jewelry, art, antiques, musical instruments, stamp
•	 Are	specialists	such	as	eye	doctors	and	dentists	                   collections, etc.
   covered?                                                         •	 Remember	that	flood and earthquake damage are
•	 Does		the	plan	cover	special	conditions	or	                         not covered by a standard homeowners policy. The
   treatments such as pregnancy, psychiatric care and                  cost of a separate earthquake policy will depend
   physical therapy?                                                   on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area.
•	 Does	the	plan	cover	home	care	or	nursing	home	                      Homeowners who live in areas prone to flooding
   care?                                                               should take advantage of the National Flood
                                                                       Insurance Program (p. 107).
•	 Will	the	plan	cover	all	medications	my	physician	
   may prescribe?                                                   •	 If	you	are	a	renter,	do	not	assume	your	landlord	
                                                                       carries insurance on your personal belongings.
•	 What	are	the	deductibles?	Are	there	any	
                                                                       Purchase a separate policy for renters.
   co-payments?
•	 What	is	the	most	I	will	have	to	pay	out	of	my	own	               liFE inSURancE
   pocket to cover expenses?
                                                                    Your need for life insurance will change with changes
•	 Are	there	any	limits	on	expenses	covered	in	a	year?	             in your life. For example, the arrival of children usually
   In my lifetime?                                                  triggers a sharp increase in the amount you will need.
•	 If	there	is	a	dispute	about	a	bill	or	service,	how	is	it	        As children grow older and leave the nest, you will
                                                                    probably need less protection.
   handled? In some plans, you may be required to have
   a third-party decide how to settle the problem.                  Term life insurance policies are the least costly. They
                                                                    pay death benefits but have no cash value if you
hOMEOWnER / REntER’S inSURancE                                      decide to stop making payments. As the word “term”
                                                                    suggests, these policies are in effect for a specific
You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on               period of time – one year, or until you reach a certain
homeowners insurance by shopping around. You can                    age are common. Visit www.accuquote.com for online
also save money with these tips.                                    comparisons of term life insurance.
•	 Consider	a	higher	deductible. Increasing your                    Whole life, universal life, and other cash value policies
   deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a              combine a long-term savings and investment product
   big difference in your premium.                                  with life insurance. Canceling these policies after only
•	 Ask	your	insurance	agent	about	discounts.	You	may	               a few years can more than double your life insurance
                                                                    costs.
   be able get a lower premium if your home has safety
   features such as dead-bolt locks, smoke detectors,
                                                                    lOng-tERM caRE inSURancE
   an alarm system, storm shutters or fire retardant
   roofing material. Persons over 55 years of age or                Medical	advances	have	resulted	in	an	increased	need	
   long-term customers may also be offered discounts.               for	nursing	home	care	and	assisted	living.	Most	health	
                                                                    insurance	plans	and	Medicare	severely	limit	or	exclude	
•	 Insure	your	house,	NOT	the	land	under	it.	After	a	               long-term care. Here are some questions to ask when
   disaster, the land is still there. If you don’t subtract         considering a separate long-term care insurance policy.
   the value of the land when deciding how much
   homeowner’s insurance to buy, you will pay more
   than you should.



29                              To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
•	 What qualifies you for benefits? Some insurers                 OthER inSURancE
   say you must be unable to perform a specific number




                                                                                                                                 Banking
                                                                  •		Travel Insurance . There are four kinds of travel
   of the following activities of daily living: eating,
                                                                     insurance: Travel Cancellation Insurance, Baggage
   walking, getting from bed to a chair, dressing,
                                                                     or	Personal	Effects	Coverage,	Emergency	Medical	




                                                                                                                                 Cars
   bathing, using a toilet, and remaining continent.
                                                                     Coverage and Accidental Death. One helpful
•	 What type of care is covered? Does the policy                     website is www.insuremytrip.com. See page 44 for




                                                                                                                                 Credit
   cover nursing home care? What about coverage                      additional insight on travel concerns and problems.
   for assisted living facilities that provide less client
                                                                  •	 Identity Theft Insurance . This type of insurance




                                                                                                                                 Education
   care than a nursing home? If you want to stay in
                                                                     provides reimbursement to crime victims for the
   your home, will it pay for care provided by visiting
                                                                     cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit
   nurses and therapists? What about help with food
                                                                     reports. Some companies now include this as part
   preparation and housecleaning?




                                                                                                                                 Employment
                                                                     of their homeowner’s insurance policy. Others sell it
•	 What will the benefit amount be? Most	plans	are	                  as a stand-alone policy. Ask your homeowner policy
   written to provide a specific dollar benefit per day.             company for information.
   The benefit for home care is usually about half the
                                                                  •		International Healthcare Insurance . A policy




                                                                                                                                 Food
   nursing-home benefit. But some policies pay the
                                                                     that provides health coverage no matter where
   same for both forms of care. Other plans pay only for
                                                                     you are in the world. The policy term is flexible so




                                                                                                                                 Healthcare
   your actual expenses.
                                                                     you can purchase only for the time you will be out
•	 What is the benefit period? It is possible to get a               of the country. Check online or write your current
   policy with lifetime benefits, but this can be very               healthcare provider for coverage information.




                                                                                                                                 Housing
   expensive. Other options for coverage are from one
                                                                  •		Liability Insurance . Insurance for what the
   to six years. The average nursing home stay is about
                                                                     policyholder is legally obligated to pay because
   2.5 years.
                                                                     of bodily injury or property damage caused to




                                                                                                                                 Insurance
•	 Is the benefit adjusted for inflation? If you buy a               another person. Search online or ask your personal
   policy prior to age 60, you face the risk that a fixed daily      insurance agent for more information.
   benefit will not be enough by the time you need it.
                                                                  •		Umbrella Insurance . A policy that supplements the




                                                                                                                                 Internet
• Is there a waiting period before benefits begin?                   insurance you already have for home, auto and other
  A 20 to 100 day period is not unusual.                             personal property. Umbrella insurance can help




                                                                                                                                 Investing
                                                                     cover costs that exceed the limits of other policies.


   BEwARE: INSURANCE FRAUD                                         inTErnET




                                                                                                                                 Phones
   •	 When	shopping	for	insurance	on	the	Internet,	
      check that the website is secure (p. 38). Look for          chOOSing SERvicE PROvidERS




                                                                                                                                 Identity
      the lock icon, a URL that begins “https:” and never
      provide personal data if you don’t trust the site.          To connect your computer to the Internet, you’ll
                                                                  need an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Some ISPs
   •		 Be	wary	of	people	selling	insurance	door-to-door	
                                                                  are	large	and	well	known,	such	as	AOL,	MSN,	Time	




                                                                                                                                 Shopping
       and over the telephone.
                                                                  Warner Cable, and Earthlink, while others are literally
   •	 Be	suspicious	if,	after	an	accident,	a	stranger	            one-person operations. Some companies limit their
      contacts you to offer “quick cash” or                       service to providing Internet access only. Others, like

                                                                                                                                 Telemarket
      recommends a particular attorney or health                  your telephone and cable company, may offer Internet
      care provider. Report the incident to your police
                                                                  access as part of a larger package of services.
      department.
                                                                  If you have limited Internet expertise, you may want to
   •	 Don’t	give	your	insurance	identification	numbers	
                                                                  start with one of the well-known ISPs. They usually
                                                                                                                                 Travel



      to companies you don’t know.
                                                                  offer user-friendly startup software. This software
   •	 If	you	are	in	an	accident,	take	pictures	of	the	            often includes features such as a browser, instant
                                                                                                                                 TV




      damage and the people involved. Ask for
                                                                  messaging, parental controls, and pop-up blockers.
      names, telephone numbers and driver’s license
                                                                                                                                 Utilities




      information for all those involved. Getting
                                                                  Many	also	offer	24-hour	tech	support.	Of	course,	all	of	
      contact information for any witnesses is also a             this convenience results in higher monthly user fees.
      good idea.                                                  Once you are comfortable with how the Internet works,
                                                                                                                                 Wills




                                                                  you may discover you don’t need all the “extras” and
                                                                  switch to a lower-cost ISP.
                                                                                                                                 Index




                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                               www.pueblo.gsa.gov                     30
                                                                   SOCIAl NETwORKINg ONlINE
                                                                   The popularity of social networking sites such as
                                                                   Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn has exploded in the
                                                                   last year. These sites have made it easy to connect
                                                                   and stay in touch with long-lost friends and family
                                                                   all around the world. While it is very tempting to
                                                                   be very open with the information you provide on
                                                                   your profile pages, take care to protect your privacy.
                                                                   Increasingly, potential employers and admissions
                                                                   counselors use the content on profiles when making
                                                                   selection decisions. And unfortunately there are still
                                                                   unscrupulous people that can try to steal your posted
                                                                   personal information. Here are some tips to protect
                                                                   yourself in the social media age by proactively using
                                                                   your privacy settings:

                                                                        •	   Make	your	contact	information	private.
                                                                        •	   Limit who can search for your profile on
                                                                             Internet search engines.
                                                                        •	   Manage	who	can	view	images	of	you–	untag	
                                                                             photos, if necessary.
                                                                        •	   Create several “friends” lists to manage
Whatever your present level of expertise, you will want                      who sees particular information about you.
to consider these factors when selecting a provider.                    •	   Be careful about who can see your status
                                                                             updates.
•	 Speed . If all you want to do is check e-mail and read
                                                                        •	   Refrain from telling people where you are at
   web pages, a dial-up connection may be enough.                            every waking moment.
   But most people also want to download music,
   television shows, or watch videos. For these, you will
   need a faster connection with broadband access,
                                                                  •	 Terms of service . Is there a limit to the number
   such as a digital subscriber line (DSL), a cable
                                                                     of hours per month you can use the service?
   modem, or satellite.
                                                                  •	 Cost . What is the monthly fee for the service?
•	 Availability . For dial-up service, is there a local
                                                                     Are there any additional equipment or setup fees?
   phone number or a toll-free number for access?
•	 Wireless access . Can you get a wireless                       OnlinE FilE ShaRing
   connection for other computers in your home?
                                                                  Every day, millions of computer users share files
• E-mail . How many e-mail accounts come with                     online. Whether it is music, games, video, or software,
  the service? What will be the storage limit on your             peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing allows users to share
  mailbox? How many days does the ISP keep your                   all kinds of content. To share files, you download
  mail before deleting it?                                        special software that connects your computer to an
•	 Website space . Do you want to create a personal               informal network of other computers running the same
                                                                  software. The software is often free and easy
   website? If so, find out whether your provider offers
                                                                  to access.
   web space and software to create your page.
                                                                  However, file sharing can have a number of risks.
•	 Software . Is there any software required to                   For example, when you are connected to file-sharing
   activate the service? How do you get it? How large             programs, you could unknowingly allow others to copy
   is the software? Can you use whatever browser or               private files you never intended to share. You could
   e-mail program you’d like?                                     download material that is protected by copyright laws
•	 Support . What kinds of support are available—                 and find yourself mired in legal issues. You could
   phone, e-mail, chat, etc.? What are the hours of               download a virus or facilitate a security breach. Or you
                                                                  could unwittingly download pornography labeled as
   support? Are there any additional charges for
                                                                  something else.
   support?
                                                                  To secure the personal information stored on your
•	 Special features . What services are provided for              computer, the FTC suggests that you:
   spam blocking, virus protection, instant messaging
   and chat rooms?


31                            To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
•	 Set	up	the	file-sharing	software	very	carefully.
                                                              BE SUSPICIOUS OF MASS E-MAIlS




                                                                                                                           Banking
•	 Be	aware	of	spyware.	Use	a	good	anti-spyware	
   program.                                                   Many	mass	e-mails	contain	false	alarms,	misleading	
•	 Close	your	connection	when	you’re	not	using	it.            requests for donations or fictitious offers of money




                                                                                                                           Cars
                                                              and free goods. You can check the validity of almost
•	 Use	an	effective	anti-virus	program	and	update	            any mass e-mail at www .Snopes .com. Don’t




                                                                                                                           Credit
   it regularly.                                              forward an e-mail unless you’re sure that it contains
•	 Talk	with	your	family	about	file	sharing.                  accurate information. Not only do such e-mails
                                                              confuse recipients, they are often used to collect




                                                                                                                           Education
For more complete information on P2P, visit                   e-mail addresses for spammers.
www.onguardonline.gov.

OnlinE cOPYRight iSSUES




                                                                                                                           Employment
                                                               for other consumers’ comments . Visit
Quite simply, it’s illegal to make or download
                                                               www.bizrate.com, where consumers rate online
unauthorized copies of software. Whether you are
casually making a few copies for friends, loaning disks,       stores. Some Internet auction sites post ratings
                                                               of sellers based on comments by buyers. This




                                                                                                                           Food
distributing and/or downloading pirated software via
the Internet, or buying a single software program and          information may give you some idea of how you’ll be
then installing it on 100 computers, you are committing        treated, but beware of too many glowing stories that




                                                                                                                           Healthcare
a copyright infringement. It doesn’t matter if you make        might have been placed by sellers themselves.
money doing it or not. If you or your company is caught      Protect your personal information . Don’t provide it
copying software, you may be held liable under both          in response to an e-mail, a pop-up, or a website you’ve




                                                                                                                           Housing
civil and criminal law.                                      linked to from an e-mail or web page.
If the copyright owner brings a civil action against you,    •	 Take your time and resist any urge to “act now”
the owner can seek to stop you from using its software          to keep your account open or take advantage of a




                                                                                                                           Insurance
immediately and can also request monetary damages.
                                                                special offer.
The copyright owner can sue for as much as $150,000 for
each program copied. In addition, the government can         •	 Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as
criminally prosecute you for copyright infringement. If         well	as	a	firewall,	and	update	them	all	regularly.	Make	




                                                                                                                           Internet
convicted, you can be fined up to $250,000, or sentenced        sure your operating system and web browser are set
to jail for up to five years, or both.                          up properly and update them regularly as well.




                                                                                                                           Investing
For more information, visit www.cybercrime.gov, a site       •	 Protect your passwords . Don’t share your
sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (p. 109)            passwords	with	anyone.	Memorize	them.	
or www.bsa.org, a site on online piracy issues
managed by the Business Software Alliance.                   •	 Back up important files . Copy them onto another




                                                                                                                           Phones
                                                                computer or a removable hard drive such as a flash
PREvEnting OnlinE FRaUd                                         memory stick. When you spill coffee on your laptop
                                                                or if your computer stops working, you’ll be glad




                                                                                                                           Identity
The Internet gives you easy access to information,              you did.
entertainment, financial offers and countless other
services. The flip side, however, is that it can leave you   Learn who to contact if something goes wrong online.




                                                                                                                           Shopping
vulnerable to online scammers, identity thieves and          Report suspected fraud to your bank, credit card
criminals. To guard against Internet fraud, follow these     company or relevant authority.
tips:                                                        The FTC (p. 114) provides tips to help secure your

                                                                                                                           Telemarket
                                                             computer, guard against Internet fraud, and protect your
Know your seller . If you don’t, do some research.           personal information. Visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov
                                                             for more information. To keep up to date with the latest
•	 Company websites often provide information in
                                                             computer threats, sign up for alerts from the Department
                                                                                                                           Travel



   a section called “About Us.” Some online sellers
                                                             of Homeland Security at www.US-CERT.gov.
   participate in programs, such as BBBOnLine,
   that help resolve problems. Look for a logo or            Here are some other sources on protecting yourself
                                                                                                                           TV




                                                             and your family while using the Internet.
   endorsement seal on the company website. This
                                                                                                                           Utilities




   is an indication, but not a guarantee, of the seller’s    •	 GetNetWise (www.getnetwise.org) is a public
   reliability.                                                 service sponsored by Internet industry corporations
                                                                and public interest organizations to help ensure
                                                                                                                           Wills




•	 Check with state and/or local consumer offices.
                                                                that Internet users have safe, constructive, and
•	 Another	way	to	check	online	sellers	is	to	look	              educational or entertaining online experiences.
                                                                                                                           Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov                     32
•	 Internet Keep Safe Coalition                                    JaneDoe@isp.com. Instead use numbers or other
   (www.iKeepSafe.org), the home of Faux Paw the                   digits, such as Jane4oe6@isp.com.
   Techno Cat, is a coalition of 49 governors/first              •	 Use	one	e-mail	address	for	close	friends	and	family	
   spouses,	law	enforcement,	the	American	Medical	                  and another for everyone else. Free addresses are
   Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics,                 available from Yahoo! and Hotmail. You can also get
   and other associations dedicated to helping parents,             a disposable forwarding address from
   educators, and caregivers by providing tools and                 www.spammotel.com. If an address attracts too
   guidelines to teach children the safe and healthy                much spam, get rid of it and establish a new one.
   use of technology.
                                                                 •	 Don’t	post	your	e-mail	address	on	a	public	web	
•	 National Cyber Security Alliance                                 page. Spammers use software that harvests text
   (www.staysafeonline.org) is a non-profit                         addresses. Substitute “janedoe at isp.com” for the
   organization that provides tools and resources                   “janedoe@isp.com.” Or display your address as a
   to empower home users, small businesses, and                     graphic image, not text.
   schools, colleges, and universities to stay safe
                                                                 •	 Don’t	enter	your	address	on	a	website	before	you	
   online.
                                                                    check its privacy policy.
•	 Staysafe (www.staysafe.org) is an educational
                                                                 •	 Uncheck	any	checked	boxes.	These	often	grant	the	
   site intended to help consumers understand both
                                                                    site or its partners permission to contact you.
   the positive aspects of the Internet, and how to
   manage a variety of safety and security issues that           •	 Don’t		click	on	an	e-mail’s	“unsubscribe”	link	unless	
   exist online.                                                    you trust the sender. This action tells the sender
                                                                    you’re there.
•	 Wired Safety (www.wiredsafety.org) is an
   Internet safety and help group comprised of                   •	 Never	forward	chain	letters,	petitions	or	virus	warnings.	
   unpaid volunteers around the world that provides                 All could be a spammer’s trick to collect addresses.
   education, assistance, and awareness on all aspects           •	 Disable	your	e-mail	“preview	pane.”	This	stops	spam	
   of cybercrime and abuse, privacy, security, and                  from reporting to its sender that you’ve received it.
   responsible technology use. Wired Safety is the               •	 Choose	an	Internet	Service	Provider	(ISP)	that	filters	
   parent group of www.Teenangels.org, FBI-trained                  e-mail. If you get lots of spam, your ISP may not be
   teens and preteens who promote Internet safety.                  filtering effectively.
Phishing Is A Growing Problem                                    •	 Use	spam-blocking software. Web browser software
                                                                    often includes free filtering options. You can also
“Phishing” is the use of fraudulent e-mail designed
                                                                    purchase special software that will accomplish this task.
to steal identities as well as vital personal information
such as credit card numbers, bank account PINS and               •	 Report spam. Alert your ISP that spam is slipping
passwords. Phishing e-mails often ask you to verify                 through its filters. The Federal Trade Commission
this type of information. Legitimate companies never                (FTC) also wants to know about “unsolicited
ask for your password or account number via e-mail.                 commercial e-mail.” Forward spam to spam@uce.gov.
If you’re not sure, call the company directly.
Don’t Take The Bait
Don’t reply to e-mail messages that claim your
                                                                  inVEsTing
credit card information or other personal information            If you’ve paid off your credit card debts and you have
needs to be updated. They may even threaten to                   a financial goal in mind, such as saving for retirement,
disable your account. Don’t believe it.                          paying for college or buying a new house, then you
                                                                 have some homework to do before you invest your
SPaM                                                             money. What is your tolerance for risk? What do you
E-mail spam is not just unwanted, it can be offensive.           want to invest in: stocks, bonds, mutual funds? Do
Pornographic spam causes many consumer                           you want to open an IRA or buy an annuity? Does your
complaints. Decrease the number of spam e-mails                  employer offer a 401(k)? You must investigate before
you receive by making it difficult for spammers to               you invest – and remember every investment involves
get and use your e-mail address.                                 some	degree	of	risk.	Most	securities	are	not	insured	by	
                                                                 the federal government if they lose money or fail, even
•	 Don’t	use	an	obvious	e-mail	address,	such	as	                 if you purchase them through a bank or credit union
                                                                 that	offers	federally	insured	savings	accounts.	Make	



33                           To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
sure you have answers to all of these questions before
you invest.




                                                                                                                                         Banking
•	 How quickly can you get your money back?
   Stocks, bonds and shares in mutual funds can




                                                                                                                                         Cars
   usually be sold at any time, but there is no guarantee
   you will get back all the money you paid for them.




                                                                                                                                         Credit
   Other investments, such as limited partnerships,
   certificates of deposit (CDs) or IRAs often restrict




                                                                                                                                         Education
   your ability to cash out your holdings.
•	 What can you expect to earn on your money?
                                                                                   If you need more information or have an
   While bonds generally promise a fixed return,
                                                                                   investment advisor problem that you are




                                                                                                                                         Employment
   earnings on most other securities go up and down                                unable to resolve directly, you can contact
   with market changes. Keep in mind that just because                             the SEC (p. 115) or FINRA (p. 158).
   an investment has done well in the past, there is no
   guarantee it will do well in the future.                            situations. For example, when interest rates go




                                                                                                                                         Food
•	 What type of earnings can you expect? Will you                      up, bond prices tend to go down. One industry
   get income in the form of interest, dividends or rent?              may struggle while another prospers. Putting your




                                                                                                                                         Healthcare
   Some investments, such as stocks and real estate,                   money in a variety of investment options can help to
   have the potential for earnings and growth in value.                reduce your risk.
   What is the potential for earnings over time?                     •	 Are there any tax advantages to a particular
                                                                        investment? U.S. Savings Bonds are exempt




                                                                                                                                         Housing
•	 How much risk is involved? With any investment,
   there is always the risk that you won’t get your money               from	state	and	local	taxes.	Municipal	bonds	are	
   back or the earnings promised. There is usually a                    exempt from federal income tax and, sometimes,




                                                                                                                                         Insurance
   trade-off between risk and reward – the higher the                   state income tax as well. For special goals, such
   potential return, the greater the risk. The federal                  as paying for college and retirement, tax-deferred
   government insures bank savings accounts and                         investments are available that let you postpone or




                                                                                                                                         Internet
   backs up U.S. Treasury securities (including savings                 even eliminate payment of income taxes.
   bonds). See FDIC on page 113 and the chart on                     The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
   page 4 for regulatory information. Other investment               requires public companies to disclose financial and




                                                                                                                                         Investing
   options are not protected.                                        other information to help you make sound decisions.
                                                                     View the text of these files at www.sec.gov/edgar.
•	 Are your investments diversified? Some                            shtml. Or call the SEC Toll-Free Investor Information
   investments perform better than others in certain




                                                                                                                                         Phones
                                                                     Service at 1-800-732-0330 to obtain free publications




                                                                                                                                         Identity
    type of
                                               What is it?                                              Risk level
  investment




                                                                                                                                         Shopping
                         Mutual funds that invest in short-term bonds . Usually pays
Money	Market	Funds       better interest rates than a savings account but not as much      Low risk .
                         as a certificate of deposit (CD) .


                                                                                                                                         Telemarket
                         Also known as fixed-income securities because the income
Bonds and Bond Funds     they pay is fixed when the bond is sold . Bonds and bond          Low risk .
                         funds invest in corporate or government debt obligations .
                                                                                           Risk level depends on which index
                                                                                                                                         Travel



                         Invest in a particular market index such as the S&P 500 or
                                                                                           the fund invests in . For example, a
                         the Russell 2000 . An index fund is passively managed and
Index Funds                                                                                bond index fund involves a lower risk
                         simply mirrors the performance of the designated stock or
                                                                                                                                         TV




                                                                                           level than an index fund of emerging
                         bond index .
                                                                                           markets overseas .
                                                                                                                                         Utilities




                         Stocks represent a share of a company . As the company’s
Stocks                                                                                     Medium to high risk .
                         value rises or falls, so does the value of the stock .
                         Invest in a variety of securities, which may include stocks,      Risk levels vary according to the
                                                                                                                                         Wills




Mutual	funds             bonds and/or money market securities . Costs and                  holdings in the mutual fund . Read the
                         objectives vary .                                                 prospectus to understand the risk .
                                                                                                                                         Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                                    www.pueblo.gsa.gov                         34
and investor alerts, or to learn how to file a complaint.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)                     PROTECT YOURSElF BY SETTINg
also provides up-to-date market data and information
for a wide range of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and
                                                                        YOUR PRICE lIMIT
other	securities	through	its	Market	Data	Center	at	                     One of the best ways to avoid buying or selling a
www.finra.org/marketdata.                                               stock at a price that’s too high or too low, is to place
                                                                        a limit order instead of a market order.
The following companies rate the financial condition
of corporations and municipalities issuing bonds.                       •	 A	limit	order	is	an	order	to	buy	or	sell	at	a	specific	
Their ratings are available online and at many public                      price. This type of order protects you because it
libraries.                                                                 can only be completed at the price limit you set.
                                                                        •	 A	market	order	does	now	allow	you	to	control	the	
•	 Standard	&	Poor’s	(www.standardandpoors.com)
                                                                           price at which your order will be filled.
•	 Moody’s	Investors	Services	(www.moodys.com)
For ratings of mutual funds, consult magazines such
as Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Money, Consumer Reports,             time. Before you trade, ask questions and learn how
Smart Money, and Worth. To compare expenses, use                      to limit losses in this fast-moving marketplace by:
the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
                                                                      •	 Knowing	what	you’re	buying.	
Mutual	Fund	Expense	Analyzer	at	www.finra.org.
                                                                      •	 Understanding	why	you’re	buying	or	selling.
OnlinE tRading                                                        •	 Being	aware	of	how	quickly	trading	changes	
Stocks can now be bought and sold with a mouse                           during fast markets.
click from a wide range of online brokers, often with                 For more insights on online trading and choosing a
low transaction fees. However, the price of some                      broker, search in the “investor information” section
stocks can instantly go from high to low. Online                      at www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/txt-srch-sec.
trading is quick and easy, but online investing takes
                                                                      Financial BROkERS and adviSORS
                                                                      When selecting a broker or investment advisor,
     INVESTMENT FRAUD: BEwARE                                         research the person’s education and professional
                                                                      history, as well as the firm they work for. Ask:
     Deceptive pitches for investments often
     misrepresent or leave out facts in order to promote              •	 Have they worked with others who have
     fantastic profits with little risk. No investment is                circumstances similar to yours?
     risk-free, and a high rate of return means greater
     risk. Before investing, get written information                  •	 Are they licensed in your state? Your state
     such as a prospectus or annual report. Beware if                    securities regulator (p. 148) lists individuals and
     a salesperson:                                                      firms that are registered in your state. Ask if
     •	 Encourages	you	to	borrow	money	or	cash	in	                       the regulatory office has any other background
        retirement funds to invest.                                      information. You can find out how to reach your state
     •	 Pressures	you	to	invest	immediately.                             securities regulator by visiting www.nasaa.org.
     •	 Promises	quick	profits.                                       •	 Have they had any run-ins with regulators or
                                                                         received serious complaints from investors? Call
     •	 Says	the	disclosure	documents	required	by	
        federal law are just a formality.                                your local state securities regulator or the SEC.
                                                                         You can also check out www.finra.org/brokercheck
     •	 Tells	you	to	write	false	information	on	your	
        account form.                                                    or call FINRA toll-free at 1-800-289-9999 to find
                                                                         licensing, employment and disciplinary information.
     •	 Sends	material	with	typos	or	misspellings	or	not	
        printed on letterhead.                                        •	 How are they paid? Is it an hourly rate, a flat fee,
     •	 Does	not	send	your	money	promptly.                               or a commission that depends on the investments
                                                                         you make? Do they get a bonus from their firm for
     •	 Offers	to	share	inside	information.
                                                                         selling you a particular product?
     •	 Uses	words	such	as	“guarantee,”	“high	return,”	
        “limited offer,” or “as safe as a CD”.                        •	 What are the fees for setting up and servicing
                                                                         your account?
     •	 Uses	the	phrase	“this	investment	is	IRA	
        approved”.
     •	 Claims	“off-shore	investments	are	tax-free	
        and confidential”.



35                                To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
Additional organizations that could also be                print and ask questions if there is anything you’re
helpful are:                                               not clear about. The nonprofit Telecommunications




                                                                                                                        Banking
•	 www .Bankrate .com offers a semi-annual rating          Research and Action Center (www.trac.org) offers
                                                           information about long-distance rates and wireless
   of the top online brokerage firms that trade stocks
                                                           services.




                                                                                                                        Cars
   and mutual funds.
                                                           The FCC (p. 113) offers consumer information about
•	 www .Validea .com offers data on Wall Street




                                                                                                                        Credit
                                                           choosing a long distance carrier, understanding new
   analysts and their recent stock picks.                  phone fees and taxes, and more at www.fcc.gov/cib.
•	 The Commodity Futures Trading Commission                The National Consumers League also maintains a




                                                                                                                        Education
   (CFTC) provides consumer alerts and advisories.         Web page (www.nclnet.org/phonebill/index.html) to
   Click “Consumer Protection” at www.cftc.gov.            help you understand phone charges and recognize
   The Commission oversees the Reparations                 fraud.




                                                                                                                        Employment
   Program that resolves disputes between commodity        Compare plans and rates at: SaveOnPhone.com,
   customers and commodity professionals. You              LowerMyBills.com, ABTolls.com and
   can institute “reparations” proceedings against         PhoneBillCentral.org. Another website,
   commodity professionals registered with the             10-10Phonerates.com, focuses on rates from




                                                                                                                        Food
                                                           10-10 dial-around long-distance services.
   Commission if they violate the anti-fraud or other
   provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act. To ask
                                                           SlaMMing and cRaMMing




                                                                                                                        Healthcare
   a question, report information or submit a complaint,
   contact the CFTC (p. 116).                              “Slamming” occurs when a phone company illegally
                                                           switches your phone service without your permission. If
•	 Both	the	North American Securities
                                                           you notice a different company name on your bill or see




                                                                                                                        Housing
   Administrators Association (p. 160) and the             phone charges that are higher than normal, take action:
   National Futures Association (p. 160) can offer
   helpful information.                                    •	 Contact	the	company	that	slammed	you	and	ask	to	




                                                                                                                        Insurance
                                                              be switched back to your original company. Tell them
                                                              you are exercising your right to refuse to pay charges.
 phonEs                                                    •	 Report	the	problem	to	your	original	company	and	




                                                                                                                        Internet
                                                              ask to be enrolled in your previous calling plan.
The choices for phone services have never been             If you’re unable to resolve your complaint, contact
greater.	Most	consumers	are	now	able	to	buy	local	         the FCC (p. 113).




                                                                                                                        Investing
and long-distance phone service from their telephone       “Cramming” occurs when companies add charges
company, cable or satellite TV provider, or Internet       to your phone bill without your permission. These
service provider. Services such as voice-mail, call        charges may be for services such as voice-mail,




                                                                                                                        Phones
waiting, caller ID, paging and wireless service may be     ringtones, or club memberships. You may not notice
offered as a package deal or sold separately. Before       these monthly charges because they are relatively
you buy, compare services and prices, and think about




                                                                                                                        Identity
what you really need.
•	 Whom	do	you	call	most	often?




                                                                                                                        Shopping
•	 What	time	of	day	or	day	of	the	week	do	you	call?
•	 Do	you	want	to	get	messages?	If	so,	do	you	need	
   voice-mail or will an answering machine do?

                                                                                                                        Telemarket
•	 Do	you	want	call	waiting	and/or	caller	ID?
•	 How	important	is	it	for	you	to	have	your	phone	with	
   you when you are away from home?
                                                                                                                        Travel



Find out how each company prices its services.
Are there minimum use, time-of-day or distance
                                                                                                                        TV




requirements, flat monthly fees, or special plans? For
example, wireless service may be cheaper than regular
                                                                                                                        Utilities




local service if you don’t make many calls.
Make	sure	you’re	comparing	prices	on	similar	plans	
                                                                                                                        Wills




and features. Understand that many service providers
offer contracts for specific time periods. Read the fine
                                                                                                                        Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                        www.pueblo.gsa.gov                    36
                                                                   cEll PhOnES
     PREPAID CAllINg CARDS                                         Before you sign a contract, choose a plan and a
     For information about prepaid cards (including                company that meets your needs, you should ask these
     calling cards), see page 3. For help finding                  types of questions:
     the best deals on prepaid phone cards, try
                                                                   Where can you make and receive calls?	Most	
     www .PhoneShark .com.
                                                                   providers now offer a choice of local, regional or
                                                                   national plans. A local plan offers low-cost options if
                                                                   most of your calls are near home. Regional plans cover
small, $5 to $30 dollars, and look like your regular               a larger geographic area – sometimes several states.
phone charges.                                                     If you call outside the area covered by these plans, you
                                                                   will pay long distance and roaming charges in addition
Take these steps to avoid slammers and crammers:                   to the airtime used. National plans are the most
•	 Block changes to your phone service . Ask                       expensive but they let you use your phone anywhere in
   your telephone service provider if they offer a                 the country for a single per-minute price.
   blocking service, which usually requires the                    How frequently will you use the phone? If you just
   company to notify you before making any changes to              want a phone for emergencies, an economy plan with a
   your service.                                                   few minutes a month may be all you need. On the other
                                                                   hand, if you are going to be a heavy user, a plan with
•	 Read the fine print on contest entry forms and
                                                                   several free hours and the lowest airtime is a wiser
   coupons. You could be agreeing to switch your
                                                                   choice. If you plan to use texting, pick a plan that will
   phone service or buy optional services.                         meet your needs and avoid surprises on your billing.
•	 Watch out for impostors . Companies could falsely               Most	services	allow	you	to	upgrade	a	plan	without	an	
   claim to be your regular phone company and offer                added charge.
   some type of discount plan or change in billing. They           Is a family plan option available? Instead of
   may also say they are taking a survey or pretend to             individual cell phone plans for each member of the
   be a government agency.                                         family, you can share one cellular service plan and a
•	 Beware of “negative option notices .” You can be                pool of monthly usage minutes among several phones.
                                                                   The cost of the additional numbers per month is
   switched or signed up for optional services unless
                                                                   usually less than if you purchased individual accounts.
   you say “NO” to telemarketers.
                                                                   Is there a trial period?	Many	people	experience	dead	
•	 Examine your telephone bill carefully,                          spots where a cell phone doesn’t work. A trial period
   including pages that show the details, and look                 lets you test your service and try the features of the
   for suspicious charges.                                         phone without incurring a termination fee.
Your phone service cannot be shut off for refusal                  Know your options .	Make	sure	you	are	only	buying	
to pay for unauthorized services. For help, contact                the options of features you really need. It is always
your local or state consumer protection agency (p. 122),           easier to upgrade a plan later if you feel you need an
state public utilities commission (p. 152), or the FCC (p.         added feature.
113).
                                                                   Are there fees or limits on changing your plan?
                                                                   Some providers charge a fee if you want to downsize
                                                                   or upgrade your plan. Others limit how often you can
                                                                   make changes.
                                                                   What if you want to cancel your service?	Most	
                                                                   providers have a penalty. This is a concern if you have
                                                                   to move out of the area covered by your plan.

                                                                   PaY-aS-YOU-gO PlanS
                                                                   If you want cell phone service only for emergencies
                                                                   or aren’t sure how much you will actually use a cell
                                                                   phone once you get it, you may want to consider a
                                                                   prepaid cell phone before you commit to a long-term
                                                                   wireless contract. With a prepaid cell phone, there is
                                                                   no contract to sign and no monthly bill to worry about.
                                                                   You will know exactly how much you spend. The down
                                                                   side of prepaid plans is that you pay more per minute
                                                                   and, if you don’t use the phone for an extended period
                                                                   of time, you may lose the money in your account.

37                             To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
vOiP                                                         dumpster divers getting your personal information.




                                                                                                                           Banking
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service          •	 Store personal information in a safe place at
is an option for anyone with a broadband Internet             home and at work. Don’t leave it lying around.
connection.	Most	telephone	and	cable	companies	            •		Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for




                                                                                                                           Cars
offer VoIP service, as well as private companies like         personal information in the mail, over the phone
Vonage and Skype. Some VoIP services only work
                                                              or online.




                                                                                                                           Credit
using special phones, while other services allow you
to use a traditional phone through an adaptor. For         •	 Install firewalls and virus-detection software on
more information on whether VoIP is right for you,            your home computer.




                                                                                                                           Education
visit www.ftc.gov.                                         •	 Check your credit report once a year. Check it
                                                              more frequently if you suspect someone has gained
                                                              access to your account information. See Credit
 priVaCY proTECTion and idEnTiTY




                                                                                                                           Employment
                                                              Reports (p. 11).

 ThEFT                                                     REPORting idEntitY thEFt




                                                                                                                           Food
                                                           If you suspect or become a victim of identity theft,
Identity thieves steal your personal information to        follow these steps:
commit fraud. They can damage your credit status




                                                                                                                           Healthcare
(p. 11) and cost you time and money restoring your         •	 Report it to your financial institution . Call the
good name. To reduce your risk of becoming a victim,          phone number on your account statement or on the
follow the tips below.                                        back of your credit or debit card.




                                                                                                                           Housing
                                                           •	 Report the fraud to your local police . Keep a copy
Tips for Preventing Identity Loss                             of the police report, which will make it easier to prove
•	 Don’t carry your Social Security card in your              your case to creditors and retailers.




                                                                                                                           Insurance
   wallet or write it on your checks. Only give out your   •	 Contact the credit-reporting bureaus (p. 11)
   SSN when absolutely necessary.                             and ask them to flag your account with a fraud
•	 Protect your PIN . Never write a PIN on a credit/          alert, which asks merchants not to grant new credit




                                                                                                                           Internet
   debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet.      without your approval.
•		Watch out for “shoulder surfers .” Use your free        To help victims of identity theft, the FTC offers the
   hand to shield the keypad when using pay phones         publication, Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity




                                                                                                                           Investing
   and ATMs.                                               Theft, which includes the ID Theft Affidavit. You can
                                                           use the affidavit to report the theft to most of the
•	 Collect mail promptly . Ask the post office to put      parties involved. All three credit bureaus and many




                                                                                                                           Phones
   your mail on hold when you are away from home for       major creditors have agreed to accept the affidavit.
   more than a day or two.                                 Request a copy of the publication by calling toll-
•	 Pay attention to your billing cycles . If bills or      free 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or visit www.ftc.




                                                                                                                           Identity
   financial statements are late, contact the sender.      gov/idtheft. You can also use this website to file a
                                                           complaint with the FTC.
•	 Keep your receipts . Ask for carbons and incorrect




                                                                                                                           Shopping
   charge slips as well. Promptly compare receipts         The FTC also publishes a series of publications
                                                           about the importance of personal information privacy.
   with account statements. Watch for unauthorized
                                                           To download copies, go to www.ftc.gov or request
   transactions.
                                                           free copies of brochures by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP

                                                                                                                           Telemarket
•		Tear up or shred unwanted receipts, credit offers,      (382-4357).
   account statements, expired cards, etc., to prevent
                                                           PROtEcting YOUR PRivacY
  IDENTITY ThEFT INSURANCE
                                                                                                                           Travel



                                                           Getting a credit card approved, transferring money
  These policies may be worth more to the company          from one account to another, renewing your driver’s
                                                                                                                           TV




  selling it than they are to you. Before you buy one of   license, getting a prescription from your doctor at
  these credit watch plans, read the fine print. You may   your local pharmacy: think about how easily and
                                                                                                                           Utilities




  be better off following the prevention tips here and,    quickly you can do these things today. A down side
  in the event you become a victim of fraud, reporting     of this convenience is that there are more
  it yourself. Be aware that many companies and law        opportunities for your personal information to be
                                                                                                                           Wills




  enforcement officers will only deal with you (as
                                                           changed, stolen or reported inaccurately. To help
  opposed to an insurance company representative).
  See more on Identity Theft Insurance on page 28.
                                                           protect your privacy, follow these tips:
                                                                                                                           Index




                                                                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov                          38
               www.ConsumerAction.gov
•	 Look	for	privacy	statements	on	websites,	sales	               anyone outside its corporate family, it must also give
   materials, and forms you fill out. If a website claims        you the chance to “opt-out” or say no to information
   to follow a set of established voluntary standards,           sharing. Even if you don’t opt out, your account
   read the standards. Don’t assume they provide the             numbers may not be shared with third parties for
   level of privacy you want.                                    marketing purposes.
                                                                 Your credit information has additional privacy
•	 Ask	what	information	will	be	collected	and	how	it	
                                                                 protections under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Only
   may be used.
                                                                 people with a legitimate business need can get a copy
•	 Be	selective	in	what	you	put	on	warranty	registration	        of your report. An employer can only get your report
   forms. The company only needs the purchase                    with your written consent. For more information on
   date, model/serial numbers, and how you can be                your rights under this federal law and to find out how
   contacted if there is a product recall. Questions not         you can get a copy of your credit reports, see Credit
   related to your purchase, such as your income and             Reports & Scores on page 11.
   hobbies, can be ignored.
                                                                 MEdical PRivacY
•	 Talk	about	privacy	with	others	in	your	home.	
   Everyone, even children, should understand what               Personal information you give to your doctor is shared
   information is not appropriate to share on the phone,         with insurance companies, pharmacies, researchers,
   while using a computer, and in other situations.              and employers based on specific regulations.
                                                                 The privacy of your health records is protected by
Check with your state or local consumer agency                   federal law (the Health Insurance Portability and
(p. 122) to find out whether there are any state laws            Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA), which:
that help protect your privacy. Some companies and
industry groups have also adopted voluntary policies             •	 Defines	your	rights	over	your	health	information
that address privacy concerns.                                   •	 Sets	rules	and	limits	on	who	is	allowed	to	receive	
                                                                    and/or see your health information
Financial PRivacY                                                The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (p. 113)               Office for Civil Rights (www.dhhs.gov/ocr or 1-800-
and other federal regulators require banks, insurance            368-1019) is an excellent resource for complete
companies, brokerage firms and certain businesses                details and advice about the HIPAA ruling. Along
that share financial information to tell you their privacy       with fact sheets and educational materials, the OCR
policies. They must give you this information when               also provides a listing of resources for consumers,
you open an account and at least once every year. This           providers and advocates.
includes:                                                        The Medical	Information	Bureau	(MIB)	is	a	data	bank	
•	 The	kinds	of	information	being	collected.                     used by insurance companies that collects and shares
                                                                 information. You can request a copy of your file by
•	 How	the	confidentiality	and	security	of	this	
                                                                 writing	to	MIB,	Inc.,	50	Braintree	Hill	Park,	Suite	300	
   information will be protected.                                Braintree,	MA	02184-8734	or	call	toll	free	1-866-692-
•	 What	types	of	businesses	may	be	provided	                     6901 (TTY: 1-866-346-3642). There is a fee to obtain a
   this information.                                             copy of your file.
If a business is going to share the information with             For more information on how the federal government
                                                                 protects your personal health information, visit the
                                                                 website of the Health Privacy Project
If you believe that                                              (www.healthprivacy.org) or	My	Health	Privacy	
a person, agency                                                 (www.nclnet.org) created by the National
or organization                                                  Consumers League.
covered under the
HIPAA Privacy Rule                                               OnlinE PRivacY
violated your health
information privacy                                              In addition to following the general advice on
rights or committed                                              protecting your privacy, make sure you only use
another violation of the                                         websites with acceptable privacy policies.
Privacy Rule, you may                                            •	 Look	for	a	privacy	policy	statement	or	seal	that	
be able to file written
                                                                    indicates the site abides by privacy standards. Take
complaints with the
Department of Health                                                time to read how your privacy is protected.
and Human Services                                               •	 Look	for	signals	that	you	are	using	a	secure	web	
Office for Civil Rights                                             page. A secure site encrypts or scrambles personal
(p. 105).

                             To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
39
                                                                •	 Keep a record of your purchase . Save any
 PROTECTINg ChIlDREN ONlINE                                        information the seller gives you, such as product




                                                                                                                               Banking
 The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act                      description, delivery date, cancellation policy,
 requires commercial websites to obtain parental                   privacy policy, warranties, and order confirmation




                                                                                                                               Cars
 consent before collecting, using, or disclosing                   numbers.
 personal information from children under 13.
 For more information,                                          •	 Keep track of your order . If it’s late, you have the




                                                                                                                               Credit
 contact the FTC                                                   right to cancel your order and demand a refund.
 (p. 114) or visit




                                                                                                                               Education
 ftc .gov.                                                      YOUR RightS: ShOPPing FROM
                                                                hOME
                                                                When you order something by mail, phone, fax or




                                                                                                                               Employment
                                                                computer, the Federal Trade Commission requires
                                                                the company to:
                                                                •	 Ship	the	merchandise	within	the	time	promised,	or	
                                                                   if no specific delivery time was stated, within 30




                                                                                                                               Food
                                                                   days of receiving your order.
  information so it cannot be easily intercepted.               •	 Notify	you	if	the	shipment	cannot	be	made	on	time	




                                                                                                                               Healthcare
  Signals include a screen notice that says you are on             and give you the choice of waiting longer or getting
  a secure site, a closed lock or unbroken key in the              a refund.
  bottom corner of your screen, or the first letters of
                                                                •	 Cancel	your	order	and	return	your	payment	if	the	




                                                                                                                               Housing
  the Internet address you are viewing changes from
                                                                   new shipping date cannot be met, unless you agree
  “http” to “https.”
                                                                   to another delay.
Another threat to your privacy is spyware, which is
                                                                If you cancel, your money must be refunded within




                                                                                                                               Insurance
sneaky software that rides its way onto computers
when you download screensavers, games, music and                seven days (or your account must be credited within
other applications. Spyware sends information about             one billing cycle if you charged the order). The
what you’re doing on the Internet to a third-party,             company can’t substitute a store credit. If you applied




                                                                                                                               Internet
usually to target you with pop-up ads. Browsers like            for a charge account with the merchant at the same
Internet Explorer and Firefox, and search engines like          time that you placed your order, the company has an
                                                                extra 20 days to ship the merchandise to allow time for




                                                                                                                               Investing
Google enable you to block pop-ups. You can also
install anti-spyware to stop this threat to your privacy.       processing your application.
For more information, see the Internet section on page          These FTC rules only apply to the first shipment
30.                                                             of magazine subscriptions or other merchandise




                                                                                                                               Phones
                                                                that you receive repeatedly. Orders for services
                                                                (for example, photo finishing), sale of seeds and
 sMarT hoME shopping


                                                                                                                               Identity
Late delivery, shipment of wrong or damaged items,
                                                                 BEwARE: YOUTh PEDDlINg


                                                                                                                               Shopping
and hidden costs are common home shopping
complaints. To avoid problems and resolve them                   Some for-profit companies use young salespersons
more easily, follow the advice in the “Before You Buy”           to sell magazines and other items door-to-door.

                                                                                                                               Telemarket
checklist (p. 1). In addition:                                   They trick consumers into believing they are giving
                                                                 money to legitimate charities because consumers
•	 Be wary of post office boxes and sellers in other
                                                                 tend to support young persons and youth programs.
   countries. It may be difficult to find the seller to          If a young person solicits you, ask for identification
   resolve a problem later.
                                                                                                                               Travel


                                                                 verifying the organization’s name, address and
•	 Know the total price .	Make	sure	it	includes	all	charges,	    purpose. If the representative can’t provide this
                                                                 information, ask them to leave. Report suspicious
   shipping, handling, insurance and taxes. Coupons and
                                                                                                                               TV




                                                                 people to your local police department and/or
   other discounts should be properly deducted.                  contact the child labor division of your state labor
                                                                                                                               Utilities




•	 Make sure you are clear on what you are                       department listed in the phone book. Even if you are
   buying . Watch for words such as “refurbished,”               satisfied with the information provided, don’t feel
                                                                 pressured to make a purchase or contribute. See
                                                                                                                               Wills




   “reconditioned,” “close-out,” or “discontinued.”              also Charitable Giving (p. 41).
•	 Use your credit card, debit card or bank account
                                                                                                                               Index




   number for payment, never to prove your identity.


                www.ConsumerAction.gov                                            www.pueblo.gsa.gov                      40
     hOw TO FIlE A COMPlAINT                                            BE SMART: MESSAgE BOARDS AND
     ABOUT A SAlES CAll                                                 ONlINE AUCTIONS
     If you think a sales call is in violation of the Federal           Online message boards and forums are useful
     Trade Commission rule and want to file a complaint,                resources to learn about jobs, housing, and goods
     use the online resource at www .ftc .gov and click on              available for sale. Fortunately, there are some
     the “File a Complaint Online” link.                                commonly accepted practices that can help protect
                                                                        your wallet.
                                                                        •	 Deal	with	local	sellers	that	you	can	meet	in	person,	
growing plants, collect-on-delivery (C.O.D.) orders,                       if	possible.	Many	scams	involve	people	from	far	
and transactions, such as books and music clubs, are                       away.
covered by a different FTC rule. There could also be                    •	 Avoid	wiring	funds	or	using	unknown	escrow	
laws or regulations in your state that apply. Report                       services.
suspected violations to your state or local consumer                    •	 Fake	cashier	checks	and	money	orders	are	
protection agency (p. 122) and to the FTC (p. 114).                        prevalent. The bank will cash them and hold you
                                                                           responsible when the fake is discovered.
YOUR RightS: 3-daY cOOling OFF                                          •	 Make	sure	you	find	out	if	the	hosting	website	is	
RUlE                                                                       actually involved in the transaction.

This federal law, which dates back to 1972, was                         •	 Be	suspicious	of	“guarantees”	on	your	transaction.
intended to protect consumers in their homes during                     •	 If	the	item	you	are	purchasing	comes	in	a	factory	
door-to-door sales pitches or at sales in temporary                        sealed box, open it to be sure you are getting what
business locations. According to the FTC, the 3-Day                        you have paid for.
Cooling Off Rule does NOT apply to the purchase of                      •	 Keep	in	mind	that	you	are	probably	buying	from	an	
new automobiles or items sold online. It only applies                      individual, not from a company.
when a company is selling something that costs $25                      •	 The	items	for	sale	are	most	likely	used	or	second	
or more at a location other than its regular place of                      hand.
business.
                                                                        •	 Utilize	any	ratings	about	your	sellers	feedback	to	
To comply with the 3-Day Cooling Off Rule, a seller                        decide if you can trust this seller.
must inform a buyer of his/her right to cancel the sale
                                                                        •	 If	you	win	an	item	in	an	auction,	you	are	expected	to	
and receive a full refund within three business days.                      pay for it; be sure you want the item before you bid.
Be aware that there are situations in which the                         •	 Remember:	if	it	seems	too	good	to	be	true, it
Cooling-Off Rule does not apply:                                           probably is.
•	 You	made	the	purchase	entirely	by	mail	
   or telephone.

                                                                       •		The	sale	was	the	result	of	prior	contact	you	had	at	
                                                                          the seller’s permanent business location.
     BEwARE: ChARITABlE gIVINg                                         •	 You	signed	a	document	waiving	your	right	to	cancel.
     Investigate before you donate. Some con artists
                                                                       •	 Your	purchase	is	not	primarily	for	personal,	family	or	
     use names similar to well-known charities or
     pretend to raise money for state or local law                        household use.
     enforcement agencies.                                             •	 You	were	buying	real	estate,	insurance,	securities,	or	
     •	 Ask	for	written	information,	including	how	much	                  a motor vehicle.
        of the money raised is actually used for charitable
                                                                       •	 You	can’t	return	the	item	in	a	condition	similar	to	
        purposes.
                                                                          how you received it.
     •	 Ask	your	Secretary	of	State	if	the	charity	is	
        registered to solicit in your state.                           •	 You	bought	arts	or	crafts	at	a	fair,	shopping	mall,	
                                                                          civic center, or school.
     •	 Check	the	Better	Business	Bureau	(p.	65)	
        and others for information on charities:                       Remember, if you paid by credit card and are having
        www .give .org, www .charitywatch .org,                        difficulty getting your refund, you may also be able
        and www .guidestar .org .                                      to dispute the charge with your credit card company




41                                 To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                               TELEMarkETing & UnWanTEd MaiL




                                                                                                                               Banking
                                                              What can you do about the growing pile of unwanted




                                                                                                                               Cars
                                                              mail in your mailbox and unwelcome telemarketers on
                                                              your phone? Actually, there’s a lot you can do.




                                                                                                                               Credit
                                                              •	 Tell	companies	you	do	business	with	to	remove
                                                                 your name from customer lists they rent or sell to




                                                                                                                               Education
                                                                 others. Look for information on how to opt out of
                                                                 marketing lists on sales materials, order forms and
                                                                 websites.




                                                                                                                               Employment
                                                              •	 Utilize	the	services	provided	by	the	Direct	
                                                                 Marketing	Association	to	remove your name from
                                                                 most national telemarketing, mail and e-mail lists
under the Fair Credit Billing Act. See Dealing With              (p. 158).




                                                                                                                               Food
Billing Disputes (p. 11).
                                                              •	 Call	the	credit	reporting	agencies’	notification	
                                                                 system at 1-888-567-8688. This will reduce the




                                                                                                                               Healthcare
OnlinE aUctiOnS and SEllERS
                                                                 number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers
Many	people	sell	items	on	the	Internet	through	                  you get. All three major credit bureaus participate
auctions, classified ads, news groups, and chat
                                                                 in this program.
rooms. Review the section under “Internet” (p. 30)




                                                                                                                               Housing
for safe shopping online as well as the general tips          •	 Under	U.S. Postal Service rules, it is illegal to send
on shopping from home (p. 40).                                   mail that looks like it is from a government agency
                                                                 when it isn’t. It is also illegal to send mail that looks




                                                                                                                               Insurance
•	 Check	how	the	auction	works.	Can	you	cancel	a	bid?	
   Don’t assume that the rules used by one auction               like a bill when nothing was ordered, unless it
   site apply to another. Some sites offer step-by-step          clearly states it is not a bill. Report violations of this
                                                                 rule to the USPS (p. 116).




                                                                                                                               Internet
   instructions that will take you through the bidding
   process.
                                                              natiOnal dO nOt call REgiStRY
•	 Find	out	what	protections	you	have.	Does	the	site	




                                                                                                                               Investing
   provide free insurance or guarantees for items that        The federal government’s Do Not Call Registry
                                                              allows you to choose whether you want to receive
   are not delivered or not what the seller claimed?
                                                              telemarketing calls at home. Under the Do-Not-
•	 Follow	the	strategies	used	in	any	auction.	Learn	the	




                                                                                                                               Phones
                                                              Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became
   value of the item you are bidding on. Establish your       law in February 2008, telephone numbers on the
   top price and stick to it.                                 registry now remain on it permanently, until they are




                                                                                                                               Identity
•	 Don’t	bid	on	an	item	you	don’t	intend	to	buy.	If	you’re	   disconnected or reassigned. If you get restricted
                                                              telemarketing calls after your number has been in
   the highest bidder, you have bought it. Auction
                                                              the national registry for three months, you can file
   companies often bar those who back out of a deal




                                                                                                                               Shopping
                                                              a complaint using the same web page and toll-free
   from future bidding.                                       number.
•	 If	the	seller	can’t	accept	payment	by	credit	card,	use	    If your number has been on the National Do Not

                                                                                                                               Telemarket
   an escrow service. A third-party holds your money
   until you get your purchase and approve release of
   your payment to the seller. There is a small fee, but
   the peace of mind is worth it. Auction company eBay        hOw TO PUT YOUR NAME IN
                                                                                                                               Travel




   recommends www.Escrow.com, which is backed by              ThE DO-NOT-CAll REgISTRY
   Fidelity National Financial Corporation.
                                                              To register your home or mobile phone
                                                                                                                               TV




•	 Be	wary	of	sellers	who	insist	you	use	a	specific	          for free, visit www .donotcall .gov or
                                                                                                                               Utilities




   escrow service, especially if you’ve never heard of        call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone
   that	particular	service	before.	Make	sure	the	escrow	      you want to register.
   service is legitimate before you use it.
                                                                                                                               Wills
                                                                                                                               Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                             www.pueblo.gsa.gov                      42
Call Registry for at least 31 days and you receive a call         •	 Calls	by,	or	on	behalf	of,	tax-exempt	nonprofit	
from a telemarketer that you believe is covered by the               organizations.
National Do Not Call Registry, you can file a complaint
                                                                  •	 Calls	for	which	you	have	given	prior	consent.
at www.donotcall.gov or call toll-free 1-888-382-1222
(TTY: 1-866-290-4236).                                            •	 Calls	from	entities	with	which	you	have	an	
Placing your number on this national registry will stop              established business relationship.
most telemarketing calls, but not all of them. Calls that         If you receive pre-recorded telemarketing calls but
are still permitted include those from:                           have not agreed to get them, file a complaint with the
                                                                  FTC at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
•	 Political	organizations
•	 Charities                                                      tElEMaRkEting SalES callS
•	 Telephone	surveyors                                            A Federal Trade Commission rule defines what
•	 Some	insurance	situations                                      telemarketers can and cannot do when making a sales
•	 Organizations	with	which	you	have	a	relationship	              call. Callers must:
   can call up to 18 months after your last purchase,             •	 Provide	the	seller’s	name.
   payment or delivery.                                           •	 Disclose	that	the	call	is	a	sales	call.
•	 Companies	to	which	you	have	made	an	inquiry	or	                •	 Tell	you	exactly	what	they’re	trying	to	sell.
   submitted an application can call you for up to
                                                                  •	 Disclose	the	total	cost	and	other	terms	of	sale	before	
   three months.
                                                                     you make any payment for goods or services.
You can stop these calls by asking the company to
                                                                  •	 Tell	you	if	they	don’t	allow	refunds,	exchanges	or	
put your number on its own do-not-call list. You can
also tell each telemarketer who calls to put you on                  cancellations.
its own do-not-call list. Note the name of the person             If a prize is involved, the caller must give you the odds
you spoke with, the organization, and the date of                 of winning, inform you that no purchase is necessary,
the call. The Federal Communications Commission                   and tell you how to get instructions for entering
requires telemarketers (except tax-exempt nonprofit               without buying anything.
organizations) to maintain a record of your request not           It’s illegal for telemarketers to:
to receive future telephone calls. The record must be
                                                                  •	 Misrepresent	what	they’re	offering.
maintained for 10 years. If you get another call from the
same person or organization, report the date                      •	 Call	before	8	am	or	after	9	pm.
and source to the FCC (p. 113).                                   •	 Threaten,	intimidate	or	harass	you,	or	call	again	if	
Consider screening any calls that are still slipping                 you ask them not to.
through by using an answering machine. You can                    This FTC rule applies even when you receive a call
listen to the caller and decide if you want to pick up.           from a telemarketer in another state or country. It also
Your local telephone company may also offer services              applies if you make a call to a company in another state
(such as Caller I.D.) that allow you to see                       or country in response to a mail solicitation.
the name and number of the person calling you.
                                                                  The rule generally does not apply when you call
Some states have their own do-not-call lists for                  to order from a catalog or in response to an ad on
residents. Contact your state consumer protection                 television or radio, or in a magazine or newspaper. It
office (p. 122) to find out if your state has such a list         also does not apply to solicitations you receive by fax
and how you can be added.                                         or e-mail. Beware that certain types of businesses,
                                                                  including nonprofit organizations, investment brokers
PRE-REcORdEd MESSagES                                             and advisors, banks and financial institutions, are
As of September 1, 2009 pre-recorded sales calls                  exempt from the rule.
(robocalls) are prohibited. Companies cannot transmit             In addition, telemarketers are not allowed to use auto
these messages to consumers who have not agreed, in               dialers to reach cell phones.
writing, to accept such messages. Pre-recorded calls              If you get a phone call from someone who says they
may only be made to residential telephone numbers in              are with your bank and/or credit company and they ask
the following cases:                                              you to provide or confirm any personal information:
•	 Emergency	calls	needed	to	ensure	your	health	                  •	 Do	NOT	answer	any	questions.
   and safety.
                                                                  •	 Hang	up	immediately.
•	 Non-commercial	calls.
                                                                  •	 Call	your	bank	or	credit	company	directly	and	tell	
•	 Calls	which	don’t	include	any	unsolicited	                        them what happened.
   advertisements.

43                            To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
 TraVEL                                                        describes the different forms of policies available.




                                                                                                                           Banking
                                                             •	 Insist on written confirmations . Ask for written
                                                                proof of reservations and dates.
Whether reserving a hotel room, buying plane tickets
or making other travel arrangements, these tips will         •	 Pay by credit card . It’s not unusual to make a




                                                                                                                           Cars
help you get the deal you’ve been promised.                     deposit or even pay in full for travel services before
                                                                the trip. A credit card gives you the right to dispute




                                                                                                                           Credit
•	 Plan as far ahead as you can . Special deals
   on hotel rooms and airline seats often sell out              charges for services that were misrepresented or
   very quickly.                                                never delivered. If a travel agent or service provider




                                                                                                                           Education
                                                                says you can’t leave for at least two months, be very
•	 Be flexible in your travel plans . Hotels usually            cautious—the deadline for disputing a credit card
   offer better rates on days when they expect fewer            charge is 60 days and most scam artists know this.
   guests. Once you get a fare quote from an airline,




                                                                                                                           Employment
                                                                (See Credit Card Billing Disputes, p. 11).
   ask if you could save money by leaving a day earlier
                                                             In some states, travel sellers must be registered and
   or later, by taking a different flight on the same day,
                                                             insured. Advance payments for travel must be placed
   or using a different airport. Changing planes during
                                                             in an escrow account until services are provided.
   your trip is sometimes cheaper than a nonstop flight.




                                                                                                                           Food
                                                             Prizes or “free” gifts may also be regulated. Contact
•	 Check out the seller . Ask tour operators and             your state or local consumer protection agency




                                                                                                                           Healthcare
   travel agents whether they belong to a professional       (p. 122) to find out about your rights and how to file
   association, then check to see if they are members in     complaints. The American Society of Travel Agents
   good standing. Contact your state or local consumer       (p. 157) will also help resolve disputes with member
   protection agency (p. 122) and the Better Business        agents.




                                                                                                                           Housing
   Bureau (p. 65) to find their complaint history.
                                                             RESOlving aiR tRavEl PROBlEMS
•	 Comparison shop . Determine the complete cost
                                                             No matter how well you plan, you might encounter




                                                                                                                           Insurance
   of the trip in dollars, including all service charges,
   taxes, processing fees, etc.                              these common air travel hassles.

•	 Beware of unusually cheap prices and freebies .           Delayed and Cancelled Flights




                                                                                                                           Internet
   It could be a scam, and you could end up paying
                                                             Airline delays caused by bad weather, traffic control
   more than the cost of a regular package tour.             problems, and mechanical repairs are hard to predict.
•	 Make sure you understand the terms of the deal .          If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you




                                                                                                                           Investing
   If you hear you’ve won a free vacation, ask if you have   on the earliest flight possible to your destination, at
   to buy something in order to get it. If the destination   no additional charge. If you’re able to find a flight on
   is a beach resort, ask the seller how far the hotel is    another airline, ask the first airline to endorse your




                                                                                                                           Phones
   from the beach. Then ask the hotel.                       ticket to the new carrier. This could save you a fare
                                                             increase but there is no rule requiring them to do this.
•	 Ask about cancellation policies . You may want
                                                             Each airline has its own policies about what it will




                                                                                                                           Identity
   to look into trip insurance for added protection.
                                                             do for delayed passengers; there are no federal
   www.InsureMyTrip.com offers pricing and policy
   information on plans from different companies and




                                                                                                                           Shopping
 OVERSEAS TRAVEl: OVERChARgED
                                                                                                                           Telemarket
 FOR CONVERSION FEES?
 Many	credit	card	issuers	and	banks	
                                                                                                                           Travel



 tack on an extra currency-conversion
 charge – up to 3 percent more – on
                                                                                                                           TV




 purchases made with your credit
 card when traveling abroad. That
                                                                                                                           Utilities




 means a $200 jacket you charged in
 Italy could show up on your credit bill as
 $206. Be sure to ask your credit card company
                                                                                                                           Wills




 about these fees or shop around for the best deal
 before you leave the country.
                                                                                                                           Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov
                                                                                                                      44
                                                                        your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if it
     AIRlINE FEES                                                       covers losses away from home. Some credit card
                                                                        companies and travel agencies also offer optional or
     Nearly all of the major commercial airlines now
     charge a fee for checking baggage during your                      even automatic supplemental baggage coverage.
     domestic	travel.	Most	fees	range	between	$15	and	                  On those trips when you know you’re carrying more
     $20, but some airlines offer a $5 discount if you pay              than the liability limits, you may want to ask about
     the fee online. Some airlines have extended these                  purchasing “excess valuation” from the airline when
     fees to international travel. Also, some carriers have             you check in. Of course, there is no guarantee the
     instituted surcharges for travel during the holiday                airline will sell you this protection. The airline may
     season. To avoid unpleasant surprises, see the
                                                                        refuse, especially if the item is valuable or breakable.
     individual airline’s policies before you buy a ticket.
                                                                        Overbooked Flights
requirements. If your flight is delayed or canceled,                    Selling more tickets than there are seats is not illegal.
ask the airline if it will pay for meals or a phone call.               Most	airlines	overbook	their	flights	to	compensate	for	
Contrary to what many people believe, airlines are not                  “no-shows.” If there are more passengers than seats
required to do so.                                                      just before a plane is scheduled to depart, you can be
                                                                        “bumped” or left behind against your will. Whether you
Delayed or Damaged Bags                                                 are bumped or not may depend on when you officially
                                                                        checked in for your flight, so try to arrive early. The U.S.
If your bags aren’t on the conveyor belt when you
                                                                        Department of Transportation requires airlines to ask
arrive, file a report with the airline before you leave
                                                                        people to give up their seats voluntarily, in exchange for
the airport.
                                                                        compensation. Airlines decide what to offer volunteers,
•	 Insist	they	fill	out	a	form	and	give	you	a	copy,	even	               such as money, a free trip, food or lodging.
   if they say the bag will be on the next flight.                      Federal rules protect you if you are “bumped” on most
•	 Get	the	name	of	the	person	who	filled	out	the	form	                  flights within the United States and on outbound
   and a phone number.                                                  international flights. Passengers who are involuntarily
                                                                        bumped are protected under Federal Aviation
•	 Confirm	that	the	airline	will	deliver	the	bag	to	you	
                                                                        Administration guidelines (www.faa.gov). If you
   without charge when it’s found.                                      volunteer to be bumped, you are agreeing to a deal
Some airlines will give you money to purchase a few                     with the airline that is not regulated and will depend
necessities. If they don’t provide you with cash, ask                   on negotiating at the gate. The airline must give you
what types of articles are reimbursable, and                            a written statement describing your rights, as well as
keep all receipts.                                                      the airline’s boarding priority rules and criteria. If the
If a suitcase arrives damaged, the airline will usually                 airline is not able to get you to your final destination
pay for repairs. If an item can’t be fixed, they will                   within two hours of your original arrival time, you
negotiate to pay you its depreciated value. The same                    may be entitled to a maximum of $400 compensation
is true for belongings packed inside. Of course,                        ($800 compensation on international flights within
airlines may refuse to pay for damage if it was caused                  four hours of your original arrival time). The amount
by your failure to pack something properly rather than                  depends on the price of the ticket and the length of
the airline’s handling.                                                 the delay. To receive this payment, you must have a
                                                                        confirmed reservation. You must also meet the airline’s
Lost Bags                                                               deadlines for ticketing and check-in. An airline may
                                                                        offer you a free ticket on a future flight in place of a
If your bag is declared officially lost, you will have
                                                                        check, but you have the right to insist on a check.
to submit a second, more detailed form within a
time period set by the airline. The information on
the form is used to estimate the value of your lost
belongings. Airlines can limit their liability for delay,
loss and damage to baggage; however, they must
                                                                         BEwARE: TIMEShARE SCAMS
prominently display a sign that explains the limit.                      Be suspicious of timeshare sales pitches that offer
Generally, the maximum an airline pays on lost bags                      incentives for attending the sales presentation.
and their contents is limited to $3,000 per passenger                    Many	use	high-pressure	sales	tactics	and	don’t	
on domestic flights, and $1,500 per passenger                            deliver the prizes they promise. One such scam
for unchecked baggage on international flights.                          promised everyone who attended a new sports boat,
                                                                         all they had to do was pay for delivery. The boat
See www.thetravelinsider.info/travelaccessories/
                                                                         turned out to be a toy, and the company kept the
lostbaggagerights.htm for more info on maximum                           delivery fees. Be sure you can afford before you buy
liability.                                                               timeshares can be difficult to sell.
If the airline’s offer doesn’t fully cover your loss, check

45                                To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                             State (p. 110) at www.state.gov/travel. You can also
 REQUIREMENTS FOR PASSPORTS                                  get warnings on locations to avoid and what to do in




                                                                                                                        Banking
 All travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda,           an overseas emergency.
 Panama,	Mexico	and	Canada	are	required	to	
 have a passport or other secure, accepted                 •	 Health-related travel information – Consult the




                                                                                                                        Cars
 document to enter or re-enter the United                     Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 States. Under the Intelligence Reform and                    (p. 105) at www.cdc.gov/travel. Research vaccination




                                                                                                                        Credit
 Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, this                       requirements, find information on how to avoid
 requirement includes all land border                         illnesses caused by food and water, and review
 crossings, air and sea travel.




                                                                                                                        Education
                                                              inspection scores on specific cruise ships.


                                                            TV




                                                                                                                        Employment
PaSSPORtS
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave       In June 2009, the nation made an official switch
most foreign countries. The Passport Services Office       from analog to digital television. This change offers
provides information and services to American              consumers a clearer picture, more programming




                                                                                                                        Food
citizens about how to obtain, replace or change a          choices and frees up airwaves for better
passport. To obtain a passport for the first time,         communications among emergency first responders




                                                                                                                        Healthcare
you need to go in person to one of 7,000 passport          and new telecommunications devices. In order
acceptance facilities located throughout the United        to receive signals you must either have a digital
States with:                                               television, a digital converter box, or subscribe to cable
                                                           or satellite service.




                                                                                                                        Housing
•	 Two	photographs	of	you	taken	within	the	
   last six months.
                                                           caBlE
•	 Proof	of	U.S.	citizenship.




                                                                                                                        Insurance
                                                           You can start with a basic lineup of channels and go
•	 A	valid	form	of	photo	identification	(such	as	a	
                                                           from there. The more channels you want, the more it
   driver’s license).                                      will cost. You may want to consider video on demand
Acceptance facilities include many Federal, state




                                                                                                                        Internet
                                                           so you can order movies and sports events and
and probate courts, post offices, some public              watch them when you like (usually within a 24-hour
libraries and a number of county and municipal offices.    window). You can also buy a bundle of services that
There are also 13 regional passport agencies, and one




                                                                                                                        Investing
                                                           includes digital TV, digital phone and broadband
Gateway City Agency, which serve customers who             Internet access at discounted rates. Bear in mind,
are traveling within two weeks (14 days), or who need      however, that you may be asked to sign a contract for
foreign visas for travel. Appointments are required in     bundled services.




                                                                                                                        Phones
such cases.
For more information on how to get a new passport,




                                                                                                                        Identity
visit www.travel.state.gov/passport.

tRavEl SaFEtY




                                                                                                                        Shopping
Several federal agencies offer advice and information
on the Internet that can help you have a safe trip. For
advice on:

                                                                                                                        Telemarket
•	 Airline, highway and rail safety information –
   Check out the U.S. Department of Transportation
   (p. 110) at www.dot.gov. Look up crash-safety
                                                                                                                        Travel



   reports on cars or find out how weather is affecting
   air travel and road conditions.
                                                                                                                        TV




•	 Safe travel by air, land and sea – Contact the
   Transportation Security Administration (p. 107) at
                                                                                                                        Utilities




   www.tsa.gov. They post tips on dealing with airline
   security checks, traveling with kids, and warnings on
                                                                                                                        Wills




   prohibited items. Click on Travelers and Consumers.
•	 What to do before, during, and when you return
                                                                                                                        Index




   from a trip overseas – Visit the U.S. Department of

               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                        www.pueblo.gsa.gov                   46
SatEllitE
This requires a dish that’s mounted outside (service
                                                                   BEwARE OF gAS SEllER SCAMS
requires an unobstructed view of the satellite) and                In some parts of the country, there have been
a receiver that’s placed by your television. Satellite             reports of gas and electric companies with door-
TV may offer more channels than cable TV, and you                  to-door salesmen who convince homeowners they
can add a digital video recorder to record shows                   can save money by switching to their company’s
                                                                   5-year contract plan. In some cases, homeowners
for viewing later. One downside to satellite TV is
                                                                   who signed up are paying up to 50 percent more
occasional interference during periods of rain or snow.            and are also hit by a $250 fee if they want to switch
Check with your satellite TV provider for channel                  back to their original supplier.
options and prices. Like cable TV, you may be asked to
sign a contract for a package of services.
                                                                  latest updates on efficient, EPA-approved and
intERnEt tv
                                                                  renewable energy, with links that take you directly to
If you have a high-speed Internet connection, you’re              available federal resources.
already able to watch thousands of videos on your
computer. But movies and TV shows are also                        WatER
available and becoming more prevalent as large online             The majority of consumers rely on local utilities to
companies start distributing TV programming. While                provide a safe and ample supply of water. Your local
Internet TV is in its infancy today, it may be the way            water agency is responsible for sending you an
you’ll watch TV in the future.                                    annual Consumer Confidence Report that should list
                                                                  the source of your water, what contaminants may be

     UTiLiTiEs                                                    in the water, and information on the safety levels of
                                                                  contaminants and their effects on health.
                                                                  For more information, call the Environmental
In many states, consumers can choose their telephone              Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at
and energy service provider. Contact your state utility           1-800-426-4791 or visit EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/
commission (p. 152) to find out whether you have                  safewater.
a choice. Some commissions will provide a list of
service	providers	and	advice	on	making	a	choice.	Most	
state utility commissions will also take any complaints
you have concerning utility sales and service.
                                                                   WiLLs & FUnEraLs
Many	utility	companies	now	offer	curbside	recycling	              Planning FOR thE End OF liFE
programs that provide U.S. households with a
responsible and convenient way to recycle materials.              It’s unfortunate how many people believe that estate
To locate information on recycling services and                   planning is only for wealthy people. People at all
efforts in your area, call the Earth 911 toll-free hotline,       economic levels benefit from an estate plan. Upon
800-CLEANUP (800-253-2687) or visit www.earth911.org.             death, an estate plan legally protects and distributes
                                                                  property based on your wishes and the needs of your
                                                                  family and/or survivors with the least amount of tax
ElEctRicitY and natURal gaS
                                                                  consequences.
If you have a choice of suppliers, ask:                           Advance medical directives . Everyone faces the
•	 How much will it cost? How long can I depend on                possibility that sometime during our lifetime, we
   this rate? Are there any other fees I will be charged?
•	 Are there any other terms or conditions? For
   example, is there a fee if I cancel my agreement                 IS YOUR wATER SAFE?
   before the service period is up?
                                                                    The EPA’s Consumer Confidence Rule requires
                  •	Whom do I contact if I have                     public water suppliers that serve the same people
                  a problem? Do you have a local                    year-round to provide a Consumer Confidence
                  customer service office?                          Report by July 1st each year. The CCR should arrive
                                                                    in your mailbox and provide information about the
                    For advice on how to save money                 quality of the drinking water in your area. It also
                    on your energy bills, visit the U.S.            summarizes information about the sources of water
                    Department of Energy at www.                    used (such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or aquifers),
                    energysavers.gov or www.energystar.             along with any detected contaminants, compliance
gov. You’ll find information to help save energy at home            and educational information.
and work. The Energy Savers site also provides the


47                            To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
  PlANNINg wISElY FOR A FUNERAl                                TAKE ANOThER lOOK




                                                                                                                             Banking
  •	 Plan	ahead.                                               Once you’ve completed a will and estate plan, it‘s a
  •	 Shop	around	and	compare	prices	in	advance.                good idea to review it from time to time and consider




                                                                                                                             Cars
                                                               changes if:
  •	 Ask	for	a	price	list.
                                                               •	 The	value	of	your	assets	change




                                                                                                                             Credit
  •	 Resist	pressure.
                                                               •	 You	marry,	divorce	or	remarry
  •	 Avoid	emotional	overspending.
                                                               •	 You	have	a	child




                                                                                                                             Education
  •	 Recognize	your	rights.
                                                               •	 You	move	to	a	different	state
  •	 Apply	smart	shopping	techniques	you’d	use	for	
     other major purchases.                                    •	 The	executor	of	your	will	dies	or	becomes	
                                                                  incapacitated or your relationship changes




                                                                                                                             Employment
                                                               •	 One	of	your	heirs	dies

may become incapacitated. This often happens                   •	 The	laws	affecting	your	estate	change
when nearing death, but it can also be the result of




                                                                                                                             Food
a	temporary	condition.	Many	people	assume	their	              include an advance directive that you do not wish
spouses or children will automatically be allowed to          to be resuscitated if your heart stops or if you stop
make financial and/or medical decisions for them, but         breathing. In this case, a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)




                                                                                                                             Healthcare
this is not necessarily true. Advance directives are          order would be entered on your medical chart.
written documents that tell your doctors what kind of         A durable power of attorney for health care
treatment you’ll want if you become unable to make            (sometimes called a durable medical power of




                                                                                                                             Housing
medical decisions (e.g., if you’re in a coma). Forms          attorney) specifies the person you’ve chosen to
and laws vary from state to state, so it’s a good idea        make medical decisions for you. It is activated
to understand the laws of the state where you live as         anytime you’re unconscious or unable to make




                                                                                                                             Insurance
you write advance directives. It’s also a good idea to        medical decisions. You need to choose someone
make them before you are very ill. Federal law requires       who meets the legal requirements in your state for
hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions that         acting as your agent. State laws vary, but most states
receive	Medicare	or	Medicaid	funds	to	provide	written	        disqualify anyone under the age of 18, your health care




                                                                                                                             Internet
information regarding advanced care directives to             provider, or employees of your health care provider.
all patients upon admission.
                                                              The person you name as your agent must:
A living will is one type of advance directive that




                                                                                                                             Investing
comes into effect when a person is terminally ill. A          •	 	Be	willing	to	speak	and	advocate	on	your	behalf.
living will does not give you the opportunity to select       •	 	Be	willing	to	deal	with	conflict	among	friends	and	
someone to make decisions for you, but it allows you             family members, if it arises.




                                                                                                                             Phones
to specify the kind of treatment you want in specific
                                                              •	 	Know	you	well	and	understand	your	wishes.
situations. For example, you might choose to specify
that you do not want to be treated with antibiotics           •	 	Be	willing	to	talk	with	you	about	these	issues.




                                                                                                                             Identity
if death is imminent. You can, if you choose,                 •	 	Be	someone	you	trust	with	your	life.




                                                                                                                             Shopping
                                                              WillS
  RUlES TO REMEMBER whEN                                      A will is the most practical first step in estate
  wRITINg A wIll                                              planning. It makes clear how you want your property

                                                                                                                             Telemarket
                                                              to be distributed after you die.
  •	 	In	most	states,	you	must	be	18	years	of	age	or	older.
                                                              Writing a will can be as simple as typing out how you
  •	 A	will	must	be	written	in	sound	judgment	and	            want your assets to be transferred to loved ones or
     mental capacity to be valid.                             charitable organizations after your death. If you don’t
                                                                                                                             Travel




  •	 The	document	must	clearly	state	that	it	is	your	will.    have a will when you die, your estate will be handled
  •	 An	executor	of	your	will,	who	ensures	your	estate	       in probate, and your property could be distributed
                                                                                                                             TV




     is distributed according to your wishes, must be         differently than what you would like.
                                                                                                                             Utilities




     named.                                                   It may help to get legal advice when writing a will,
  •	 It	is	not	necessary	to	notarize	or	record	your	will	     particularly when it comes to understanding all the
     but these can safeguard any claims that your will        rules of the estate disposition process in your state.
                                                                                                                             Wills




     is invalid. To be valid, you must sign a will in the     For information about legal issues, see page 53. In
     presence of at least two witnesses.                      some states, for instance, there is a community-
                                                                                                                             Index




                 www.ConsumerAction.gov                                         www.pueblo.gsa.gov                      48
                                                                  ThE FUNERAl RUlE
                                                                  A federal law makes it easier for you to choose only the
                                                                  goods and services you want or need when planning a
                                                                  funeral, and to pay only for those you select. The Funeral
                                                                  Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission,
                                                                  requires funeral directors to give you itemized prices in
                                                                  person and, if you ask, over the phone.



                                                                FUnERalS
                                                                One of the most expensive purchases many
                                                                consumers will ever make is the arrangement of a
                                                                funeral. A traditional burial, including a casket and
                                                                vault, costs about $7,000. Extras such as flowers,
                                                                obituary notices, cards and limousines can add
                                                                thousands of dollars more. At such a highly emotional
                                                                time, many people are easily swayed to believe
                                                                that their decisions reflect how they feel about the
property law that entitles your surviving spouse to             deceased and wind up spending more than may be
keep half of your wealth after you die no matter what           necessary.
percentage you leave him or her. Fees for the execution         Most	funeral	providers	are	professionals	who	work	
of a will vary according to its complexity.                     to serve their clients’ needs and best interests.
                                                                Unfortunately, some do not. They may take advantage
chOOSE an ExEcUtOR                                              of clients by insisting on unnecessary services,
                                                                marking up prices and overcharging. That’s why
An executor is the person who is responsible for                there is a federal law, called the Funeral Rule, which
settling the estate after death. Duties of an executor          regulates the actions of funeral directors, homes and
include:                                                        services.
•	 Taking	inventory	of	property	and	belongings                  Many	funeral	providers	offer	a	variety	of	package	
•	 Appraising	and	distributing	assets                           plans that include products and services that are most
                                                                commonly sold. Keep in mind, you are not obligated
•	 Paying	taxes
                                                                to buy a package plan; you have the right to buy the
•	 Settling	debts	owed	by	the	deceased                          individual products and services you prefer. As
Most	important,	the	executor	is	legally	obligated	to	act	       outlined by the Funeral Rule:
in the interests of the deceased, following the wishes          •	 You	have	the	right	to	choose	the	funeral	goods	and	
provided by the will. Here again, it could be helpful to           services you want (with some exceptions).
consult an attorney to help with the probate process or
offer legal guidance. In most states, any person over           •	 The	funeral	provider	must	state	this	“Rule”	in	writing	
the age of 18 who hasn’t been convicted of a felony                on the general price list.
can be named executor of a will. Some people choose             •	 If	state	or	local	law	requires	you	to	buy	any	particular	
a lawyer, accountant or financial consultant based on              item, the funeral provider must disclose it on the
their experience. Others choose a spouse, adult child,             price list, with a reference to the specific law.
relative or friend. Since the role of executor can be
demanding, it’s often a good idea to ask the person             •	 The	funeral	provider	may	not	refuse,	or	charge	a	fee,	
being named in a will if he or she is willing to serve.            to handle a casket that you bought elsewhere.
If you’ve been named executor in someone’s will                 •	 A	funeral	provider	who	offers	cremations	must	make	
but are not able or do not want to serve, you need                 alternative containers available.
to file a “declination,” which is a legal document              Planning ahead is the best way to make informed
that declines your designation as an executor. The              decisions about funeral arrangements. An advanced
contingent executor named in the will then assumes              plan also spares your family from having to make
responsibility. If no contingent executor is named, the         choices in the middle of grief and under time
court will appoint one.                                         constraints. Every family is different, and funeral
                                                                arrangements are influenced by religious and cultural
                                                                traditions, budgets and personal preferences.
                                                                You are not legally required to use a funeral home to

49                          To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                                                                                          Banking
                                                                                          Cars
                                                                                          Credit
                                                                                          Education
                                                                                          Employment
                                                                                          Food
plan and conduct a funeral. But most people find that
the services of a professional funeral home make it




                                                                                          Healthcare
easier.
Comparison shopping, either in person or by phone,
can save you money and is much easier when done




                                                                                          Housing
in	advance.	Many	funeral	homes	will	also	send	you	a	
price list by mail, but this is not required by law.
If you have a problem concerning funeral matters, it’s




                                                                                          Insurance
best to try to resolve it first with the funeral director. If
you are dissatisfied, the Funeral Consumer’s Alliance
(p. 119) may be able to advise you on how best to




                                                                                          Internet
resolve your issue. You can also contact your state
or local consumer protection agencies (p. 122) or the
Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program at




                                                                                          Investing
1-800-662-7666.	Most	states	have	a	licensing	board	that	
regulates the funeral industry. You can contact the
board in your state for information or help.




                                                                                          Phones
vEtERanS cEMEtERiES
All veterans are entitled to a free burial in a national




                                                                                          Identity
cemetery and a grave marker. This eligibility also
applies to some civilians who have provided military-
related service, and some Public Health Service




                                                                                          Shopping
personnel. Spouses and dependent children also are
entitled to a lot and marker when buried in a national
cemetery. There are no charges for opening or closing

                                                                                          Telemarket
the grave, for a vault or liner, or for setting
the marker in a national cemetery. For more
information, visit the Department of Veterans
Affairs at www.cem.va.gov.
                                                                                          Travel
                                                                                          TV
                                                                                          Utilities
                                                                                          Wills
                                                                                          Index




                www.ConsumerAction.gov                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov   50
                               parT ii – Filing a complainT
Even the savviest consumer has problems with a good                      public libraries, lists the manufacturers of thousands
or service at one time or another. It is your right to                   of products.
complain if you have a genuine consumer problem. It is
                                                                       •	 With	each	person	you	contact,	calmly	and	
also your responsibility. A problem can’t be fixed if no
                                                                          accurately explain the problem and what action you
one knows it exists.
                                                                          would like to be taken. A written letter is a good
                                                                          strategy because you will have a record of your
cOntact thE SEllER
                                                                          communication with the company. The sample letter
The first step in resolving a consumer problem is                         (p. 55) will help you prepare a written complaint.
contacting the seller. You can solve most consumer
problems by talking to a salesperson or customer                       •	 Be	brief	and	to	the	point.	Note	all	important	facts	
service representative. Do this as soon as possible                       about your purchase, including what you bought,
because some retailers have time limits on returns                        serial or model numbers, the name and location of
and refunds. If this doesn’t work, ask for a supervisor                   the seller, and when you made the purchase.
or manager. If this fails, try going higher up, to the                 •	 State	exactly	what	you	want	done	about	the	problem	
national headquarters of the seller or the manufacturer                   and how long you are willing to wait for a response.
of	the	item.	Many	companies	have	a	special	customer	
                                                                          Be reasonable.
relations or consumer affairs division whose primary
function	is	solving	consumer	problems.	Many	                           •	 Don’t	write an angry, sarcastic or threatening letter.
companies provide a toll-free number or address for                       The person reading your letter probably was not
this office on the product label, warranty or other                       responsible for your problem but could be very
papers given to you at the time of purchase. If this is                   helpful in resolving it.
not the case:
                                                                       •	 Include	copies	of	all	documents	regarding	your	
•	 Check	the	directory	portion	of	this	Handbook	                          problem. Keep the originals.
   for the contact information of several hundred
                                                                       •	 Provide	your	name,	address	and	phone	numbers.	
   corporations (p. 71).
                                                                          If an account is involved, be sure to include the
•	 Visit	the	company’s	website.	Look	for	a	                               account number.
   “Contact Us” link.
                                                                       •	 Keep	a	record	of	your	efforts	to	contact	the	seller;	
•	 Dial	the	directory	of	toll-free	numbers	at	                            include the name of the person with whom you spoke
   1-800-555-1212 to see if the company has a                             and what was done, if anything.
   toll-free number listed.
•	 Ask	your	local	librarian	to	assist	you.	Most	                       cOntact thiRd PaRtiES
   public libraries have reference books with                          Don’t give up if you are not satisfied with the seller’s
   contact information.                                                response to your complaint. Once you have given
•	 As	you	do	your	search,	keep	in	mind	the	name	                       the seller a reasonable amount of time to respond,
   of the manufacturer or parent company is often                      consider filing a complaint with one or more of these
                                                                       outside organizations.
   different from the brand name. The Thomas Register
   of American Manufacturers, a book available at many                 Local Politicians . Your local and state politicians
                                                                       who may be able to assist with getting your complaint
                                                                       acted upon.
                                                                       State or local consumer protection offices
     STEPS TO FOllOw wITh                                              (p. 122). These government agencies mediate
     COMPlAINT RESOlUTION                                              complaints, conduct investigations, and prosecute
                                                                       offenders of consumer laws.
     1. Before starting – Start a file or log to record all
        contacts and documents.                                        State regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction
                                                                       over the business. For example, banking (p. 139),
     2. Contact the seller.
                                                                       securities (p. 148), insurance (p. 143), and utilities
     3. Contact the manufacturer.                                      (p. 152) are regulated at the state level.
     4. Contact Industry Trade Associations.                           State and local licensing agencies . Doctors,
     5. Contact local and state Consumer Protection/                   lawyers, home improvement contractors, auto repair
        Regulatory/Licensing officers.                                 shops, debt collectors, and childcare providers
     6. Contact the local BBB.                                         are required to register or be licensed. The board

                                   To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
51
                                                         Call for Action, Inc . is a nonprofit network of
    Call for Action, Inc .
                                                         consumer hotlines that educate and assist consumers
    11820 Parklawn Dr., Suite 340
                                                         with consumer problems. Listed below are hotlines in
    Rockville,	MD	20852
                                                         major markets staffed with trained volunteers who offer
    Phone: 240-747-0229
                                                         advice and mediate complaints at no cost to consumers.
    Fax: 240-747-0239
                                                         Consumers in locations not listed should call the
    Web: www .callforaction .org
                                                         Network Hotline at 240-747-0225. (T,W,F 10 am-2 pm)

                                                                                       KTVI-TV
    WTAJ-TV                     KKTV-TV                  WKOW-TV
                                                                                       St.	Louis,	MO
    Altoona, PA                 Colorado Springs, CO     Madison,	WI
                                                                                       636-282-2222
    814-944-9336                719-457-8211             608-661-2727
                                                                                       1-800-782-2222 (IL)
    M-F	1-3	pm                  M-Th	11	am-1	pm          M-F	11	am-1	pm	
                                                                                       M-Th	11	am-1	pm
    WAGA-TV                     WXYZ-TV                  WTMJ-TV                       WPRI-TV
    Atlanta, GA                 Detroit,	MI              Milwaukee,	WI                 Providence, RI
    404-879-4500                248-827-3362             414-967-5495                  401-228-1850
    M-F	11	am-1	pm              M-Th	11	am-1	pm          M-Th	11	am-1	pm               M-Th	11	am-1	pm

    WRDW-TV                     WINK-TV                  WQAD-TV                       WFTS-TV
    Augusta, GA                 Fort	Myers,	FL           Moline,	IL                    Tampa, FL
    803-442-4550                239-334-4357             309-764-2255                  1-866-428-6397
    M-F	11	am-1	pm              T-Th 11 am-1 pm          M-F	11	am-1	pm                M-F	11	am-1	pm	


    WBZ Radio                   WHTM-TV                  WPIV-TV                       WTOL-TV
    Boston,	MA                  Harrisburg, PA           Philadelphia, PA              Toledo, OH
    617-787-7070                717-214-9187             1-866-978-4232                419-255-2255
    M-F	11	am-1:30	pm           T-Th 11 am-1 pm          M-F	11	am-1	p.m               T-Th 11 am-1 pm


                                                         KPNX-TV & KNAZ-TV &
   WIVB-TV                      KSHB-TV                  The Arizona Republic         KJRH-TV
   Buffalo, NY                  Kansas	City,	MO          Phoenix, AZ                  Tulsa, OK
   716-879-4900                 816-932-4377             602-260-1212                 918-748-1488
   M-F	11	am-1:30	pm            T-Th 10 am-1 pm          1-866-260-1212 (AZ)          T-Th 9 am-noon
                                                         M-F	11	am-1	pm

   WJW-TV
                                KTNV-TV                  WTAE-TV                      WTOP	AM&FM




                                                                                                                        Part II – Filing a Complaint
   Cleveland, OH
                                Las Vegas, NV            Pittsburgh, PA               Washington, DC
   216-578-0700
                                702-368-2255             412-244-4698                 301-652-4357
   M,W,Th	10	am-1:00	pm
                                M-F	11	am-1	pm	          T-Th 9 am-1 pm               T-F 11 am-1 pm
   M	5:30	pm-6:30	pm



or agency that oversees this process may handle           National consumer organizations . Some of these
complaints and have the authority to take disciplinary    organizations assist consumers with complaints.
action. Your state or local consumer protection office    Others may be unable to help individuals but are
(p. 122) can help you identify the appropriate agency.    interested in hearing about problems that could
Better Business Bureaus (p. 65). This network             influence their education and advocacy efforts (p. 117).
of nonprofit organizations supported by local             Media programs . Local newspapers, radio stations,            Part III – Key Information Resources
businesses tries to resolve buyer complaints against      and television stations often have Action Lines
sellers. Records are kept on unresolved complaints        or Hotline services that try to resolve consumer
as a source of information for the seller’s future        complaints they receive. To find these services, check
customers. The umbrella organization for the BBBs         with your local newspapers or broadcast stations.
assists with complaints concerning the truthfulness       See the box above for members of “Call for Action.”
of national advertising and helps settle disputes with
automobile manufacturers through the BBB AUTO             diSPUtE RESOlUtiOn PROgRaMS
LINE program (p. 64).
                                                          Some companies and industries offer programs to
Trade associations . Companies selling similar
                                                          address disagreements between buyers and sellers.
products or services often belong to an industry
                                                          The auto industry has several of these programs
association that will help resolve problems between
                                                                                                                        Index




                                                          (p. 64). The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
its members and consumers (p. 156).

                   www.ConsumerAction.gov                                     www.pueblo.gsa.gov                   52
(FINRA) offers a program designed to resolve
investment related disputes (p. 158). Some small
claims courts also offer a dispute resolution program
as an alternative to a trial.
Mediation,	arbitration,	and	conciliation are three
common types of dispute resolution. During
mediation, both sides involved in the dispute meet with
a neutral third party and create their own agreement
jointly. In arbitration, the third party decides how to
settle the problem. Request a copy of the rules of any
program before making a decision to participate. You
will want to know beforehand if the decision is binding.
Some programs do not require both parties to accept
the decision. Also ask if participation in the program
places any restrictions on your ability to take other
legal action.
                                                                    court offices. Ask the clerk how to use the small
The American Bar Association (p. 156) publishes
                                                                    claims court. Before taking your own case to court,
a directory of state and local dispute resolution
                                                                    observe a small claims court session and ask the court
programs.
                                                                    if it has information that will help you prepare your
                                                                    presentation to the judge.
SMall claiMS cOURt
Small claims courts resolve disputes over small                     lEgal hElP and inFORMatiOn
amounts of money. While the maximum amount
                                                                    If you need an attorney to advise or represent you,
that can be claimed differs from state to state, court
                                                                    ask friends and family for recommendations. You can
procedures are generally simple, inexpensive, quick
                                                                    also contact the Lawyer Referral Service of your state,
and informal. Court fees are minimal, and you often
                                                                    county, or city bar association listed in your local phone
get your filing fee back if you win your case. Typically,
                                                                    directory. Websites such as www.abalawinfo.org
you will not need a lawyer—some states do not permit
                                                                    (American Bar Association), www.uslaw.com,
them. If you live in a state that allows lawyers and the
                                                                    www.thelaw.com, www.freeadvice.com, and
party you are suing brings one, don’t be intimidated.
                                                                    www.nolo.com can help you with answers to general
Most	judges	make	allowances	for	consumers	who	
                                                                    legal questions.
appear without lawyers. Even though the court is
informal, the judge’s decision must be followed.
                                                                    Tips For Choosing An Attorney
If you file a case and win, the losing party should give
you what the court says you are owed without further                Many	lawyers	who	primarily	serve	individuals	and	
action on your part. But some losers refuse to follow               families are general practitioners with experience in
the court’s decision. When this happens, you can go                 frequently needed legal services, such as: divorce and
back to court and ask for the order to be enforced.                 family matters, wills and probate, bankruptcy and debt
Depending on local laws, law enforcement officials                  problems, real estate, and criminal and/or personal
might sell a person’s property or take money from a                 injury. Some have a narrower focus. Be sure the lawyer
bank account or business cash register. If the person               you are considering has experience in the area for
who owes the money receives a salary, the court might               which you are seeking help.
order an employer to garnish (deduct money from)
each paycheck to pay you.                                           Once you’ve identified some candidates:
Check your local telephone book under the municipal,                •	 Call	each	attorney	on	the	telephone,	describe	
county or state government headings for small claims                   your legal issue, and find out if he or she handles
                                                                       your situation.
                                                                    •	 Ask	if	you	will	be	charged	for	an	initial	consultation.

     BEwARE: RECOVERY SERVICES                                      •	 Ask	for	an	estimate	of	what	is	usually	charged	
                                                                       to handle your kind of case.
     A scam artist has taken your money. Don’t be
     scammed again by a “recovery service” offering                 •	 Ask	whether	there	are	hourly	charges	or	whether	
     to get your money back for you. The service is just               your attorney would accept a percentage of the
     trying to take your last dime. There is no charge for             settlement as a fee contingency.
     filing a complaint with a government agency.
                                                                    The initial consultation is an opportunity for you and


53                              To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
the lawyer to get to know each other. After listening        state organization that has the authority where you
to the description of your case, the lawyer should be        live. A local law enforcement officer could also be able
able to outline your rights and liabilities, as well as      to provide advice and assistance.
alternative courses of action. The initial consultation      Violations of federal laws should be reported to the
is the lawyer’s opportunity to explain what he or she        federal agency responsible for enforcement. While
can do for you and how much it will cost. You should         federal agencies are rarely able to act on behalf
not hesitate to ask about the attorney’s experience          of individual consumers, complaints are used to
in handling matters such as yours. Also, do not              document patterns of abuse, allowing the agency to
hesitate to ask about the lawyer’s fees and the likely       take action against a company.
results. If you are considering going beyond the initial
                                                             Throughout Part I of this Handbook, you will find
consultation and hiring the lawyer, request a written
                                                             references to federal agencies you can contact for
fee agreement before proceeding.
                                                             more information, which is usually the same agency
                                                             to contact with your complaint. You can also find
What If You Can’t Afford A Lawyer?
                                                             the appropriate federal agency by using the online
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may qualify for           directory at www.pueblo.gsa.gov/complaint
free legal help from a Legal Aid or Legal Services           resources.htm.
Corporation (LSC) office. These offices generally
                                                             People who have no intention of delivering what is
offer legal assistance about such things as landlord
                                                             sold, who misrepresent items, send counterfeit goods
tenant relations, credit, utilities, family matters (e.g.,
                                                             or otherwise try to trick you out of your money are
divorce and adoption), foreclosure, home equity fraud,
                                                             committing fraud. If you suspect fraud, there are some
social security, welfare, unemployment, and workers’
                                                             additional steps to take.
compensation. If the Legal Aid office in your area does
not handle your type of case, it may refer you to other      •	 Contact	the	Federal	Trade	Commission	(p.	114).
local, state or national organizations that can provide      •	 Scams	that	used	the	mail	or	interstate	delivery	
help. Additional resources may be found at                      service should also be reported to the U.S. Postal
www.lawhelp.org or www.freeadvice.com.
                                                                Inspection Service (p. 116). It is illegal to use the mail
To find the Legal Aid office nearest to you, check a            to misrepresent or steal money.
local telephone directory or contact:
                                                             Reporting fraud promptly improves your chances
  National Legal Aid and Defender Association                of recovering what you have lost and helps law
  1625 K Street, NW, 8th Floor                               enforcement authorities stop scams before others
  Washington, DC 20006                                       are victimized.
  Phone: 202-452-0620
                                                             If you suspect you have a product that poses a safety
  Fax: 202-872-1031




                                                                                                                             Part II – Filing a Complaint
                                                             hazard, report the problem to the appropriate federal
  E-mail: info@nlada.org
                                                             agency:
  Web: www.nlada.org
To find the LSC office nearest you, check a local            •	 Automobiles . National Highway Traffic Safety
telephone directory or contact:                                 Administration (p. 111)
  LSC Public Affairs                                         •	 Drugs, medical devices . Food and Drug
  3333 K Street, NW, 3rd Floor                                  Administration (p. 106)
  Washington, DC 20007                                       •	 Food . U.S. Department of Agriculture (p. 102),
  Phone: 202-295-1500                                           Food and Drug Administration (p. 106)
  Fax: 202-337-6797
  Web: www.lsc.gov                                           •	 Seafood . Food and Drug Administration (p. 106),
                                                                U.S. Department of Commerce (p. 103)
Free assistance could also be available from a law                                                                           Part III – Key Information Resources
school program where students, supervised by                 •	 Toys, baby and play equipment, household products.
attorneys, handle a variety of legal matters. Some              U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (p. 102)
of these programs are open to all. Others limit their
service to specific groups, such as senior citizens or
low-income persons. Contact a law school in your area
to find out if such a program is available.

REPORt FRaUd & SaFEtY hazaRd
If you suspect a law has been violated, contact your
local or state consumer protection agency (p. 122).
                                                                                                                             Index




This agency may take action or refer you to another


               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                            www.pueblo.gsa.gov                     54
SaMPlE cOMPlaint lEttER
www.consumeraction.gov/caw_problems_sample_complaint.shtml



                                                                                          Your Address
                                                                             Your City, State, ZIP Code
                                                                                                   Date

               Name of Contact Person, if available
               Title, if available
               Company Name
               Consumer Complaint Division (If you have no specific contact)
               Street Address
               City, State, ZIP Code

               Dear (Contact Person):

               Re: (account number, if applicable)

                          On (date), I (bought, leased, rented, or had repaired) a (name
                            of the product, with serial or model number or service performed)
         • describe           at (location, date and other important details of the transaction).
          purchase
                               Unfortunately, your product (or service) has not performed
     • name of product,        well (or the service was inadequate) because (state the
        serial number
                               problem). I am disappointed because (explain the                         • state
                               problem: for example, the product does not work properly,               problem
        • include date
        and place of          the service was not performed correctly, I was billed the
         purchase            wrong amount, something was not disclosed clearly or was
                                                                                                     • give history
                            misrepresented, etc.).

                   To resolve the problem, I would appreciate your (state the specific action
                   you want—money back, charge card credit, repair, exchange, etc.). Enclosed
                        are copies (do not send originals) of my records (include receipts,
                          guarantees, warranties, canceled checks, contracts, model and
          • ask for         serial numbers, and any other documents).
      specific action
                             I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem, and will
     • enclose copies        wait until (set a time limit) before seeking help from a consumer
       of documents
                            protection agency or the Better Business Bureau. Please
                           contact me at the above address or by phone at (home
                         and/or office numbers with area code).
                                                                                          • allow time
                 Sincerely,                                                                for action

               Your name
                                                                                           • state how you can
                                                                                               be reached
               Enclosure(s)




          keep copies oF all oF your leTTers, Faxes, e-mails, receipTs and relaTed documenTs.

55                           To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
            parT iii – key inFormaTion resources
Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC)                   Consumer World
www.pueblo.gsa.gov A one-stop source for consumer           www.consumerworld.org
information. See page 114.                                  A public service website with links to hundreds
                                                            of consumer resources, corporations and
www .USA .gov                                               government agencies.
Links you to government representatives, services and
information at the federal, state, regional and tribal      National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
level. Similar information is posted in Spanish at          Programs cover food and nutrition, housing,
www.GobiernoUSA.gov.                                        gardening, budgeting, using credit, saving for
                                                            retirement, and more. Visit www.nifa.usda.gov
Consumer Sentinel                                           or www.eXtension.org.
www.ftc.gov/sentinel
Consumer Sentinel is the unique investigative               Libraries
cyber tool that provides members of the Consumer            Publications from many of the organizations
Sentinel Network with access to millions of consumer        mentioned on this page are available at your local
complaints, where you can file a complaint into the         public library or visit www.publiclibraries.com.
network using their Complaint Assistant Wizard
www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.                              FOR tEachERS
Consumer Sentinel includes complaints about:                Teachers often use the Consumer Action Handbook
•	 Identity	Theft                                           to teach essential information about credit,
•	 Do-Not-Call	Registry	violations                          insurance, major purchases, complaint letters and
•	 Computers,	the	Internet,	and	Online	Auctions             other consumer topics. For classroom copies of the
•	 Telemarketing	Scams                                      Handbook, please e-mail action.handbook@gsa.gov;
•	 Advance-Fee	Loans	and	Credit	Scams                       include the name and address of your school and
                                                            the number of copies you would like to receive. For
•	 Sweepstakes,	Lotteries,	and	Prizes
                                                            additional resources, including lesson plans, go to
•	 Business	Opportunities	and	Work-at-Home	Schemes          www.ConsumerAction.gov/caw_teachers.shtml or
•	 Health	and	Weight	Loss	Products                          www.pueblo.gsa.gov/teachers.
•	 Debt	Collection,	Credit	Reports,	and	Financial	Matters
Consumer Sentinel is based on the premise that
sharing information can make law enforcement even




                                                                                                                       Part II – Filing a Complaint
more effective. Consumer Sentinel Network provides
law enforcement members with access to complaints
provided directly to the Federal Trade Commission
by consumers and complaints shared by data
contributors. Consumer Sentinel is free and available
to any federal, state or local law enforcement agency.

Center For The Study of Services
www.checkbook.org
Evaluates quality and price for local services in
major metropolitan areas.
                                                                                                                       Part III – Key Information Resources
Consumers Union of U .S ., Inc . (CU)
www.consumerreports.org
Researches and tests goods and services such as
automobiles, appliances, food, clothing, luggage,
and insurance. See page 118.
                                                                                                                       Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                         www.pueblo.gsa.gov                  56
 FOR PERSOnS With diSaBilitiES                                        FOR MilitaRY PERSOnnEl
 National Council on Disability                                       Today’s military family faces many common consumer
 www.ncd.gov A federal agency whose mission is                        challenges, as well as the additional stress associated
 to improve the quality of life for Americans with                    with frequent separation. To ease such difficulties,
 disabilities and their families. See page 114.                       Family Centers, along with the other programs
                                                                      described below, provide help and support for
 National Disability Rights Network                                   military families.
 www.ndrn.org Provides legally-based advocacy
 services for people with disabilities.                               U .S . Military Family Centers
                                                                      Located on most military installations, Family
 Department of Education                                              Centers provide information, life skills education,
 www.ed.gov Provides training and information to                      and support services to military members and their
 parents of disabled children and to people who work                  families. One key function of a Family Center is to link
 with them. See page 103.                                             customers with appropriate services available in the
                                                                      local community and/or through state and federal
 Department of Housing and Urban Development                          assistance programs such as those related to health
 www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/disabilities Learn more                     and human services, school systems, employment
 about the housing rights of people with disabilities,                assistance, law enforcement and recreation.
 and the responsibilities of housing providers and                    If you cannot locate a Family Center, please contact
 building and design professionals.                                   your respective military branch’s headquarters office
                                                                      listed below. The designation “DSN,” preceding some
 National Library Service for the Blind                               of the phone numbers, refers to the military phone
 and Physically Handicapped                                           system and does not apply to the civilian sector.
 www.loc.gov/nls Administers a free loan service of
 recorded and Braille books and magazines, music                      Air Force Community Readiness and
 scores in Braille and large print, plus specially                    Family Support
 designed playback equipment.                                         AF/A1SF 4E235
                                                                      Force Sustainment Division
                                                                      1040 Air Force Pentagon
                                                                      Washington DC 20330-1040
     SERVICES AND RESOURCES FOR                                       703-697-0067
     CONSUMERS wITh DISABIlITIES                                      www.afcrossroads.com
                                                                      Air Force Crossroads is a comprehensive resource
     Relay Services – Telecommunications relay services               for Air Force members and their families relating
     link telephone conversations between individuals who             to nearly every aspect of personal and professional
     use standard voice telephones and those who use text
                                                                      life. With topics that range from health and wellness,
     telephones (TTYs). Calls can be made from either type
                                                                      finances, family matters and recreation, the network
     of telephone to the other type through the relay service.
                                                                      includes access to the Air Force Spouse Forum, chat
     Local Relay Services – States provide relay services for         rooms, an employment forum, a flea market and links
     local and long distance calls. Please consult your local         to news sources.
     telephone directory for information on the use, fees (if
     any), services, and dialing instructions for that area.
                                                                      Marine Corps Community Services
     Federal Relay Service – The FRS, a program of the                3280 Russell Rd.
     U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), provides             Quantico, VA 22134-5103
     access to TTY users who wish to conduct official
                                                                      703-784-0275
     business nationwide with and within the federal
     government. The toll-free number is 1-800-877-8339.              DSN: 278-0275
     For more information on relay communications or to               Toll	free:	1-800-MARINES
     obtain a brochure on using the FRS, please call toll-free        Fax: 703-784-9816
     1-800-877-0996.                                                  www.usmc-mccs.org
     Other Services – Consumers who are deaf or hard of               The	Personal	and	Family	Readiness	Division	(MR)	
     hearing, or who have speech impairment, and use a                provides	a	number	of	Marine	Corps	personnel	service	
     TTY may receive operator and directory assistance                programs, such as: Casualty Assistance, DEERS
     for calls by calling toll-free 1-800-855-1155.                   Dependency Determination, Voting Assistance, Postal
     Check the introductory pages of your local telephone             Services,	and	Personal	Claims.	MCCS	delivers	goods	
     directory for additional TTY services.                           and services at over 2,250 facilities and has a staff of
                                                                      more than 12,000 employees worldwide.


57                                To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
Fleet and Family Support Programs
Commander, Navy Installations Command
2713	Mitscher	Road,	SW,	Suite	300
Washington, DC 20373-5802
1-800-FSC-LINE (372-5463)
www.nffsp.org
The Fleet and Family Support Program delivered by
Commander, Navy Installations Command, provides
support, references, information and a wide range of
assistance for members of the Navy and their families
to meet the unique challenges of the military lifestyle.
Up-to-date news, messages, links and resources
are provided, including assistance with relocation,
employment, career and benefits, healthy lifestyles,
casualties, domestic violence, and retirement.
                                                           U .S . Coast Guard
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation
                                                           2100 Second St., SW, Room 6320
Command (FMWRC), Family Programs
                                                           Washington, DC 20593
Directorate, Army Community Service
                                                           202-267-6160
4700 King St.
                                                           Toll free: 1-800-368-5647 (Safety)
Alexandria, VA 22302
                                                           Toll free: 1-877-NOW-USCG (Recruiting)
703-681-5375
                                                           Fax: 202-267-4798
DSN: 761-5375
                                                           www.uscg.mil
Fax: 703-681-7236
                                                           The U.S. Coast Guard can provide key resources,
www.MyArmyLifeToo.com	
                                                           including core publications, career information and
The	MyArmyLifeToo	portal	is	the	single	gateway	to	
                                                           related news, as well as comprehensive background
comprehensive information on the support available
                                                           about its mission, community services, history, photos
to Army personnel and families, including resources
                                                           and reports.
to strengthen home and family life, Army basics
training, lifelong learning, finances, employment,
                                                           Military HOMEFRONT
relevant news, along with links to key resources.
                                                           www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil
                                                           Military	HOMEFRONTis	the	official	Department	of	
                                                           Defense website for information to help improve the




                                                                                                                        Part II – Filing a Complaint
                                                           quality	of	life	for	troops	and	their	families.	Members	of	
 BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU                                    all branches of the military service and their families
                                                           will find reliable, up-to-date details and advice on such
 MIlITARY lINE                                             topics as education, housing, legal matters, parenting,
 The	BBB	Military	Line,	www .military .bbb .org,           personal finances, pay and benefits, relocation
 offers consumer education and advocacy to service         and	healthcare.	Military	HOMEFRONT	also	makes	
 members and their families. Five service-specific         it easier for leaders to locate official quality of life
 sites contain current military-related consumer           program information and resources for their troops
 news, as well as links to local BBBs and other sites      and families. In addition, service providers can access
 with useful consumer information:                         desk guides, policies, forms and other resources.
 www .army .bbb .org
 www .navy .bbb .org                                       Military Sentinel                                            Part III – Key Information Resources
                                                           www.ftc.gov/sentinel/military
 www .airforce .bbb .org
                                                           Military	Sentinel	is	a	gateway	to	consumer	education	
 www .marinecorps .bbb .org                                materials covering a wide range of consumer
 www .coastguard .bbb .org                                 protection issues, from auto leasing, to identity
 Users may request reports, file complaints, and sign      theft, to work-at-home scams. It allows members of
 up for a custom consumer newsletter. On a local           the United States Armed Forces to enter consumer
 level, area BBBs provide educational briefings for        complaints directly into a database that is immediately
 military personnel and their families, and work with      accessible by over 500 law enforcement organizations
 local businesses to promote ethical treatment of          throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.
 military consumers.                                       These law enforcement agencies use this complaint
                                                           data to target cases for prosecution and other
                                                                                                                        Index




               www.ConsumerAction.gov                                        www.pueblo.gsa.gov                   58
                                                                       Commissaries and Exchanges
     PREDATORY lENDINg RESTRICTIONS                                    Consumers who shop at military commissaries and
                                                                       exchanges and who have a question or problem should
     As of October 1, 2007, the Talent-Nelson amendment                contact the local manager before contacting the
     to the John Warner National Defense Authorization                 regional offices. If your problem is not resolved at the
     Act allows the Department of Defense to regulate
                                                                       local level, then write or call the regional office nearest
     the terms of payday loans, vehicle title loans and tax
     refund loans to active duty service members and their             you. Be sure to discuss the problem with the local and
     dependents. These three products have high interest               regional offices of a commissary or exchange before
     rates, coupled with short payback terms.                          contacting the national headquarters.
     The rule for service members and their dependents
     limits the annual percentage rate on these loans to               Wounded Warrior Resource Center
     36 percent. All fees and charges should be included               The Wounded Warrior Resource Center website
     in the calculation of the rate. The rule also prohibits           (WWRC) provides wounded service members, their
     contracts requiring the use of a check or access                  families, and caregivers with information they need
     to a bank account, mandatory arbitration, and                     in the areas of military facilities, health care services,
     unreasonable legal notice. Any credit agreement                   and benefits. It supports access to the Wounded
     subject to the regulation that fails to comply with               Warrior Resource Call Center and trained
     this regulation is void and cannot be enforced. The               specialists who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days
     rule further provides that a creditor or assignee that            a week by phone at 1-800-342-9647 or by e-mail at
     knowingly violates the regulation shall be subject to             wwrc@militaryonesource.com. Information is also
     certain criminal penalties.
                                                                       available on how to connect to other families for
     The Department of Defense strongly encourages                     support and recreation.
     service members and their families to choose
     alternatives which are designed to help resolve                   National Resource Directory
     financial crises, rebuild credit ratings and establish            The National Resource Directory provides wounded, ill
     savings for emergencies. Payday loans, vehicle title              and injured service members, veterans, their families
     loans and tax refund loans can propel an already                  and those who support them with a web-based yellow
     over-extended borrower into a deeper spiral of debt.
                                                                       book. It provides information on, and access to,
                                                                       the full range of medical and non-medical services
                                                                       and resources needed to achieve their personal
enforcement	measures.	The	information	from	Military	                   and professional goals across the transitions from
Sentinel can also be used by members of the JAG                        recovery to rehabilitation to community reintegration.
staff and others in the Department of Defense to help                  The National Resource Directory is an online
protect armed services members and their families                      partnership of the Departments of Defense, Labor and
from consumer protection-related problems.                             Veterans Affairs and provides links to the services
                                                                       and resources of federal, state and local governmental
Military OneSource                                                     agencies; veteran’s service, non-profit, community-
1-800-342-9647                                                         based and philanthropic organizations; professional
www.militaryonesource.com                                              associations and academic institutions.
Military	OneSource	is	an	excellent	hub	of	information	
and assistance for military personnel and their families.
This 24/7 resource offers a variety of services and tools
dedicated to meeting the special needs and improving
the lives of service men and women, both personally
and professionally. In addition to in-person counseling
and direct links to all of the armed services home sites,
Military	OneSource	offers	advice	and	who-to-contact	
information on matters such as health, education,
training, moving, shopping, legal issues and finances.
Podcasts, webinars, discussion boards and news
feeds cover special topics and provide answers to help
resolve problems.




59                                 To call or write an organization, use the directory on page 60.
                       auTomoTive manuFacTurers
       parT iv – consumer assisTance direcTory


                                                            TaBle oF conTenTs
Automotive	Manufacturers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61                       Federal	Maritime	Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113

Automotive Dispute Resolution Resources . . . . . . 64                                      Federal Reserve System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
                                                                                            Federal Trade Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Better Business Bureaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65




                                                                                                                                                                       Automotive
                                                                                            General Services Administration. . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Corporate Consumer Contacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71                            National Archives and Records Admin... . . . . . 114
Federal Agencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102                National Council on Disability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
                                                                                            National Credit Union Administration . . . . . . . 115




                                                                                                                                                                       BBB
    Commission on Civil Rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
    Consumer Product Safety Commission . . . . . . 102                                      National Labor Relations Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115

    Department of:                                                                          Office	of	Personnel	Management. . . . . . . . . . . . 115




                                                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
        Agriculture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102             Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation . . . . . . 115

        Commerce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103              Railroad Retirement Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115

        Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103           Securities and Exchange Commission . . . . . . . 115

        Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103           Small Business Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115

        Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104        Social Security Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116




                                                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
        Health and Human Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105                             Surface Transportation Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

        Homeland Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107                     U.S. Access Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

        Housing and Urban Development . . . . . . . . 108                                   U.S. Commodity Futures

        Interior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109            Trading Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
        Justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109         U.S. Postal Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116




                                                                                                                                                                       National Consumer
        Labor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
                                                                                        National Consumer Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
        State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
                                                                                        State, County and City Consumer
        Transportation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
                                                                                           Protection Offices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
        Treasury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
                                                                                        State Banking Authorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
        Veterans Affairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
    Environmental Protection Agency . . . . . . . . . . . 112                           State Insurance Regulators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143           State & Local

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission . 113                                       State Securities Administrators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
    Federal Communications Commission . . . . . . . 113
                                                                                        State Utilities Commissions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
                                                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional




    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation . . . . . . 113
                                                                                        Trade and Professional Associations . . . . . . . . . . 156
                                                                                                                                                                       Index




                                                                                             Provided financial support for the publication                       60
         Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                                          of the Consumer Action Handbook.
auTomoTive manuFacTurers
auTomoTive manuFacTurers
  If you have a problem with a car purchased from a local dealer, first try to work it out with the dealer. If
  the problem is not resolved, contact the manufacturer’s regional or national office. Ask for the consumer
  affairs office.
  If you are still unsuccessful, consider contacting the automotive dispute resolution resources listed at the
  end of this section. The method used to resolve your dispute may be arbitration, conciliation or mediation.
  Decisions of arbitrators are usually binding and must be accepted by both the customer and the business.
  Ask for a copy of the rules of the program before you file your case.
  A local or state consumer agency (p. 122) could also be a useful resource in resolving problems with your
  vehicle. If you have a new vehicle, be sure to ask whether you have any protection under a state lemon law.


Acura                                       Aston Martin                                 Chevrolet
Customer Relations Department               Customer Relations Department                Customer Assistance Center
1919 Torrance Blvd ., M/S 500-              U .S . National Headquarters                 PO Box 33170
2N7E                                        One Premier Place                            Detroit, MI 48232-5170
Torrance, CA 90501-2746                     Irvine, CA 92618                             Toll free: 1-800-222-1020
310-783-2000                                949-341-5800                                 TTY: 1-800-833-2438
Toll free: 1-800-382-2238                   www.astonmartin.com                          Fax: 313-556-5108
Fax: 310-783-3535                                                                        www.chevrolet.com
www.acura.com                               Audi of America, Inc .
                                            Client Relations                             Chrysler
Alfa                                        2200 Ferdinand Porsche Dr .                  Chrysler Group, LLC
Alfa Romeo Distributors of North            Herndon, VA 20171                            Customer Assistance Center
America, Inc .                              Toll free: 1-800-822-2834                    PO Box 21-8004
7454 Brokerage Dr .                         E-mail: auditalk@audi .com                   Auburn Hills, MI 48321-8004
Orlando, FL 32809                           www.audiusa.com                              Toll free: 1-800-992-1997
407-856-5000                                                                             www.chrysler.com
www.alfaromeo.com                           BMW of North America
                                            Customer Relations                           Dodge
American Honda Motor Co .,                  300 Chestnut Ridge Rd .                      See: Chrysler
Inc .                                       Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-7731                Toll free: 1-800-992-1997
Honda Automobile Customer                   201-307-4000                                 www.dodge.com
Service                                     Toll free: 1-800-831-1117
1919 Torrance Blvd .                        Fax: 201-930-8362                            Ferrari North America, Inc .
Mail Stop: 500 - 2N - 7D                    www.bmwusa.com                               Corporate Office
Torrance, CA 90501-2746                                                                  250 Sylvan Ave .
310-783-2000                                Buick                                        Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Toll free: 1-800-999-1009                   Customer Assistance Center                   201-816-2600
Fax: 310-783-3273                           PO Box 33136                                 Fax: 201-816-2626
www.honda.com                               Detroit, MI 48232-5136                       www.ferrari.com
                                            Toll free: 1-800-521-7300
American Suzuki Motor                       TTY: 1-800-735-2900                          Ford Motor Company
Corp .                                      www.buick.com                                Customer Relationship Center
Customer Relations Department                                                            PO Box 6248
PO Box 1100                                 Cadillac                                     Dearborn, MI 48126
Brea, CA 92822-1100                         Customer Assistance Center                   Toll free: 1-800-392-3673
714-572-1490 (Motorcycle/ATV/               PO Box 33169                                 TTY: 1-800-232-5952
Marine)                                     Detroit, MI 48232-5169                       www.ford.com
Toll free: 1-800-934-0934                   Toll free: 1-800-458-8006
(Automotive)                                TTY: 1-800-255-2683
Fax: 714-579-1272 (Automotive)              www.cadillac.com
www.suzuki.com




 61                                                                       Provided financial support for the publication
            Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                    of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                      auTomoTive manuFacTurers
General Motors Corp . (GMC)                  Land Rover                                  Nissan North America, Inc .
Customer Assistance Center                   Customer Relationship Center                Consumer Affairs Group
PO Box 33172                                 555 MacArthur Blvd .                        PO Box 685003
Detroit, MI 48232-5172                       Mahwah, NJ 07430                            Franklin, TN 370685003
Toll free: 1-800-462-8782                    Toll free: 1-800-637-6837                   Toll free: 1-800-647-7261
TTY: 1-800-462-8583                          Fax: 201-760-8514                           Fax: 310-771-2025
www.gmc.com                                  www.landroverusa.com                        www.nissanusa.com

Hyundai Motor America                        Lexus                                       Oldsmobile
Consumer Affairs                             A Division of Toyota Motor Sales,           Customer Assistance Center
PO Box 20850                                 U .S .A ., Inc .                            PO Box 33171
Fountain Valley, CA 92728-0850               PO Box 2991                                 Detroit, MI 48232-5171




                                                                                                                             Automotive
714-965-3000                                 Mail Drop L201                              Toll free: 1-800-442-6537
Toll free: 1-800-633-5151                    Torrance, CA 90501-2732                     TTY: 1-800-833-9935
E-mail: consumeraffairs@hmausa .             Toll free: 1-800-255-3987                   www.oldsmobile.com
com                                          TTY: 711
www.hyundaiusa.com                           Fax: 310-468-2992                           Peugeot Motors of America,




                                                                                                                             BBB
                                             www.lexus.com                               Inc .
Infiniti                                                                                 Consumer Relations
See: Nissan North America, Inc .             Lincoln                                     Overlook at Great Notch




                                                                                                                             Corporate Contacts
Consumer Affairs                             PO Box 6128                                 150 Clove Rd .
PO Box 685003                                Dearborn, MI 48121                          Little Falls, NJ 07424
Franklin, TN 37068-5003                      Toll free: 1-800-521-4140                   973-812-4444
Toll free: 1-800-662-6200                    www.lincoln.com                             Fax: 973-812-2148
www.infiniti.com                                                                         E-mail: customerservice@
                                             Mazda North American                        peugeotusa .net
Isuzu Motors America, Inc .                  Operations                                  www.peugeot.com
Owner Relations Department                   Customer Assistance Center




                                                                                                                             Federal Agencies
1400 S . Douglass Rd ., Suite 100            PO Box 19734                                Pontiac
Anaheim, CA 92806                            Irvine, CA 92623-9734                       See: GMC
Toll free: 1-800-255-6727                    Toll free: 1-800-222-5500                   Customer Service Center
www.isuzu.com                                Fax: 949-727-6703                           PO Box 33172
                                             www.mazdausa.com                            Detroit, MI 48232-5172
Jaguar                                                                                   Toll free: 1-800-762-2737
Customer Relationship Center                 Mercedes Benz USA, LLC                      TTY: 1-800-833-9935




                                                                                                                             National Consumer
555 MacArthur Blvd .                         Customer Assistance Center                  www.pontiac.com
Mahwah, NJ 07430-2327                        Three Mercedes Dr .
Toll free: 1-800-452-4827                    Montvale, NJ 07645                          Porsche Cars North
Fax: 201-818-9770                            Toll free: 1-800-367-6372                   America, Inc .
www.jaguarusa.com                            Fax: 201-476-6213                           Customer Commitment
                                             www.mbusa.com                               Owner Relations
Jeep                                                                                     980 Hammond Dr ., Suite 1000
See: Chrysler                                Mercury                                     Atlanta, GA 30328                   State & Local
Toll free: 1-800-992-1997                    See: Lincoln                                Toll free: 1-800-767-7243
www.jeep.com/en                              www.mercuryvehicles.com                     www.porsche.com/usa

Kia Motors America, Inc .                    Mitsubishi Motors North                     Saab Automobile USA
                                                                                                                             Trade & Professional




Consumer Assistance Center                   America, Inc .                              Customer Assistance Center
PO Box 52410                                 Customer Relations                          PO Box 33166
Irvine, CA 92619-2410                        PO Box 6014                                 Detroit, MI 48232-5166
Toll free: 1-800-333-4542                    Cypress, CA 90630-0014                      Toll free: 1-800-955-9007
Fax: 949-468-4805                            Toll free: 1-888-648-7820                   www.saabusa.com
www.kia.com                                  www.mitsubishicars.com
                                                                                                                             Index




                                                                     Provided financial support for the publication     62
      Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                     of the Consumer Action Handbook.
auTomoTive manuFacTurers
Saturn                                     Subaru of America, Inc .             Volkswagen Group of
See: GMC                                   Customer/Dealer Services             America, Inc .
Customer Assistance Center                 Subaru Plaza                         Customer Relations
PO Box 33173                               PO Box 6000                          Hills Corporate Center
Detroit, MI 48232-5173                     Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-6000           3499 West Hamlin Rd .
Toll free: 1-800-553-6000                  Toll free: 1-800-782-2783            Rochester Hills, MI 48309
www.saturn.com                             www.subaru.com                       Toll free: 1-800-822-8987
                                                                                Fax: 248-754-6504
Smart USA                                  Toyota Motor Sales U .S .A .,        www.vw.com
2555 Telegraph Rd .                        Inc .
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302                 Customer Experience Center           Volvo Cars of North
Toll free: 1-800-762-7887                  Department WC 11                     America
www.smartusa.com                           19001 S . Western Ave .              Customer Care Center
                                           Torrance, CA 90501                   One Volvo Dr .
                                           310-468-4000                         PO Box 914
                                           Toll free: 1-800-331-4331            Rockleigh, NJ 07647
                                           TTY: 1-800-443-4999                  Toll free: 1-800-458-1552
                                           Fax: 310-468-7814                    Fax: 1-800-992-3970
                                           www.toyota.com                       www.volvocars.com




63                                                                  Provided financial support for the publication
           Member of SOCAP International, see page 71               of the Consumer Action Handbook.
       auTomoTive dispuTe resoluTion programs
BBB Auto Line                                               Motorist Assurance Program (MAP)
Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc .                   201 Park Washington Court
4200 Wilson Blvd .,8th Floor                                Falls Church, VA 22046
Arlington, VA 22203-1838                                    703-532-2027
703-276-0100                                                Fax: 202-318-0378
Toll free: 1-800-955-5100                                   E-mail: map@motorist .org
TTY: 703-276-1862                                           www.motorist.org
Fax: 703-525-8277                                           MAP accredits those auto repair shops that
E-mail: info@cbbb .bbb .org                                 apply and follow industry developed standards
www.bbb.org                                                 for inspecting vehicles as well as meet other
BBB Auto Line is a third-party dispute resolution           requirements . MAP handles inquiries/disputes
program for automobile manufacturers .                      between accredited shops and customers and offers




                                                                                                                   Automotive
                                                            information to consumers about how to locate a
DOT Auto Safety Line                                        repair shop, how to talk to a technician and how to
Office of Defects Investigation                             work successfully with auto repair shops .
1200 New Jersey Ave ., SE
NVS-216                                                     National Automobile Dealers Association




                                                                                                                   BBB
Washington, DC 20590                                        AUTOCAP
Toll free: 1-888-327-4236                                   8400 Westpark Dr .
TTY: 1-800-424-9153                                         McLean, VA 22102




                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts
Fax: 202-366-1767                                           Toll free: 1-800-252-6232
www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/contact.cfm                           E-mail: nadainfo@nada .org
Consumers can contact the DOT Auto Safety                   www.nada.org
Hotline to report safety defects in vehicles, tires,        AUTOCAP is a third-party dispute resolution
and child safety seats . Information is available about     program administered through the National
air bags, child safety seats, seat belts, and general       Automobile Dealers Association . The national office
highway safety . Consumers who experience a safety          makes referrals to state auto dealer associations .
defect in their vehicle are encouraged to report the




                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies
defect to the Hotline in addition to the dealer or          RV Consumer Group
manufacturer .                                              PO Box 520
                                                            Quilcene, WA 98376
International Association of Lemon Law                      360-765-3846
Administrators                                              Toll free: 1-800-405-3325 (Order Desk)
89 Annabessacook Dr .                                       Fax: 360-765-3233
Winthrop, ME 04364                                          E-mail: rvgroup@rv .org




                                                                                                                   National Consumer
207-377-8752                                                www.rv.org
www.TheLemonLaw.org                                         RV Consumer Group is a nonprofit organization
This organization supports and promotes                     dedicated to the safety of recreational vehicles .
government agencies that administer motor vehicle           This group is not aligned or affiliated with the RV
warranty and related laws, through the publication          industry . It offers books and memberships to help
of a newsletter, consumer and industry education,           consumers select the best RV for them .
and other intergovernmental activities .
                                                                                                                   State & Local
                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional
                                                                                                                   Index




                                                      Provided financial support for the publication          64
   Member of SOCAP International, see page 71         of the Consumer Action Handbook.
BeTTer Business Bureaus

     Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) are nonprofit organizations that encourage honest advertising and
     selling practices and are supported primarily by local businesses. BBBs offer a variety of consumer
     services, including: consumer education materials; business reports, particularly unanswered or
     unsettled complaints or other problems; mediation and arbitration services; and information about
     charities and other organizations that are seeking public donations. They also provide ratings (A, B, C,
     D, or F) of local companies to express the BBB’s confidence that the company operates in a trustworthy
     manner and willingness to resolve customer concerns.

     Complaints should be submitted in writing so that an accurate record exists of the dispute. The BBB
     will then present the complaint to the company involved. If the complaint is not resolved, the BBB may
     offer an alternative dispute settlement process. BBBs do not judge or rate individual products or brands,
     handle employer/employee wage disputes or give legal advice.

     If you need help with a consumer question or complaint, call your local BBB or visit their website.

     BBBOnLine (www .bbb .org) provides Internet users an easy way to verify the legitimacy of online
     businesses. Companies carrying the BBBOnLine seal have been checked out by the BBB and agree to
     resolve customer concerns.
     The Council of Better Business Bureaus, the umbrella organization for the BBBs, can assist with
     complaints about the truthfulness and accuracy of national advertising claims, including children’s
     advertising; provide reports on national soliciting charities; and help to settle disputes with automobile
     manufacturers through the BBB AUTO LINE program (p. 64).



               Council                   Cullman                                            Arkansas
                                         202 1st Ave ., SE, Suite I
Council of Better Business               Cullman, AL 35055                     Little Rock
Bureaus, Inc .                           256-775-2917                          12521 Kanis Rd .
4200 Wilson Blvd ., 8th Floor                                                  Little Rock, AR 72211
Arlington, VA 22203-1838                 Decatur                               501-664-7274
703-276-0100                             254 Moulton St . E
Fax: 703-525-8277                        Third Floor                                         Arizona
www.bbb.org                              Decatur, AL 35601
                                         256-533-1640                          Phoenix
                Alaska                   Florence                              4428 North 12th St .
                                                                               Phoenix, AZ 85014
Anchorage                                205 S . Seminary St ., Suite 114
                                                                               602-264-1721
                                         Florence, AL 35630
3601 C St ., Suite 1378
                                         256-740-8224                          Prescott
Anchorage, AK 99503
907-562-0704                             Huntsville                            1569 West Gurley St .
                                                                               Prescott, AZ 86305
                                         107 Lincoln St . NE
               Alabama                                                         928-772-3410
                                         Huntsville, AL 35801
                                         256-533-1640                          Sierra Vista
Birmingham
                                         Toll free: 1-800-239-1642             2160 E . Fry Blvd .
1210 South 20th St .
                                         Mobile                                C5 PMB 172
Birmingham, AL 35205
                                                                               Siera Vista, AZ 85635
205-558-2222                             3361 Cottage Hill Rd ., Suite E
                                                                               520-732-9823
Toll free: 1-800-824-5274                Mobile, AL 36606
                                         251-433-5494                          Tucson
Boaz
                                         Montgomery                            434 S . Williams Blvd ., Suite 102
100 Bartlett Ave .
                                                                               Tucson, AZ 85711
Boaz, AL 35957                           4750 Woodmere Blvd ., Suite D
                                                                               520-888-5353
256-840-3888                             Montgomery, AL 36106
Toll free: 1-800-239-1642                334-273-5530



65
                                                         www .bbb .org
                                                                          BeTTer Business Bureaus

            California               Stockton                               Miami
                                     11 S . San Joaquin St ., Suite 803     14750 NW 77 Ct ., #317
Bakersfield                          Stockton, CA 95202-3202                Miami Lakes, FL 33016
1601 H St ., Suite 101               209-948-4880                           561-842-1918
Bakersfield, CA 93301
661-322-2074                                     Colorado                   Orlando
                                                                            1600 S . Grant St .
Colton                               Colorado Springs                       Longwood, FL 32750
315 North La Cadena                  25 North Wahsatch Ave .                407-621-3300
Colton, CA 92324                     Colorado Springs, CO 80903
909-825-7280                                                                Pensacola
                                     719-636-1155
                                                                            912 E Gadsden St .
Fresno                               Denver                                 Pensacola, FL 32501




                                                                                                                       Automotive
4201 W . Shaw Ave ., Suite 107       1020 Cherokee St .                     850-429-0002
Fresno, CA 93722                     Denver, CO 80204-4039
559-222-8111                                                                Stuart
                                     303-758-2100
                                                                            101 SE Ocean Blvd ., #202
Long Beach                           Fort Collins                           Stuart, FL 34994




                                                                                                                       BBB
3363 Linden Ave ., Suite A           8020 S . County Rd . 5, #100           772-223-1492
Long Beach, CA 90807                 Fort Collins, CO 80528
562-216-9240                                                                West Palm Beach
                                     970-484-1348
                                                                            4411 Beacon Circle, Suite 4




                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
Los Angeles                                                                 West Palm Beach, FL 33407
6125 Washington Blvd ., Suite 306              Connecticut
                                                                            561-842-1918
Culver City, CA 90232                Hartford/Wallingford
310-945-3166                                                                              Georgia
                                     94 South Turnpike Rd .
Oakland                              Wallingford, CT 06492-4322             Atlanta
1000 Broadway, Suite 625             203-269-2700
                                                                            503 Oak Place, Suite 590
Oakland, CA 94607




                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
                                                                            Atlanta, GA 30349
510-844-2000                             District of Columbia
                                                                            404-766-0875
Placentia                            Washington                             Augusta
550 W . Orangethrope Ave .           1411 K St ., NW, 10th Floor            1227 Augusta West Pkwy ., Suite 15
Placentia, CA 92870                  Washington, DC 20005-3404              Augusta, GA 30909
714-985-8922                         202-393-8000                           706-210-7676
Sacramento                                                                  Columbus
                                                 Delaware




                                                                                                                       National Consumer
3075 Beacon Blvd .                                                          500 12h St .
West Sacramento, CA 95691-3462       Dover/New Castle                       Columbus, GA 31901
916-443-6843                         60 Reads Way                           706-324-0712
San Diego                            New Castle, DE 19720
                                                                            Macon
5050 Murphy Canyon Rd ., Suite 110   302-230-0108
                                                                            277 Martin Luther King, Jr . Blvd .
San Diego, CA 92123                                                         Suite 102
                                                   Florida
                                                                                                                       State & Local
858-496-2131                                                                Macon, GA 31201-3495
San Jose                             Clearwater                             478-742-7999
1112 S . Bascom Ave .                2655 McCormick Dr .                    Savannah
San Jose, CA 95128                   Clearwater, FL 33759
                                                                            6606 Abercorn St ., Suite 108C
408-278-7400                         727-535-5522
                                                                            Savannah, GA 31405-5817
                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional




Santa Barbara                        Jacksonville                           912-354-7522
PO Box 129                           4417 Beach Blvd ., Suite 202
Santa Barbara, CA 93102              Jacksonville, FL 32207                                Hawaii
805-963-8657                         904-721-2288
                                                                            Honolulu
                                                                            1132 Bishop St ., Suite 615
                                                                            Honolulu, HI 96813-2822
                                                                                                                       Index




                                                                            808-536-6956
                                                                                                                  66
                                            www .bbb .org
BeTTer Business Bureaus

                Iowa                 Merriville                          Lake Charles
                                     7863 Broadway, Suite 124            2309 E . Prien Lake Rd .
Bettendorf                           Merriville, IN 46410                Lake Charles, LA 70601
2435 Kimberly Rd ., Suite 260 N      219-791-9550                        337-478-6253
Bettendorf, IA 52722-4100
563-355-6344                         Osceola                             Monroe
                                     11606 McKinley Hwy .                212 Walnut St ., #210
Des Moines                           Osceola, IN 46561                   Monroe, LA 71201
505 5th Ave ., Suite 950             574-675-9315                        318-387-4600
Des Moines, IA 50309                                                     Toll free: 1-800-960-7756
515-243-8137                                       Kansas
                                                                         New Orleans
                Idaho                Topeka                              710 Baronne St ., Suite C
                                     501 Southeast Jefferson, Suite 24   New Orleans, LA 70113
Boise                                Topeka, KS 66607-1190               504-581-6222
4355 Emerald St ., Suite 290         785-232-0454                        Shreveport
Boise, ID 83706
208-342-4649                         Wichita                             401 Edwards St ., Suite 135
                                     345 N . Riverview St ., Suite 720   Shreveport, LA 71101
Idaho Falls                          Wichita, KS 67203                   318-222-7575
453 River Pkwy .                     316-263-3146
Idaho Falls, ID 83402                                                            Massachusetts
208-523-9754                                     Kentucky
                                                                         Boston
               Illinois              Lexington                           235 West Central St ., Suite 1
                                     1460 Newtown Pike                   Natick, MA 01760-3767
Chicago                              Lexington, KY 40511                 508-652-4800
330 North Wabash Ave ., Suite 2006   859-259-1008                        Worcester
Chicago, IL 60611-7621
312-832-0500                         Louisville                          340 Main St ., Suite 802
                                     844 S . Fourth St .                 Worcester, MA 01608
Peoria                               Louisville, KY 40203-2186           508-755-2548
112 Harrison St .                    502-583-6546
Peoria, IL 61602                                                                     Maryland
309-688-3741                                     Louisiana
                                                                         Baltimore
Rockford                             Alexandria                          1414 Key Hwy ., Suite 100
810 East State St ., 3rd Floor       5220-C Rue Verdun                   Baltimore, MD 21230-5189
Rockford, IL 61104-1001              Alexandria, LA 71303                410-347-3990
815-963-2222                         318-473-4494
                                                                                        Maine
              Indiana                Baton Rouge
                                     748 Main St .                       Portland
Evansville                           Baton Rouge, LA 70802               812 Stevens Ave .
5401 Vogel Rd ., Suite 410           225-346-5222                        Portland, ME 04103
Evansville, IN 47715                                                     Toll free: 1-800-422-2811
812-473-0202                         Houma
                                     801 Barrow St ., Suite 400                      Michigan
Fort Wayne                           Houma, LA 70360
4011 Parnell Ave .                   985-868-3456                        Grand Rapids
Fort Wayne, IN 46805                                                     40 Pearl NW, Suite 354
260-423-4433                         Lafayette
                                                                         Grand Rapids, MI 49503
                                     4007 West Congress St ., Suite B
Indianapolis                                                             616-774-8236
                                     Lafayette, LA 70506
22 East Washington St ., Suite 200   337-981-3497                        Detroit/Southfield
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3584                                              30555 Southfield Rd ., Suite 200
317-488-2222                                                             Southfield, MI 48076-7751
                                                                         248-644-9100

67
                                                    www .bbb .org
                                                                      BeTTer Business Bureaus

            Minnesota                        New Mexico                 Charlotte
                                                                        13860 Ballantyne Corp . Place
Minneapolis/St . Paul              Albuquerque                          Suite 225
2706 Gannon Rd .                   2625 Pennsylvania NE, Suite 2050     Charlotte, NC 28277
St . Paul, MN 55116-2600           Albuquerque, NM 87110-3658           704-927-8611
651-699-1111                       505-346-0110
                                                                        Greensboro
              Missouri             Farmington                           3608 W . Friendly Ave .
                                   308 North Locke                      Greensboro, NC 27410-4895
Kansas City                        Farmington, NM 87401-5855            336-852-4240
8080 Ward Pkwy ., Suite 401        505-326-6501
                                                                        Raleigh
Kansas City, MO 64114
                                                Nevada                  5540 Munford Rd ., Suite 130
816-421-7800




                                                                                                               Automotive
                                                                        Raleigh, NC 27612-2621
Springfield                        Las Vegas                            919-277-4222
430 S . Glenstone Ave ., Suite A   6040 S . Jones Blvd .                Winston-Salem
Springfield, MO 65802              Las Vegas, NV 89118
                                                                        500 West 5th St ., Suite 202
417-862-4222                       702-320-4500




                                                                                                               BBB
                                                                        Winston-Salem, NC 27101-2728
St . Louis                         Reno                                 336-725-8348
15 Sunnen Dr ., Suite 107          991 Bible Way




                                                                                                               Corporate Contacts
St . Louis, MO 63143               Reno, NV 89502-2122                                  Ohio
314-645-3300                       775-322-0657
                                                                        Akron
            Mississippi                        New York                 222 West Market St .
                                                                        Akron, OH 44303
Jackson                            Amherst                              330-253-4590
601 Renaissance Way, Suite A       100 Bryant Woods South               Canton
Ridgeland, MS 39157                Amherst, NY 14228




                                                                                                               Federal Agencies
                                                                        1434 Cleveland Ave ., NW
601-707-0960                       716-881-5222
                                                                        Canton, OH 44703
             Nebraska              Farmingdale                          330-454-9401
                                   399 Conklin St ., Suite 300          Cincinnati
Lincoln                            Farmingdale, NY 11735
                                                                        Seven West 7th St ., Suite 1600
3633 O St ., Suite 1               212-533-6200
                                                                        Cincinnati, OH 45202
Lincoln, NE 68510                  New York                             513-421-3015




                                                                                                               National Consumer
402-436-2345
                                   257 Park Ave ., South 4th Floor      Cleveland
Omaha                              New York, NY 10010-7384
                                                                        2217 East 9th St ., Suite 200
11811 P St .                       212-533-6200
                                                                        Cleveland, OH 44115-1299
Omaha, NE 68137                    Rochester                            216-241-7678
402-391-7612
                                   55 St . Paul Street                  Columbus
Toll free: 1-800-649-6814
                                   Rochester, NY 14604
                                                                        1169 Dublin Rd .
                                   716-881-5222
                                                                                                               State & Local
        New Hampshire                                                   Columbus, OH 43215-1005
                                   Tarrytown/ Westchester Cty .         614-486-6336
Concord                            150 White Plains Rd ., Suite 107
25 Hall St ., Suite 102                                                 Dayton
                                   Tarrytown, NY 10591-5521
Concord, NH 03301                                                       15 W . Fourth St ., Suite 300
                                   212-533-6200
                                                                        Dayton, OH 45402-1830
                                                                                                               Trade & Professional




603-224-1991
                                           North Carolina               937-222-5825
           New Jersey                                                   Toll free: 1-800-776-5301
                                   Asheville                            Lima
Trenton                            112 Execuitive Park                  219 N . McDonel
1700 Whitehorse-Hamilton Square    Asheville, NC 28801                  Lima, OH 45801
Rd .                               828-253-2392                         419-223-7010
                                                                                                               Index




Suite D-5
Trenton, NJ 08690-3596
609-588-0808                                                                                              68
                                           www .bbb .org
BeTTer Business Bureaus

Toledo                                            Puerto Rico            Cookeville
Integrity Place                                                          18 N . Jefferson Ave .
7668 King’s Pointe Rd .                 San Juan                         Cookeville, TN 38501
Toledo, OH 43617                        530 Avenida De La Constitucion   Toll free: 1-800-989-4222
419-531-3116                            #206
                                        San Juan, PR 00901               Knoxville
Youngstown                              787-289-8710                     255 N . Peters Rd ., Suite A
International Towers                                                     Knoxville, TN 37923
25 Market St .                                   Rhode Island            865-692-1600
Youngstown, OH 44501
                                                                         Memphis
Toll free: 1-866-887-9222               Coventry
                                                                         3693 Tyndale Dr .
                                        475 Tiogue Ave .
            Oklahoma                                                     Memphis, TN 38125
                                        Coventry, RI 02816
                                                                         901-759-1300
                                        Toll free: 1-800-422-2811
Oklahoma City
                                                                         Murfreesboro
17 S, Dewey St .                                South Carolina           1231 NW Broad St ., Suite 313
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-2400
                                                                         Murfreesboro, TN 37129
405-239-6081                            Columbia                         615-242-4222
Tulsa                                   1515 Burnette Dr .
                                        Columbia, SC 29210               Nashville
1722 S . Carson Ave ., Suite 3200
                                        803-254-2525                     201 Fourth Ave . North, Suite 100
Tulsa, OK 74119
                                                                         Nashville, TN 37219
918-492-1266                            Conway                           615-242-4222
                                        314 Laurel St ., #203
              Oregon                    Conway, SC 29526                                Texas
                                        843-488-2227
Lake Oswego
                                                                         Abilene
4004 S .W . Kruse Way Pl ., Suite 375   Greenville
                                                                         3300 South 14th St ., Suite 307
Lake Oswego, OR 97035                   408 N . Church St ., Suite C
                                                                         Abilene, TX 79605-5052
503-212-3022                            Greenville, SC 29601-2164
                                                                         325-691-1533
                                        864-242-5052
         Pennsylvania                                                    Amarillo
                                                 South Dakota            720 S . Tyler, Suite B112
Bethlehem                                                                Amarillo, TX 79101
528 N . New St .                        Sioux Falls                      806-379-6222
Bethlehem, PA 18018-5789                300 N . Phillips Ave ., #202
610-866-8780                            Sioux Falls, SD 57104            Austin
                                        605-271-2066                     1005 La Posada Dr .
Harrisburg                                                               Austin, TX 78752
1337 North Front St .                              Tennessee             512-445-2911
Harrisburg, PA 17102
717-364-3250                            Chattanooga                      Beaumont
                                        1010 Market St ., Suite 200      550 Fannin St ., Suite 100
Philadelphia                                                             Beaumont, TX 77701-2011
                                        Chattanooga, TN 37402-2614
1880 John F . Kennedy Blvd .                                             409-835-5348
                                        423-266-6144
Suite 1330
Philadelphia, PA 19103                  Clarksville                      College Station
215-985-9313                            214 Main St .                    418 Tarrow St .
                                        Clarksville, TN 37040            College Station, TX 77840-1822
Pittsburgh                                                               979-260-2222
                                        931-503-2222
300 Sixth Ave ., Suite 100-UL
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2511               Columbia                         Corpus Christi
412-456-2700                            502 N . Garden St ., Suite 801   719 S . Shoreline, Suite 304
                                        Columbia, TN 38401               Corpus Christi, TX 78401
Scranton/Wilkes Barre                                                    361-852-4949
                                        931-433-9501
4099 Birney Ave .
Moosic, PA 18507
570-614-4222

69
                                                       www .bbb .org
                                                                           BeTTer Business Bureaus

Dallas                               Weslaco                                           West Virginia
1601 Elm St ., Suite 3838            2017 West Expressway 83, Suite 4
Dallas, TX 75201-3093                Weslaco, TX 78596                        Charleston
214-220-2000                         956-968-3678                             910 Quarrier St ., Suite 405-406
                                                                              Charleston, WV 25301
El Paso                              Wichita Falls                            304-345-7503
720 Arizona                          4245 Kemp Blvd ., Suite 900
El Paso, TX 79902                    Wichita Falls, TX 76308-2830
915-577-0191                         940-691-1172
Fort Worth                                           Utah
101 Summit Ave ., Suite 707
Fort Worth, TX 76102-5978            Salt Lake City




                                                                                                                      Automotive
817-332-7585                         5673 S . Redwood Rd ., Suite 22
Houston                              Salt Lake City, UT 84123-5322
                                     801-892-6009
1333 W . Loop South, Suite 1200
Houston, TX 77027
                                                   Virginia




                                                                                                                      BBB
713-868-9500
Longview                             Norfolk
2401 Judson Rd ., #102               586 Virginian Dr .




                                                                                                                      Corporate Contacts
Longview, TX 75605                   Norfolk, VA 23505
903-758-3222                         757-531-1300
Lubbock                              Richmond
3333 66th St .                       720 Moorefield Park Dr ., Suite 300
Lubbock, TX 79413-5711               Richmond, VA 23236
806-763-0459                         804-648-0016
                                     Roanoke




                                                                                                                      Federal Agencies
Midland
10100 County Rd . 118 West           31 West Campbell Ave .
Midland, TX 79711-0206               Roanoke, VA 24011-1290
432-563-1880                         540-342-3455
San Angelo                                      Washington
3134 Executive Dr ., Suite A
San Angelo, TX 76904                 Seattle




                                                                                                                      National Consumer
325-949-2989                         1000 Station Dr ., Suite 222
                                     DuPont, WA 98327
San Antonio
                                     206-431-2222
1800 Northeast Loop 410, Suite 400
San Antonio, TX 78217-5296           Spokane
210-828-9441                         152 S . Jefferson, Suite 200
                                     Spokane, WA 99201
Texarkana
                                                                                                                      State & Local
                                     509-455-4200
2002 Olive St ., Suite 111
Texarkana, TX 75501                              Wisconsin
903-793-4565
                                     Milwaukee
Tyler
                                     10101 W . Greeenfield Ave ., Suite 125
                                                                                                                      Trade & Professional




3600 Old Bullard Rd .
                                     West Allis, WI 53214
Building 1, Suite 101
                                     414-847-6000
Tyler, TX 75701
903-581-5704
                                                                                                                      Index




                                                                                                                 70
                                            www .bbb .org
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

     The following directory lists the addresses and phone numbers for hundreds of Corporations.
     Many	companies	have	a	special	department	that	handles	consumer	questions	and	concerns.	Other	
     companies opt to list their corporate headquarters. If you do not find the company you are looking
     for, try checking your public libraries for the following resource books:
            • The Standard & Poor’s Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives
            • Trade Names Directory
            • Standard Directory of Advertisers
            • Dun & Bradstreet Directory
     To identify the name of a company that manufactures a specific product, check the product label and
     other documents given to you at the time of your purchase. The Thomas Register of American Manufacturers,
     another book available at many public libraries, might also be helpful. It lists the manufacturers of
     thousands of products.
     If you have a complaint about an item or service, it is usually best to go back to the seller BEFORE you
     contact the companies in this directory. Follow up with a letter, phone call or e-mail message to the
     consumer affairs department of the company to let them know about your complaint and whether the
     seller was able to resolve your problem. Consumer affairs offices are set up within companies because
     they want to hear from you.




                                              socap inTernaTional
     Many	of	the	companies	listed	in	this	handbook	are	members	of	the	Society	of	Consumer	Affairs	
     Professionals International (SOCAP). A professional organization established in 1973, the Society’s
     goal is to improve the marketplace for consumers by improving customer care through education
     and networking. SOCAP members are identified in this directory by the SOCAP logo. For more
     information, contact SOCAP (p. 121).


                                               Abbott Nutrition Products                    Accor North America
                  A
                                               Division                                     4001 International Pkwy .
A&W Restaurants, Inc .                         Consumer Relations                           Carrollton, TX 75007
See: YUM! Brands, Inc .                        625 Cleveland Ave .                          972-360-9000
1900 Colonel Sanders Ln .                      Columbus, OH 43215-1754                      Toll free: 1-800-557-3435
Louisville, KY 40213                           614-624-7677                                 www.accor-na.com
Toll free: 1-866-456-2929                      Toll free: 1-800-227-5767                    Adidas USA
www.awrestaurants.com                          Fax: 614-624-7616                            Consumer Service
                                               www.abbottnutrition.com                      5055 N . Greeley Ave .
AAMCO Transmissions, Inc .
Consumer Affairs                               ABC, Inc .                                   Portland, OR 97217
201 Gibraltar Rd .                             500 S . Buena Vista St .                     Toll free: 1-800-448-1796
Horsham, PA 19044                              Burbank, CA 91521-4551                       Fax: 971-234-4515
610-668-2900 ext . 224                         818-460-7477                                 E-mail: consumer .relations@adidas .
Toll free: 1-800-292-8500 ext . 224            www.abc.com                                  com
Toll free: 1-888-346-3226                                                                   www.adidas.com
                                               Abercrombie & Fitch
Fax: 610-664-5897                                                                           Adobe Systems, Inc .
                                               720 Fifth Ave ., 8th Floor
www.aamco.com                                                                               345 Park Ave .
                                               New York, NY 10019
                                               Toll free: 1-800-934-4403                    San Jose, CA 95110-2704
                                               E-mail: abercrombie@abercrombie .            408-536-6000
                                               com                                          Toll free: 1-800-833-6687
                                               www.abercrombie.com                          Toll free: 1-800-642-3623 (Technical
                                                                                            Support)
                                                                                            Fax: 408-537-6000
                                                                                            www.adobe.com

71                                                                        Provided financial support for the publication
              Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                  of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                        corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Aerus Electrolux Corporation                   Alberto Culver Company                         America Online, Inc .
Customer Service                               Consumer Relations                             22000 AOL Way
300 East Valley Dr .                           2525 Armitage Ave .                            Dulles, VA 20166
Bristol, VA 24201                              Melrose Park, IL 60160                         703-265-1000
Toll free: 1-800-243-9078                      708-450-3000                                   Toll free: 1-800-827-6364
Fax: 276-645-2863                              Toll free: 1-800-333-0005                      Fax: 703-918-1400
E-mail: customerservice@                       Fax: 708-450-2299                              www.aol.com
aerusonline .com                               www.alberto.com
                                                                                              American Airlines, Inc .
www.aerusonline.com
                                               Albertsons, Inc .                              Customer Relations
AETNA, Inc .                                   250 Parkcenter Blvd .                          PO Box 619612 MD 2400
151 Farmington Ave .                           Boise, ID 83706                                Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, TX 75261-
Hartford, CT 06156                             208-395-6200                                   9612
860-273-0123                                   Toll free: 1-877-932-7948 (Customer            817-967-2000




                                                                                                                                     Automotive
www.aetna.com                                  Service)                                       Fax: 817-967-4162
                                               www.albertsons.com                             www.aa.com
Aflac
1932 Wynnton Rd .                              Alcon Laboratories, Inc .                      American Automobile
Columbus, GA 31999                             6201 South Freeway, TC-35                      Association




                                                                                                                                     BBB
Toll free: 1-800-992-3522                      Fort Worth, TX 76134-2099                      Member Relations
www.aflac.com                                  817-572-1361                                   1000 AAA Dr ., MS 61
                                               Toll free: 1-800-862-5266                      Heathrow, FL 32746




                                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
AirTran Airways
                                               Fax: 817-551-3092                              407-444-8402
Customer Relations                             E-mail: consumeraffairs .ft .worth@            Fax: 407-444-8416
1800 Phoenix Blvd ., Suite 104                 alconlabs .com                                 www.aaa.com
Atlanta, GA 30349                              www.alconlabs.com
Toll free: 1-866-247-2428                                                                     American Eagle Outfitters
Toll free: 1-800-965-2107 ext . 8900           Allied Van Lines, Inc .                        Customer Service
(Baggage)                                      Customer Service                               150 Thorn Hill Dr .
www.airtran.com                                PO Box 4403                                    Warrendale, PA 15086




                                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
                                               Chicago, IL 60680-4403                         Toll free: 1-888-232-4535
A .J . Wright
                                               Toll free: 1-800-348-2111                      www.ae.com
See: TJX Companies, Inc .                      Toll free: 1-800-470-2851 (Claims)
Toll free: 1-877-746-7259                                                                     American Express Company
                                               Fax: 630-717-3123
www.aj-wright.com                              E-mail: custsvc@alliedvan .com                 Consumer Relations
                                               www.allied.com                                 777 American Express Way
Alamo Rent A Car
                                                                                              Ft . Lauderdale, FL 33337
Customer Service Division                      Allstate Insurance Company                     Toll free: 1-800-297-6196




                                                                                                                                     National Consumer
600 Corporate Park Dr .                        2775 Sanders Rd .                              Toll free: 1-800-528-4800 (Green
Saint Louis, MO 63105                          Northbrook, IL 60062                           Card Inquiries)
Toll free: 1-800-445-5664                      847-402-5000                                   Toll free: 1-800-327-2177 (Gold Card
www.alamo.com                                  Toll free: 1-800-255-7828 (Claims)             Inquiries)
Alaska Airlines                                Fax: 847-418-5966                              Toll free: 1-800-525-3355 (Platinum
PO Box 24948-SEAGT                             www.allstate.com                               Card Inquiries)
Seattle, WA 98124-0948                                                                        Toll free: 1-877-877-0987 (Centurion
                                               Amana Appliances
                                                                                                                                     State & Local
Toll free: 1-800-654-5669 (Customer                                                           Card Inquiries)
                                               See: Whirlpool Corporation                     www.americanexpress.com
Care)                                          Toll free: 1-800-616-2664
Toll free: 1-877-815-8253 (Baggage)            www.amana.com                                  American Girl
Fax: 206-392-2786                                                                             PO Box 620497
www.alaskaair.com                              Amazon .com, Inc .
                                                                                              Middleton, WI 53562-0497
                                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional




                                               Customer Service                               Toll free: 1-800-360-1861
                                               PO Box 81226                                   E-mail: im_cs@americangirl .com
                                               Seattle, WA 98108-1226                         www.americangirl.com
                                               206-266-1000 (Corporate)
                                               Toll free: 1-800-201-7575
                                               Fax: 206-266-2335
                                               www.amazon.com
                                                                                                                                     Index




                                                                     Provided financial support for the publication            72
        Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

American Greetings                            Apple Computer, Inc .                         AT&T, Inc .
Corporation                                   One Infinte Loop                              Customer Relations
Consumer Relations                            Cupertino, CA 95014                           175 E . Houston St .
One American Rd .                             Toll free: 1-800-676-2775 (Customer           San Antonio, TX 78205
Cleveland, OH 44144                           Service)                                      210-821-4105
216-252-7300                                  Toll free: 1-800-275-2273 (Tech               Toll free: 1-800-464-7928 (Wireless
Toll free: 1-800-777-4891                     Support)                                      Customer Service)
Toll free: 1-800-321-3040                     Toll free: 1-800-767-2775 (Service            Toll free: 1-800-464-7928
E-mail: consumer .relations@                  Support)                                      Fax: 210-351-2071
amgreetings .com                              www.apple.com                                 www.att.com
www.americangreetings.com
                                              Applebee’s                                    Atlas World Group, Inc .
Amtrak                                        11201 Renner Blvd .                           1212 St . George Rd .
10 G St ., N .E .                             Lenexa, KS 66219                              Evansville, IN 47711-2364
Washington, DC 20002                          913-890-0100                                  Toll free: 1-800-638-9797
Toll free: 1-800-872-7245                     Toll free: 1-888-592-7753                     Fax: 812-421-7129
TTY: 1-800-523-6590                           www.applebees.com                             www.atlasworldgroup.com
www.amtrak.com
                                              Appleseed’s                                   Avis Rent-A-Car System
Amway Corporation                             Customer Service                              4500 South 129th East Ave .
7575 Fulton St . East                         30 Tozer Rd .                                 PO Box 699000
Ada, MI 49355-0001                            Beverly, MA 01915                             Tulsa, OK 74169-9000
616-787-6000                                  Toll free: 1-888-430-5711                     Toll free: 1-800-352-7900
Toll free: 1-800-253-6500 (Customer           Toll free: 1-800-546-4554 (Web                TTY: 1-800-331-2323
Service)                                      Customer Service)                             Fax: 918-621-4819
Toll free: 1-800-762-6308                     E-mail: CustomerService@                      E-mail: custserv@avis .com
TTY: 1-800-548-3878                           Appleseeds .com                               www.avis.com
Fax: 616-787-7550                             www.appleseeds.com
                                                                                            Avon Products, Inc .
E-mail: amway .customer .support@
                                              Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc .                Consumer Information Center
amway .com
www.amway.com                                 1155 Perimeter Center West, 12th              1251 Avenue of the Americas
                                              Floor                                         New York, NY 10020
Andersen Windows, Inc .                       Atlanta, GA 30338                             212-282-7000
Window Care Call Center                       678-514-4100                                  Toll free: 1-800-367-2866
100 Fourth Ave . North                        Fax: 678-514-5347                             Toll free: 1-800-445-2866 (Product
Bayport, MN 55003-1096                        E-mail: customerfeedback@arbys .              Information)
651-264-5150 (Corporate)                      com                                           www.avon.com
Toll free: 1-888-888-7020 (Service)           www.arbys.com
                                                                                            AxA Equitable Company, Inc .
Fax: 651-264-5827
                                              Armstrong World Industries,                   (AxA Financial, Inc .)
www.andersenwindows.com
                                              Inc .                                         1290 Avenue of the Americas - 12th
Angie’s List                                  Customer Service                              Floor
1030 E . Washington St .                      PO Box 3001                                   New York, NY 10104
Indianapolis, IN 46202                        Lancaster, PA 17604                           212-554-1234
Toll free: 1-888-944-5478                     717-397-0611                                  Toll free: 1-877-222-2144
www.angieslist.com                            Toll free: 1-800-233-3823                     www.equitable.com
                                              Fax: 717-396-4270
Anheuser-Busch, Inc .
                                              www.armstrong.com                                                   B
Customer Relationship Group
One Busch Pl .                                Ashley Furniture
                                                                                            Bacardi USA, Inc .
St . Louis, MO 63118                          One Ashley Way
                                                                                            Consumer Services
Toll free: 1-800-342-5283                     Arcadia, WI 54612
                                                                                            2100 Biscayne Blvd .
www.anheuser-busch.com                        www.ashleyfurniturehomestore.
                                                                                            Miami, FL 33137
                                              com
Anthem                                                                                      Toll free: 1-800-222-2734
2015 Staples Mills Rd .                                                                     www.bacardi.com
Richmond, VA 23230
www.anthem.com


73                                                                        Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                        corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Bally Total Fitness                            Bassett Baby Furniture                          Bellisio Foods, Inc .
Corporation                                    3525 Fairystone Park Hwy .                      Customer Service Dept .
PO Box 1090                                    PO Box 626                                      PO Box 16630
Norwalk, CA 90651-1090                         Bassett, VA 24055                               Duluth, MN 55816
Toll free: 1-800-515-2582                      Toll free: 1-877-525-7070                       E-mail: info@bellisiofoods .com
Toll free: 1-866-402-2559 (Member              E-mail: juvenile@bassettfurniture .             www.bellisiofoods.com
Service)                                       com
                                                                                               Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc .
www.ballyfitness.com                           www.bassettfurniture.com
                                                                                               Consumer Services
Banana Republic                                Bath & Body Works                               30 Community Dr .
5900 North Meadows Dr .                        Customer Relations                              South Burlington, VT 05403-6828
Grove City, OH 43123                           Seven Limited Pkwy . East                       802-846-1500
Toll free: 1-888-277-8953                      Reynoldsburg, OH 43068                          www.benjerry.com
TTY: 1-888-906-1345                            Toll free: 1-800-756-5005




                                                                                                                                      Automotive
                                                                                               Benihana, Inc .
E-mail: custserv@bananarepublic .              Toll free: 1-800-395-1001
com                                            www.bathandbodyworks.com                        Customer Relations Manager
www.bananarepublic.com                                                                         8685 Northwest 53rd Terrace
                                               Bayer HealthCare, LLC                           Miami, FL 33166
Bank of America Corporation                    Consumer Care                                   305-593-0770




                                                                                                                                      BBB
100 North Tryon St .                           36 Columbia Rd .                                Toll free: 1-800-327-3369
Mail Code NC1-007-58-16                        PO Box 1910                                     Fax: 305-592-6371
Charlotte, NC 28255-0001                       Morristown, NJ 07962-1910                       E-mail: customerrelations@




                                                                                                                                      Corporate Contacts
Toll free: 1-800-432-1000                      973-254-5000                                    benihana .com
TTY: 1 .800 .288 .4408                         Toll free: 1-800-331-4536                       www.benihana.com
www.bankofamerica.com                          Fax: 1-800-704-7629
                                                                                               Best Buy Company, Inc .
                                               www.consumercare.bayer.com
BankUnited                                                                                     Corporate Customer Care
Call Center                                    Becton, Dickinson and                           PO Box 9312
7815 NW 148th St .                             Company (BD)                                    Minneapolis, MN 55440
Miami Lakes, FL 33016                          One Becton Dr ., MC 376                         612-291-1000




                                                                                                                                      Federal Agencies
Toll free: 1-877-779-2265                      Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417                        Toll free: 1-888-237-8289
www.bankunited.com                             201-847-6800                                    www.bestbuy.com
                                               Toll free: 1-888-237-2762 (Customer
Barnes & Noble                                                                                 Best Western International,
                                               Service)
PO Box 111                                                                                     Inc .
                                               Toll free: 1-800-255-6334 (Education
Lyndhurst, NJ 07071                            Center)                                         Customer Relations
201-438-1232                                   Toll free: 1-888-232-2737                       PO Box 42007
Toll free: 1-800-944-7323                      www.bd.com                                      Phoenix, AZ 85080-2007




                                                                                                                                      National Consumer
E-mail: customerservice@bn .com                                                                623-780-6000
www.bn.com                                     Beech-Nut Nutrition                             Toll free: 1-800-528-1238
                                               Corporation                                     TTY: 1-800-528-2222
Bass Pro Shops, Inc .
                                               Consumer Affairs                                Fax: 623-780-6199
Customer Service                               13023 Tesson Ferry Rd ., Suite 105              www.bestwestern.com
2500 East Kearney                              St Louis, MO 63128
Springfield, MO 65898                                                                          BIC Corporation
                                               314-436-7667
417-873-5000                                                                                   Consumer Affairs
                                                                                                                                      State & Local
                                               Toll free: 1-800-233-2468
Toll free: 1-800-227-7776                      Fax: 314-655-2201                               One Bick Way Suite 1
Toll free: 1-800-976-6344                      www.beechnut.com                                Shelton, CT 06484
Toll free: 1-800-554-5488                                                                      203-783-2000
TTY: 1-800-442-5788                            Beiersdorf, Inc .                               Toll free: 1-800-546-1111
Fax: 417-873-5060                              Consumer Relations                              Fax: 203-783-2691
                                                                                                                                      Trade & Professional




www.basspro.com                                Wilton Corporate Center                         www.bicworld.com
                                               187 Danbury Rd .
                                               Wilton, CT 06897
                                               203-563-5800
                                               Toll free: 1-800-227-4703
                                               Fax: 203-563-5895
                                               www.beiersdorf.us
                                                                                                                                      Index




                                                                     Provided financial support for the publication
        Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.                            74
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Big Lot Stores, Inc .                         Bloomingdale’s, Inc .                          Bridgestone Retail
Customer Service                              Customer Service                               Operations, LLC
300 Phillipi Rd .                             PO Box 8215                                    Consumer Affairs
Columbus, OH 43228-5311                       Mason, OH 45040                                PO Box 7988
614-278-6800                                  Toll free: 1-888-524-2254                      Chicago, IL 60680-9534
Toll free: 1-800-877-1253                     Toll free: 1-800-950-0047 (Credit              Toll free: 1-800-367-3872
E-mail: talk2us@biglots .com                  Inquiries)                                     Fax: 204-987-1359
www.biglots.com                               www.bloomingdales.com                          E-mail: firestone_consumer_
                                                                                             affairs@inspyresolutions .com
Birds Eye Foods, Inc .                        Bob Evans Farms, Inc .
                                                                                             www.firestonecompleteautocare.
Attn: Consumer Relations                      3776 South High St .                           com
PO Box 20670                                  Columbus, OH 43207
Rochester, NY 14602-0670                      614-491-2225                                   Brinker International
585-383-1850                                  Toll free: 1-800-272-7675                      6820 LBJ Fwy .
Toll free: 1-800-563-1786 (Birds              Toll free: 1-800-939-2338                      Dallas, TX 75240
Eye, Freshlike, Nalley or Berstein’s          (Consumer Relations)                           972-980-9917
products)                                     Fax: 614-492-4971                              www.brinker.com
Toll free: 1-800-270-2743 (Other)             www.bobevans.com
                                                                                             Bristol-Myers Squibb
www.birdseyefoods.com
                                              Bojangles’ Restaurants, Inc .                  Company
Bissell Homecare, Inc .                       Customer Relations                             Customer Relations
Customer Service                              9432 Southern Pine Blvd .                      PO Box 4000
PO Box 3606                                   Charlotte, NC 28273                            Princeton, NJ 08543-4000
Grand Rapids, MI 49501                        704-527-2675                                   609-252-4000
616-453-4451                                  Toll free: 1-888-300-4265                      Toll free: 1-800-332-2056
Toll free: 1-800-237-7691                     Fax: 704-523-6803                              Fax: 609-897-6016
Fax: 616-791-7711                             www.bojangles.com                              www.bms.com
www.bissell.com
                                              Borders, Inc .                                 British Airways
BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc .                    Customer Service                               75-20 Astoria Blvd .
Member Care                                   PO Box 7002                                    Jackson Heights, NY 11370
One Mercer Rd .                               LaVergne, TN 37086                             Toll free: 1-800-247-9297
Natick, MA 01760                              Toll free: 1-800-770-7811                      Toll free: 1-800-828-8144 (Baggage
Toll free: 1-800-257-2582                     www.borders.com                                Claims)
www.bjs.com                                                                                  Toll free: 1-800-403-0882 (Online
                                              BP Corporation
                                                                                             Support)
Black and Decker, Inc .                       PO Box 3011                                    TTY: 1-866-393-0961 (Reservations)
101 Schilling Rd .                            Naperville, IL 60566                           Fax: 347-418-4395
Hunt Valley, MD 21031                         Toll free: 1-800-333-3991                      www.britishairways.com
416-716-3900                                  Fax: 630-300-5253
Toll free: 1-800-544-6986 (Customer           E-mail: bpconsum@bp .com                       Brother International
Service                                       www.bp.com                                     Corporation
Toll free: 1-888-678-7278 (Parts)                                                            100 Somerset Corporate Blvd .
                                              Breyer’s Ice Cream
Toll free: 1-800-328-0590 (Do It                                                             Bridgewater, NJ 08807-0911
Yourself Books/Publishing)                    See: Unilever                                  908-704-1700
www.blackanddecker.com                        www.breyers.com                                Toll free: 1-877-276-8437
                                              The Breathe Right Company                      Fax: 1-877-268-9575
Blockbuster Entertainment
                                              CNS, Inc .                                     www.brother-usa.com
Corporation
Customer Care                                 20 Troy Rd .                                   Brown Shoe Company, Inc .
1201 Elm St .                                 Whippany, NJ 07981                             Consumer Care
Dallas, TX 75270                              Toll free: 1-800-858-6673                      8300 Maryland Ave .
Toll free: 1-866-692-2789                     E-mail: cnsinfo@consumerfirst .                St . Louis, MO 63105
(Blockbuster Online)                          com                                            314-854-4000
Toll free: 1-800-406-6843 (In-store)          www.breatheright.com                           Toll free: 1-800-766-6465
E-mail: online .consumerrelations@                                                           Fax: 314-854-4274
blockbuster .com                                                                             E-mail: info@brownshoe .com
www.blockbuster.com                                                                          www.brownshoe.com

75                                                                        Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Brown-Forman Beverages                        Burlington Coat Factory                          Captain D’s Seafood
Worldwide                                     Direct Corporation                               1717 Elm Hill Pike, Suite A-1
Consumer Services                             1830 Route 130 North                             Nashville, TN 37201
PO Box 1080                                   Burlington, NJ 08016                             615-391-5461
Louisville, KY 40201                          609-387-7800                                     Toll free: 1-800-314-4819
502-585-1100                                  Toll free: 1-888-223-2628                        Fax: 615-231-2309
Toll free: 1-800-753-4567                     Fax: 609-387-7071                                www.captainds.com
www.brown-forman.com                          www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com
                                                                                              Carfax, Inc .
Buca di Beppo                                 Bush Brothers & Company                         Consumer Affairs
1300 Nicollet Mall, Suite 5003                Consumer Relations                              5860 Trinity Pkwy ., Suite 600
Minneapolis, MN 55403                         PO Box 52330                                    Centerville, VA 20120
612-225-3400                                  Knoxville, TN 37950-2330                        703-218-0340
Toll free: 1-866-328-2822                     865-558-5445                                    703-934-2664




                                                                                                                                    Automotive
Fax: 612-827-6446                             E-mail: letters@bushbros .com                   Fax: 1-866-728-6455
E-mail: famiglia@bucainc .com                 www.bushbeans.com                               E-mail: carfaxwebsupport@carfax .
www.bucadibeppo.com                                                                           com
                                                                C                             www.carfax.com/help
Budget Rent A Car System,




                                                                                                                                    BBB
Inc .                                                                                         Carnival Cruise Lines
                                              Cablevision Systems, Inc .
Customer Service                                                                              Guest Relations
                                              1111 Stewart Ave .
4500 S . 129th East Ave .                                                                     3655 N .W . 87th Ave .




                                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts
                                              Bethpage, NY 11714
Tulsa, OK 74169                                                                               Miami, FL 33178-2428
                                              516-803-2300
Toll free: 1-800-214-6094                                                                     305-599-2600
                                              Toll free: 1-800-868-9840
Toll free: 1-800-404-8033 (Technical                                                          Toll free: 1-888-227-6482
                                              www.cablevision.com
Assistance)                                                                                   Toll free: 1-877-885-4856
Toll free: 1-800-283-4382 (Moving             Calvin Klein                                    TTY: 1-800-972-4386
Truck Customer Service)                       205 West 39th St .                              Fax: 305-406-4700
Toll free: 1-800-526-6408 (Drivers            New York, NY 10018                              www.carnival.com
with Disabilities)                            212-719-2600




                                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
                                                                                              Carrier Air Conditioning
TTY: 1-800-826-5510                           Toll free: 1-866-513-0513                       Company
www.budget.com                                Fax: 212-221-4541
                                                                                              Customer Relations
Bulova Corporation                            www.calvinklein.com
                                                                                              PO Box 4808, Carrier Pkwy .
Customer Relations                            Campbell Soup Company                           Syracuse, NY 13221-4808
One Bulova Ave .                              Consumer Affairs                                Toll free: 1-800-227-7437
Woodside, NY 11377                            One Campbell Place                              Fax: 315-432-6620
718-204-3300                                                                                  www.global.carrier.com




                                                                                                                                    National Consumer
                                              Camden, NJ 08103-1701
Toll free: 1-800-228-5682                     Toll free: 1-800-257-8443                       Carvel Corporation
Toll free: 1-800-233-3350 (Service            www.campbellsoup.com
Dept .)                                                                                       Retail Stores/Food Service
Fax: 718-204-3546                             Canon USA, Inc .                                301 Congress Ave ., Suite 1100
www.bulova.com                                One Canon Plaza                                 Austin, TX 78701
                                              Lake Success, NY 11042-1198                     Toll free: 1-800-322-4848
Burger King Corporation                       Toll free: 1-800-828-4040                       Fax: 512-236-3700
                                                                                                                                    State & Local
Consumer Relations Dept .                     www.usa.canon.com                               www.carvel.com
5505 Blue Lagoon Dr .
                                              Capital One                                     Casio, Inc .
Miami, FL 33126
305-378-3000                                  PO Box 30285                                    570 Mt . Pleasant Ave .
www.bk.com                                    Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0285                   Dover, NJ 07801
                                              Toll free: 1-800-955-7070                       973-361-5400
                                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional




                                              TTY: 1-800-206-7986                             Toll free: 1-800-962-2746
                                              E-mail: webinfo@capitalone .com                 Fax: 973-537-8926
                                              www.capitalone.com                              E-mail: memberservices@casio .com
                                                                                              www.casio.com
                                                                                                                                    Index




                                                                     Provided financial support for the publication
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                    of the Consumer Action Handbook.                          76
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Casual Male Retail Group                      The Cheesecake Factory                        CIBA Vision
555 Turnpike St .                             26901 Malibu Hills Rd .                       11460 Johns Creek Pkwy .
Canton, MA 02021                              Calabasas Hills, CA 91301                     Duluth, GA 30097
781-828-9300                                  818-871-3000                                  678-415-3937
Toll free: 1-800-767-0319                     Fax: 818-871-3001                             www.cibavision.com
Fax: 1-800-225-6072                           www.thecheesecakefactory.com
                                                                                            Citigroup, Inc .
www.cmrginc.com
                                              Chevron Corporation                           Client Services
The CBS Television Network                    PO Box 4000                                   100 Citibank Dr .
Audience Services                             Bellaire, TX 77402-4000                       San Antonio, TX 78245-9004
524 West 52nd St .                            925-842-1000                                  Toll free: 1-800-627-3999
New York, NY 10019-6198                       Toll free: 1-800-962-1223                     TTY: 1-800-788-0002
212-975-3247                                  E-mail: conaffrs@chevron .com                 www.citibank.com
E-mail: audsvcs@cbs .com                      www.chevron.com
                                                                                            The Clorox Company
www.cbs.com
                                              Chicken of the Sea                            Consumer Services
CEC Entertainment, Inc .                      International                                 Mail Stop 2334, 1221 Broadway
4441 West Airport Freeway                     Consumer Affairs                              Oakland, CA 94612-1888
PO Box 152077                                 PO Box 85568                                  Toll free: 1-800-835-4523
Irving, TX 75015                              San Diego, CA 91286                           Toll free: 1-800-227-1860 (Household
972-258-8507                                  858-558-9662                                  Cleaners)
Toll free: 1-888-778-7193                     Toll free: 1-800-456-1511                     Toll free: 1-800-292-2200 (Laundry
Fax: 972-258-8545                             Fax: 858-597-4282                             Brands)
www.chuckecheese.com                          www.chickenofthesea.com                       Toll free: 1-800-426-6228
                                                                                            (Insecticides)
Chanel, Inc .                                 Chick-fil-A, Inc .
                                                                                            Fax: 510-208-2682
Nine West 57th St ., 44th Floor               5200 Buffington Rd .                          www.thecloroxcompany.com
New York, NY 10019                            Atlanta, GA 30349-2998
212-688-5055                                  404-765-8000                                  The Coca-Cola Company
Toll free: 1-800-550-0005                     Toll free: 1-866-232-2040 (Customer           Industry and Consumer Affairs
E-mail: chanelcontactus@                      Feedback)                                     PO Box 1734
chanelusa .com                                www.chick-fil-a.com                           Atlanta, GA 30301
www.chanel.com                                                                              404-676-2121
                                              Children’s Place
                                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-438-2653
Chase Bank (J .P . Morgan                     Customer Service                              TTY: 1-800-262-2653
Chase Bank)                                   915 Secaucus Rd .                             Fax: 404-676-4903
270 Park Ave .                                Secaucus, NJ 07094                            www.thecocacolacompany.com
New York, NY 10017                            Toll free: 1-877-752-2387
212-270-6000                                  www.childrensplace.com                        Coldwell Banker Real Estate
Toll free: 1-800-935-9935                                                                   Corporation
                                              Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc .
www.chase.com                                                                               One Campus Dr .
                                              1401 Wynkoop St ., Suite 500                  Parsippany, NJ 07054
Chattem, Inc .                                Denver, CO 80202                              Toll free: 1-877-373-3829
PO Box 22219                                  303-595-4000                                  www.coldwellbanker.com
Chattanooga, TN 37409                         Fax: 303-595-4014
423-821-4571                                  www.chipotle.com                              The Colgate-Palmolive
www.chattem.com                                                                             Company
                                              Church & Dwight Company,
                                                                                            Consumer Affairs
Check ‘n Go                                   Inc .
                                                                                            300 Park Ave .
7755 Montgomery Rd ., Suite 400               469 North Harrison St .                       New York, NY 10022
Cincinnati, OH 45236                          Princeton, NJ 08543-5297                      212-310-2000
Toll free: 1-888-372-9329                     609-683-5900                                  Toll free: 1-800-468-6502
E-mail: comments@checkngo .com                Toll free: 1-800-524-1328                     Fax: 212-310-3243
www.checkngo.com                              www.churchdwight.com                          E-mail: colgate-palmolive_
                                                                                            consumer_affairs@colpal .com
                                                                                            www.colgate.com




  77                                                                      Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                       corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Colonial Penn Life Insurance                   Continental Airlines, Inc .                    Cox Communications
Customer Service                               900 Grand Plaza Dr .                           1400 Lake Hearn Dr .
399 Market St ., 5th Floor                     Houston, TX 77067-4323                         Atlanta, GA 30319
Philadelphia, PA 19181                         Toll free: 1-800-932-2732                      www.cox.com
Toll free: 1-877-877-8052                      Toll free: 1-800-335-2247 (Baggage)
                                                                                              craigslist, inc .
Toll free: 1-800-523-9100                      TTY: 1-800-343-9195
www.colonialpenn.com                           E-mail: custo@coair .com                       1381 9th Ave .
                                               www.continental.com                            San Francisco, CA 94122
Columbia House                                                                                www.craigslist.org
Customer Service Center                        Continental Tire North
                                               America, Inc .                                 Crayola, LLC
PO Box 91602
Indianapolis, IN 46291-0602                    Customer Relations                             Consumer Affairs
Toll free: 1-800-262-2001 (Video/              1830 MacMillian Park Dr .                      1100 Church Ln .
DVD)                                           Ft . Mill, SC 29707                            PO Box 431




                                                                                                                                   Automotive
E-mail: dvd_customer_service@                  704-583-3900                                   Easton, PA 18044-0431
columbiahouse .com                             Toll free: 1-800-847-3349                      610-253-6272
www.columbiahouse.com                          E-mail: consumerinfo@conti-na .                Toll free: 1-800-272-9652
                                               com                                            Fax: 610 .250 .5768
Combe, Inc .                                                                                  www.crayola.com




                                                                                                                                   BBB
                                               www.continentaltire.com
Consumer Resources Dept .
                                               Converse, Inc .                                Creative Labs
1101 Westchester Ave .
White Plains, NY 10604-3597                    Customer Service Group                         Customer Service




                                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts
914-694-5454                                   One High St .                                  1523 Cimarron Plaza
Toll free: 1-800-431-2610                      North Andover, MA 01845-2601                   Stillwater, OK 74075
Toll free: 1-800-873-7400 (Product             Toll free: 1-800-431-8862                      405-742-6622 (Technical Support)
Questions)                                     Toll free: 1-888-792-3307                      Toll free: 1-800-998-1000
Fax: 914-697-7930                              E-mail: estore@converse .com                   Toll free: 1-800-998-5227 (On-line
www.combe.com                                  www.converse.com                               Store)
                                                                                              www.creativehelp.com
Comcast                                        Coors Brewing Company
                                                                                              Cricket Wireless




                                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies
One Comcast Center                             Consumer Information Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103                         311 10th St .                                  10307 Pacific Center
Toll free: 1-800-266-2278                      Golden, CO 80401                               San Diego, CA 92121
www.comcast.com                                303-279-6565                                   Toll free: 1-800-274-2538
                                               Toll free: 1-800-642-6116                      www.mycricket.com
ConAgra Foods
                                               Fax: 303-277-5415                              Cuisinart
Consumer Affairs                               www.coors.com
Five ConAgra Dr .                                                                             See:Conair Cuisinart Corporation




                                                                                                                                   National Consumer
Mail Stop 5-105                                Costco Wholesale                               Customer Service
Omaha, NE 68103-0768                           Corporation                                    Toll free: 1-800-726-0190
Toll free: 1-877-266-2472                      Member Service                                 E-mail: customerservice@
Fax: 402-595-7880                              PO Box 34331                                   cuisinart .com
E-mail: consumeraffairs@                       Seattle, WA 98124                              www.cuisinart.com
conagrafoods .com                              Toll free: 1-800-774-2678                      Curves International
www.conagrafoods.com                           Toll free: 1-800-955-2292 (Online              100 Ritchie Rd .
                                                                                                                                   State & Local
                                               Members)                                       Waco, TX 76712
Conair Cuisinart Corporation
                                               www.costco.com                                 Toll free: 1-800-848-1096
Consumer Affairs
150 Milford Rd .                               Coty, Inc .                                    www.curves.com
East Windsor, NJ 08520                         One Park Ave ., 5th Floor                      CVS/pharmacy
Toll free: 1-800-326-6247 (Personal            New York, NY 10016
                                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional




                                                                                              One CVS Dr .
care)                                          212-479-4300                                   Woonsocket, RI 02895
Toll free: 1-800-334-4031 (Oral care)          212-479-4399                                   401-765-1500
E-mail: feedback@conair .com                   Toll free: 1-800-715-4023                      Toll free: 1-800-746-7287
www.conair.com                                 E-mail: consumercontact@cotyinc .              Toll free: 1-888-607-4287
                                               com                                            Fax: 401-770-6949
                                               www.coty.com                                   E-mail: customercare@cvs .com
                                                                                                                                   Index




                                                                                              www.cvs.com


                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication            78
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

                 D                            Delta Air Lines, Inc .                          DIRECTV Enterprises, Inc .
                                              Corporate Customer Care                         DIRECTV, Inc .
Dairy Queen, Inc .                            PO Box 20598                                    PO Box 6550
Customer Relations                            Atlanta, GA 30320-2598                          Greenwood Village, CO 80155-6550
7505 Metro Blvd .                             404-715-2600                                    Toll free: 1-800-531-5000
Minneapolis, MN 55439                         Toll free: 1-800-325-8224 (Baggage)             TTY: 1-800-779-4388
952-830-0200                                  Fax: 1-888-880-3412                             www.directv.com
www.dairyqueen.com                            www.delta.com/help/contact_us
                                                                                              Discover Financial Services,
The Dannon Company, Inc .                     Delta Faucets Company                           Inc .
Consumer Response Center                      55 East 111th St .                              PO Box 30943
PO Box 90296                                  Indianapolis, IN 46280                          Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0943
Allentown, PA 18109-0296                      317-848-1812                                    801-902-3100
Toll free: 1-877-326-6668                     Toll free: 1-800-345-3358                       Toll free: 1-800-347-2683
www.dannon.com                                E-mail: customerservice@                        TTY: 1-800-347-7449
Darden Restaurants                            deltafaucet .com                                Fax: 224-405-4993
                                              www.deltafaucet.com                             www.discoverfinancial.com
PO Box 593330
Orlando, FL 32859-3330                        Denny’s Corporation                             Discovery Cruise Line
407-245-4000                                  203 East Main St .                              1775 NW 70th Ave .
www.darden.com                                Spartanburg, SC 29319                           Miami, FL 33126
Del Laboratories, Inc .                       864-597-8000                                    Toll free: 1-800-259-1579
                                              Toll free: 1-800-733-6697                       E-mail: customerservice@
PO Box 9357
                                              Fax: 864-597-8780                               discoverycruise .com
Uniondale, NY 11553
                                              www.dennys.com                                  www.discoverycruise.com
516-844-2020
Toll free: 1-800-952-5080                     The Dial Corporation                            Dish Network Corporation
(Pharmaceuticals)                             15101 North Scottsdale Rd .                     3315 Mill Meadow Dr .
Toll free: 1-800-953-5080                     Scottsdale, AZ 85254-1619                       Hilliard, OH 43026
(Cosmetics)                                   480-754-3425                                    Toll free: 1-888-686-2388
www.dellabs.com                               Toll free: 1-800-258-3425                       E-mail: feedback@customermail .
Del Monte Foods Company                       www.dialcorp.com                                dishnetwork .com
                                                                                              www.dishnetwork.com
Consumer Affairs                              Diamond Foods, Inc .
PO Box 80                                     1050 South Diamond St .                         Dole Food Company, Inc .
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0080                     Stockton, CA 95205-7087                         One Dole Dr .
415-247-3000                                  209-467-6000                                    Westlake Village, CA 91362-7300
Toll free: 1-800-543-3090                     www.diamondfoods.com                            818-874-4000
www.delmonte.com                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-356-3111
                                              Dillard’s, Inc .
Dell, Inc .                                                                                   Fax: 818-874-4997
                                              Customer Service Dept .                         E-mail: Dole .Consumer .Center@
Customer Service                              1600 Cantrell Rd .                              dole .com
1 Dell Way                                    Little Rock, AR 72201                           www.dole.com
Round Rock, TX 78682                          501-376-5200
Toll free: 1-800-624-9897                     Toll free: 1-800-345-5273                       Dollar Rent A Car, Inc .
Toll free: 1-866-243-9297 (Tech               TTY: 1-800-444-1732                             Customer Service 2W2
Support)                                      E-mail: questions@dillards .com                 PO Box 33167
TTY: 1-877-335-5889                           www.dillards.com                                Tulsa, OK 74153-1167
www.dell.com                                                                                  918-669-3000
                                              Diners Club International
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-800-5252
                                              Customer Service                                TTY: 1-800-232-3301
                                              PO Box 6500                                     Fax: 918-669-2060
                                              Sioux Falls, SD 57117                           E-mail: rhelpdesk@dollar .com
                                              702-797-5532                                    www.dollar.com
                                              Toll free: 1-800-234-6377
                                              www.dinersclub.com




79                                                                          Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                     of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                           corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Domino’s Pizza, Inc .                          Duracell North America                         Eli Lilly & Company
Customer Service                               Consumer Affairs Dept .                        Consumer Communications
30 Frank Lloyd Wright Dr .                     Berkshire Corporate Park                       Lilly Corporate Center
PO Box 997                                     Bethel, CT 06801                               Indianapolis, IN 46285
Ann Arbor, MI 48106                            Toll free: 1-800-551-2355                      317-276-2000
734-930-3030                                   TTY: 1-800-341-0654                            Toll free: 1-800-545-5979
Toll free: 1-888-366-4667                      Fax: 1-800-796-4565                            www.lilly.com
www.dominos.com                                www.duracell.com
                                                                                              Elizabeth Arden, Inc .
Doubletree                                                                                    Consumer Relations Dept .
See: Hilton Hospitality Inc .
                                                                 E                            309 South St .
Toll free: 1-800-222-8733                      Eagle Family Foods                             New Providence, NJ 07974
www.doubletree.com                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-326-7337
                                               Consumer Response
                                                                                              E-mail: consumer@elizabetharden .




                                                                                                                                    Automotive
Dr . Pepper/Snapple Group,                     One Strawberry Ln .
                                                                                              com
Inc .                                          Orrville, OH 44667
                                                                                              www.elizabetharden.com
Consumer Relations                             Toll free: 1-888-656-3245
5301 Legacy Dr .                               www.eaglefamilyfoods.com                       E-Machines
Plano, TX 75024                                                                               Gateway, Inc .




                                                                                                                                    BBB
                                               Eastman Kodak Company
Toll free: 1-800-696-5891                                                                     7565 Irvine Center Dr .
                                               Kodak Info Ctr ./Consumer Contact
Toll free: 1-800-426-4891                                                                     Irvine, CA 92618
                                               Ctr .
www.drpeppersnapplegroup.com                                                                  Toll free: 1-800-846-2000




                                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts
                                               343 State St .
                                                                                              www.emachines.com
Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream                       Rochester, NY 14650
Consumer Relations                             Toll free: 1-800-235-6325                      Embassy Suites
5929 College Ave .                             Toll free: 1-800-242-2424                      See: Hilton Hospitality, Inc .
Oakland, CA 94618                              www.kodak.com                                  Toll free: 1-800-362-2779
Toll free: 1-877-437-3937                      eBay Inc .                                     www.embassysuites.com
www.dreyers.com
                                               2145 Hamilton Ave .                            Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc .
Designer Shoe Warehouse                        San Jose, CA 95125                             331 North La Salle Blvd .




                                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
(DSW)                                          408-376-7400                                   Chicago, IL 60654
810 DSW Dr .                                   Toll free: 1-800-322-9266                      Toll free: 1-800-323-1229
Columbus, OH 43219                             www.eBay.com                                   Fax: 312-294-2104
Toll free: 1-866-379-7463                      Eddie Bauer, Inc .                             www.britannica.com
www.dsw.com
                                               PO Box 97000                                   Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Dunkin Brands                                  Redmond, WA 98073-9700                         600 Corporate Park Dr .




                                                                                                                                    National Consumer
Consumer Care                                  Toll free: 1-800-426-8020                      Saint Louis , MO 63105-4211
130 Royall St .                                TTY: 1-800-462-6757                            Toll free: 1-800-264-6350
Canton, MA 02021                               E-mail: CustomerCare@csc .                     www.enterprise.com
Toll free: 1-800-859-5339                      eddiebauer .com
                                               www.eddiebauer.com                             Epson America, Inc .
www.dunkindonuts.com
                                                                                              3840 Kilroy Airport Way
DuPont Company                                 eHarmony, Inc .                                Long Beach, CA 90806
Corporate Information Center                   Customer Care                                  Toll free: 1-800-463-7766
1007 Market St .                               PO Box 60157                                   Toll free: 1-800-922-8911             State & Local
Wilmington, DE 19898                           Pasadena, CA 91116                             www.epson.com
302-774-1000                                   www.eharmony.com
                                                                                              Equifax
Toll free: 1-800-441-7515                      The Electrolux Group
E-mail: info@dupont .com                                                                      PO Box 740241
                                               Consumer Assistance Center
                                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional




www.dupont.com                                                                                Atlanta, GA 30374
                                               250 Bobby Jones Expressway                     Toll free: 1-800-685-1111
                                               Martinez, GA 30907                             E-mail: individual .custserv@
                                               Toll free: 1-877-435-3287                      Equifax .com
                                               Fax: 706-228-6615                              www.equifax.com
                                               www.electrolux.com
                                                                                                                                    Index




                                                                     Provided financial support for the publication            80
        Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery                                     F                           Flowers Foods, Inc .
1541 Cummins Dr .                                                                           1919 Flowers Circle
Modesto, CA 95358                             Facebook .com                                 Thomasville, GA 31757
Toll free: 1-877-687-9463                     470 Emerson St .                              229-226-9110
E-mail: consumerrelations@ejgallo .           Palo Alto, CA 94301-1605                      www.flowersfoods.com
com                                           650-543-4800
                                                                                            Food Lion, Inc .
www.gallo.com                                 E-mail: info@facebook .com
                                              www.facebook.com                              Customer Relations
The Estee Lauder Companies,                                                                 PO Box 1330
Inc .                                         Farmers Insurance                             Salisbury, NC 28145-1330
767 Fifth Ave .                               4680 Wilshire Blvd .                          704-633-8250
New York, NY 10153                            Los Angeles, CA 90010                         Toll free: 1-800-210-9569
212-572-4200                                  Toll free: 1-800-435-7764                     www.FoodLion.com
Toll free: 1-888-311-3883                     www.farmers.com
                                                                                            Forever 21
E-mail: consumercommunications-               FedEx Corporation
lauder@esteelauder .com                                                                     Customer Service
                                              Customer Relations                            2001 South Alameda St .
www.elcompanies.com
                                              3875 Airways                                  Los Angeles, CA 90058
Ethan Allen, Inc .                            Module H3 Dept . 4634                         Toll free: 1-888-494-3837
PO Box 1966                                   Memphis, TN 38116                             www.forever21.com
Danbury, CT 06813                             Toll free: 1-800-463-3339
                                                                                            Fortune Brands
Toll free: 1-888-324-3571                     TTY: 1-800-238-4461
Fax: 203-743-8577                             www.fedex.com                                 520 Lake Cook Rd .
E-mail: orders@ethanallen .com                                                              Deerfield, IL 60015
                                              FedEx Office                                  847-484-4400
www.ethanallen.com
                                              PO Box 1935                                   E-mail: mail@fortunebrands .com
The Eureka Company                            Provo, UT 84603-9926                          www.fortunebrands.com
Consumer Service Dept .                       Toll free: 1-800-463-3339
                                                                                            Frigidaire Home Products
PO Box 3900                                   E-mail: fedexoffice .
Peoria, IL 61612                              customerrelations@fedex .com                  PO Box 212378
Toll free: 1-800-282-2886                     www.fedex.com                                 Martinez, GA 30917
www.eureka.com                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-374-4432
                                              Fingerhut Direct Marketing,                   www.frigidaire.com
Expedia, Inc .                                Inc .
                                                                                            Frito-Lay
333 108th Ave . NE                            6250 Ridgewood Rd .
Bellevue, WA 98004                            St . Cloud, MN 56303                          Consumer Affairs
Toll free: 1-800-397-3342                     Toll free: 1-800-208-2500                     PO Box 660634
E-mail: travel@customercare .                 E-mail: customerservice@fingerhut .           Dallas, TX 75266-6234
expedia .com                                  com                                           972-334-7000
www.expedia.com                               www.fingerhut.com                             Toll free: 1-800-352-4477
                                                                                            Fax: 972-334-5071
Experian ™                                    Fisher-Price                                  www.fritolay.com
National Consumer Assistance                  Consumer Affairs
                                                                                            Frontier Airlines, Inc .
Center                                        636 Girard Ave .
PO Box 2104                                   East Aurora, NY 14052                         Customer Relations
Allen, TX 75013                               716-687-3000                                  7001 Tower Rd .
Toll free: 1-888-397-3742                     Toll free: 1-800-432-5437                     Denver, CO 80249-7312
www.experian.com                              TTY: 1-800-382-7470                           Toll free: 1-800-265-5505
                                              Fax: 716-687-3636                             www.frontierairlines.com
Exxon Mobil
                                              www.fisher-price.com                          FTD, Inc .
PO Box 1049
Buffalo, NY 14240-1049                        Florsheim, Inc .                              Customer Service
Toll free: 1-800-243-9966                     Customer Service                              3113 Woodcreek Dr .
www.exxonmobil.com                            333 W Estabrook Blvd                          Downers Grove, IL 60515
                                              Glendale, WI 53212                            630-719-7756
                                              Toll free: 1-866-454-0449                     Toll free: 1-800-736-3383
                                              E-mail: us .consumers@florsheim .             www.ftd.com
                                              com
                                              www.florsheim.com

  81                                                                      Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                        corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Fuji Photo Film USA, Inc .                     Gerber Products Company                         The Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Consumer Information Service                   445 State St .                                  Company
Center                                         Fremont, MI 49413-0001                          1144 East Market St .
1100 King George Post                          Toll free: 1-800-443-7237                       Akron, OH 44316-0001
Edison, NJ 08837                               Fax: 231-928-3647                               330-769-2121
Toll free: 1-800-800-3854                      www.gerber.com                                  Toll free: 1-800-321-2136
Fax: 732-857-3487                                                                              Fax: 330-796-2222
                                               Giant Food, Inc .
www.fujifilm.com                                                                               E-mail: consumer_relations@
                                               8301 Professional Pl ., Suite 115               goodyear .com
                                               Landover, MD 20785                              www.goodyear.com
                  G                            301-341-4322
                                               Toll free: 1-888-469-4426                       Google .com
Gap, Inc .
                                               TTY: 301-200-8995                               1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy .
Two Folsom St .
                                               Fax: 301-618-4968                               Mountain View, CA 94043




                                                                                                                                        Automotive
San Francisco, CA 94105
                                               www.giantfood.com                               650-253-0000
Toll free: 1-800-427-7895
                                                                                               www.google.com
E-mail: custserv@gap .com                      GlaxoSmithKline Consumer
www.gap.com                                    Healthcare                                      Graco Children’s Products,
                                               Consumer Information                            Inc .




                                                                                                                                        BBB
Gateway, Inc .
                                               PO Box 1467                                     150 Oaklands Blvd  .
PO Box 6137
                                               Pittsburgh, PA 15230                            Exton, PA 19341
Temple, TX 76503
                                               412-200-4000                                    Toll free: 1-800-345-4109




                                                                                                                                        Corporate Contacts
Toll free: 1-800-846-2000
                                               Toll free: 1-888-825-5249                       www.gracobaby.com
www.gateway.com
                                               Toll free: 1-800-245-1040
                                                                                               Greyhound Lines, Inc .
General Electric Company                       Fax: 412-928-5864
                                               E-mail: consumer .                              PO Box 660362
3135 Easton Tpke .
                                               communications@gsk .com                         Dallas, TX 75266-0689
Fairfield, CT 06828
                                               www.gsk.com                                     214-849-8966
203-373-2211
                                                                                               214-849-6246 (Baggage)
Toll free: 1-800-626-2000                      The Golden Grain Company                        Toll free: 1-800-231-2222 (Fares/
www.ge.com




                                                                                                                                        Federal Agencies
                                               PO Box 049003                                   Schedules)
General Mills, Inc .                           Chicago, IL 60604-9003                          TTY: 1-800- 345-3109
Consumer Services                              Toll free: 1-800-421-2444                       www.greyhound.com
PO Box 9452                                    www.ricearoni.com
                                                                                               Guess?, Inc .
Minneapolis, MN 55440                          Gold’s Gym International                        Customer Service
Toll free: 1-800-248-7310
                                               Customer Care Dept .                            1444 South Alameda St .
Fax: 763-764-8330
                                               125 E . John Carpenter Fwy .                    Los Angeles, CA 90021




                                                                                                                                        National Consumer
www.generalmills.com
                                               Suite 1300                                      213-765-3100
General Motors Acceptance                      Irving, TX 75062                                Toll free: 1-877-444-8377
Corporation (GMAC)                             214-574-4653                                    Fax: 213-744-7838
PO Box 217062                                  Toll free: 1-866-465-3775                       E-mail: customerservice@guess .
Auburn Hills, MI 48321-7062                    Fax: 214-296-5097 (Customer Care)               com
Toll free: 1-800-200-4622                      www.goldsgym.com                                www.guess.com
Toll free: 1-800-327-6278 (Financing           Goodrich Corporation                            Guinness & Company
questions)
                                               Consumer Relations Dept .                       801 Main Ave .                           State & Local
TTY: 1-800-833-4622
                                               PO Box 19001                                    Norwalk, CT 06851
www.gmacfs.com
                                               Greenville, SC 29602-9001                       203-229-2100
Georgia-Pacific Corporation                    Toll free: 1-877-788-8899                       Toll free: 1-800-521-1591
Consumer Affairs                               www.bfgoodrichtires.com                         Fax: 203-229-8901
                                                                                                                                        Trade & Professional




PO Box 105605                                                                                  E-mail: guinness@consumer-care .
Atlanta, GA 30348                                                                              net
Toll free: 1-800-283-5547                                                                      www.guinness.com
(Consumer Products)
www.gp.com
                                                                                                                                        Index




                                                                     Provided financial support for the publication                82
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                    of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

                  H                            Heinz North America                            Home Goods
                                               PO Box 57                                      See: TJX Companies, Inc .
H&R Block, Inc .                               Pittsburgh, PA 15230                           Toll free: 1-800-926-6299
Customer Support                               Toll free: 1-800-255-5750                      www.homegoods.com
One HR Block Way                               E-mail: heinzconsumeraffairs@
                                                                                              Home Shopping Network
Kansas City, MO 64105                          us .hjheinz .com
                                                                                              (HSN)
Toll free: 1-800-472-5625                      www.heinz.com
www.hrblock.com                                                                               Customer Service
                                               Hershey Food Corporation                       PO Box 9090
Hallmark Cards, Inc .                          100 Crystal A Dr .                             St . Petersburg, FL 33758
Consumer Affairs                               Hershey, PA 17033                              727-872-1000
PO Box 419034                                  Toll free: 1-800-468-1714                      Toll free: 1-800-284-3900
Mail Drop #216                                 www.hersheys.com                               Toll free: 1-800-933-2887 (Online
Kansas City, MO 64141                                                                         Orders)
                                               Hertz Corporation
816-274-5111                                                                                  TTY: 1-800-753-5353
Toll free: 1-800-425-5627                      Customer Relations                             www.hsn.com
www.hallmark.com                               PO Box 26120
                                               Oklahoma City, OK 73126-0120                   Homewood Suites
Hampton Inn                                    Toll free: 1-888-777-6095                      See: Hilton Hospitality, Inc .
See: Hilton Hospitality, Inc .                 Toll free: 1-800-654-4173                      Toll free: 1-800-225-5466
Toll free: 1-800-426-7866                      TTY: 1-800-654-2280                            www.homewoodsuites.com
www.hamptoninn.com                             www.hertz.com
                                                                                              Hoover Company
Hanes Hosiery                                  Hewlett-Packard Company                        Consumer Response Center
Consumer Relations                             Bldg . 6A, Mail Stop 1247                      7005 Cochran Rd .
PO Box 3013                                    Palo Alto, CA 94304                            Glenwillow, OH 44139
1000 E . Hanes Mill Rd .                       650-857-1501                                   330-499-9499
Winston-Salem, NC 27105                        Toll free: 1-800-474-6836                      Toll free: 1-800-944-9200
Toll free: 1-800-225-4872                      Fax: 650-857-5518                              www.hoover.com
www.haneshosiery.com                           www.hp.com
                                                                                              Hormel Foods Company
Harry and David                                Hilton Garden Inn                              Consumer Affairs
Customer Service                               See: Hilton Hospitality, Inc .                 One Hormel Place
2500 South Pacific Hwy .                       Toll free: 1-877-782-9444                      Austin, MN 55912
Medford, OR 97501                              www.hiltongardeninn.com                        Toll free: 1-800-523-4635
541-864-2121                                                                                  Fax: 507-434-6408
                                               Hilton Hospitality, Inc .
Toll free: 1-877-322-1200                                                                     www.hormel.com
Toll free: 1-800-345-5655                      Guest Relations
                                               755 Crossover Ln .                             Howard Johnson, Inc .
Fax: 1-800-648-6640
www.harryanddavid.com                          Building A2                                    1910 8th Ave . NE
                                               Memphis, TN 38117                              Aberdeen, SD 57402-4090
Hartz Mountain Corporation                     901-374-6476                                   Toll free: 1-800-544-9881
Consumer Affairs                               Toll free: 1-800-445-8667                      www.hojo.com
400 Plaza Dr .                                 www.hilton.com
                                                                                              Huffy Corporation
Secaucus, NJ 07094
                                               Home Depot, Inc .                              6551 Centerville Business Pkwy .
201-271-4800
Toll free: 1-800-275-1414                      Customer Care                                  Centerville, OH 45459
www.hartz.com                                  2455 Paces Ferry Rd .                          937-865-2800
                                               Atlanta, GA 30339-4024                         Toll free: 1-800-872-2453
Hasbro, Inc .                                  770-433-8211                                   Fax: 937-865-5470
Consumer Affairs Dept .                        Toll free: 1-800-553-3199                      E-mail: customer .service@
PO Box 200                                     Toll free: 1-800-430-3376                      huffybikes .com
Pawtucket, RI 02862                            Fax: 1-877-496-9470                            www.huffybikes.com
Toll free: 1-800-255-5516                      E-mail: customercare@homedepot .
                                                                                              Humana, Inc .
Toll free: 1-800-242-7276                      com
E-mail: customersupport@hasbro .               www.homedepot.com                              500 West Main St .
com                                                                                           Louisville, KY 40202
www.hasbro.com                                                                                502-580-1000
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-448-6262
                                                                                              www.humana.com
 83                                                                         Provided financial support for the publication
              Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                    of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                       corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts                        Jack In The Box                                 JetBlue Airways Corporation
Consumer Affairs                              Guest Relations                                 Customer Relations
9805 Q St .                                   9330 Balboa Ave .                               PO Box 17435
Omaha, NE 68127                               San Diego, CA 92123-1516                        Salt Lake City, UT 84117-7435
402-592-6465                                  858-571-2121                                    Toll free: 1-800-538-2583
Toll free: 1-800-323-7249                     Toll free: 1-800-955-5225                       TTY: 1-800-336-5530
Fax: 402-593-5151                             www.jackinthebox.com                            Fax: 801-365-2440
www.hyatt.com                                                                                 E-mail: promise@jetblue .com
                                              Jackson Hewitt Tax Service,
                                                                                              www.jetblue.com
                                              Inc .
                  I                           Three Sylvan Way, Suite 301                     Jiffy Lube International, Inc .
IBM Corporation                               Parsippany, NJ 07054                            Customer Service
                                              Toll free: 1-877-476-3353                       Houston, TX 77210-4458
One New Orchard Rd .
                                              www.jacksonhewitt.com                           713-546-4100




                                                                                                                                 Automotive
Armonk, NY 10504-1722
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-344-6933
Toll free: 1-800-426-4968 (Customer           JanSport, Inc .
                                                                                              www.jiffylube.com
Service)                                      PO Box 1817
Toll free: 1-800-426-7378 (Support)           Appleton, WI 54912-1817                         Jockey International, Inc .
TTY: 1-800-426-3383                           920-734-5708                                    2300 60th St .




                                                                                                                                 BBB
E-mail: askibm@vnet .ibm .com                 Toll free: 1-800-558-3600                       PO Box 1417
www.ibm.com                                   E-mail: consumer_relations@vfc .                Kenosha, WI 53141-1417
Ikea                                          com                                             Toll free: 1-800-562-5391




                                                                                                                                 Corporate Contacts
                                              www.jansport.com                                www.jockey.com
Customer Relations
420 Alan Wood Rd .                            Jarden Consumer Solutions,                      John Hancock Financial
Conshohocken, PA 19428                        Inc .                                           Services, Inc .
Toll free: 1-800-434-4532                     Consumer Affairs                                PO Box 111
www.ikea.com                                  2381 Executive Center Dr .                      Boston, MA 02117
Intel                                         Boca Raton, FL 34331                            617-572-6000
                                              516-912-4100                                    Toll free: 1-800-732-5543
2200 Mission College Blvd .




                                                                                                                                 Federal Agencies
                                              Toll free: 1-800-458-8407 (Sunbeam              TTY: 1-800-832-5282
Santa Clara, CA 95054
                                              and Oster brands)                               Fax: 617-572-8707
916-377-7000 (Customer Service)
                                              Toll free: 1-800-882-5842 (World                www.johnhancock.com
916-356-8080 (Headquarters)
                                              headquarters)
www.intel.com                                                                                 Johnson & Johnson Consumer
                                              www.sunbeam.com
                                                                                              Products, Inc .
InterContinental Hotels Group
                                              JCPenney Company, Inc .                         199 Grandview Rd .
PLC
                                              PO Box 10001                                    Skillman, NJ 08558




                                                                                                                                 National Consumer
PO Box 30321
                                              Dallas, TX 75301-7303                           908-874-1000
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-321
                                              972-431-1000                                    Toll free: 1-800-526-3967
770-604-8347
                                              Toll free: 1-800-322-1189 (Online               www.jnj.com
Toll free: 1-800 621-0555
                                              Orders)
Fax: 770-604-5275                                                                             Johnson Publishing
                                              Toll free: 1-800-709-5777 (Phone
www.ihgplc.com                                                                                Company, Inc .
                                              Orders)
                                              www.jcpenney.com                                820 S . Michigan Ave .
                  J                                                                           Chicago, IL 60605
                                              Jenny Craig, Inc .                              312-322-9200                       State & Local
J . Crew                                      Customer Care                                   www.johnsonpublishing.com
Customer Relations                            5770 Fleet St .
                                                                                              Jostens, Inc .
One Ivy Crescent                              Carlsbad, CA 92008
Lynchburg, VA 24513-1001                      760-696-4000                                    3601 Minnesota Dr .
                                                                                                                                 Trade & Professional




Toll free: 1-800-562-0258                     Toll free: 1-800-597-5366                       Minneapolis, MN 55435
E-mail: contactus@jcrew .com                  Toll free: 1-800-536-6922                       Toll free: 1-800-854-7464
www.jcrew.com                                 E-mail: WebCustomerService@                     www.jostens.com
                                              jennycraig .com
                                              www.jennycraig.com
                                                                                                                                 Index




                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication          84
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Just Born, Inc .                              Kimberly-Clark Corporation                    Kona Grill, Inc .
Customer Relations                            Consumer Services                             7150 E . Camelback Rd ., #220
1300 Stefko Blvd .                            Dept . INT                                    Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Bethlehem, PA 18017                           PO Box 2020                                   480-922-8100
610-867-7568                                  Neenah, WI 54957-2020                         Toll free: 1-866-328-5662
Toll free: 1-888-645-3453                     920-721-8000                                  Fax: 480-991-6811
Fax: 1-800-543-4981                           Toll free: 1-800-553-3639                     E-mail: comments@konagrill .com
www.justborn.com                              Toll free: 1-888-525-8388                     www.konagrill.com
                                              Fax: 920-721-4766
JVC Company of America                                                                      Kraft Foods, Inc .
                                              www.kimberly-clark.com
Customer Relations                                                                          Consumer Response Center
1700 Valley Rd .                              The Kirby Company                             One Kraft Court
Wayne, NJ 07490                               Customer Relations                            Glenview, IL 60025
973-317-5000                                  1920 West 114th St .                          Toll free: 1-800-323-0768
Toll free: 1-800-252-5722                     Cleveland, OH 44102                           Fax: 570-301-5275
E-mail: customerrelation@                     216-228-2400                                  www.kraftfoods.com
jvcamerica .com                               Toll free: 1-800-494-8586
                                                                                            Kroger Company
www.jvcservice.com                            Fax: 216-529-6146
                                              E-mail: consumer@kirbywhq.com                 1014 Vine St .
                                              www.kirby.com                                 Cincinnati, OH 45202-1100
                 K                                                                          Toll free: 1-800-632-6900 (Product
                                              KitchenAid ®                                  Information)
Kao Brands
                                              See: Whirlpool Corporation                    Toll free: 1-866-221-4141 (Customer
Consumer Relations Dept .
                                              Customer Satisfaction Center                  Comments)
2535 Spring Grove Ave .
                                              269-923-5000                                  www.kroger.com
Cincinnati, OH 45214
                                              Toll free: 1-800-422-1230 (Large
www .kaobrands .com                                                                         Kyocera Communications
                                              Appliances)
Kawasaki Motor Corporation,                   Toll free: 1-800-541-6390 (Small              10300 Campus Point Dr .
USA                                           Appliances)                                   San Diego, CA 92121
                                              www.kitchenaid.com                            858-882-2000
Consumer Services
                                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-349-4478 (Technical)
PO Box 25252                                  Kmart Corporation                             Toll free: 1-800-349-4188 (Product)
Santa Ana, CA 92799-5252
                                              See: Sears, Roebuck and Company               TTY: 858-882-3858
949-460-5688
                                              847-286-2500                                  Fax: 858-882-2010
Toll free: 1-800-661-7433
                                              Toll free: 1-866-562-7848                     www.kyocera-wireless.com
www.kawasaki.com
                                              E-mail: help@customerservice .
Kellogg Company                               kmart .com                                                           L
Consumer Affairs                              www.kmart.com
PO Box CAMB                                                                                 LA Fitness International, LLC
                                              Kohler Company
Battle Creek, MI 49016                                                                      Member Services
                                              444 Highland Dr .
269-961-2000                                                                                PO Box 54170
                                              Kohler, WI 53044
Toll free: 1-800-962-1413                                                                   Irvine, CA 92619-1300
                                              920-457-4441
www.kelloggcompany.com                                                                      949-255-7200
                                              Toll free: 1-800-456-4537 (Customer
                                                                                            www.lafitness.com
Kenmore Appliances                            Care - Plumbing Only)
See: Sears, Roebuck and Company               www.kohler.com                                Land O’Lakes, Inc .
Toll free: 1-888-536-6673                     Kohl’s Corporation                            PO Box 64101
Toll free: 1-800-469-4663 (Repair)                                                          Mail Station 1070
                                              N56 W . 17000 Ridgewood Dr .
www.kenmore.com                                                                             St . Paul, MN 55164-0101
                                              Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
                                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-328-4155 (Consumer
KFC                                           262-703-7000
                                                                                            Affairs)
PO Box 725489                                 Toll free: 1-866-887-8884
                                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-328-9680 (Corporate)
Atlanta, GA 31139                             Toll free: 1-800-564-5740 (Credit)
                                                                                            Fax: 651-481-2128
Toll free: 1-800-225-5532                     Fax: 262-703-6363
                                                                                            www.landolakes.com
www.kfc.com                                   E-mail: customer .service@kohls .
                                              com
                                              www.kohls.com



 85                                                                       Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Lands’ End, Inc .                             L’eggs Products                                 Liberty Mutual Insurance
One Lands’ End Ln .                           1000 E . Hanes Mill Rd .                        Group
Dodgeville, WI 53595                          Winston-Salem, NC 27105                         Consumer Affairs
Toll free: 1-800-963-4816                     Toll free: 1-800-925-3447                       175 Berkeley St .
TTY: 1-800-541-3459                           Fax: 336-519-2154                               Mail Stop 10B
Fax: 1-800-332-0103                           www.leggs.com                                   Boston, MA 02116
E-mail: landsend@landsend .com                                                                617-357-9500
                                              Lego Systems Inc .
www.landsend.com                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-344-0197
                                              Consumer Affairs                                Fax: 603-422-7900
Lane Bryant                                   555 Taylor Rd .                                 E-mail: PresidentialSvcTeam@
PO Box 27586                                  PO Box 1138                                     LibertyMutual .com
Tucson, AZ 85726-6886                         Enfield, CT 06083-1138                          www.libertymutual.com
Toll free: 1-866-886-4731                     Toll free: 1-800-422-5346 (Product
www.lanebryant.com                            Support)                                        Lillian Vernon Corporation




                                                                                                                                   Automotive
                                              Toll free: 1-800-838-9647 (Customer             Customer Service
Lane Furniture
                                              Service)                                        100 Lillian Vernon Dr .
Consumer Services                             Toll free: 1-800-835-4386 (Shop at              Virginia Beach, VA 23479-0002
PO Box 1627                                   Home)                                           Toll free: 1-800-901-9291
Hwy 145 South




                                                                                                                                   BBB
                                              Fax: 1-888-329-5346                             TTY: 303-682-7999
Tupelo, MS 38802                              www.lego.com                                    www.lillianvernon.com
662-566-7211
Toll free: 1-877-405-3745                     Lennox Industries, Inc .                        Limited Brands, Inc .




                                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts
E-mail: contact@lanefurniture .com            Consumer Affairs                                Customer Service
www.lanefurniture.com                         PO Box 799900                                   Three Limited Pkwy .
                                              Dallas, TX 75379-9900                           Columbus, OH 43230
La-Z-Boy, Inc .
                                              972-497-5799                                    614-415-7000
Consumer Services                             Toll free: 1-800-953-6669                       Toll free: 1-800-945-5088
1284 North Telegraph Rd .                     Fax: 972-767-4779                               www.limitedbrands.com
Monroe, MI 48162-3309                         www.lennox.com
734-241-2435                                                                                  LinkedIn Corporation




                                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies
E-mail: cservice@la-z-boy .com                LensCrafters                                    2029 Stierlin Court
www.la-z-boy.com                              4000 Luxottica Pl .                             Mountain View, CA 94043
                                              Mason, OH 45040                                 www.linkedin.com
Leap Wireless International
                                              www.lenscrafters.com
10307 Pacific Center Ct .                                                                     Little Tikes
San Diego, CA 92121                           Levi Strauss & Company                          Consumer Services
858-882-6000                                  1155 Battery St .                               16380 Roscoe Blvd
Toll free: 1-877-977-5327                     San Francisco, CA 94111                         Van Nuys, CA 91406




                                                                                                                                   National Consumer
Fax: 858-882-6010                             415-501-6000                                    Toll free: 1-800-321-0183
www.leapwireless.com                          Toll free: 1-866-860-8907                       E-mail: consumer .service@mgae .
                                              E-mail: customerservice@levisstore .            com
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc .
                                              com                                             www.littletikes.com
Consumer Service                              www.levi.com
6401 Hollis St ., Suite 100                                                                   L .L . Bean, Inc .
Emeryville, CA 94608-1071                     Lexmark International, Inc .                    15 Casco St .
Toll free: 1-800-701-5327                     740 W . New Circle Rd .                         Freeport, ME 04033-0001
E-mail: support@leapfrog .com                 Lexington, KY 40550                             207-552-3028                         State & Local

www.leapfrog.com                              Toll free: 1-800-539-6275                       Toll free: 1-800-441-5713
                                              www.lexmark.com                                 TTY: 1-800-545-0090
Lee Jeans
                                                                                              Fax: 207-552-3080
Consumer Services                             LG Electronics, Inc .
                                                                                              www.llbean.com
                                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional




9001 West 67th St .                           PO Box 240007
Merriam, KS 66202                             201 James Record Rd .                           Long John Silver’s
Toll free: 1-800-453-3348                     Huntsville, AL 35813                            Restaurants, Inc .
www.lee.com                                   256-772-8860                                    See: YUM! Brands, Inc .
                                              Toll free: 1-800-243-0000                       1900 Colonel Sanders Ln .
                                              Toll free: 1-800-793-8896                       Louisville, KY 40213
                                              www..lge.com                                    Toll free: 1-888-806-3474
                                                                                                                                   Index




                                                                                              www.ljsilvers.com

                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication            86
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

L’Oreal USA                                   Marriott International, Inc .                 Mayflower Transit, LLC
575 Fifth Ave .                               Guest Relations                               One Premier Dr
New York, NY 10017                            310 Bearcat Dr .                              Fenton, MO 63026
212-818-1500 (Headquarters)                   Salt Lake City, UT 84115-2544                 636-305-4000
Toll free: 1-800-322-2036 (Cosmetics)         801-468-4000                                  Toll free: 1-800-241-1321
Toll free: 1-800-631-7358 (Hair)              Toll free: 1-800-535-4028                     www.mayflower.com
www.lorealusa.com                             E-mail: customer .care@marriott .
                                                                                            Maytag
                                              com
Los Angeles Times                                                                           See:Whirlpool Corporation
                                              www.marriott.com
202 W . First St .                                                                          Maytag Customer Service
Los Angeles, CA 90012                         Marshall’s, Inc .                             Toll free: 1-800-344-1274 Customer
213-237-5000                                  See: TJX Companies, Inc .                     Experience Center)
Toll free: 1-877-554-4000                     Toll free: 1-888-627-7425                     www.maytag.com
Fax: 213-237-7679                             www.marshallsonline.com
                                                                                            McCormick & Company, Inc .
www.latimes.com
                                              Massachusetts Mutual                          Consumer Affairs
Lowe’s                                        Insurance Company (Mass                       211 Schilling Circle
Lowe’s Customer Care                          Mutual)                                       Hunt Valley, MD 21031
PO Box 1111                                   Assistant Vice President,                     410-527-6000
North Wilkesboro, NC 28656                    Customer Relations                            Toll free: 1-800-632-5847
Toll free: 1-800-445-6937                     1295 State St .                               Fax: 410-527-6005
Toll free: 1-800-890-5932 (Order              Springfield, MA 01111-0001                    www.mccormick.com
Inquiries)                                    Toll free: 1-800-487-7844
                                                                                            McCormick and Schmick’s
Toll free: 1-800-444-1408 (Customer           Toll free: 1-800-272-2216 (Life
                                                                                            Seafood Restaurants
Account Inquiries)                            Insurance)
www.lowes.com                                 Toll free: 1-800-272-2216 (Long Term          720 SW Washington St ., Suite 550
                                              Insurance)                                    Portland, OR 97205
                                              www.massmutual.com                            503-226-3440
                 M                                                                          Fax: 503-228-5074
                                              Masterfoods USA                               www .mccormickandschmicks .com
MAACO Enterprises, Inc .
                                              800 High St .
381 Brooks Rd .                                                                             McDonald’s Corporation
                                              Hackettstown, NJ 07840
King of Prussia, PA 19406                                                                   Customer Satisfaction Dept .
                                              908-852-1000
610-265-6606                                                                                2111 McDonald’s Dr
                                              Toll free: 1-800-222-0293
Toll free: 1-800-523-1180                                                                   Oak Brook, IL 60523
                                              E-mail: askus@masterfoodsusa .
www.maaco.com                                                                               Toll free: 1-800-244-6227
                                              com
Macy’s                                        www.masterfoods.com                           www.mcdonalds.com
Customer Service                              Match .com, LLC                               McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc .
PO Box 8067                                                                                 PO Box 182604
                                              PO Box 25472
Mason, OH 45040                                                                             Columbus, OH 43272
                                              Dallas, TX 75225
Toll free: 1-800-526-1202 (Customer                                                         212-512-2000
                                              www.match.com
Service)                                                                                    Toll free: 1-877-833-5524
Toll free: 1-877-493-9207 (Credit)            Mattel, Inc .                                 Fax: 614-759-3749
www.macys.com                                 333 Continental Blvd .                        E-mail: customer .service@mcgraw-
Magic Chef                                    El Segundo, CA 90245-5012                     hill .com
                                              310-252-2000                                  www.mcgraw-hill.com
Magic Chef Customer Service
                                              Toll free: 1-800-524-8697
553 Benson Rd .                                                                             McKee Foods Corporation
                                              TTY: 1-800-382-7470
Benton Harbor, MI 49022                                                                     PO Box 750
                                              Fax: 310-252-4190
Toll free: 1-800-688-1120                                                                   Collegedale, TN 37315
                                              E-mail: www .service .mattel .com
www.magicchef.com                                                                           Toll free: 1-800-522-4499
                                              www.mattel.com
                                                                                            www.mckeefoods.com
                                              Maybelline, Inc .
                                              PO Box 1010
                                              Clark, NJ 07066-1010
                                              Toll free: 1-800-944-0730
                                              www.maybelline.com


  87                                                                      Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                      corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Medco Health Solutions, Inc .                 Michelin North America, Inc .                  Mitsubishi Digital Electronics
Public Affairs                                Consumer Relations Dept .                      America, Inc .
100 Parsons Pond Dr .                         PO Box 19001                                   Consumer Relations Dept .
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417                      Greenville, SC 29650                           9351 Jeronimo Rd .
201-269-3400                                  Toll free: 1-800-847-3435                      Irvine, CA 92618
Toll free: 1-800-631-7780                     www.michelin-us.com                            949-830-8364
www.medco.com                                                                                Toll free: 1-800-332-2119
                                              Michigan Bulb Company
                                                                                             Fax: 1-800-825-6655
Meineke Car Care Centers,                     Customer Service                               E-mail: mdeaservice@mdea .com
Inc .                                         PO Box 4180                                    www.mitsubishi-tv.com
Customer Relations Dept .                     Lawrenceburg, IN 47025-4180
PO Box 32401                                  513-354-1498                                   Money Management
Charlotte, NC 28232-2401                      E-mail: service@michiganbulb .com              International
704-377-3070                                  www .michiganbulb .com                         9009 West Loop South, 7th Fl .




                                                                                                                                    Automotive
Toll free: 1-800-447-3070                                                                    Houston, TX 77096-1719
                                              Microsoft Corporation
www.meineke.com                                                                              1-886-889-9347
                                              One Microsoft Way                              www.moneymanagement.org
Mellon Financial Corporation                  Redmond, WA 98052-6399
BNY Mellon Center                             425-882-8080                                   Morgan Stanley




                                                                                                                                    BBB
Pittsburgh, PA 15258                          Toll free: 1-800-642-7676                      Client Advocate
412-234-5000                                  TTY: 1-800-892-5234                            680 West 10000 South, 3rd Floor
www.mellon.com                                Fax: 425-936-7329                              South Jordan, UT 84095




                                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts
                                              www.microsoft.com                              212-761-4000
The Mentholatum Company,
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-800-733-2307
Inc .                                         Midas, Inc .
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-866-227-2256
707 Sterling Dr .                             Consumer Relations                             E-mail: clientadvocate@
Orchard Park, NY 14127                        1300 Arlington Heights Rd .                    morganstanley .com
716-677-2500                                  Itasca, IL 60143                               www.morganstanley.com
Toll free: 1-800-688-7660                     Toll free: 1-800-621-8545
Fax: 716-674-3696                             www.midas.com                                  Morton International, Inc .




                                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
www.mentholatum.com                                                                          Consumer Affairs
                                              Midwest Airlines
                                                                                             123 N . Wacker Dr .
Merisant Worldwide, Inc .                     Customer Relations                             Chicago, IL 60606-1743
33 North Dearborn St ., Suite 200             6744 South Howell Ave ., HQ-8                  Toll free: 1-800-725-8847
Chicago, IL 60602                             Oak Creek, WI 53154                            Toll free: 1-800-789-7258 (General)
312-840-6000                                  Toll free: 1-800-452-2022                      www.mortonsalt.com
www.merisant.com                              www.midwestairlines.com
                                                                                             Motel 6




                                                                                                                                    National Consumer
Merrill Lynch & Company, Inc .                Molson Coors
                                                                                             Guest Relations
(Contact local branch manager first)          3939 W . Highland Blvd .                       PO Box 326
250 Vesey St .                                Milwaukee, WI 53201                            Worthington, OH 43085
New York, NY 10080                            414-931-2000                                   614-601-4089
212-449-1000                                  Toll free: 1-800-645-5376                      Toll free: 1- 800-557-3435
Toll free: 1-800-637-7455                     Fax: 414-931-3735                              www.motel6.com
TTY: 1-800-262-3340                           E-mail: contact@millercoors .com
www.merrilllynch.com                          www.millercoors.com                            Motorola, Inc .
                                                                                             1303 East Algonquin Rd .               State & Local
MetLife, Inc .                                Minwax
                                                                                             Schaumburg, IL 60196
500 Schoolhouse Rd .                          See:Sherwin-Williams Company                   847-576-5000
Johnstown, PA 15904                           10 Mountain View Rd .                          Toll free: 1-800-331-6456
Toll free: 1-800-638-5433                     Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458                   TTY: 847-538-7116
                                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional




www.metlife.com                               Toll free: 1-800-523-9299                      www.motorola.com
                                              E-mail: askminwax@sherwin .com
                                              www.minwax.com
                                                                                                                                    Index




                                                                   Provided financial support for the publication              88
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                  of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Motts, Inc .                                  National Presto Industries,                   The Neiman-Marcus Group,
Consumer Relations                            Inc .                                         Inc .
PO Box 869077                                 3925 North Hastings Way                       Customer Relations
Plano, TX 75024                               Eau Claire, WI 54703-3703                     PO Box 650589
Toll free: 1-800-426-4891                     715-839-2209                                  Dallas, TX 75265-0589
www.motts.com                                 Toll free: 1-800-877-0441                     214-761-2660
                                              Fax: 715-839-2122                             Toll free: 1-888-888-4757
Movado Group, Inc .
                                              www.gopresto.com                              www.neimanmarcus.com
650 From Rd ., Suite 375
Paramus, NJ 07652-3556                        Nationwide                                    Nestlé Purina PetCare
201-267-8000                                  Customer Relations                            Company
Toll free: 1-800-810-2311                     One Nationwide Plaza                          Office of Consumer Affairs
www.movadogroupinc.com                        Columbus, OH 43215–2220                       Checkerboard Square
                                              Toll free: 1-877-669-6877 (Auto and           St . Louis, MO 63164
Mutual of Omaha Insurance
                                              Property Insurance)                           314-982-1000
Company
                                              Toll free: 1-800-882-2822 (General            Toll free: 1-800-778-7462
Mutual of Omaha Plaza                         Inquiries)                                    Fax: 314-982-4580
Omaha, NE 68175                               Toll free: 1-800 .848-6331                    www.purina.com
402-342-7600                                  (Investments)
Toll free: 1-800-775-6000 (Individual                                                       Nestlé USA
                                              www.nationwide.com
Service policies)                                                                           Consumer Services Center
Toll free: 1-800-948-9478 (Operator)          NaturaLawn of America                         800 North Brand Blvd .
Fax: 402-351-2775                             One E . Church St .                           Glendale, CA 91203
E-mail: individualclaims@                     Fredrick, MD 21701                            Toll free: 1-800-225-2270
mutualofomaha .com                            301-694-5440                                  www.nestle.com
www.mutualofomaha.com                         Toll free: 1-800-989-5444
                                                                                            Nestlé Waters North America,
                                              Fax: 301-846-0320
Myspace .com                                                                                Inc .
                                              E-mail: natural@nl-amer .com
1223 Wilshire Blvd ., Suite 402               www.nl-amer.com                               PO Box 2313
Santa Monica, CA 90403-5400                                                                 Greenwich, CT 06830-5091
310-969-7400                                  Nautica Enterprises, Inc .                    203-531-4100
E-mail: info@myspace .com                     Consumer Relations                            www.nestle-watersna.com
www.myspace.com                               40 West 57th St .
                                                                                            Netflix
                                              New York, NY 10019
                                              212-541-5757                                  Customer Service
                  N                                                                         100 Winchester Circle
                                              Toll free: 1-866-376-4184
National Amusements, Inc .                    Fax: 212-887-8136                             Los Gatos, CA 95032
                                              www.nautica.com                               www.netflix.com
PO Box 9126
Dedham, MA 02027-9126                         NBC Universal, Inc .                          Neutrogena Corporation
781-461-1600                                                                                See:Johnson & Johnson Consumer
                                              30 Rockefeller Plaza
E-mail: customer_service@national-                                                          Products, Inc .
                                              New York, NY 10112
amusements .com                                                                             Consumer Affairs
                                              212-664-2333
www.national-amusements.com                                                                 199 Grandview Rd .
                                              www.nbc.com
National Car Rental System,                                                                 Skillman, NJ 08558
                                              Near East Food Products                       Toll free: 1-800-582-4048
Inc .
                                              See: Quaker Oats Company                      Fax: 310-337-5564
8421 St . John Industrial Dr .
                                              PO Box 049003                                 E-mail: ntgweb@neuus .jnj .com
St . Louis, MO 63146
                                              Chicago, IL 60604-9003                        www.neutrogena.com
Toll free: 1-800-468-3334
                                              Toll free: 1-800-822-7423
www.nationalcar.com                                                                         New England Financial
                                              www.neareast.com
                                                                                            See: MetLife, Inc .
                                                                                            Toll free: 1-800-388-4000
                                                                                            www.nefn.com




  89                                                                      Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

New York and Company                          Nine West Group, Inc .                         Northwestern Mutual Life
Customer Service                              Customer Relations                             Insurance Company
229 Hollie Dr .                               1129 Westchester Ave .                         Corporate Relations
Martinsville, VA 24112                        White Plains, NY 10604                         720 East Wisconsin Ave .
1-800-961-9906                                914-640-6400                                   Milwaukee, WI 53202
www.nyandcompany.com                          Toll free: 1-800-999-1877                      414-271-1444
                                              www.ninewest.com                               www.northwesternmutual.com
New York Life Insurance
Company                                       Nintendo                                       Norwegian Cruise Lines
Corporate Compliance Dept .                   4820 150th Ave ., NE                           Customer Relations
One Rockwood Rd .                             Redmond, WA 98052                              7665 Corporate Center Dr .
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591                       Toll free: 1-800-255-3700                      Miami, FL 33126
914-846-3876                                  www.nintendo.com                               305-436-4000
Fax: 914-846-5497                                                                            Toll free: 1-866-625-1164




                                                                                                                                   Automotive
                                              Nokia USA
www.newyorklife.com                                                                          www.ncl.com
                                              Customer Contact Center
Newport News                                  6021 Connection Dr .                           Novartis Pharmaceuticals
See: Spiegel Brands, Inc .                    Irving, TX 75039                               Corporation
5100 City Line Rd .                           Toll free: 1-888-665-4228                      Customer Response/




                                                                                                                                   BBB
Hampton, VA 23630-5100                        TTY: 1-800-246-6542                            Pharmaceuticals
757-827-7010                                  Fax: 813-243-1256                              One Health Plaza
Toll free: 1-800-759-3950                     E-mail: customercare@nokia .com                East Hanover, NJ 07936-1080




                                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts
E-mail: customercare@newport-                 www.nokiausa.com                               862-778-8300
news .com                                                                                    Toll free: 1-800-277-2254 (Patient
                                              Nordstrom, Inc .
www.newport-news.com                                                                         Assistance Program)
                                              Customer Service                               Toll free: 1-888-669-6682 (Customer
Newsweek, Inc .                               1700 Seventh Ave ., Suite 300                  Service)
PO Box 5571                                   Seattle, WA 98101                              Fax: 973-781-8265
Harlan, IA 51593                              Toll free: 1-888-282-6060                      www.pharma.us.novartis.com
Toll free: 1-800-631-1040                     www.nordstrom.com




                                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies
www.newsweek.com                                                                             Novell, Inc .
                                              North American Van Lines
                                                                                             404 Wyman St ., Suite 500
Nickelodeon                                   North American Claims Dept .                   Waltham, MA 02451
1515 Broadway                                 PO Box 988                                     801-861-7000
New York, NY 10036                            Ft . Wayne, IN 46801-0988                      Toll free: 1-800-529-3400
212-258-6000                                  www.navl.com                                   Toll free: 1-800-858-4000 (Tech
www.nick.com                                                                                 Support)
                                              The North Face, Inc .
                                                                                             Fax: 801-861-5203 (Tech Support)




                                                                                                                                   National Consumer
Nike, Inc .                                   Customer Service
PO Box 4027                                   14450 Doolittle Dr .                           E-mail: customer_service@novell .
One Bowerman Dr .                             San Leandro, CA 94577                          com
Beaverton, OR 97005                           Toll free: 1-800-863-1968 (Customer            www.novell.com
503-671-6453                                  Service                                        Nu Tone, Inc .
Toll free: 1-800-344-6453                     Toll free: 1-866-715-3223 (Warranties)         Consumer Relations
www.nike.com                                  Fax: 510-618-3541                              9825 Kenwood Rd ., Suite 301
                                              E-mail: tnf_consumerservices@vfc .
                                                                                                                                   State & Local
Nikon, Inc .                                                                                 Cincinnati, OH 45242
                                              com                                            Toll free: 1-888-336-3948
Consumer Affairs                              www.thenorthface.com
1300 Walt Whitman Rd .                                                                       E-mail: ask@nutone .com
Melville, NY 11747-3064                       Northwest Airlines                             www.nutone.com
631-547-4200                                  Customer Care                                  The NutraSweet Company
                                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional




310-414-8107 (Parts)                          PO Box 1908                                    Customer Service
Toll free: 1-800-645-6689 (Technical)         Minot, ND 58702                                1762 Lovers Ln .
Toll free: 1-800-645-6678 (Service)           701-420-6282                                   Augusta, GA 30901
Fax: 631-547-4025                             Toll free: 1-800-692-6955                      Toll free: 1-800-323-5321
www.nikonusa.com                              Toll free: 1-800-745-9798 (Baggage)            www.nutrasweet.com
                                              TTY: 1-800-328-2298
                                              Fax: 651-367-8459
                                                                                                                                   Index




                                              www.nwa.com

                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication           90
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

NutriSystem, Inc .                            Olympus America                                Outback Steakhouse
300 Welsh Rd .                                3500 Corporate Pkwy .                          2202 N . West Shore Blvd ., 5th Floor
Horsham, PA 19044                             PO Box 610                                     Tampa, FL 33607
215-706-5300                                  Center Valley, PA 18034-0610                   813-282-1225
Toll free: 1-800-585-5483                     Toll free: 1-800-622-6372                      E-mail: newsoutback@outback .com
Fax: 215-706-5388                             Toll free: 1-888-553-4448 (Digital             www.outback.com
www.nutrisystem.com                           Cameras)
                                                                                             Overstock .com
                                              www.olympusamerica.com
                                                                                             Customer Service
                  O                           Omni Hotels                                    6350 South 3000 East
Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc .                420 Decker Dr .                                Salt Lake City, UT 84121
                                              Irving, TX 75062                               Toll free: 1-800-843-2446
Consumer Affairs Dept .
                                              Toll free: 1-800-809-6664                      www.overstock.com
One Ocean Spray Dr .
                                              www.omnihotels.com
Lakeville-Middleboro, MA 02349                                                               Owens Corning
508-946-1000                                  1-800-FLOWERS                                  One Owens Corning Pkwy .
Toll free: 1-800-662-3263                     One Old Country Rd ., Suite 500                Toledo, OH 43659-0001
Fax: 508-923-0036                             Carle Place, NY 11514                          419-248-8000
www.oceanspray.com                            Toll free: 1-800-716-4851                      Toll free: 1-800-438-7465
Office Depot, Inc .                           www.1800flowers.com                            E-mail: answers@answers .
                                                                                             owenscorning .com
6600 North Military Trail                     Oneida, Ltd .
                                                                                             www.owenscorning.com
Boca Raton, FL 33496                          Customer Service
561-438-4800                                  PO Box 1
Toll free: 1-800-463-3768                     Oneida, NY 13421-2899
                                                                                                                   P
Toll free: 1-800-721-8344 (Tech)              315-361-3000                                   Palm, Inc .
Fax: 1-800-685-5010                           Toll free: 1-888-263-7195
E-mail: customer .relations@                                                                 950 W . Maude Ave .
                                              www.oneida.com
officedepot .com                                                                             Sunnyvale, CA 94085
www.officedepot.com                           Orbitz, Inc .                                  408-617-7000
                                              Customer Service                               Toll free: 1-800-881-7256
OfficeMax, Inc .                              500 W Madison                                  Toll free: 1-888-956-7256 (Computer
263 Shuman Blvd .                             Chicago, IL 60661                              Software)
Naperville, IL 60563                          312-894-5000                                   Fax: 408-617-0100
630-438-7800                                  312-416-0018                                   www.palm.com
Toll free: 1-800-283-7674                     Toll free: 1-888-656-4546                      Panasonic Company
www.officemax.com                             www.orbitz.com
                                                                                             Consumer Affairs
Olan Mills, Inc .                             Orkin                                          Panazip 2F-3
Customer Service                              Customer Care Center                           One Panasonic Way
PO Box 23456                                  2170 Piedmont Rd ., NE                         Secaucus, NJ 07094
Chattanooga, TN 37422-3456                    Atlanta, GA 30324                              201-348-7000
Toll free: 1-800-251-6320                     Toll free: 1-800-346-7546                      Toll free: 1-800-211-7262
www.olanmills.com                             Fax: 404-633-2315                              www.panasonic.com
Old Navy                                      www.orkin.com                                  Panera Bread
200 Old Navy Ln .                             Ortho-McNeil                                   6710 Clayton Rd .
Grove City, OH 43123-8605                     Customer Communications Center                 Richmond Heights, MO 63117
Toll free: 1-800-653-6289                     1125 Trenton-Harbourton Rd .                   314-633-7100
TTY: 1-800-449-4253                           PO Box 200                                     Toll free: 1-800-301-5566
E-mail: custserv@oldnavy .com                 Titusville, NJ 08560-200                       Fax: 314-633-7200
www.oldnavy.com                               Toll free: 1-800-526-7736                      www.panerabread.com
Olive Garden                                  www.ortho-mcneil.com                           Papa John’s International, Inc .
See Darden Restarants                                                                        PO Box 99900
Toll free: 1-800-331-2729                                                                    Louiseville, KY 40269
www.olivegarden.com                                                                          502-261-4987
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-877-547-7272
                                                                                             www.papajohns.com

  91                                                                       Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                    of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Pathmark Stores, Inc .                        Pepsi-Cola Company                              Philip Morris USA
Customer Relations                            Public Affairs                                  Quality Dept .
2 Paragon Dr .                                700 Anderson Hill Rd .                          PO Box 18583
Montvale, NJ 07645                            Purchase, NY 10577                              Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Toll free: 1-866-443-7374                     914-253-2000                                    804-274-2000
E-mail: customers@pathmark .com               Toll free: 1-800-433-2652                       Toll free: 1-800-343-0975
www.pathmark.com                              Fax: 914-767-6177                               www.philipmorrisusa.com
                                              www.pepsico.com
Payless ShoeSource                                                                           Philips Consumer Electronics
Customer Service                              Perdue Farms, Inc .                            North America
3231 SE Sixth Ave .                           PO Box 1656                                    Customer Service
Topeka, KS 66607                              Horsham, PA 19044-6656                         3000 Minuteman Rd ., M/S 109
Toll free: 1-877-474-6379                     Toll free: 1-800-473-7383                      Andover, MA 01810
Email: CustomerService@csr .                  www.perdue.com                                 Toll free: 1-888-744-5477 (Televisions)




                                                                                                                                       Automotive
payless .com                                                                                 Toll free: 1-800-555-0050 (Lighting)
                                              Petco
www.payless.com                                                                              Toll free: 1-866-473-6736 (Kitchen)
                                              9125 Rehco Rd .                                www.philipsusa.com
Paypal .com                                   San Diego, CA 92121
2211 N . First St .                           Toll free: 1-888-824-7257                      Phillips-Van Heusen




                                                                                                                                       BBB
San Jose, CA 95131                            www.petco.com                                  Corporation
402-935-2050                                                                                 Customer Services
                                              PetSmart
www.paypal.com                                                                               1001 Frontier Rd ., MS # 44




                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
                                              Customer Service                               Bridgewater, NJ 08807
PearleVision                                  1435 International Dr .                        908-685-0050
4000 Luxottica Pl .                           Eau Claire, WI 54701                           Toll free: 1-800-388-9122 (Van
Mason, OH 45040                               Toll free: 1-888-839-9638                      Heusen)
Toll free: 1-800-937-3937                     E-mail: CustomerCare@petsmart .                Toll free: 1-800-950-2277 (Bass)
www.pearlevision.com                          com                                            Toll free: 1-800-866-7292 (Izod)
                                              www.petsmart.com                               1-866-214-6694 (Calvin Klein)
Pennzoil
See: Shell Oil Company                        P .F . Chang’s China Bistro, Inc .             www.pvh.com




                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
Corporate Communications                      7676 E . Pinnacle Peak Rd .                    Pioneer Electronics Service,
Pennzoil Place                                Scottsdale, AZ 85255                           Inc .
PO Box 2967                                   480-888-3000                                   Customer Service
Houston, TX 77252-2967                        Toll free: 1-866-732-4264                      PO Box 1760
713-546-4000                                  www.pfchangs.com                               Long Beach, CA 90801
Toll free: 1-800-237-8045                                                                    Toll free: 1-800-421-1404
                                              Pfizer, Inc .
www.pennzoil.com                                                                             Fax: 310-952-2821




                                                                                                                                       National Consumer
                                              Consumer Affairs
Pep Boys Auto                                 PO Box 2219                                    www.pioneerelectronics.com
311 West Allegheny Ave .                      Chattanooga, TN 37409-0219                     Pirelli Tire Corporation
Philadelphia, PA 19132                        212-733-2323                                   100 Pirelli Dr .
Toll free: 1-800-737-2697                     Toll free: 1-800-879-3477                      Rome, GA 30161
E-mail: custserv@pepboys .com                 Toll free: 1-800-438-1985                      706-368-5800
www.pepboys.com                               Toll free: 1-800-223-0182 (Over-the-           Toll free: 1-800-747-3554
                                              counter)
                                                                                                                                       State & Local
Pepperidge Farm, Inc .                                                                       Fax: 706-368-5832
                                              www.pfizer.com                                 www.us.pirelli.com
595 Westport Ave .
Norwalk, CT 06851                             Pharmavite Corporation                         Pizza Hut
Toll free: 1-888-737-7374                     Consumer Affairs                               See: YUM! Brands, Inc .
www.pepperidgefarm.com                        PO Box 9606                                    14841 Dallas Pkwy .
                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional




                                              Mission Hills, CA 91346-9606                   Dallas, TX 75254
                                              818-221-6200                                   Toll free: 1-800-948-8488
                                              Toll free: 1-800-276-2878 (Nature              www.pizzahut.com
                                              Made)
                                              Toll free: 1-888-676-9569 (Soy Joy)
                                              Fax: 818-221-6618
                                              www.pharmavite.com
                                                                                                                                       Index




                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication              92
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Playstation                                    Priceline .com                                                      Q
See: Sony Corporation of America               800 Connecticut Ave .
Toll free: 1-800-345-7669                      Norwalk, CT 06854                             Qdoba Mexican Grill
www.us.playstation.com                         Toll free: 1-800-774-2354                     4865 Ward Rd ., Suite 500
                                               www.priceline.com                             Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-1902
Playtex Products, Inc .
                                                                                             720-898-2300
PO Box 701                                     Princess Cruise Lines
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-888-497-3622
Allendale, NJ 07401-1600                       24305 Town Center Dr .                        Fax: 720-898-2396
Toll free: 1-888-310-4290                      Santa Clarita, CA 91355                       E-mail: info@qdoba .com
Fax: 201-785-8202                              Toll free: 1-800-774-6237                     www.qdoba.com
www.playtexproductsinc.com                     E-mail: customerrelations@
                                               princesscruises .com                          The Quaker Oats Company
Polaroid Corporation
                                               www .princess .com                            PO Box 049003
4400 Baker Ave                                                                               Chicago, IL 60604-9003
Minnetonka, MN 55343                           The Procter & Gamble
                                                                                             312-821-1000
Toll free: 1-877-388-3779 (Digital             Company
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-800-367-6287
Cameras)                                       PO Box 599                                    www.quakeroats.com
Toll free: 1-866-289-5168 (DVDs,               Cincinnati, OH 45202
DVR, TV, GPS)                                  513-983-1100                                  QuikTrip Corporation
E-mail: info@polaroid .com                     www.pg.com                                    PO Box 3475
www.polaroid.com                                                                             Tulsa, OK 74101
                                               The Progressive Corporation
                                                                                             918-615-7700
Polo/Ralph Lauren                              6300 Wilson Mills Rd .                        www.quiktrip.com
Corporation                                    Mayfield Village, OH 44143
Consumer Relations                             Toll free: 1-800-776-4737                     Quizno’s
4100 Beachwood Dr .                            www.progressive.com                           1001 17th St ., Suite 200
Greensboro, NC 27410                                                                         Denver, CO 80202
                                               Prudential Financial, Inc .
Toll free: 1-888-475-7674                                                                    720-359-3300
Fax: 336-632-9097                              Policyowner Relations Dept .                  Toll free: 1-866-486-2783
E-mail: customerassistance@                    PO Box 1136                                   www.quiznos.com
ralphlauren .com                               Minneapolis, MN 55440-1136
                                               Toll free: 800-778-2255 (Insurance)           QVC, Inc .
www.polo.com
                                               Toll free: 1-888-778-2888 (Annuities)         Customer Service
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen                      TTY: 1-800-526-8061                           1200 Wilson Drive at Studio Park
AFC Enterprises-Customer                       www.prudential.com                            West Chester, PA 19380
Relations                                                                                    Toll free: 1-800-367-9444
                                               Publishers Clearing House
5555 Glenridge Connector, NE, Suite                                                          TTY: 1-800-544-3316
300                                            Consumer Affairs                              E-mail: QVCcares@QVC .com
Atlanta, GA 30342                              382 Channel Dr .                              www.qvc.com
Toll free: 1-877-767-3937                      Port Washington, NY 11050
                                               516-883-5432
E-mail: popeyescommunications@                                                                                     R
popeyes .com                                   Toll free: 1-800-337-4724
www.afce.com                                   Fax: 516-883-5769                             Radio Shack Corporation
                                               www.pch.com
Price Chopper Supermarkets                                                                   Customer Care
(The Golub Corporation)                        Publix                                        Riverfront Campus, Mail Stop #CF3-
                                               Consumer Relations                            311
Consumer Services
                                               PO Box 407                                    300 Radio Shack Circle
501 Duanesburg Rd .
                                               Lakeland, FL 33802-0407                       Fort Worth, TX 76102-1964
Schenectady, NY 12306
                                               www.publix.com                                817-415-3011
518-355-5000
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-800-843-7422
Toll free: 1-800-666-7667
                                                                                             www.radioshack.com
www.pricechopper.com
                                                                                             Radisson Hotels & Resorts
                                                                                             11340 Blondo St ., Suite 100
                                                                                             Omaha, NE 68164
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-888-201-1719
                                                                                             www.radisson.com



  93                                                                       Provided financial support for the publication
              Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                          corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Rayovac Corporation                           Revlon, Inc .                                   Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Consumer Service                              Consumer Affairs                                Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc .
PO Box 44960                                  1501 Williamsboro St .                          500 International Pkwy, #100
Madison, WI 53744                             Oxford, NC 27565                                Heathrow, FL 32746-5500
Toll free: 1-800-237-7000                     Toll free: 1-800-473-8566                       407-333-7440
E-mail: consumers@rayovac .com                www.revlon.com                                  Fax: 407-833-9625
www.rayovac.com                                                                               www.ruthschris.com
                                              Rich Products
Readers Digest Association,                   Customer Relations
Inc .                                         One Robert Rich Way
                                                                                                                     S
Customer Service                              Buffalo, NY 14213                               Safeway, Inc .
Readers Digest Rd .                           716-878-8000
                                                                                              MS 10501
Pleasantville, NY 10570-7000                  Toll free: 1-800-457-4247
                                                                                              PO Box 29093
914-238-1000




                                                                                                                                     Automotive
                                              www.rich.com Rite Aid                           Phoenix, AZ 85038-9093
Toll free: 1-800-846-2100
                                              Corporation                                     Toll free: 1-877-723-3929
TTY: 1-800-735-4327
                                              PO Box 3165                                     www.safeway.com
Fax: 914-238-4559
www.readersdigest.com                         Harrisburg, PA 17105                           Saks Fifth Avenue
                                              717-761-2633




                                                                                                                                     BBB
Reckitt Benckiser, Inc .                                                                     12 East 49th St ., 4th Floor
                                              Toll free: 1-800-748-3243
                                                                                             New York, NY 10017
Morris Corporate Center IV                    Toll free: 1-888-213-9920 (Rebates)
                                                                                             212-940-5027
399 Interpace Pkwy .                          www.riteaid.com




                                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-877-551-7257
 PO Box 225
                                              Rolex Watch U .S .A . Inc .                    Fax: 601-968-5281
Parsippany, NJ 07054-0225
                                              665 Fifth Ave . - 5th Floor                    E-mail: service@saks .com
973-404-2600
                                              New York, NY 10022                             www.saks.com
Toll free: 1-877-870-8174 (Lysol
Purifiers)                                    212-758-7700                                   Sam’s Club
Toll free: 1-888-265-3343 (Material           Fax: 212-980-2166
                                                                                             Member Service
Safety Data Sheets)                           www.rolex.com
                                                                                             608 Southwest Eighth St .
Toll free: 1-800-333-3899                     Roto-Rooter Corporation                        Bentonville, AR 72716




                                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
Toll free: 1-800-228-4722 (Household)         300 Ashworth Rd .                              479-277-7000
Toll free: 1-800-841-1256 (Food               West Des Moines, IA 50265                      Toll free: 1-888-746-7726
Products)                                     515-223-1343                                   www.samsclub.com
1-800-260-1066 (Spray ‘N Wash)                Toll free: 1-800-438-7686
E-mail: corpcomms@                                                                           Samsonite Corporation
                                              www.roto-rooter.com
reckittbenckiser .com                                                                        Consumer Relations
www.reckittbenckiser.com                      Royal Caribbean International                  575 West St, Suite 110




                                                                                                                                     National Consumer
                                              Corporate Guest Relations                      Mansfield, MA 02048
Red Lobster                                   1050 Caribbean Way                             Toll free: 1-800-262-8282
Guest Relations                               Miami, FL 33132                                Fax: 610-871-3343
5900 Lake Ellenor Dr .                        Toll free: 1-800-256-6649                      www.samsonite.com
Orlando, FL 32809                             Toll free: 1-800-398-9819 (Website)
Toll free: 1-800-562-7837                                                                    Samsung Electronics America
                                              www.royalcaribbean.com
www.redlobster.com                                                                           Customer Service and Technical
                                              Rubbermaid                                     Support
                                                                                                                                     State & Local
Regal Ware Inc .                              Consumer Services                              400 Valley Rd ., Suite 201
Consumer Service                              3320 W . Market St .                           Mount Arlington, NJ 07856
1675 Reigle Dr .                              Fairlawn, OH 44333                             Toll free: 1-800-726-7864
Kewaskum, WI 53040                            Toll free: 1-888-895-2110                      Toll free: 1-888-987-4357 (Mobile
262-626-2121                                  www.rubbermaid.com                             Phones)
                                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional




www.regalware.com                                                                            Fax: 973-601-6001
Rent-A-Center                                                                                www.samsung.com
5501 Headquarters Dr .                                                                       Sanofi-Aventis
Plano, TX 75024                                                                              55 Corporate Dr .
Toll free: 1-800-422-8186                                                                    Bridgewater, NJ 08807-2854
www.rentacenter.com                                                                          Toll free: 1-800-981-2491
                                                                                             www.sanofi-aventis.us
                                                                                                                                     Index




                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication              94
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Sara Lee Foods                                Sears, Roebuck and Company                     Shell Oil Company
PO Box 756                                    Sears National Customer Relations              Customer Care
Neenah, WI 54957-0756                         3333 Beverly Rd .                              PO Box 2463
Toll free: 1-800-323-7117 (Bakery)            Hoffman Estates, IL 60179                      Houston, TX 77252
Toll free: 1-800-925-3326 (Meats)             847-286-2500                                   713-241-6161
Toll free: 1-800-392-7733 (Body Care)         Toll free: 1-800-549-4505 (Retail)             Toll free: 1-888-467-4355
Fax: 1-888-514-5970                           Toll free: 1-800-697-3277 (Online)             Toll free: 1-800-331-3703 (Shell Card)
www.saraleefoods.com                          TTY: 1-800-659-7017                            E-mail: ShellCustomerCare@shell .
                                              Fax: 1-800-427-3049                            com
Sargento Foods, Inc .
                                              www.sears.com                                  www.shellus.com
One Persnickety Pl .
Plymouth, WI 53073                            Seiko Instruments USA, Inc .                   Sherwin-Williams Company
920-893-8484                                  PO Box 140706                                  Midland Building
Toll free: 1-800-243-3737 (Consumer           Austin, TX 90505                               101 Prospect Ave ., NW
Affairs)                                      Toll free: 1-800-443-3617                      PO Box 647
Fax: 920-893-8399                             Fax: 512-349-3004                              Cleveland, OH 44115
www.sargento.com                              E-mail: customerservice@siu-austin .           216-515-4825
                                              com                                            Toll free: 1-800-474-3794
SC Johnson and Son, Inc .
                                              www.seikoinstruments.com                       Fax: 216-566-1392
1525 Howe St .                                                                               www.sherwin-williams.com
Racine, WI 53403-5011                         Seneca Foods Corporation
262-260-2000                                  Consumer Affairs                               Shoney’s, Inc .
Toll free: 1-800-494-4855                     3736 South Main St .                           Guest Relations
Fax: 262-260-4805                             Marion, NY 14505                               1717 Elm Hill Pike, Suite B-1
www.scjohnsonwax.com                          315-926-8100                                   Nashville, TN 37210
                                              Toll free: 1-800-872-1110                      615-391-5395
Schering-Plough HealthCare
                                              Fax: 315-926-8300                              Toll free: 1-877-377-2233
Products, Inc .
                                              E-mail: consumer_affairs@                      Fax: 615-231-2621
PO Box 377                                    senecafoods .com                               E-mail: helpdesk@shoneys .com
Memphis, TN 38151                             www.senecafoods.com                            www.shoneys.com
908-298-4000
Toll free: 1-800-317-2165                     Serta, Inc .                                   Simmons Bedding Company
www.schering-plough.com                       Customer Service                               Consumer Services
                                              3 Golf Center #392                             1900 Beaver Ridge Circle
The Scotts Company
                                              Hoffman Estates, IL 60169                      Norcross, GA 30071
Consumer Service                              847-645-0200                                   770-512-7700
14111 Scottslawn Rd .                         Toll free: 1-888-557-3782                      Toll free: 1-877-399-9397
Marysville, OH 43041                          Fax: 847-645-0205                              Fax: 770-613-8575
Toll free: 1-800-543-8873 (Product            E-mail: customer .service@serta .              E-mail: customerassistance@
Questions)                                    com                                            simmons .com
Toll free: 1-888-270-3714                     www.serta.com                                  www.simmons.com
www.scotts.com
                                              7-Eleven, Inc                                  Singer Sewing Company
Seabourn Cruise Line
                                              Customer Relations                             Consumer Affairs
Guest Relations                               Location 231                                   1224 Heil Quaker Blvd .,
6100 Blue Lagoon Dr ., Suite 400              PO Box 711                                     PO Box 7017
Miami, FL 33126                               Dallas, TX 75221                               LaVergne, TN 37086
305-463-3000                                  972-828-7011                                   Toll free: 1-800-474-6437
Toll free: 1-800-929-9391                     Toll free: 1-800-255-0711                      Fax: 615-213-0994
www.seabourn.com                              E-mail: www .7-Eleven .com                     E-mail: talktous@singerco .com
Sealy Corporation                             www.7-Eleven.com                               www.singerco.com
Consumer Support                              Sharp Electronics Corporation
One Office Pkwy at Sealy Dr .                 Customer Service
Trinity, NC 27370                             1300 Naperville Dr .
336-861-3500                                  Romeoville, IL 60441
Toll free: 1-800-697-3259                     Toll free: 1-800-237-4277
www.sealy.com                                 www.sharpusa.com

 95                                                                        Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                    of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                       corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Slim-Fast Foods Company                       Springs Global U .S ., Inc .                    State Farm
Consumer Services Dept .                      Public Relations Dept . of Corporate            One State Farm Plaza
PO Box 6065                                   Communication                                   Bloomington, IL 61710
Englewood, NJ 07631-6065                      PO Box 70                                       309-766-6393
Toll free: 1-800-754-6327                     Fort Mill, SC 29716                             Toll free: 1-877-734-2265 (Bank)
E-mail: support@slimfast .com                 803-547-1500                                    Toll free: 1-800-447-4930
www.slimfast.com                              Toll free: 1-888-926-7888                       (Investments)
                                              Toll free: 1-800-221-6352 (Window               E-mail: info@statefarm .com
Sonesta International Hotels
                                              Products)                                       www.statefarm.com
Corporation
                                              www.springs.com
116 Huntington Ave .                                                                          SteinMart
Boston, MA 02116                              Sprint Nextel                                   1200 Riverplace Blvd .
617-421-5400                                  KSOPHT0101-Z4300                                Jacksonville, FL 32207
Toll free: 1-800-766-3782                     6391 Sprint Pkwy .                              Toll free: 1-888-783-4662




                                                                                                                                      Automotive
Fax: 617-421-5402                             Overland Park, KS 66251-4300                    www.steinmart.com
E-mail: info@sonesta .com                     Toll free: 1-888-211-4727 (Sprint
                                                                                              Stop & Shop Supermarket
www.sonesta.com                               Phones)
                                                                                              Company, Inc .
                                              Toll free: 1-800-639-6111 (Nextel
Sony Corporation of America                                                                   Customer Service Dept .




                                                                                                                                      BBB
                                              Phones)
Consumer Information Service                  Toll free: 1-800-877-4646 (Wireline             PO Box 55888
Center                                        Service)                                        Boston, MA 02205-5888
12451 Gateway Blvd .                          www.sprint.com/consumerinfo                     Toll free: 1-800-767-7772




                                                                                                                                      Corporate Contacts
Fort Myers, FL 33913                                                                          Fax: 617-770-6033
Toll free: 1-800-222-7669                     Stanley Hardware                                www.stopandshop.com
www.sony.com                                  Customer Service
                                                                                              Subway
                                              480 Myrtle St .
Southwest Airlines                                                                            325 Bic Dr .
                                              New Britain, CT 06053
PO Box 36647-1CR                              Toll free: 1-800-622-4393                       Milford, CT 06461-3059
Dallas, TX 75235-1647                         Fax: 1-877-334-6791                             203-877-4281
214-792-4223                                  www.stanleyhardware.com                         Toll free: 1-800-888-4848




                                                                                                                                      Federal Agencies
Toll free: 1-800-435-9792 (English)                                                           www.subway.com
Toll free: 1-800-826-6667 (Spanish)           Staples, Inc .
                                                                                              Suntrust
TTY: 1-800-533-1305                           500 Staples Dr .
Fax: 214-792-5099                             Framingham, MA 01702                            PO Box 4418 GA-Atlanta-0795
www.southwest.com                             508-253-5000                                    Atlanta, GA 30302-4418
                                              Toll free: 1-800-378-2753                       Toll free: 1-800-786-8787
Spiegel Brands, Inc                                                                           www.suntrust.com
                                              Toll free: 1-800-338-0252 (Store
Customer Satisfaction                         Relations)




                                                                                                                                      National Consumer
                                                                                              Symantec Corporation
One Spiegel Ave .                             www.staples.com
Hampton, VA 23630-5367                                                                        20330 Stephens Creek Blvd .
Toll free: 1-800-222-5680                     Starbucks                                       Cupertino, CA 95014
E-mail: clientservices@spiegel .com           Customer Relations                              408-517-8000
www.spiegel.com                               PO Box 3717                                     Fax: 408-517-8186
                                              Seattle, WA 98124-3717                          www.symantec.com
Spirit Airlines
                                              Toll free: 1-800-235-2883
2800 Executive Way
                                                                                                                                      State & Local
                                              Toll free: 1-800-782-7282 (Card                                        T
Miramar, FL 33025                             Services)
E-mail: customerr@spiritair .com              www.starbucks.com                               Taco Bell
www.spiritair.com                                                                             See: YUM! Brands, Inc .
                                              Starwood Hotels & Resorts                       Customer Relations
                                              Worldwide, Inc .                                17901 Von Karman
                                                                                                                                      Trade & Professional




                                              Consumer Affairs                                Irvine, CA 92614
                                              1111 Westchester Ave .                          949-863-4500
                                              White Plains, NY 10604                          Toll free: 1-800-822-6235
                                              914-640-8100                                    www.tacobell.com
                                              Toll free: 1-800-328-6242
                                              E-mail: customercare@
                                              starwoodhotels .com
                                                                                                                                      Index




                                              www.starwoodhotels.com

                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication               96
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Talbots                                       Texas Instruments, Inc .                      TJ Maxx
Customer Service Dept .                       Consumer Relations                            See: TJX Companies, Inc .
One Talbots Dr .                              PO Box 660199                                 Toll free: 1-800-926-6299
Hingham, MA 02043                             Dallas, TX 75266                              www.tjmaxx.com
781-741-4028                                  972-917-8324 (Technical support)
                                                                                            TJx Companies, Inc .
Toll free: 1-800-992-9010                     972-995-2011
TTY: 1-800-624-9179                           Toll free: 1-800-842-2737                     770 Cochituate Rd .
Fax: 1-800-438-9443                           www.ti.com                                    Framingham, MA 01701
www.talbots.com                                                                             508-390-1000
                                              T .G .I . Friday’s                            Toll free: 1-877-746-7259 (A . J .
Target Stores                                 Guest Relations                               Wright)
Guest Relations and Quality                   4201 Marsh Ln .                               Toll free: 1-800-926-6299 (TJ Maxx)
Assurance                                     Carrollton, TX 75007                          Toll free: 1-800-888-0776 (Home
PO Box 9350                                   Toll free: 1-800-374-4297                     Goods)
Minneapolis, MN 55440-9350                    www.tgifridays.com                            Toll free: 1-888-627-7425 (Marshall’s)
612-307-9800                                                                                Fax: 508-390-2091
                                              3M
Toll free: 1-800-440-0680                                                                   www .tjx .com
TTY: 1-800-755-5852                           3M Center
                                              St . Paul, MN 55144-1000                      T-Mobile Wireless
Fax: 612-307-8870
www.target.com                                651-737-6501                                  Customer Relations
                                              Toll free: 1-800-364-3577                     PO Box 37380
TEAC America, Inc .                           Fax: 1-800-713-6329                           Albuquerque, NM 87176-7380
Customer Service                              www.3m.com                                    Toll free: 1-877-453-1304
7733 Telegraph Rd .                                                                         Toll free: 1-800-866-2453
                                              Thrifty Car Rental
Montebello, CA 90640                                                                        Toll free: 1-800-937-8997
323-726-0303 (Sales)                          PO Box 35250                                  TTY: 1-877-296-1018
323-727-7617 (Technical)                      Tulsa, OK 74153                               Fax: 505-998-3775
323-727-7627 (Service)                        918-669-2168                                  www.tmobile.com
Fax: 323-727-7632                             Toll free: 1-800-847-4389
                                              TTY: 1-888-332-3677                           Top-Flite Professional Golf
E-mail: custser@teac .com
                                              Fax: 918-669-2060                             Company
www.teac.com
                                              E-mail: customercare@thrifty .com             Consumer Dept .
Teleflora                                     www.thrifty.com                               425 Meadow St .
11444 West Olympic Blvd . - 4th Floor                                                       Chicopee, MA 01013
                                              Time Warner, Inc .
Los Angeles, CA 90064                                                                       413-536-1200
Toll free: 1-800-835-3356                     One Time Warner Center                        Toll free: 1-866-834-6532
Fax: 310-966-3666                             New York, NY 10019                            www.topflite.com
E-mail: service@teleflora .com                212-484-8000
                                              www.timewarner.com                            The Toro Company
www.teleflora.com
                                                                                            Consumer Division
Terminix                                      Time, Inc .
                                                                                            8111 Lyndale Ave ., South
Customer Service                              3000 University Center Dr .                   Bloomington, MN 55420
860 Ridge Lake Rd .                           Tampa, FL 33612-6408                          612-888-8801
Memphis, TN 38120                             813-979-6625                                  Toll free: 1-800-348-2424
Toll free: 1-800-837-6464                     Toll free: 1-866-550-6934                     E-mail: consumer .service@toro .com
www.terminix.com                              Fax: 813-354-3467                             www.toro.com
                                              E-mail: subsvcs@time .customersvc .
Tetley USA, Inc .                             com                                           Toshiba America
Consumer Services Dept .                      www.time.com                                  82 Totowa Rd .
890 Mountain Ave ., Suite 105                                                               Wayne, NJ 07470
                                              Timex Corporation
New Providence, NJ 07974                                                                    Toll free: 1-800-631-3811
203-929-9200                                  Customer Service                              Fax: 973-628-1875
Toll free: 1-800-728-0084                     1302 Pike Ave .                               E-mail: customer_support@tacp .
www.tetleyusa.com                             North Little Rock, AR 72114                   com
                                              501-372-1111                                  www.tacp.toshiba.com
                                              Toll free: 1-800-448-4639
                                              Fax: 501-370-5747
                                              E-mail: custserv@timex .com
                                              www.timex.com

  97                                                                      Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                       corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Totes/Isotoner                                Travelers Companies, Inc .                      Twitter .com
9655 International Blvd .                     Consumer Affairs                                539 Bryant St ., Suite 402
Cincinnati, OH 45246-5658                     One Tower Square 5MS                            San Francisco, CA 94107
513-682-8200                                  Hartford, CT 06183                              415-896-2008
Toll free: 1-800-762-8712                     Toll free: 1-866-336-2077 (Customer             E-mail: help@twitter .com
Fax: 513-682-8606                             Advocacy)                                       www.twitter.com
E-mail: customerservice@totes .com            Toll free: 1-800-252-4633 (Claim
                                                                                              Tyson Foods
www.totes.com                                 Inquiry)
                                              www.travelers.com                               Consumer Relations CP631
Tourneau, Inc .                                                                               2200 Don Tyson Pkwy .
Customer Service                              Travelocity .com LP                             Springdale, AR 72762
3 East 54th St .                              Customer Service                                Toll free: 1-800-233-6332
New York, NY 10022                            11603 Crosswinds Way Suite 125                  Toll free: 1-800-643-3410
212-758-3265                                  San Antonio, TX 78233                           (Switchboard)




                                                                                                                                    Automotive
Toll free: 1-800-348-3332                     Toll free: 1-888-872-8356                       www.tyson.com
E-mail: customerservice@tourneau .            Toll free: 1-800-255-1068 (Last
com                                           minute service)                                                        U
www.tourneau.com                              Toll free: 1-877-815-5446 (Cruise




                                                                                                                                    BBB
                                              service)                                        U-Haul International
Toys “R” Us
                                              TTY: 1-800-555-7585                             PO Box 21502
Guest Relations                               www.travelocity.com                             Phoenix, AZ 85036-1502
1 Geoffrey Way




                                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts
                                              True Value Company                              602-263-6771
Wayne, NJ 07470-2030
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-789-3638 (Customer
973-617-3500                                  Customer Service
                                                                                              Service)
Toll free: 1-800-869-7787                     8600 West Bryn Mawr Ave .
                                                                                              www.uhaul.com
www.toysrus.com                               Chicago, IL 60631-3505
                                              773-695-5000                                    Uniden America Corporation
Trader Joe’s
                                              www.truevalue.com                               Customer Service
PO Box 5049
                                              TruGreen Lawn Care                              4700 Amon Carter Blvd .
Monrovia, CA 91017
                                                                                              Fort Worth, TX 76155




                                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
626-599-3700 Ext . 3035                       Service Master Company
                                                                                              817-858-3300
www.traderjoes.com                            860 Ridge Lake Blvd, MS A4-4081
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-297-1023
                                              Memphis, TN 38120
Trane                                                                                         TTY: 1-800-874-9314
                                              Toll free: 1-866-789-3205
Residential Customer Relations                                                                Fax: 1-800-323-2641
                                              www.trugreen.com
PO Box 9010                                                                                   E-mail: cservice@uniden .com
Tyler, TX 75707                               Tupperware Corporation                          www .uniden .com
903-581-3200 (Residential)                    Customer Care                                   Unilever




                                                                                                                                    National Consumer
931-645-6471 (Commercial)                     PO Box 2353
                                                                                              Consumer Services
www.trane.com                                 Orlando, FL 32802
                                                                                              920 Sylvan Ave ., 2nd Floor
                                              Toll free: 1-800-366-3800
TransUnion, LLC                                                                               Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
                                              www.tupperware.com
PO Box 2000                                                                                   Toll free: 1-800-621-2013
Chester, PA 19022                             Turtle Wax, Inc .                               E-mail: comments@unilever .com
610-546-4600                                  PO Box 247                                      www.unilever.com
Toll free: 1-800-888-4213 (Obtain a           Willowbrook, IL 60559-0247
                                                                                                                                    State & Local
                                                                                              Uniroyal Tires
Report)                                       Toll free: 1-800-887-8539
                                                                                              Consumer Care Dept .
Toll free: 1-800-916-8800 (Disputes)          www.turtlewax.com
                                                                                              PO Box 19001
Toll free: 1-800-680-7289 (Frauds)
                                              TV Guide                                        Greenville, SC 29602-9001
Fax: 610-546-4605
                                              Customer Relations                              Toll free: 1-877-458-5878
E-mail: fvad@transunion .com
                                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional




                                              PO Box 37360                                    www .uniroyal .com
www.transunion.com
                                              Boone, IA 50037
                                              Toll free: 1-800-866-1400
                                              Fax: 515-433-5001
                                              E-mail: feedback@tvguide .com
                                              www.tvguide.com
                                                                                                                                    Index




                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication            98
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

United Airlines                               US Airways                                     Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd .
Customer Relations                            Customer Relations                             PO Box 570
PO Box 66100                                  4000 E . Sky Harbor Blvd .                     Canton, MA 02021
Chicago, IL 60666                             Phoenix, AZ 85034                              Toll free: 1-800-821-5438
847-700-6796                                  480-693-0800                                   E-mail: customer .relations .us@fly .
Toll free: 1-877-228-1327                     Toll free: 1-866-523-5333                      virgin .com
Toll free: 1-800-221-6903 (Baggage)           TTY: 1-800-245-2966                            www.virgin-atlantic.com
Toll free: 1-800-864-8331                     Fax: 480-693-2300
                                                                                             Virgin Mobile USA, LLP
TTY: 1-800-323-0170                           www.usairways.com
Fax: 1-877-406-1059                                                                          2185 North California Blvd .
                                              US Bancorp                                     Walnut Creek, CA 94596
www.ual.com
                                              US Bancorp Center                              Toll free: 1-888-322-1122
United Healthcare                             800 Nicollet Mall                              www.virginmobileusa.com
Customer Service                              Minneapolis, MN 55402
                                                                                             Visa USA, Inc .
PO Box 740815                                 Toll free: 1-800-872-2657
Atlanta, GA 30374-0815                        TTY: 1-800-685-5065                            (Contact your issuing bank first)
Toll free: 1-888-545-5205                     www.usbank.com                                 PO Box 194607
www.uhc.com                                                                                  San Francisco, CA 94119-4607
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-800-VISA-911
United Online, Inc .                                            V                            E-mail: askvisausa@visa .com
LNR Warner Center                             The Valvoline Company                          www.visa.com
21301 Burbank Blvd .
                                              PO Box 14000                                   Vonage
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
                                              Lexington, KY 40512                            Customer Care
818-287-3000 (Corporate Office)
                                              Toll free: 1-800-832-6825                      23 Main St .
Fax: 818-287-2001
                                              www.valvoline.com                              Holmdel, NJ 07733
www.unitedonline.com
                                              Verizon Communications, Inc .                  Toll free: 1-866-243-4357
United Parcel Service (UPS)                                                                  www.vonage.com
                                              140 West St .
Customer Service
                                              New York, NY 10007
55 Glenlake Pkwy ., NE                                                                                             W
                                              Toll free: 1-800-621-9900
Atlanta, GA 30328
                                              TTY: 1-800-974-6006
Toll free: 1-800-742-5877                                                                    Walgreens
                                              www .verizon .com
TTY: 1-800-833-0056                                                                          Consumer Relations
www.ups.com                                   Viacom, Inc .                                  200 Wilmot Rd .
United Van Lines, Inc .                       1515 Broadway, 51st Floor                      Deerfield, IL 60015
                                              New York, NY 10036                             Toll free: 1-800-925-4733 (In-store)
Claim Dept .
                                              212-258-6000                                   Toll free: 1-877-250-5823 (Online)
One United Dr .
                                              www.viacom.com                                 TTY: 1-877-924-7889
Fenton, MO 63026
                                                                                             www.walgreens.com
636-326-3100                                  Victoria’s Secret Stores
Toll free: 1-800-948-4885                     Customer Service                               Wal-Mart Stores, Inc .
www.unitedvanlines.com                        North American Office                          Customer Relations
Uno Chicago Grill                             PO Box 16590                                   702 SW Eighth St .
                                              Columbus, OH 43216-6589                        Bentonville, AR 72716-0117
100 Charles Park Rd .
                                              Toll free: 1-800-411-5116                      479-273-4000
Boston, MA 02132
                                              Toll free: 1-800-474-7834 (Spanish)            Toll free: 1-800-925-6278
617-323-9200
                                              Toll free: 1-800-888-8200 (Victoria’s          Toll free: 1-800-966-6546 (Website
Toll free: 1-866-600-8667
                                              Secret Direct)                                 questions)
E-mail: mail@unos .com
                                              TTY: 1-800-666-0268                            Fax: 479-204-9798
www.unos.com
                                              E-mail: service@victoriassecret .com           E-mail: help@walmart .com
                                              www.victoriassecret.com                        www.wal-mart.com




 99                                                                        Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                    of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                       corporaTe consumer conTacTs

Walter Drake, Inc .                           Western Union Financial                         Winnebago Industries
Customer Service                              Services, Inc .                                 Owner Relations
PO Box 3680                                   Quality & Customer Service                      PO Box 152
Oshkosh, WI 54903-3680                        PO Box 4430                                     Forest City, IA 50436-0152
Toll free: 1-800-858-4979                     Bridgeton, MO 63044                             641-585-3535
TTY: 920-231-5506                             720-332-1000                                    Toll free: 1-800-537-1885
Fax: 1-888-252-8462                           Toll free: 1-800-325-6000                       Fax: 641-585-6966
www.wdrake.com                                Toll free: 1-800-448-1492 (Fraud)               E-mail: or@winnabagoind .com
                                              www.westernunion.com                            www.winnebagoind.com
Wegman’s Food Markets
Consumer Affairs                              Wet Seal, Inc .                                 Wrangler
1500 Brooks Ave .                             26972 Burbank                                   Consumer Relations
PO Box 30844                                  Foothill Ranch, CA 92610                        PO Box 21488
Rochester, NY 14603-0844                      Toll free: 1-866-746-7938                       Greensboro, NC 27420-1488




                                                                                                                                   Automotive
Toll free: 1-800-934-6267                     E-mail: customerservice@wetseal .               336-332-3564
www.wegmans.com                               com                                             Toll free: 1-888-784-8571
                                              www.wetseal.com                                 E-mail: wranglerweb@vfc .com
Weight Watchers International
                                                                                              www.wrangler.com
Corporate Affairs                             Whirlpool Corporation




                                                                                                                                   BBB
300 Jericho Quad, Suite 350                   553 Benson Rd .                                 Wyeth Consumer Health Care
Jericho, NY 11753                             Benton Harbor, MI 49022                         Quality Assurance
212-817-4200                                  269-923-5000                                    PO Box 26609




                                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts
516-390-1400                                  Toll free: 1-800-344-1274 (Maytag)              2248 Darbytown Rd .
Toll free: 1-800-651-6000                     Toll free: 1-800-422-1230 (Kitchen              Richmond, VA 23261-6609
E-mail: customerservice@                      Aid)                                            973-660-5000
weightwatchers .com                           E-mail: info@whirlpool .com                     Toll free: 1-800-934-5556
www.weightwatchers.com                        www.whirlpoolcorp.com                           (Prescription products)
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-999-9384
Wells Fargo & Company                         Whole Foods Markets, Inc .
                                                                                              (Prescription products)
Customer Service                              550 Bowie St .                                  Toll free: 1-800-322-3129




                                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies
PO Box 4132                                   Austin, TX 78703                                (Nonprescription products)
San Francisco, CA 94524-4132                  512-542-0878                                    www.wyeth.com
Toll free: 1-800-869-3557 (General)           E-mail: customer .questions@
Toll free: 1-800-956-4442 (Online)            wholefoods .com                                Wyndham Hotel Group
Toll free: 1-866-867-5568 (Report             www.wholefoods.com                             Customer Service
Online Fraud)                                                                                1910 8th Ave ., NE
                                              Williams-Sonoma, Inc .
TTY: 1-800-877-4833                                                                          Aberdeen, SD 57401
www.wellsfargo.com                            10000 Covington Cross Dr .                     Toll free: 1-800-347-7559




                                                                                                                                   National Consumer
                                              Las Vegas, NV 89144                            www.wyndhamworldwide.com
Wendy’s International, Inc .                  702-360-7000
One Dave Thomas Blvd .                        Toll free: 1-877-812-6235
Dublin, OH 43017-0256                         Fax: 702-363-2541
                                                                                                                     x
614-764-3100 Ext . 2032                       E-mail: CustomerService@williams-               xbox
Toll free: 1-800-443-7266                     sonoma .com
                                                                                              See: Microsoft Corporation
Fax: 614-764-6707                             www.williams-sonoma.com
                                                                                              Toll free: 1-800-469-9269
                                                                                                                                   State & Local
E-mail: Consumer_Relations@
                                              Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc .                        TTY: 1-866-740-9269
Wendys .com
                                              PO Box B                                        www.xbox.com
www.wendys.com
                                              Jacksonville, FL 32203-0297
Western Digital                               904-783-5000
Customer Support                              Toll free: 1-866-946-6349
                                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional




20511 Lake Forest Dr .                        E-mail: Svc_WDCustResp@winn-
Lake Forest, CA 92630-7741                    dixie .com
949-672-7000                                  www.winn-dixie.com
Toll free: 1-800-275-4932
www.wdc.com
                                                                                                                                   Index




                                                                    Provided financial support for the publication           100
       Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
corporaTe consumer conTacTs

xerox Corporation                             YUM! Brands, Inc .
Customer Relations                            Customer Relations
PO Box 4505                                   1441 Gardiner Ln .
45 Glover Ave .                               Louisville, KY 40213
Norwalk, CT 06856                             Toll free: 1-800-544-5774
203-968-3000                                  www.yum.com
Toll free: 1-877-979-8498
Toll free: 1-888-339-7887 (Billing)                             Z
Toll free: 800-821-2797 (Customer
Technical Support)                            Zales Jewelers
1-800-275-9376                                Customer Service
E-mail: webmaster@xerox .com                  PO Box 152771
www.xerox.com                                 Irving, TX 75038-1003
                                              Toll free: 1-800-311-5393
                  Y                           Fax: 972-580-5219
                                              E-mail: CustomerService@zales .
Yahoo Online                                  com
Customer Care                                 www.zales.com
701 First Ave .
                                              Zappos .com
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
408-349-5070 (Customer Care)                  Customer Loyalty
408-349-3300                                  2280 Corporate Circle, Suite 100
Toll free: 1-866-562-7219 (Customer           Henderson, NV 89074
Care)                                         Toll free: 1-800-927-7671
Fax: 408-349-3301                             E-mail: cs@zappos .com
E-mail: cc-advoc@yahoo-inc .com               www.zappos.com
www.yahoo.com                                 Zenith Electronics Corporation
Yamaha Motor Corporation                      See: LG Electronics, Inc
6555 Katella Ave .                            Customer Service
Cypress, CA 90630                             2000 Millbrook Dr .
714-761-7435                                  Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Toll free: 1-800-962-7926 (Customer           847-941-8000 (Corporate)
Relations)                                    Toll free: 1-877-993-6484
Toll free: 1-800-252-5265 (Yamaha             www.zenithservice.com
card)
www.yamaha-motor.com




 101                                                                      Provided financial support for the publication
             Member of SOCAP International, see page 71                   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                   Federal agencies

  Many	federal agencies have enforcement and/or complaint-handling duties for products and services
  used by the general public. Others act for the benefit of the public, but do not resolve individual
  consumer problems. Agencies also have fact sheets, booklets and other information that may be
  helpful when making purchase decisions or dealing with consumer problems. If you need help in
  deciding which federal agency to contact, check the index at the end of this book or call the Federal
  Citizen Information Center (FCIC) toll free, 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636). The federal agencies listed
  below respond to consumer complaints and inquiries.




Commission on Civil Rights                             Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
                                                       Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services




                                                                                                                    Automotive
624 9th St ., NW
Washington, DC 20743                                   3101 Park Center Dr ., 10th Floor
202-376-8513                                           Alexandria, VA 22302-1594
202-376-8110 (Publications)                            703-305-7600
Toll free: 1-800-552-6843                              Fax: 703-305-3300




                                                                                                                    BBB
TTY: 202-376-8116 (Nationwide Complaint Referral)      www.cnpp.usda.gov
www.usccr.gov                                          www.mypyramid.gov, (MyPyramid)
                                                       Food and Nutrition Service




                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
                                                       Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services
4330 East West Hwy .                                   3101 Park Center Drive, Room 926
Bethesda, MD 20814                                     Alexandria, VA 22302
Toll free: 1-800-638-2772 (CPSC Hotline; 8:30 am -     703-305-2281
5:00 pm ET)                                            E-mail: webmaster@fns .usda .gov
TTY: 1-800-638-8270                                    www.fns.usda.gov
Fax: 301-504-0124
                                                       Information Response Team
E-mail: info@cpsc .gov




                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
www.cpsc.gov (Product Recalls)                         1400 Independence Ave ., SW
www.recalls.gov (Government Recalls)                   Washington, DC 20250
CPSC is charged with protecting the public from        202-720-2791
unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from     www.usda.gov
more than 15,000 types of consumer products            Meat & Poultry Hotline
including: toys and nursery equipment, appliances,     Food Safety and Inspection Service
sports, yard and playground equipment, furniture,      Toll free: 1-888-674-6854 (10 am-4 pm ET, English/




                                                                                                                    National Consumer
clothing, computers, and fireworks . CPSC announces    Spanish)
more than 300 product recalls every year .             TTY: 1-800-256-7072
                                                       E-mail: mphotline .fsis@usda .gov
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
                                                       www.fsis.usda.gov
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service             National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Legislative and Public Affairs                         1400 Independence Ave ., SW
                                                                                                                    State & Local
1400 Independence Ave ., SW                            Mail Stop 2215
Room 1147 South Building                               Washington, DC 20250-2215
Washington, DC 20250                                   202-720-7947
202-720-2511                                           Fax: 202-690-3162
E-mail: webmaster@aphis .usda .gov                     www.nifa.usda.gov
                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional




www.aphis.usda.gov                                     www.extension.org
                                                       To find your local NIFA office, consult the county
                                                       government lists in your local telephone directory .
                                                                                                                    Index




      Provided financial support for the publication                                                          102
      of the Consumer Action Handbook.
Federal agencies


Department of Commerce                                      Trademarks: Commissioner for Trademarks
                                                            Attention MPU
Bureau of the Census                                        PO Box 1451
4600 Silver Hill Rd .                                       Alexandria, VA 22313-1451
Washington, DC 20233                                        E-mail: TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto .gov
301-763-4636
Toll free: 1-800-923-8282                                   Patents: Commissioner for Patents
TTY: 1-800-877-8339                                         PO Box 1450
www.census.gov                                              Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
                                                            E-mail: usptoinfo@uspto .gov
Weights and Measures Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology              Department of Defense
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2600
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2600                                 National Committee for Employer Support of
301-975-4004                                                the Guard and Reserve
Fax: 301-975-8091                                           1555 Wilson Blvd ., Suite 200
E-mail: owm@nist .gov                                       Arlington, VA 22209-2405
www.nist.gov/owm                                            703-696-1386
The Weights and Measures Division promotes                  Toll free: 1-800-336-4590 (Outside DC)
uniformity in U .S . weights and measures laws,             Fax: 703-696-1409
regulations, and standards to achieve equity between        www.esgr.com
buyers and sellers in the marketplace .                     This office provides assistance with employer/
Seafood Inspection Program                                  employee problems for members of the Guard and
                                                            Reserve and their employers .
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA)                                                      Department of Education
1315 East-West Hwy ., F/SI - Room 10837
Silver Spring, MD 20910                                     The Education Publications Center (EDPUBS)
301-713-2355
                                                            8242 Sandy Court
Toll free: 1-800-422-2750
                                                            PO Box 1398
Fax: 301-713-1081
                                                            Jessup, MD 20794-1398
E-mail: NMFS .Seafood .Services@noaa .gov
                                                            Toll free: 1-877-433-7827 (in Spanish)
www.seafood.nmfs.noaa.gov
                                                            TTY: 1-877-576-7734
NOAA oversees fisheries management in the United
                                                            Fax: 301-470-1244
States and provides a voluntary inspection service
                                                            E-mail: edpubs@inet .ed .gov
to the industry . The NOAA Seafood Inspection
                                                            www.edpubs.ed.gov
Program offers product quality evaluation, grading,
                                                            This office helps consumers identify and order free
and certification services, such as U .S . Grade A,
                                                            publications and resources from the U .S . Department
Processed Under Federal Inspection (PUFI) and Lot
                                                            of Education .
Inspection .
                                                            Educational Resources Information Center
United States Patent and Trademark Office
                                                            (ERIC)
Office of the General Counsel
                                                            Toll free: 1-800-538-3742
U .S . Patent and Trademark Office
                                                            E-mail: support@eric .com
PO Box 15667
                                                            www.eric.ed.gov
Arlington, VA 22215
                                                            Use this phone number to find out about the
Toll free: 1-800-786-9199
                                                            Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) and
TTY: 571-272-9950
                                                            the world’s largest database of educational materials .
Fax: 703-872-9306
E-mail: TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto .gov                Federal Resources for Educational Excellence
www.uspto.gov                                               400 Maryland Ave ., SW
                                                            Washington, DC 20202-2800
                                                            Toll free: 1-800-872-5327
                                                            TTY: 1-800-437-0833
                                                            Fax: 202-401-0689
                                                            www.free.ed.gov

103        Provided financial support for the publication
           of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                     Federal agencies
Department of Education, continued

No Child Left Behind                                       Federal Student Aid Information Center
Toll free: 1-888-814-6252                                  319-337-5665
TTY: 1-800-437-0833                                        Toll free: 1-800-433-3243
Fax: 202-401-0689                                          TTY: 1-800-730-8913 Spanish speakers are available
E-mail: NoChildLeftBehind@ed .gov                          Fax: 202-708-7970
No Child Left Behind is an initiative to ensure that all   E-mail: OPE_SFA@ed .gov
children receive a high quality education and requires     www.ed.gov/finaid/landing.jhtml?src=ln
greater accountability for that success by individual      www.studentaid.ed.gov (For Students)
schools and school districts .                             www.ifap.ed.gov, (For Financial Aid Professionals)
National Library of Education                              www.dl.ed.gov, (For Information about Direct Loans)
                                                           The Center provides federal student aid resources
400 Maryland Ave ., SW                                     for teachers, parents, students, administrators and




                                                                                                                  Automotive
BE-101                                                     others . They provide comprehensive information on
Washington, DC 20202                                       federal student aid programs, including a Financial
202-205-5015                                               Aid and Scholarship Wizard, college savings
Toll free: 1-800-424-1616                                  calculator, and a career finder .
TTY: 202-205-7561




                                                                                                                  BBB
E-mail: library@ed .gov                                    Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
www.ed.gov/NLE/index.html                                  202-245-6800
The National Library of Education (NLE) serves as the      Toll free: 1-800-421-3481




                                                                                                                  Corporate Contacts
primary resource center for education information,         TTY: 1-877-521-2172
providing collections and information services to the      E-mail: ocr@ed .gov
public on the programs, activities and publications of     www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr
the U .S . Department of Education . .
                                                           Office of the Inspector General
EDInfo Electronic Newsletter                               400 Maryland Ave ., SW
www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edinfo/index.                  Washington, DC 20202-1500
html?src=ln                                                Toll free: 1-800-647-8733




                                                                                                                  Federal Agencies
This newsletter provides weekley email messages that       E-mail: oighotline@ed .gov
describe federal teaching and learning resources and       www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html
Department of Education funding opportunities .
                                                           Department of Energy
Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency
Affairs (OIIA)                                             Public Affairs
400 Maryland Ave ., SW                                     Department of Energy
Washington, DC 20202-0498                                  1000 Independence Ave ., SW




                                                                                                                  National Consumer
202-401-2000                                               Washington, DC 20585
Toll free: 1-800-872-5327                                  202-586-5575
TTY: 1-800-437-0833                                        Toll free: 1-800-342-5363
E-mail: education@custhelp .com                            Fax: 202-586-9987
www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oiia/irc.html                www.doe.gov
The OIIA provides accurate education information
and offers guidance in accessing education                 Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
                                                                                                                  State & Local
resources .                                                (EERE)
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative             Office of the Assistant Secretary
Services (OSERS)                                           Mail Stop EE-1
                                                           Department of Energy
400 Maryland Ave ., SW                                     Washington, DC 20585
Washington, DC 20202-2800
                                                                                                                  Trade & Professional




                                                           202-586-9220
202-245-7488                                               202-586-0303
Toll free: 1-866-889-6737                                  Toll free: 1-877-337-3463
TTY: 202-205-4208                                          E-mail: eereic@ee .doe .gov
Fax: 202-245-7591                                          www.eere.energy.gov/consumer
www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/index.html
                                                                                                                  Index




       Provided financial support for the publication                                                       104
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
Federal agencies

                                                            National Runaway Switchboard
Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS)                                                       Administration for Children & Families (ACF)
                                                            3080 N . Lincoln Ave .
HHS-TIPS Fraud Hotline                                      Chicago, IL 60657
                                                            773-880-9860
Office of Inspector General
                                                            Toll free: 1-800-786-2929 (24hrs ./7 days a week)
Attn: HOTLINE
                                                            E-mail: info@nrscrisisline .org
PO Box 23489
                                                            www.1800runaway.org
Washington, DC 20026
Toll free: 1-800-447-8477                                   Office of Child Support Enforcement
TTY: 1-800-377-4950                                         Administration for Children & Families (ACF)
Fax: 1-800-223-8164                                         370 L’Enfant Promenade, SW
E-mail: HHSTips@oig .hhs .gov                               Washington, DC 20447
www.oig.hhs.gov                                             202-401-9373
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)                               www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/
Filing Complaints with OCR                                  Administration on Aging (AoA)
200 Independence Ave ., SW                                  Washington, DC 20201
Room 509F, HHH Building                                     202-619-0724
Washington, DC 20201                                        Fax: 202-357-3555
Toll free: 1-800-368-1019                                   E-mail: aoainfo@aoa .hhs .gov
TTY: 1-800-537-7697                                         www.aoa.gov
E-mail: OCRMail@hhs .gov                                    AoA is the federal focal point and advocate agency
www.dhhs.gov/ocr                                            for older persons and their concerns . In this role, AoA
President’s Council on Physical Fitness and                 works to heighten awareness among other federal
Sports                                                      agencies, and organizations about the valuable
                                                            contributions that older Americans make to the nation .
Department W
                                                            AoA also alerts others to the needs of vulnerable older
200 Independence Ave ., SW, Room 738-H
                                                            people . Through information, referral and outreach
Washington, DC 20201-0004
                                                            efforts at the community level, AoA seeks to educate
202-690-9000
                                                            older people and their caregivers about the benefits
Fax: 202-690-5211
                                                            and services available to help them .
E-mail: fitness@hhs .gov
www.fitness.gov                                             Eldercare Locator
Administration for Children & Families (ACF)                Administration on Aging (AoA)
                                                            301-419-3900 (Ask for the Eldercare Locator line)
370 L’Enfant Promenade, SW
                                                            Toll free: 1-800-677-1116 (M-F, 9 am-8 pm ET)
Washington, DC 20201
                                                            TTY: 1-800-677-1116
www.acf.hhs.gov
                                                            E-mail: eldercarelocator@infospherix .com
ACF is responsible for federal programs that promote
                                                            www.eldercare.gov
the economic and social well-being of families,
                                                            The Eldercare Locator is a free national service of
children, individuals, and communities . ACF’s
                                                            the Administration on Aging that provides an instant
programs are designed to help children develop
                                                            connection to resources that enable older persons
into healthy adults and communities become more
                                                            to live independently in their communities and offers
prosperous and supportive of their members .
                                                            support for caregivers . The National Association
Child Welfare Information Gateway                           of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) administers the
Administration for Children & Families (ACF)                Eldercare Locator in partnership with the National
1250 Mayland Ave ., SW, 8th Floor                           Association of State Units on Aging (NASUA) .
Washington, DC 20024                                        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
703-385-7565                                                (CDC)
Toll free: 1-800-394-3366
                                                            1600 Clifton Rd .
Fax: 703-385-3206
                                                            Atlanta, GA 30333
E-mail: info@childwelfare .gov
                                                            Toll free: 1-800-232-4636
www.childwelfare.gov
                                                            TTY: 1-888-232-6348
                                                            E-mail: cdcinfo@cdc .gov
                                                            www.cdc.gov
                                                            www.cdc.gov/spanish (in Spanish)
105        Provided financial support for the publication
           of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                     Federal agencies
Department of Health and Human Services, continued

CDC National STD Hotline                                  National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)          9000 Rockville Pike
Toll free: 1-800-232-4636 (24 hrs . in English and        Bethesda, MD 20892
Spanish)                                                  301-496-4000
TTY: 1-888-232-6348 (in English and Spanish)              TTY: 301-402-9612
www.cdc.gov/std                                           E-mail: NIHinfo@od .nih .gov
www.cdc.gov/std/Spanish/default.htm (in Spanish)          www.nih.gov
                                                          www.salud.nih.gov (in Spanish)
HIV/AIDS Prevention
                                                          The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)          Federal agency for conducting and supporting
Toll free: 1-800-232-4636                                 medical research .
TTY: 1-888-232-6348
                                                          AIDSinfo




                                                                                                                     Automotive
E-mail: cdcinfo@cdc .gov
www.cdc.gov/hiv                                           National Institutes of Health (NIH)
                                                          PO Box 6303
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
                                                          Rockville, MD 20849-6303
(CMS)
                                                          301-519-0459 (Outside the U .S .)




                                                                                                                     BBB
Office of External Affairs                                Toll free: 1-800-HIV-0440 (English/Spanish 12 pm-
7500 Security Blvd .                                      5pm)
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850                                  TTY: 1-888-480-3739
Toll free: 1-800-633-4227




                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
                                                          Fax: 301-519-6616
Toll free: 1-800-447-8477 (Medicare fraud hotline)        E-mail: ContactUs@aidsinfo .nih .gov
TTY: 1-866-226-1819                                       www.aidsinfo.nih.gov
www.medicare.gov                                          www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/infoSIDA (in Spanish)
www.stopmedicarefraud.gov
You can order Medicare publications (English,             www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/LiveHelp/, (Live help M-F, 12
Spanish, audio-tape, braille), get detailed information   pm-4 pm ET . Spanish-speaking agents available)
about the Medicare managed care plans in your
                                                          National Cancer Institute (NCI)




                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
area, order Medicare health plan quality and
customer satisfaction information, and listen to          National Institutes of Health (NIH)
recorded questions and answers on topics such             NCI Public Inquiries Office
as Medicare health plan choices and health plan           6116 Executive Blvd ., Room 3036A
quality information . CMS runs the Medicare,              Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
Medicaid, Clinical Laboratories, and Children’s Health    Toll free: 1-800-422-6237 (M-F, 9 am-4:30 pm ET,
Insurance programs, and works to make sure that the       English/Spanish)
beneficiaries in these programs are able to get high      TTY: 1-800-332-8615




                                                                                                                     National Consumer
quality health care .                                     E-mail: cancergovstaff@mail .nih .gov; nciespanol@
                                                          mail .nih .gov (in Spanish)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)                        www.cancer.gov
10903 New Hampshire Ave .                                 www.cancer.gov/espanol (Spanish website)
Silver Spring, MD 20993                                   https://cissecure.nci.nih/livehelp/welcome.asp
Toll free: 1-888-463-6332                                 (Live help online chat, M-F 9 am-11pm ET)
www.fda.gov
                                                          National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition              National Institutes of Health (NIH)                        State & Local
Information Line                                          6001 Executive Blvd .
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)                        Room 8184, MSC 9663
Outreach and Information Center                           Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
5100 Paint Branch Pkwy . HFS-009                          301-443-4513
                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional




College Park, MD 20740                                    Toll free: 1-866-615-6464
Toll free: 1-888-723-3366 (M-F; 10 am-4 pm ET)            TTY: 301-443-8431, 1-866-415-8051
www.fda.gov/Food                                          Fax: 301-443-4279
                                                          E-mail: nimhinfo@nih .gov
                                                          www.nimh.nih.gov
                                                          NIMH conducts and supports research that seeks to
                                                          understand, treat, and prevent mental illness . Contact
                                                                                                                     Index




       Provided financial support for the publication                                                          106
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
Federal agencies
Department of Health and Human Services, continued

NIMH for information on the symptoms, diagnosis               FEMA Disaster Assistance
and treatment of mental disorders, clinical trials and        PO Box 10055
research . A publications ordering system is available        Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
on the NIMH website .                                         Toll free: 1-800-621-3362
                                                              TTY: 1-800-462-7585
National Health Information Center
                                                              Fax: 1-800-827-8112
PO Box 1133                                                   E-mail: FEMA-Correspondence-Unit@dhs .gov
Washington, DC 20013-1133                                     www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm
301-565-4167
Toll free: 1-800-336-4797 (English and Spanish)               Ready Campaign
Fax: 301-984-4256                                             500 C St ., SW
E-mail: info@nhic .org                                        Washington, DC 20528
www.health.gov/nhic                                           202-282-8010
www.healthfinder.gov                                          Toll free: 1-888-735-4786 (in Spanish)
www.healthfinder.gov/espanol (in Spanish)                     TTY: 202-447-3543
NHIC is a health information referral service that links      E-mail: ready@dhs .gov
consumers and health professionals with organizations         www.ready.gov
best able to provide answers to their health-related          www.listo.gov (in Spanish)
questions .                                                   Ready is a program designed to educate and
                                                              empower Americans to prepare for and respond
Department of Homeland Security                               to emergencies including natural and man-made
Washington, DC 20528                                          disasters .
202-282-8000                                                  Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
www.dhs.gov                                                   601 South 12th St .
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration                         Arlington, VA 22202-4220
Services (USCIS)                                              Toll free: 1-866-289-9673
District Director                                             E-mail: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs .gov
U .S . Citizenship and Immigration Services                   www.tsa.gov
PO Box 9000                                                   The TSA can assist you with questions or concerns
Brownsville, TX 78520                                         about travel tips, permitted and prohibited items,
Toll free: 1-800-375-5283 (Customer Service Center)           and information on filing a claim for items that were
TTY: 1-800-767-1833                                           damaged or lost during a TSA screening .
www.uscis.gov                                                 U .S . Customs and Border Protection
The USCIS is responsible for processing immigration           1300 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW
and naturalization applications and establishing              Washington, DC 20229
policies regarding immigration services .                     202-354-1000
Federal Emergency Management Agency                           Toll free: 1-877-227-5511
(FEMA)                                                        TTY: 1-866-880-6582
500 C St ., SW                                                Fax: 202-927-1380
Washington, DC 20472                                          www.cbp.gov
202-646-2500                                                  United States Coast Guard
Toll free: 1-800-621-3362                                     Coast Guard Headquarters
TTY: 1-800-462-7585                                           2100 Second St ., SW
www.fema.gov                                                  Washington, DC 20593
National Flood Insurance Program                              Toll free: 1-800-424-8802 (To report chemical and oil
FEMA                                                          spills)
500 C St ., SW                                                www.uscgboating.org (Boat Safety Tips)
Washington, DC 20472                                          www.nrc.uscg.mil (For Information about Chemical
202-646-2780                                                  or Oil Spills)
Toll free: 1-800-621-3362
TTY: 1-800-427-5593
Fax: 202-646-2531
E-mail: floodsmart@dhs .gov
www.floodsmart.gov
 107         Provided financial support for the publication
             of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                  Federal agencies
Department of Homeland Security, continued

United States Fire Administration                       Office of Manufactured Housing Program
National Emergency Training Center (NETC)               Office of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory
16825 South Seton Ave .                                 Affairs and Manufactured Housing
Emmitsburg, MD 21727                                    451 Seventh St ., SW, Room 9164
301-447-1117 (National Fire Academy)                    Washington, DC 20410-8000
301-447-1286 (Emergency Management Institute)           202-708-1112
Toll free: 1-800-238-3358                               Toll free: 1-800-927-2891
www.usfa.dhs.gov                                        TTY: 202-708-1455
                                                        Fax: 202-708-4213
Department of Housing and Urban                         E-mail: mhs@hud .gov
Development                                             www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/mhs/mhshome.cfm
                                                        (Manufactured Housing)




                                                                                                                  Automotive
Federal Housing Administration                          www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/mps/mpshome.cfm
451 7th St ., SW                                        (Minimum Property Standards)
Washington, DC 20410                                    The Manufactured Housing Program regulates the
Toll free: 1-800-225-5342                               construction of certain factory-built housing units
TTY: 202-708-1455                                       called “manufactured homes” . HUD works with




                                                                                                                  BBB
E-mail: info@fhaoutreach .com                           37 states to respond to consumer complaints . The
portal.hud.gov                                          Minimum Property Standards (MPS) establish certain
FHA provides mortgage insurance on single-family,       minimum standards for buildings constructed under




                                                                                                                  Corporate Contacts
multifamily, manufactured home, and hospital loans      HUD housing programs . This includes new single
made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United      family homes, multi-family housing and health care
States and its territories .                            type facilities .
Home Improvement Branch                                 Office of Affordable Housing Programs
451 Seventh St ., SW, Room 9272                         451 Seventh St ., SW, Room 7164
Washington, DC 20410                                    Washington, DC 20410
202-708-2121                                            202-708-2685




                                                                                                                  Federal Agencies
TTY: 202-708-1455                                       Toll free: 1-800-998-9999 (Community Connections)
Fax: 202-708-4308                                       Fax: 202-708-1744
www.hud.gov/improvements                                www.hud.gov
                                                        www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/affordablehousing/
Single Family Housing Program Development
                                                        index.cfm
Home Mortgage Insurance Division
451 Seventh St ., SW, Room 9266                         Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Washington, DC 20410                                    451 7th St ., SW - Room 5204




                                                                                                                  National Consumer
202-708-2121                                            Washington, DC 20410-2000
Fax: 202-708-4308                                       202-708-4252
www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/ins/singlefamily.cfm        Toll free: 1-800-669-9777 (Complaints Hotline)
                                                        TTY: 1-800-927-9275
Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline
                                                        Fax: 202-708-4483
HUD OIG Hotline                                         E-mail: http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/online-
451 7th St ., SW                                        complaint.cfm (online form)
                                                                                                                  State & Local
Washington, DC 20410                                    www.hud.gov/complaints/housediscrim.cfm
202-708-1112                                            www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/
Toll free: 1-800-347-3735
TTY: 202-708-1455
Fax: 202-708-4829
                                                                                                                  Trade & Professional




E-mail: hotline@hudoig .gov
www.hud.gov/offices/oig/hotline
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) accepts
reports of fraud, waste, abuse, and serious
mismanagement in HUD-funded programs and
operations .
                                                                                                                  Index




       Provided financial support for the publication                                                       108
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
Federal agencies
Department of Housing and Urban Development, continued

Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales                    The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health and
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for                 productivity of the public lands for the use and
Regulatory Affairs and Manufactured Housing                  enjoyment of present and future generations .
451 7th St ., SW, Room 9154                                  Fish and Wildlife Service
Washington, DC 20410
                                                             1849 C St ., NW
202-708-0502
                                                             MS 3351
Toll free: 1-800-225-5342
                                                             Washington, DC 20240
TTY: 202-708-1455
                                                             202-208-5634 (Public Affairs routes all calls from here)
Fax: 202-708-4559
                                                             Toll free: 1-800-344-9453
E-mail: hsg-respa@hud .gov
                                                             www.fws.gov
www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/res/respa_hm.cfm
(RESPA)                                                      Geological Survey
www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/ils/ilshome.cfm                  12201 Sunrise Valley Dr .
(Interstate Land Sales)                                      Reston, VA 20192
The office handles complaints and provides                   703-648-4460 (Public Affairs)
information regarding real estate loan transactions          703-358-1729
and borrower rights under the Real Estate Settlement         Toll free: 1-888-275-8747
Procedures Act (RESPA) . The Interstate Land Sales           Fax: (703)358-2251
program protects consumers from fraud and abuse in           www.usgs.gov
the sale or lease of land .
                                                             National Park Service
Department of the Interior                                   1849 C St . NW
                                                             Room 7012
Bureau of Reclamation                                        Washington, DC 20240
1849 C St ., NW                                              202-208-6843 (Public Affairs routes all calls from here)
Mail Code 92-00000                                           www.nps.gov
Washington, DC 20240
202-513-0535 (Public Affairs routes all calls from here)     Department of Justice
www.usbr.gov
                                                             Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Minerals Management Service                                  Information Line
1849 C St . NW                                               Civil Rights Division
Washington, DC 20240                                         950 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW
202-208-3985 (Public Affairs)                                Disability Rights Section--NYAV
Fax: 202-208-3968                                            Washington, DC 20530
www.mms.gov                                                  Toll free: 1-800-514-0301
Bureau of Indian Affairs                                     TTY: 1-800-514-0383
                                                             www.ada.gov
1849 C St ., NW, Room 4542
Washington, DC 20240                                         Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
202-208-3710 (Public Affairs routes all calls from here)     8701 Morrisette Dr .
www.bia.gov                                                  Springfield, VA 22152
The BIA provides services that enhance the quality of        202-307-1000
life, promote economic opportunity, and protect and          www.dea.gov
improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian
tribes, and Alaska Natives .                                 Department of Labor
Bureau of Land Management
                                                             Office of Disability Employment Policy
1849 C St ., NW, Room 406-LS
                                                             U .S . Department of Labor
Washington, DC 20240
                                                             200 Constitution Ave ., NW, Room S1303
202-452-5125 (Public Affairs routes all calls from here)
                                                             Washington, DC 20210
Fax: 202-452-5124
                                                             202-693-7880
www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/Recreation.1.html
                                                             Toll free: 1-866-633-7365
www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/
                                                             TTY: 1-877-889-5627
NLCS.3.html
                                                             Fax: 202-693-7888
                                                             www.dol.gov/odep

109         Provided financial support for the publication
            of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                    Federal agencies
Department of Labor, continued

U .S . Department of Labor National Contact             Veteran’s Employment and Training Service
Center                                                  Department of Labor, Room S1325
Toll free: 1-866-487-2365                               200 Constitution Ave ., NW
TTY: 1-877-889-5627                                     Washington, DC 20210
www.dol.gov                                             Toll free: 1-866-487-2365
                                                        TTY: 1-877-889-5627
Employee Benefits Security Administration
                                                        www.dol.gov/vets
Office of Participant Assistance
Department of Labor, Room N5623                         Department of State
200 Constitution Ave ., NW
Washington, DC 20210                                    Overseas Citizens Services
Toll free: 1-866-444-3272                               Washington, DC 20520




                                                                                                                    Automotive
TTY: 1-877-889-5627                                     202-647-5225 (Emergencies and Non-emergencies,
www.dol.gov/ebsa                                        Mon .-Fri ., 8:15 am-10 pm EST)
The Employmee Benefits Security Administration          202-647-4000 (After hours emergencies, Sundays, and
provides information and assistance on private          holidays ask for the duty officer)
sector, employer-sponsored retirement benefit and       Toll free: 1-888-407-4747




                                                                                                                    BBB
health benefit plans .                                  www.travel.state.gov/about/info/info_308.html
Employment and Training Administration                  Contact the State Department for help with
                                                        emergencies and non-emergencies affecting private




                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts
Office of Outreach
Department of Labor, Room N4643                         Americans abroad .
200 Constitution Ave ., NW                              National Passport Information Center
Washington, DC 20210                                    Passport Services
Toll free: 1-877-872-5627                               Toll free: 1-877-487-2778
TTY: 1-877-889-5627                                     TTY: 1-888-874-7793
Fax: 202-693-2726                                       www.travel.state.gov/passport
www.doleta.gov                                          Contact the National Passport Information Center for




                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
The Employment and Training Administration              information on U .S . passports, including the status of
manages federal government job training and worker      pending applications, as well as the locations of the
dislocation programs, dispenses federal grants to       over 9,000 passport acceptance facilities .
states for public employment service programs, and
administers unemployment insurance benefits . These     Visa Services
services are primarily provided through state and       Washington, DC 20520
local workforce development systems .                   202-663-1225 (8:30 am - 5:00 pm, EST M-F)
                                                        Emergency after hours: 202-647-1512




                                                                                                                    National Consumer
Job Corps
                                                        Fax: 202-663-3897
200 Constitution Ave ., NW                              E-mail: usvisa@state .gov
Suite N4463                                             www.travel.state.gov/visa
Washington, DC 20210                                    Contact Visa Services for information on U .S . visas for
202-693-3000                                            foreigners .
Toll free: 1-800-733-5627
Email: national_office@jobcorps .gov                    Department of Transportation (DOT)
                                                                                                                    State & Local
www.jobcorps.gov
Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational         Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
training program that helps young people (ages          1200 New Jersey Ave ., SE
16 to 24) improve the quality of their lives through    Suite W60-300
vocational and academic training .                      Washington, DC 20590
                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional




Occupational Safety and Health                          202-366-2519
Administration (OSHA)                                   Toll free: 1-800-832-5660
Department of Labor                                     TTY: 1-800-877-8339
200 Constitution Ave ., NW                              www.fmcsa.dot.gov
Washington, DC 20210                                    www.fmcsa.dot.gov/factsfigs/moving.htm (Moving
Toll free: 1-800-321-6742                               Rights)
TTY: 1-877-889-5627                                     www.protectyourmove.gov (Interstate Moving
                                                                                                                    Index




www.osha.gov                                            Information)

       Provided financial support for the publication                                                         110
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
Federal agencies
Department of Transporation, continued

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration               Department of the Treasury
provides information about your rights when moving
across state lines (interstate moves) . Consumers             Bureau of Engraving and Printing
should submit household goods commercial                      Office of External Relations
complaints or dangerous safety violations involving a         14th and C Sts ., SW, Room 533 M
commercial truck or bus to this agency .                      Washington, DC 20228
Federal Aviation Administration                               202-874-8888
                                                              Toll free: 877-874-4114
Consumer Hotline, AOA-20
                                                              Fax: 202-874-3177
800 Independence Ave ., SW
                                                              www.moneyfactory.gov
Washington, DC 20591
202-366-4000                                                  Bureau of the Public Debt
Toll free: 1-866-835-5322                                     Treasury Direct
www.faa.gov                                                   PO Box 7015
Aviation Consumer Protection Division                         Parkersburg, WV 26106-7015
                                                              Toll free: 1-800-722-2678
Office of Aviation Enforcement & Proceedings
                                                              www.publicdebt.treas.gov
1200 New Jersey Ave ., SE
Washington, DC 20590                                          Comptroller of the Currency
202-366-2220 (Airline Service Complaints)                     Customer Assistance Group
Toll free: 1-800-778-4838 (Air travelers with disabilities    1301 McKinney St ., Suite 3450
hotline)                                                      Houston, TX 77010
TTY: 202-366-0511; Toll free:1-800-455-9880                   Toll free: 1-800-613-6743
E-mail: airconsumer@dot .gov                                  TTY: 713-658-0340
airconsumer.ost.dot.gov                                       Fax: 713-336-4301
airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/spanish (in Spanish)                  www.helpwithmybank.gov
Contact AIR Consumer Protection Division with airline
service complaints .                                          Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
                                                              Toll free: 1-800-829-1040 (Help for Individuals)
Federal Railroad Administration                               Toll free: 1-800-829-4933 (Help for Businesses)
Office of Safety                                              Toll free: 1-800-829-1954 (Refund Status)
1200 New Jersey Ave ., SE                                     TTY: 1-800-829-4059
Mailstop 25                                                   www.irs.gov
Washington, DC 20590                                          IRS e-file and IRS e-payment are now available
202-493-6300                                                  through the IRS website . To find out whether the IRS
Fax: 202-493-6309                                             received your return and whether it was processed,
www.fra.dot.gov                                               visit the IRS website or call 1-800-829-4477 or 1-800-
National Highway Traffic Safety                               829-1040 . Whichever method you choose, you’ll need
Administration (NHTSA)                                        your social security number, filing status, and the
                                                              refund amount .
1200 New Jersey Ave ., SE
                                                              Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) can be
West Building
                                                              obtained by fax, mail, or phone .To get an EIN by fax or
Washington, DC 20590
                                                              mail, download Form SS-4, Application for Employer
Toll free: 1-888-327-4236 (Vehicle Safety Hotline)
                                                              ID Number, from www.irs.gov or order a copy from
TTY: 1-800-424-9153
                                                              1-800-829-3676 . To get an EIN by phone, call tollfree
E-mail: https://www .nhtsa .dot .gov/email .cfm (e-mail
                                                              1-866-816-2065 Monday through Friday between 7:00
form)
                                                              am and 10:00 pm .
www.nhtsa.dot.gov
NHTSA wants to hear from consumers regarding
potential defects in their cars . NHTSA’s hotline has
information on safety recalls; crash test ratings; child
safety seats; bicycles; air bags; and impaired driving
prevention .




111          Provided financial support for the publication
             of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                    Federal agencies
Department of the Treasury, continued

Office of Thrift Supervision                            Veterans Health Administration
Consumer Response Center                                810 Vermont Ave ., NW
1700 G St ., NW                                         Washington, DC 20420
Washington, DC 20552                                    Toll free: 1-877-222-8387
Toll free: 1-800-842-6929                               Fax: 202-273-9609
TTY: 1-800-877-8339                                     www.va.gov/health (Veteran health resources)
Fax: 202-906-7342
www.ots.treas.gov                                       Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The Office of Thrift Supervision handles complaints
about federal savings and loans and federal savings     Energy Star Program
banks .                                                 1200 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW
                                                        Room 6202J
United States Mint




                                                                                                                   Automotive
                                                        Washington, DC 20460
Customer Service Center                                 703-412-3086
2799 Reeves Rd .                                        Toll free: 1-888-782-7937
Plainfield, IN 46168                                    E-mail: hotline@energystar .gov
Toll free: 1-800-872-6468                               www.energystar.gov




                                                                                                                   BBB
TTY: 1-888-321-6468                                     The ENERGY STAR label is awarded to products for
www.usmint.gov                                          the home and office that are highly energy-efficient .
                                                        The program encourages the use of energy-efficient




                                                                                                                   Corporate Contacts
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
                                                        products that both protect the environment and save
1722 I St . N .W .                                      consumers money .
Washington , DC 20421
                                                        Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse
Toll free: 1-800-827-1000
                                                        (IAQ INFO)
TTY: 1-800-829-4833
www.va.gov                                              PO Box 37133
For information about VA medical care or benefits,      Washington, DC 20013-7133
write, call or visit your nearest VA facility .         703-356-4020




                                                                                                                   Federal Agencies
                                                        Toll free: 1-800-438-4318
Consumer Affairs Service                                Fax: 703-356-5386
810 Vermont Ave ., NW                                   E-mail: IAQINFO@aol .com
Washington, DC 20420                                    www.epa.gov/iaq/iaqxline.html
202-461-7402                                            This agency is a central source of information on
Fax: 202-273-5716                                       indoor air quality . It is responsible for implementing
www.va.gov                                              the Indoor Environments Program, a voluntary (non-




                                                                                                                   National Consumer
Contact Consumer Affairs Service for consumer           regulatory) program to address indoor air pollution .
information or general assistance .
                                                        Inspector General’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse
National Cemetery Administration                        Hotline
810 Vermont Ave ., NW                                   1200 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW, (2410T)
Washington, DC 20420                                    Washington, DC 20460
202-461-6240                                            202-566-2391
Fax: 202-273-6698                                       Toll free: 1-888-546-8740 (Fraud, Waste and Abuse
Contact the National Cemetery Administration for        Hotline)                                                   State & Local
information about burials, headstones or markers,       Fax: 202-566-2549
the State Cemetery Grants Program, and presidential     E-mail: webcomments .oig@epa .gov
memorial certificates .                                 www.epa.gov/oig/ombudsman-hotline.htm
                                                        EPA’s Hotline Coordinator receives, reviews, and
Veterans Benefits Administration
                                                                                                                   Trade & Professional




                                                        processes complaints and allegations about agency
810 Vermont Ave ., NW                                   waste and abuse .
Washington, DC 20420
202-461-9763 (Publications Only)
Toll free: 1-800-827-1000
www.vba.va.gov/VBA/
                                                                                                                   Index




       Provided financial support for the publication                                                        112
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
Federal agencies
Environmental Protection Agency, continued

National Pesticide Information Center                         Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Oregon State University
333 Weniger Hall                                              Consumer Center
Corvalis, OR 97331-6502                                       Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB)
Toll free: 1-800-858-7378                                     445 12th St ., SW
Fax: 541-737-0761                                             Washington, DC 20554
E-mail: npic@ace .orst .edu                                   Toll free: 1-888-225-5322
npic.orst.edu                                                 TTY: 1-888-835-5322
A service that provides objective, science-based              Fax: 1-866-418-0232
information about a wide variety of pesticide-related         E-mail: fccinfo@fcc .gov
subjects, including: pesticide products, recognition          www.fcc.gov/cgb
and management of pesticide poisonings, toxicology,           FCC accepts public inquiries, informal complaints,
environmental                                                 and questions regarding cable, radio, satellite,
chemistry .                                                   telephone, television and wireless services .
Waste and Waste Reduction                                     Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
U .S . EPA Office of Solid Waste (5305P)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW                                   Division of Supervision and Consumer
Washington, DC 20460                                          Protection
www.epa.gov/osw                                               Consumer Response Center
Safe Drinking Water Hotline                                   2345 Grand Blvd ., Ste 100
Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water                     Kansas City, MO 64108
Safe Drinking Water Hotline, 4606M                            Toll free: 1-877-275-3342
1200 Pennsylvania Ave ., N .W .,                              TTY: 1-800-925-4618
Washington, DC 20460 .                                        Fax: 703-812-1020
703-412-3330                                                  www.fdic.gov
Toll free: 1-800-426-4791                                     https://www2.fdic.gov/STARSMAIL/index.asp
www.epa.gov/safewater/hotline                                 (Online Consumer Assistance Form)
The Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water helps           FDIC responds to questions about federal deposit
protect public health by ensuring safe drinking water         insurance coverage and handles complaints and
and protecting ground water . This office oversees            inquiries about FDIC-insured state banks which are
implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which          not members of the Federal Reserve System .
is the national law safeguarding tap water in America .
                                                              Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)
Toxic Substances Control Act Assistance
                                                              Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution
Information Service Hotline (TSCA)
                                                              Service
202-554-1404                                                  800 North Capitol St ., NW
Fax: 202-554-5603                                             Washington, DC 20573
E-mail: tsca-hotline@email .epa .gov                          202-523-5807
                                                              Fax: 202 275-0059
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
                                                              E-mail: Complaints@fmc .gov
(EEOC)
                                                              www.fmc.gov
                                                              FMC is the regulatory agency overseeing ocean
Office of Communications and Legislative
                                                              carriers and certain other entities, operating in
Affairs
                                                              the waterborne foreign commerce of the U .S .
131 M St ., NE                                                FMC assists consumers engaged in disputes
Washington, DC 20507                                          with transporting carriers, ocean transportation
202-663-4900                                                  intermediaries and cruise operators .
Toll free: 1-800-669-4000
TTY: 1-800-669-6820 or 202-663-4494
Fax: 202-663-4912
E-mail: info@eeoc .gov
www.eeoc.gov




113          Provided financial support for the publication
             of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                      Federal agencies


Federal Reserve System                                    www.USA.gov (the U .S . government’s official web
                                                          portal)
Federal Reserve Consumer Help                             www.GobiernoUSA.gov (USA .gov in Spanish)
PO Box 1200                                               www.pueblo.gsa.gov (FCIC homepage)
Minneapolis, MN 55480                                     www.ConsumerAction.gov (consumer information
Toll free: 1-888-851-1920 (8am-6pm, CT)                   and tips)
TTY: 1-877-766-8533 (8am-6pm, CT)                         www.consumidor.gov (consumer information in
Fax: 1-877-888-2520                                       Spanish)
E-mail: consumerhelp@federalreserve .gov                  www.info.gov (citizen services)
www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov                        www.kids.gov (government websites for kids)
The Federal Reserve Board has consolidated its            FCIC publishes the free, quarterly Consumer
consumer channels to allow for more efficient             Information Catalog, which lists more than 200 free




                                                                                                                     Automotive
investigation of complaints about state member            and low-cost Federal booklets on a wide variety of
banks .                                                   consumer topics, and maintains a family of websites
                                                          to help provide free, timely and useful information to
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)                            citizens . Consumers can get the information they need
                                                          in three ways: through printed publications, by calling




                                                                                                                     BBB
Bureau of Consumer Protection                             toll-free 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636), or by visiting
Consumer Response Center                                  www .USA .gov, the U .S . government’s official web
600 Pennsylvania Ave ., NW                                portal .




                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
Washington, DC 20580                                      Surplus Federal Property Sales
Toll free: 1-877-382-4357                                 1800 F St ., NW
TTY: 1-866-653-4261                                       Washington, DC 20405
www.ftc.gov                                               Toll free: 1-800-488-3111
www.OnGuardOnline.gov (Online Security Tips)              www.gsa.gov
                                                          www.gsaauctions.gov, GSA online auctions
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent                 GSA helps federal agencies dispose of unneeded
fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices




                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
                                                          property by selling directly to the public . They sell
in the marketplace and to provide information to          personal property, real estate, and vehicles to the
help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them . To file       public . For more information visit www .gsa .gov and
a complaint or to get free information on consumer        click “For Citizens .” The GSA Auctions® e-tool offers
issues, visit the website or call the toll-free numbers   the general public the opportunity to bid electronically
above . The FTC records consumer complaints               on many federal assets .
(Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other
fraud-related complaints) into the Consumer Sentinel      National Archives and Records Administration




                                                                                                                     National Consumer
Network, a secure, online database and investigative
tool available to hundreds of civil and criminal law      8601 Adelphi Rd .
enforcement agencies in the U .S . and abroad .           College Park, MD 20740-6001
                                                          Toll free: 1-866-272-6272
General Services Administration (GSA)                     TTY: 301-837-0482
                                                          Fax: 301-837-0483
Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC)                 E-mail: inquire@nara .gov
                                                                                                                     State & Local
Federal Citizen Information Center                        www.archives.gov
1800 F St ., NW                                           NARA helps preserve our nation’s history by
Room G-142                                                overseeing the management of all federal records .
Washington, DC 20405
202-501-1794                                              National Council on Disability (NCD)
                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional




For Catalog Orders: Send your name and address to         Director of Communications
Catalog, Pueblo, CO 81009                                 1331 F St ., NW
Toll free: 1-800-333-4636                                 Suite 850
Fax: 202-501-4281                                         Washington, DC 20004
                                                          202-272-2004
                                                          TTY: 202-272-2074
                                                          Fax: 202-272-2022
                                                                                                                     Index




                                                          E-mail: ncd@ncd .gov
                                                          www.ncd.gov
       Provided financial support for the publication                                                          114
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
Federal agencies
National Council on Disability, continued

The National Council on Disability makes                       Fax: 202-326-4047 or 202-326-4147
recommendations to the President and Congress on               Email: mypension@pbgc .gov
policies affecting Americans with disabilities . NCD           www.pbgc.gov
works to empower individuals with disabilities and             The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation protects
to promote equal opportunity .                                 the retirement incomes of workers in private sector
                                                               defined pension benefit plans . When you call, it helps
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
                                                               to have your social security number and your plan’s
1775 Duke St .                                                 name or number .
Alexandria, VA 22314-3428
703-518-6300                                                   Railroad Retirement Board
Toll free: 1-800-827-9650 (Fraud Hotline)                      844 North Rush St .
E-mail: consumerassistance@ncua .gov                           Chicago, IL 60611-2092
www.ncua.gov                                                   312-751-7139
NCUA is the federal agency that charters and                   Toll free: 1-877-772-5772 (National Telephone Service)
supervises federal credit unions and insures savings           TTY: 312-751-4701
in federal and most state-chartered credit unions              www.rrb.gov
across the country through the National Credit Union           The Board’s primary function is to administer
Share Insurance Fund .                                         comprehensive retirement-survivor and
                                                               unemployment-sickness benefit programs for the
National Labor Relations Board
                                                               nation’s railroad workers and their families .
Division of Information
1099 14th St ., NW                                             Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Washington, DC 20570-0001
202-273-1991                                                   Office of Investor Education and Advocacy
Toll free: 1-866-667-6572                                      (OIEA)
TTY: 1-866-315-6572                                            100 F St ., NE
Fax: 202-273-1789                                              Washington, DC 20549-0213
www.nlrb.gov                                                   202-551-6551
The NLRB conducts elections to determine whether               Toll free: 1-800-732-0330
or not employees want union representation and                 Fax: 202-772-9295
investigates and remedies unfair labor practices by            E-mail: help@sec .gov
employers and unions .                                         www.sec.gov/investor.shtml (Investor information)
                                                               www.sec.gov/complaint.shtml (Complaint form)
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)                           The OIEA provides a variety of services to help
1900 E St ., NW                                                individuals address the problems and questions they
Washington, DC 20415                                           may face as an investor . OIEA’s investor website
202-606-1800                                                   above contains an extensive collection of free
TTY: 202-606-2532                                              information on investing wisely and avoiding fraud .
E-mail: general@opm .gov
                                                               Small Business Administration (SBA)
www.opm.gov
www.usajobs.gov (Federal employment information)               409 3rd St ., SW, Suite 7600
OPM manages the civil service of the federal                   Washington, DC 20416
government, coordinates the recruitment of new                 202-205-6740
government employees, and manages their health                 Toll free: 1-800-827-5722 (Information)
insurance and retirement benefits programs . It also           TTY: 704-344-6640
provides resources for locating student jobs, summer           Fax: 202-481-6190
jobs, scholarships, and internships .                          E-mail: answerdesk@sba .gov
                                                               www.sba.gov
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation                           SBA offices are located in all 50 states, the District
                                                               of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U .S . Virgin Islands and
Customer Contact Center                                        Guam . For the office nearest you, look under “U .S .
PO Box 151750                                                  Government” in your telephone directory .
Alexandria, VA 22315-1750
Toll free: 1-800-400-7242
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (federal relay)
 115          Provided financial support for the publication
              of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                                      Federal agencies
Small Business Administration, continued

Social Security Administration                            fraud, including foreign currency schemes, energy
                                                          manipulation and hedge fund fraud, and works with
Office of Public Inquiries                                other federal and state agencies to bring criminal and
2555 Windsor Park Bldg .                                  other actions .
6401 Security Blvd .
Baltimore, MD 21235                                       U .S . Postal Service
Toll free: 1-800-772-1213
www.socialsecurity.gov                                    Consumer Advocate
The Social Security Administration provides               475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
retirement, survivors and disability benefits, as well    Room 10427
as administers Supplemental Security Income (SSI)         Washington, DC 20260-2200
payments . To report Social Security or SSI fraud, call   202-268-2282




                                                                                                                      Automotive
toll free: 1-800-269-0271 .                               Toll free: 1-800-275-8777
                                                          TTY: 1-877-889-2457
Surface Transportation Board (STB)                        www.usps.gov
                                                          The U .S . Postal Service Consumer Advocate listens to
Department of Transportation
                                                          the voice of the customer and amplifies the message




                                                                                                                      BBB
395 E St ., SW
                                                          to postal management . Through proactive external
Washington, DC 20423-0001
                                                          messaging, the Consumer Advocate also channels
202-245-0245
                                                          information from the Postal Service to customers on
TTY: 1-800-877-8339




                                                                                                                      Corporate Contacts
                                                          postal policy and procedures and on ways to get the
www.stb.dot.gov
                                                          most from their post office .
The STB resolves railroad rate and service disputes
and reviews proposed railroad mergers . The               United States Postal Inspection Service
STB is decisionally independent, although it is           Criminal Investigations Service Center
administratively affiliated with the Department of        ATTN: Mail Fraud
Transportation (DOT) .                                    222 S . Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250
                                                          Chicago, IL 60606-6100
U .S . Access Board




                                                                                                                      Federal Agencies
                                                          Toll free: 1-877-876-2455
1331 F St ., NW, Suite 1000                               www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov/
Washington, DC 20004-1111                                 If you believe you have been the victim of a crime
202-272-0080                                              involving the U .S . mail or need assistance with postal-
Toll free: 1-800-872-2253                                 related problems of a law enforcement nature, you
TTY: 1-800-993-2822                                       should check your phone directory and contact your
Fax: 202-272-0081                                         nearest Postal Inspection Service office .




                                                                                                                      National Consumer
E-mail: info@access-board .gov
www.access-board.gov

U .S . Commodity Futures Trading Commission
(CFTC)
Office of External Affairs
Lafayette Center
                                                                                                                      State & Local
1155 21st St ., NW
Washington, DC 20581
202-418-5000
202-418-5080
Fax: 202-418-5525
E-mail: questions@cftc .gov
                                                                                                                      Trade & Professional




www.cftc.gov
The CFTC protects market users and the public
from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices
related to the sale of commodity and financial futures
and options, and to foster open, competitive, and
financially sound futures and option markets . The
                                                                                                                      Index




CFTC investigates and prosecutes commodities


       Provided financial support for the publication                                                           116
       of the Consumer Action Handbook.
naTional consumer organizaTions

  These organizations define their missions as consumer assistance, protection and/or advocacy.
  The descriptions below are based on information they provided.
  The type of service provided by each organization varies. Those that assist individuals with problems
  are specified. The others do not assist consumers with individual complaints, but they may be interested
  in hearing from consumers about problems, issues and trends in connection with their advocacy and
  consumer education activities.
  Most,	 though	 not	 all,	 distribute	 consumer	 education	 and	 information	 materials.	 Where	 informational	
  or educational materials are offered, there may be a charge; contact the organization to find out.


AARP                                              American Council on                     it with a stamped self-addressed
601 E St ., NW                                    Consumer Interests (ACCI)               envelope to the address listed .
Washington, DC 20049                              555 East Wells St ., Suite 1100
                                                                                          Center for Science in the
Toll free: 1-888-687-2277                         Milwaukee, WI 53202
                                                                                          Public Interest (CSPI)
TTY: 1-877-434-7598                               414-276-6445
                                                                                          1875 Connecticut Ave ., NW, Suite
www.aarp.org                                      Fax: 414-276-3349
                                                                                          300
AARP is committed to addressing                   E-mail: info@consumerinterests .org
                                                                                          Washington, DC 20009
those consumer problems and                       www.consumerinterests.org
                                                                                          202-332-9110
issues that especially impact the                 ACCI is the leading consumer
                                                                                          Fax: 202-265-4954
financial security of people 50 years             policy research and education
                                                                                          E-mail: cspi@cspinet .org
and older . Through advocacy at the               organization consisting of a world-
                                                                                          www.cspinet.org
federal and state levels, AARP works              wide community of researchers,
                                                                                          A nonprofit, membership
to make the marketplace safer for all             educators and related professionals .
                                                                                          organization, CSPI conducts
consumers . AARP also employs a
                                                  American Council on Science             research, education, and advocacy
variety of strategies to help members
                                                  and Health (ACSH)                       on nutrition, health, food safety and
protect themselves from fraud and
                                                  1995 Broadway, 2nd Floor                related issues, and publishes the
deceptive practices .
                                                  New York, NY 10023-5860                 monthly Nutrition Action Healthletter
Alliance Against Fraud (AAF)                      212-362-7044                            as well as other consumer
1701 K St ., NW, Suite 1200                       Fax: 212-362-4919                       information materials .
Washington, DC 20006                              E-mail: acsh@acsh .org
                                                                                          The Center for Legal
202-835-3323                                      www.acsh.org
                                                                                          Empowerment, Accountability
Fax: 202-835-0747                                 A nonprofit public education group,
                                                                                          and Reform (CLEAR)
E-mail: info@nclnet .org                          ACSH provides consumers with
                                                                                          1612 K St . NW, Suite 510
www.fraud.org/aaft/aaftinfo.htm                   up-to-date scientifically sound
                                                                                          Washington, DC 20006
The Alliance, coordinated by the                  information on the relationship
                                                                                          202-887-8255
National Consumers League, is a                   between human health and
                                                                                          Toll free: 1-888-367-4258
coalition of public interest groups,              chemicals, foods, lifestyles, and the
                                                                                          Fax: 202-887-9699
trade associations, labor unions,                 environment . Booklets and special
                                                                                          E-mail: halt@halt .org
businesses, law enforcement                       reports on a variety of topics are
                                                                                          www.clearlegal.org
agencies, educators, and consumer                 available .
                                                                                          The mission of CLEAR (formerly
protection agencies . AAF members
                                                  Center for Auto Safety (CAS)            known as HALT)-is to work to
promote efforts to educate the public
                                                  1825 Connecticut Ave ., NW              make the civil justice system more
about telemarketing and Internet
                                                  Suite 330                               accessible and affordable . CLEAR is
fraud and how to shop safely by
                                                  Washington, DC 20009                    not involved in reforming the criminal
phone and online .
                                                  202-328-7700                            justice system; nor do they provide
                                                  www.autosafety.org                      direct legal services to individuals or
                                                  CAS advocates on behalf of              criminal cases . CLEAR publishes a
                                                  consumers in auto safety and            series of free self help legal manuals,
                                                  quality, fuel efficiency, emissions,    which is accessible on their website .
                                                  and related issues . For advice
                                                  on specific problems, CAS
                                                  requests that consumers write a
                                                  brief statement of the problem or
                                                  question, including the year, make
                                                  and model of the vehicle . Mail
117        Provided financial support for the publication
           of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                           naTional consumer organizaTions

Center for the Study of                             Consumer Action                             Consumers Union
Services                                            221 Main St ., Suite 480                    101 Truman Ave .
1625 K St ., NW, 8th Floor                          San Francisco, CA 94105                     Yonkers, NY 10703-1057
Washington, DC 20006                                415-777-9635 (Consumer Complaints)          914-378-2000
Toll free: 1-800-213-7283                           213-623-8327 (Hotline)                      Fax: 914-378-2900
Fax: 202-347-4000                                   TTY: 415-777-9456                           www.consumersunion.org
E-mail: questions@cssresearch .org                  Fax: 415-777-5267                           Consumers Union (CU), publisher
www.cssresearch.org                                 E-mail: info@consumer-action .org           of Consumer Reports®, is an
www.checkbook.org                                   www.consumer-action.org                     independent, nonprofit testing and
The Center for the Study of Services                An education and advocacy                   information organization serving only
is an independent, nonprofit                        organization specializing in credit,        consumers . CU is a comprehensive
consumer organization . The                         finance, and telecommunications             source for unbiased advice about
organization’s purpose is to provide                issues, Consumer Action offers a            products and services, personal




                                                                                                                                        Automotive
consumers with information to help                  multi-lingual consumer complaint            finance, health and nutrition, and
them get high quality services and                  hotline, free information on its            other consumer concerns . Since
products at the best possible prices .              surveys of banks and long-distance          1936, their mission has been to test
Consumers’ CHECKBOOK evaluates                      telephone companies, and consumer           products, inform the public, and
the quality and prices of service                   education materials in as many as           protect consumers . CU’s Advocacy




                                                                                                                                        BBB
firms and stores .                                  eight languages . Community-based           Offices provide tools to consumers
                                                    organizations can receive these free        to make their concerns heard by
Coalition Against Insurance
                                                    publications in bulk .                      government and industry . They
Fraud




                                                                                                                                        Corporate Contacts
                                                                                                also testify before Federal and state
1012 14th St . NW, Suite 200                        Consumer Federation of
                                                                                                legislative and regulatory bodies,
Washington, DC 20005                                America (CFA)
                                                                                                petition government agencies,
202-393-7330                                        1620 Eye St ., Suite 200
                                                                                                emphasizing a national grass roots
Toll free: 1-800-835-6422                           Washington, DC 20006
                                                                                                approach on behalf of consumers .
Fax: 202-318-9189                                   202-387-6121
E-mail: info@insurancefraud .org                    Fax: 202-265-7989
                                                                                                Consumer Policy Institute
www.InsuranceFraud.org                              E-mail: cfa@consumerfed .org
                                                                                                914-378-2455
A national alliance of consumer                     www.consumerfed.org




                                                                                                                                        Federal Agencies
                                                                                                Fax: 914-378-2928
groups, government agencies, and                    CFA is a consumer advocacy
insurance companies dedicated to                    and education organization . It
                                                                                                Washington DC Office
combating all forms of insurance                    currently represents consumer
                                                                                                1101 17th St . NW, Suite 500
fraud through advocacy and public                   interests on issues such as,
                                                                                                Washington, DC 20036
information . It conducts research,                 telephone service, insurance and
                                                                                                202-462-6262
develops public education programs                  financial services, product safety,
                                                                                                Fax: 202-265-9548
and provides information on how                     indoor air pollution, health care,




                                                                                                                                        National Consumer
to avoid becoming a victim of                       product liability, and utility rates . It
                                                                                                Southwest Regional Office
insurance fraud .                                   develops and distributes studies of
                                                                                                506 West 14th, Suite A
                                                    various consumer issues, as well
Congress Watch                                                                                  Austin, TX 78701-1643
                                                    as consumer guides in book and
1600 20th St ., NW                                                                              512-477-4431
                                                    pamphlet form .
Washington, DC 20009                                                                            Fax: 512-477-8934
202-588-1000
Fax: 202-547-7392                                                                               West Coast Regional Office
E-mail: congresswatch@citizen .org                                                              1535 Mission St .                       State & Local
www.citizen.org/congress                                                                        San Francisco, CA 94103-2512
An arm of Public Citizen, Congress                                                              415-431-6747
Watch works for consumer-related                                                                Fax: 415-431-0906
legislation, regulation, and policies
                                                                                                                                        Trade & Professional




in such areas as health and safety,
and campaign financing, and has
publications available on the issues
with which it deals .
                                                                                                                                        Index




   Provided financial support for the publication                                                                                 118
   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
naTional consumer organizaTions

Families USA                                      Funeral Consumers Alliance               Kids in Danger (KID)
1201 New York Ave . NW, Suite 1100                (FCA)                                    116 W . Illinois St ., Suite 5E
Washington, DC 20005                              33 Patchen Rd .                          Chicago, IL 60654
202-628-3030                                      South Burlington, VT 05403               312-595-0649
Fax: 202-347-2417                                 Toll free: 1-800-765-0107                Fax: 312-595-0939
E-mail: info@familiesusa .org                     Fax: 802-865-2626                        Email: email@kidsindanger .org
www.familiesusa.org                               E-mail: info@funerals .org               www.kidsindanger.org
A national, nonprofit membership                  www.funerals.org                         KID is a nonprofit organization
organization committed to                         Funeral Consumers Alliance is a          dedicated to educating parents,
comprehensive reform of health and                nonprofit educational organization       training engineers, designers, and
long-term care, Families USA works                protecting a consumer’s right to         manufacturers, and advocating
to educate and mobilize consumers                 choose a dignified, meaningful,          for improvements in the safety of
on healthcare issues . Families USA               affordable funeral . In addition to      children’s products .
develops and distributes reports and              informing the public about their
                                                                                           The Medicare Rights Center
other materials on health and long-               available options and rights, FCA
                                                                                           520 Eighth Ave .
term care issues .                                will assist in mediating complaints .
                                                                                           North Wing, 3rd Floor
                                                  The local affiliates around the
The Federation of American                                                                 New York City, NY 10018
                                                  country work for better legislation,
Consumers and Travelers                                                                    212-869-3850
                                                  conduct funeral price surveys, and
(FACT)                                                                                     Fax: 212-869-3532
                                                  counsel members and the general
318 Hillsboro Ave .                                                                        Email: info@medicarerights .org
                                                  public .
PO Box 104                                                                                 www.medicarerights.org
Edwardsville, IL 62025                            Health Research Group (HRG)              The Medicare Rights Center is a
Toll free: 1-800-872-3228                         1600 20th St ., NW                       national, nonprofit consumer service
Fax: 618-656-5369                                 Washington, DC 20009                     organization that works to ensure
E-mail: cservice@usafact .org                     202-588-1000                             access to affordable health care
www.usafact.org                                   E-mail: pcmail@citizen .org              for older adults and people with
FACT is a national not-for-profit                 www.citizen.org/hrg                      disabilities through counseling and
consumer group that provides                      A division of Public Citizen, HRG        advocacy, educational programs
help to individuals and small                     works for protection against unsafe      and public policy initiatives . Through
associations . FACT provides non-                 foods, drugs, medical devices,           phone hotlines, Internet services,
biased and non-partisan weekly                    and workplaces, and advocates            large volunteer network and
Eye-on-Washington Reports direct                  for greater consumer control over        community programs they work with
from the nation’s capitol, no-strings-            personal health decisions . A            clients nationwide .
attached Disaster Aid, continuing                 monthly Health Letter and a
                                                                                           National Assocision of
education scholarships, community                 monthly letter on prescription
                                                                                           Consumer Advocates (NACA)
and classroom grants, assistance                  drugs are available .
                                                                                           1730 Rhode Island Ave . NW
for small business owners, travel
                                                  Jump$tart Coalition for                  Suite 710
discounts, and a Consumer
                                                  Personal Financial Literacy              Washington, DC 20036
Hotline/Library .
                                                  919 18th St . NW, Suite 300              202-452-1989
                                                  Washington, DC 20006                     Fax: 202-452-0099
                                                  202-466-8604                             Email: info@naca .net
                                                  Toll free: 1-888-453-3822                www.naca.net
                                                  Fax: 202-223-0321                        NACA members represent
                                                  E-mail: info@jumpstartcoalition .org     consumers victimized by fraudulent,
                                                  www.jumpstart.org                        abusive and predatory business
                                                  The Coalition’s direct objective is to   practices . They are actively engaged
                                                  encourage curriculum enrichment          in promoting a fair and open
                                                  to ensure that basic personal            marketplace that forcefully protects
                                                  financial management skills are          the rights of consumers, particularly
                                                  attained during the K-16 educational     those of modest means .
                                                  experience .




119        Provided financial support for the publication
           of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                                                                        naTional consumer organizaTions

National Association                                National Consumer Law Center              National Consumers League
of Consumer Agency                                  (NCLC)                                    (NCL)
Administrators (NACAA)                              Seven Winthrop Square, 4th Floor          1701 K St ., NW, Suite 1200
PO Box 40542                                        Boston, MA 02111-1245                     Washington, DC 20006
Nashville, TN 37204                                 617-542-8010                              202-835-3323
615-498-1563                                        Fax: 617-542-8028                         Fax: 202-835-0747
Toll free: 1-866-729-6222                           E-mail: consumerlaw@nclc .org             www.nclnet.org
Fax: 615-369-6225                                   www.consumerlaw.org                       Founded in 1899, the mission of the
E-mail: nacaa@nacaa .net                            NCLC is an advocacy and research          NCL is to protect and promote social
www.nacaa.net                                       organization focusing on the              and economic justice for consumers
An association of the administrators                needs of low-income and elderly           and workers . The league is a
of local, state, and Federal                        consumers . They concentrate on           nonprofit membership organization
Government consumer protection                      working for fairness in financial         working for health, safety, and




                                                                                                                                       Automotive
agencies, NACAA provides training                   services, wealth building and             fairness in the marketplace and
programs, public policy studies                     financial health, a stop to predatory     workplace . Current principal issue
and conferences, professional                       lending and consumer fraud, and           areas include consumer fraud,
publications, and other member                      protection of basic energy and utility    food and drug safety, fair labor
services . The organization is unable               services . Limited resources prevent      standards, child labor, healthcare,




                                                                                                                                       BBB
to address individual consumer                      the organization from responding to       e-commerce, financial services and
complaints                                          individual inquiries .                    telecommunications . The league
                                                                                              promotes consumer education
National Coalition for                              The National Consumer




                                                                                                                                       Corporate Contacts
                                                                                              through outreach to high school
Consumer Education (NCCE)                           Protection Technical
                                                                                              students and provides information
1701 K St ., NW, Suite 1200                         Resource Center
                                                                                              to consumers through publications,
Washington, DC 20006                                2101 Kimball Ave .
                                                                                              media outreach and multiple
202-835-3323                                        PO Box 388
                                                                                              websites .
Fax: 202-835-0747                                   Waterloo, IA 50704-0388
www.nclnet.org                                      Toll free: 1-877-808-2468                 National Council on the
NCCE is a coalition coordinated by                  E-mail: info@smpresource .org             Aging (NCOA)
the National Consumers League . It                  www.smpresource.org                       1901 L St ., NW 4th Floor




                                                                                                                                       Federal Agencies
develops and provides educational                   The Center is funded by the U .S .        Washington, DC 20036
materials and resources to consumer                 Administration on Aging to support        202-479-1200
educators through a network of                      community based Senior Medicare           Toll free: 1-800-424-9046
state coordinators . The coalition                  Patrol Programs (SMP) . The               TTY: 202-479-6674
sponsors LifeSmarts, a game-show                    SMP projects utilize the skills and       Fax: 202-479-0735
competition open to all teens in the                expertise of retired professionals to     E-mail: info@ncoa .org
9th through 12th grade .                            educate and empower communities           www.ncoa.org




                                                                                                                                       National Consumer
                                                    to take an active role in the detection   NCOA is the nation’s first association
National Community
                                                    and prevention of healthcare fraud        of organizations and professionals
Reinvestment Coalition
                                                    and abuse, with a focus on the            dedicated to promoting the dignity,
(NCRC)
                                                    Medicare and Medicaid programs .          self-determination, well being, and
727 15th St ., NW, Suite 900
                                                                                              contributions of older persons .
Washington, DC 20005-2112
202-628-8866
Fax: 202-628-9800
E-mail: member@ncrc .org                                                                                                               State & Local
www.ncrc.org
NCRC was founded in 1990 with
the goal of ending discriminatory
banking practices and increasing
                                                                                                                                       Trade & Professional




the flow of private capital and credit
into underserved communities
across the country .
                                                                                                                                       Index




   Provided financial support for the publication                                                                               120
   of the Consumer Action Handbook.
naTional consumer organizaTions

National Fraud Information                       Society of Consumer Affairs          U .S . Public Interest Research
Center/Internet Fraud Watch                      Professionals (SOCAP)                Group (U .S . PIRG)
1701 K St ., NW, Suite 1200                      675 N . Washington St ., Suite 200   218 D St ., SE
Washington, DC 20006                             Alexandria, VA 22314                 First Floor
202-835-3323                                     703-519-3700                         Washington, DC 20003-1900
Fax: 202-835-0747                                Fax: 703-549-4886                    202-546-9707
www.fraud.org                                    E-mail: socap@socap .org             Fax: 202-546-2461
NFC/IFW assist consumers with                    www.socap.org                        E-mail: uspirg@pirg .org
recognizing and filing complaints                SOCAP provides training,             www.uspirg.org
about telemarketing and Internet                 conferences and publications to      U .S . PIRG is the national lobbying
fraud . A project of the National                encourage and promote effective      office for the state public interest
Consumers League, the hotline                    communication and understanding      research groups . The PIRGs are
provides consumers with                          among business, government           consumer and environmental
information to help them avoid                   and consumers; and to define         advocacy groups that address issues
becoming victims of fraud and in                 and advance the consumer affairs     such as: bank fees, identity theft,
reporting telemarketing and Internet             profession .                         credit bureau abuses, clean air and
fraud to law enforcement . Spanish-                                                   clean water, right to know, campaign
speaking counselors are available .                                                   finance reform, and various other
                                                                                      issues . U .S . PIRG
Public Citizen, Inc .
                                                                                      does not handle individual consumer
1600 20th St ., NW
                                                                                      complaints directly but measures
Washington, DC 20009
                                                                                      complaint levels to gauge the need
202-588-1000
                                                                                      for remedial legislation .
E-mail: pcmail@citizen .org
www.citizen.org
A national, nonprofit membership
organization representing consumer
interests through lobbying, litigation,
research, and publications, Public
Citizen represents consumer
interests in the areas of product
liability, healthcare delivery, safe
medical devices and medications,
open and ethical government, and
safe and sustainable energy use .




121        Provided financial support for the publication
           of the Consumer Action Handbook.
                          sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices
  City, county and state consumer offices offer a variety of important services. They might mediate complaints,
  conduct investigations, prosecute offenders of consumer laws, license and regulate professionals, provide
  educational materials and advocate in the consumer interest.
  An advantage of contacting a city or county government office is that they are familiar with local businesses
  and local ordinances. If there is not a consumer office in your local area, contact your state consumer office.
  State offices are familiar with state laws and look for statewide patterns of problems.
  In many instances there may be other local consumer and non-profit organizations that provide consumer
  assistance and work with the offices listed here. Be sure to check the website for your state to get more
  information about these local resources.
  To save time, call before sending a written complaint. Ask if the office handles the type of complaint you have
  and if complaint	forms	are	provided.	Many	offices	distribute	consumer	materials	specifically	geared	to	state	
  laws and local issues. Ask if any information is available regarding your problem.




                                                                                                                    Automotive
  This list is arranged in alphabetical order by state name.



Alabama                               Arizona Office of the Attorney           California




                                                                                                                    BBB
                                      General
State Offices                         Consumer Information and                State Offices
Alabama Office of the Attorney        Complaints                              California Office of the Attorney




                                                                                                                    Corporate Contacts
General                               Consumer Protection                     General
500 Dexter Ave .                      400 West Congress South Bldg .          Public Inquiry Unit
Montgomery, AL 36130                  Suite 315                               PO Box 944255
334-242-7335                          Tucson, AZ 85701-1367                   Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Toll free: 1-800-392-5658             520-628-6504                            916-322-3360
Fax: 334-242-2433                     Toll free: 1-800-352-8431               Toll free: 1-800-952-5225
www.ago.state.al.us                   Fax: 520-628-6530                       Toll free: 1-800-735-2929
                                      E-mail: consumerinfo@azag .gov          Fax: 916-323-5341




                                                                                                                    Federal Agencies
Alaska                                www.azag.gov                            E-mail: piu@doj .ca .gov
                                                                              www.caag.state.ca.us
State Offices                          Arkansas
                                                                              California Dept. of Consumer
Alaska Office of the Attorney         State Offices                           Affairs
General                                                                       Consumer Information Division
Consumer Protection Unit              Arkansas Office of the Attorney
                                      General                                 1625 North Market Blvd .
PO Box 110300                                                                 Suite N 112




                                                                                                                    National Consumer
Juneau, AK 99811-0300                 Consumer Protection Division
                                      323 Center St ., Suite 200              Sacramento, CA 95834
907-465-2133                                                                  916- 445-1254
Toll free: 1-888-576-2529             Little Rock, AR 72201
                                      501-682-2007 (Office of the Attorney    916-322-1700
Fax: 907-465-2075                                                             Toll free: 1-800-952-5210
www.law.state.ak.us                   General Operator)
                                      501-682-2341 (Consumer Hotline)         Toll free: 1-800-326-2297
                                      Toll free: 1-800-482-8982               E-mail: dca@dca .ca .gov
Arizona
                                      TTY: 1-800-482-8982 or 501-682-6073     www.dca.ca.gov
State Offices                         Fax: 501-682-8118                                                             State & Local
                                                                              Contractors State License Board
                                      E-mail: oag@arkansasag .gov             9821 Business Park Dr .
Arizona Office of the Attorney
                                      www.arkansasag.gov                      Sacramento, CA 95827
General
1275 West Washington St .                                                     916-255-2924 (Northern CA .)
                                                                                                                    Trade & Professional




Phoenix, AZ 85007                                                             562-345-7600 (Southern CA .)
602-542-5025                                                                  www.cslb.ca.gov
602-542-5763 (Consumer Information
and Complaints)
Toll free: 1-800-352-8431
Fax: 602-542-4085
www.azag.gov
                                                                                                                    Index




                                                                                                              122
sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices


California Bureau of Automotive         Contra Costa County District         San Diego County District
Repair                                  Attorney’s Office                    Attorney’s Office
Dept . of Consumer Affairs              900 Ward St ., 4th Floor             Consumer Protection Unit
PO Box 989001                           Martinez, CA 94553                   330 W . Broadway, Suite 750
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9001          925-957-2200                         San Diego, CA 92101
916-255-4300                            925-646-4620                         619-531-4040
916-322-1700                            Fax: 925-646-4683                    619-531-3507 (hotline)
Toll free: 1-800-952-5210               www.co.contra-costa.ca.us            Fax: 619-237-1351
Toll free: 1-800-326-2297                                                    www.sdcda.org
Fax: 916-255-1369                       Stanislaus County District
E-mail: BAREditor@dca .ca .gov          Attorney’s Office                    San Francisco County District
www.autorepair.ca.gov                   Consumer Fraud Unit                  Attorney’s Office
                                        832 12th St ., Suite 300             Consumer and Environmental
County Offices                          Modesto, CA 95354                    Protection Unit
                                        209-525-5550                         732 Brannan St .
Kern County District Attorney’s                                              San Francisco, CA 94103
                                        Fax: 209-525-5545
Office                                                                       415-551-9595 (hotline)
                                        www.stanislaus-da.org
Consumer Protection Unit                                                     415-553-1751
Justice Building                        Monterey	County	District	            Fax: 415-551-9504
1215 Truxtun Ave ., 4th Floor           Attorney’s Office                    www.sfdistrictattorney.org
Bakersfield, CA 93301                   Consumer Protection Division
661-868-2340                            1200 Aguajito Rd ., Room 301         Santa Clara County District
Fax: 661-868-2135                       Monterey, CA 93940                   Attorney’s Office
E-mail: dacriminal@co .kern .ca .us     831-755-5073 (Salinas)               Consumer Protection Unit
www.co.kern.ca.us/da                    831-647-7770 (Monterey)              70 West Hedding St .
                                        831-385-8373 (King City)             West Wing, 4th Floor
Solano County Distict Attorney’s                                             San Jose, CA 95110
                                        Fax: 831-647-7762
Office                                                                       408-792-2880
                                        www.co.monterey.ca.us
Consumer and Environmental                                                   408-299-7400
Protection Unit                         Napa County District Attorney’s      Fax: 408-279-8742
675 Texas St ., Suite 4500              Office                               E-mail: Consumer Protection@
Fairfield, CA 94533                     Consumer/ Environmental Protection   da .sccgov .org
707-784-6800                            Division                             www.santaclara-da.org
Fax: 707-784-7986                       931 Parkway Mall
www.co.solano.ca.us/depts/da/           Napa, CA 94559                       San Luis Obispo County District
default.asp                             707-253-4211                         Attorney’s Office
                                        707-253-4059 (Hotline)               Economic Crime Unit
Fresno County District Attorney’s                                            Consumer Fraud Dept .
                                        888-314-0107
Office                                                                       County Courthouse Annex
                                        Fax: 707-253-4041
929 L St .                                                                   1050 Monterey St ., Room 223
                                        www.co.napa.ca.us
Fresno, CA 93721                                                             San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
559-488-3836                            San	Mateo	County	District	           805-781-5856
559-488-3141                            Attorney’s Office                    www.slocounty.ca.gov
E-mail: damail@co .fresno .ca .us       Consumer & Environmental Unit
www.co.fresno.ca.us                     400 County Center, 3rd Floor         Marin	County	District	Attorney’s	
                                        Redwood City, CA 94063               Office
Los Angeles County Dept. of                                                  Consumer Protection Unit
                                        650-363-4651
Consumer Affairs                                                             Hall of Justice, Room 130
                                        650-363-4636
500 West Temple St ., Room B-96                                              3501 Civic Center Dr .
                                        Fax: 650-363-4873
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2722                                                   San Rafael, CA 94903
                                        www.co.sanmateo.ca.us
213-974-1452                                                                 415-499-6450
Toll free: 1-800-593-8222 (LA County)                                        Fax: 415-499-3719
213-626-0913                                                                 E-mail: consumer@co .marin .ca .us
Fax: 213--617-1431                                                           www.co.marin.ca.us
E-mail: dca@dca .lacounty .gov
www.dca.lacounty.gov



 123
                             sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices

Orange County District Attorney’s    San Diego City Attorney’s Office       Weld County District Attorney’s
Office                               Consumer and Environmental             Office
ConsumerProtection Unit              Protection Unit                        PO Box 758
401 Civic Center Dr . West           1200 Third Ave ., #1620                Greeley, CO 80632
Santa Ana, CA 92701                  San Diego, CA 92101                    970-336-7235
714-648-3600                         619-533-5600                           Toll free: 1-800-332-2071
Fax: 714-648-3636                    619-236-6220                           Fax: 970-352-0242
E-mail: consumercomplaint@           Fax: 619-236-7215                      www.co.weld.co.us
da .ocgov .com                       E-mail: cityattorney@sandiego .gov
www.orangecountyda.com               www.sandiegocityattorney.org           Pueblo County District Attorney’s
                                                                            Office
Santa Barbara County District        Santa	Monica	City	Attorney’s	          701 Court
Attorney’s Office                    Office                                 Pueblo, CO 81003




                                                                                                                     Automotive
Consumer Protection Unit             Consumer Protection Division           719-583-6030
1112 Santa Barbara St .              1685 Main St ., Third Floor            Fax: 719-583-6666
Santa Barbara, CA 93101              Santa Monica, CA 90401                 www.co.pueblo.co.us
805-568-2390                         310-458-8336
                                                                            City Offices




                                                                                                                     BBB
www.countyofsb.org/da                310-917-8696
                                     Fax: 310-395-6727                      Denver District Attorney’s Office
Santa Cruz County District           E-mail: consumer .mailbox@smgov .net
Attorney’s Office                                                           Economic Crimes Unit
                                     www.smgov.net/atty




                                                                                                                     Corporate Contacts
Division of Consumer Affairs                                                201 West Colfax Ave ., Dept 801
701 Ocean St ., Room 200                                                    Denver, CO 80202
                                     Colorado                               720-913-9179
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
                                                                            Fax: 720-913-9035
831-454-2050                         State Offices
831-454-2123                                                                E-mail: info@denverda .org
Fax: 831-454-2694                    Colorado Consumer Protection           www.denverda.org
E-mail: dao@co .santa-cruz .ca .us   Division
                                     1525 Sherman St ., 7th Floor           Connecticut
www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us




                                                                                                                     Federal Agencies
                                     Denver, CO 80203
Ventura County District              303-866-5079                           State Offices
Attorney’s Office                    Toll free: 1-800-222-4444              Connecticut Dept. of Consumer
Consumer Mediation Section           Fax: 303-866-4916                      Protection
800 South Victoria Ave .             E-mail: stop .fraud@state .co .us      165 Capitol Ave .
Ventura, CA 93009                    www .ago .state .co .us                Hartford, CT 06106-1630
805-654-3110                                                                860-713-6050
da.countyofventura.org/              AARP ElderWatch Partnership




                                                                                                                     National Consumer
                                     1301 Pennsylvania #280                 Toll free: 1-800-842-2649
City Offices                         Denver, CO 80203                       Toll free: 1-860-713-7240
                                     303-222-4444                           Fax: 860-713-7239
Los Angeles City Attorney’s          Toll free: 1-800-222-4444              E-mail: trade .practices@ct .gov
Office                               Fax: 303-831-6217                      www.ct.gov/dcp
Consumer Protection Unit
                                     E-mail: aarpelderwatch@aarp .org       City Offices
200 North Main St ., 7th Floor
                                     www.aarpelderwatch.org
Los Angeles, CA 90012
                                                                                                                     State & Local
                                                                            Middletown	Office	of	Consumer	
213-978-8070                         County Offices                         Protection
213-978-8310                                                                Director of Consumer Protection
Fax: 213-978-8111                    Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s
                                     Office                                 245 deKoven Dr .
www.lacity.org/atty                                                         Middletown, CT 06457-1300
                                     Economic Crimes Division
                                                                            860-344-3491
                                                                                                                     Trade & Professional




                                     El Paso and Teller Counties
                                     105 East Vermijo                       860-344-3521
                                     Colorado Springs, CO 80903             Fax: 860-344-3561
                                     719-520-6002                           www.cityofmiddletown.com
                                     Fax: 719-520-6164
                                     www.4thjudicialda.com
                                                                                                                     Index




                                                                                                               124
sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices


Delaware                                 Florida                                  Tampa Branch- Office of the
                                                                                  Attorney General
State Offices                            State Offices                            Economic Crimes Division
Delaware Office of Attorney              Florida Dept. of Agriculture and         Concourse Center 4
General                                  Consumer Services                        3507 E . Frontage Rd ., Suite 325
Delaware Dept . of Justice               Division of Consumer Services            Tampa, FL 33607-1795
Consumer Protection Division             Terry Lee Rhodes Building                813-287-7950
Carvel State Office Building             2005 Apalachee Pkwy .                    Fax: 813-281-5515
820 North French St .                    Tallahassee, FL 32399-6500               www.myfloridalegal.com
Wilmington, DE 19801                     850-488-2221                             W. Palm Beach Branch- Office of
302-577-8600                             Toll free: 1-800-435-7352                the Attorney General
Toll free: 1-800-220-5424                Toll free: 1-800-352-9832 (in Spanish)   Economic Crimes Division
Fax: 302-577-6499                        www.800helpfla.com                       1515 N . Flagler Dr ., Suite 900
E-mail: consumer .protection@state .                                              West Palm Beach, FL 33401
                                         Florida Office of the Attorney
de .us                                                                            561-837-5000
                                         General
www.attorneygeneral.delaware.gov                                                  Fax: 561-837-5109
                                         PL-01 The Capitol
                                         Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050               www.myfloridalegal.com
District of Columbia
                                         850-414-3300                             County Offices
District of Columbia Offices             Toll free: 1-866-966-7226
only                                     Toll free: 1-800-955-8771                Pinellas County Office of
                                         Fax: 850-410-1630                        Consumer Protection
District of Columbia Office of the       www.myfloridalegal.com                   15251 Roosevelt Blvd ., Suite 209
Attorney General                         www.seniorsvscrime.com                   Clearwater, FL 33760
Office of Consumer Protection                                                     727-464-6200
441 4th St ., NW                         Regional Offices                         727-464-6088
Suite 600, South                                                                  Fax: 727-464-6129
                                         Ft. Lauderdale Branch- Office of
Washington, DC 20001                                                              E-mail: consumer@co .pinellas .fl .us
                                         the Attorney General
202-727-3400                                                                      www.pinellascounty.org/consumer
                                         Economic Crimes Division
Fax: 202-478-9296
                                         110 SE 6th St ., 9th floor               Broward County Consumer
www.oag.dc.gov
                                         Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-5000           Affairs Division
District of Columbia Offices             954-712-4600                             115 South Andrews Ave ., A460
                                         Fax: 954-712-4706                        Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Dept. of Consumer and                    www.myfloridalegal.com
Regulatory Affairs                                                                954-357-5350
Government of the District of            Jacksonville Branch- Office of the       Fax: 954-765-5309
Columbia                                 Attorney General                         E-mail: consumer@broward .org
941 North Capitol St ., NE, Suite 9700   Economic Crimes Unit                     www.broward.org/consumer
Washington, DC 20002                     1300 Riverplace Blvd ., Suite 405        Miami-Dade	County	Consumer	
202-442-4400                             Jacksonville, FL 32207                   Services Dept.
202-727-1000 (Citywide Call Center)      904-348-2720                             140 West Flagler St ., Suites 901-904
202-442-9828                             Fax: 904-858-6918                        Miami, FL 33130
Fax: 202-442-9445                        www.myfloridalegal.com                   305-375-3677
E-mail: consumer .protection@dc .gov                                              Fax: 305-375-4120
                                         Orlando Branch- Office of the
www.consumer.dc.gov                                                               E-mail: consumer@miamidade .gov
                                         Attorney General
Office of Consumer Protection            Economic Crimes Division                 www.miamidade.gov/csd
Dept . of Consumer & Regulatory          135 West Central Blvd ., Suite 1000      Office of the State Attorney for
Affairs                                  Orlando, FL 32801                        Miami-Dade	County
941 North Capitol St . NE                407-999-5588                             Economic Crime Division
Washington, DC 20002                     Fax: 407-245-0365                        1350 NW 12th Ave .
202-442-4400                             www.myfloridalegal.com                   Miami, FL 33136-2111
202-442-4615                                                                      305-547-0671
Fax: 202-478-9296                                                                 Fax: 305-547-0717
www.dcra.dc.gov                                                                   www.miamisao.com


 125
                             sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices

Pasco County Consumer Affairs          Hawaii                                   Illinois Office of the Attorney
Division                                                                        General- Chicago
7530 Little Rd ., Suite 140            State Offices                            Consumer Fraud Bureau
New Port Richey, FL 34654              Hawaii Dept. of Commerce and             100 West Randolph St ., 12th Floor
727-847-8106                           Consumer Affairs                         Chicago, IL 60601
727-847-8110 (Code Compliance)         345 Kekuanaoa St ., Room 12              312-814-3000
Toll free: 1-800-955-8771              Hilo, HI 96720-4388                      Toll free: 1-800-386-5438
Fax: 727-847-8191                      808-933-0910                             Toll free: 1-800-964-3013
www.pascocountyfl.net                  Fax: 808-933-8845                        Fax: 312-814-2549
                                       www.hawaii.gov/dcca                      E-mail: ag_consumer@atg .state .il .us
Orange County Consumer Fraud                                                    www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
Unit                                   Hawaii Dept. of Commerce and
415 North Orange Ave .                                                          Illinois Office of the Attorney




                                                                                                                           Automotive
                                       Consumer Affairs
PO Box 1673                            Office of Consumer Protection            General- Springfield
Orlando, FL 32802                      235 South Beretania St ., Room 801       Consumer Fraud Bureau
407-836-2490                           Honolulu, HI 96813-2419                  500 South Second St .
Fax: 407-836-1210                      808-586-2630                             Springfield, IL 62706




                                                                                                                           BBB
E-mail: fraudhelp@sao9 .org            808-587-3222                             217-782-1090
www.orangecountyfl.net                 Fax: 808-586-2640                        Toll free: 1-800-243-0618
                                       www.hawaii.gov/dcca/ocp                  Toll free: 1-877-844-5461
Hillsborough County Consumer                                                    Fax: 217-782-1097




                                                                                                                           Corporate Contacts
Protection Agency                      Hawaii Dept. of Commerce and             E-mail: ag_consumer@atg .state .il .us
8900 N . Armenia Ave ., Suite 226      Consumer Affairs                         www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
Tampa, FL 33604-1072                   Office of Consumer Protection
813-903-3430                           1063 Lower Main St ., Suite C-216        Regional Offices
Fax: 813-903-3432                      Wailuku, HI 96793
www.hillsboroughcounty.org/                                                     Metro	East	Illinois	Regional	Office	
                                       808-984-8244                             of Attorney General
consumerprotection                     Fax: 808-243-5807                        201 West Pointe Dr ., Suite 7




                                                                                                                           Federal Agencies
Palm Beach County Division of          www.hawaii.gov/dcca/ocp                  Belleville, IL 62226
Consumer Affairsl                                                               618-236-8616
50 South Military Trail                Idaho                                    618-236-8619
West Palm Beach, FL 33415              State Offices                            www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
561-712-6600
Toll free: 1-888-852-7362              Idaho Attorney General’s Office          Chicago South Regional Office of
Fax: 561-712-6610                      Consumer Protection Division             the Attorney General
www.pbcgov.com/consumer                954 W . Jefferson, 2nd Floor             7906 S . Cottage Grove Ave .




                                                                                                                           National Consumer
                                       PO Box 83720                             Chicago, IL 60619
Georgia                                Boise, ID 83720-0010                     773-488-2600
                                       208-334-2424                             www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
State Offices                          Toll free: 1-800-432-3545                Chicago West Regional Office of
Georgia Governor’s Office of           Fax: 208-334-4151                        Attorney General
Consumer Affairs                       www2.state.id.us/ag                      306 N . Pulaski Rd .
Two Martin Luther King Jr . Dr ., SE                                            Chicago, IL 60624
Suite 356                              Illinois                                 773-265-8808                               State & Local

Atlanta, GA 30334-4600                 State Offices                            www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
404-651-8600
Toll free: 1-800-869-1123 (Outside     Illinoise Office of the Attorney         West Central Illinois Office of the
Atlanta)                               General- Carbondale                      Attorney General
                                                                                                                           Trade & Professional




                                       Consumer Fraud Bureau                    628 Maine St .
Fax: 404-651-9018
                                       1001 East Main St .                      Quincy, IL 62301
consumer.georgia.gov
                                       Carbondale, IL 62901                     217-223-2221
                                       618-529-6400                             217-223-2254
                                       Toll free: 1-800-243-0607 (Hotline)      www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
                                       Toll free: 1-877-675-9339
                                       Fax: 618-529-6416
                                                                                                                           Index




                                       E-mail: ag_consumer@atg .state .il .us
                                       www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
                                                                                                                     126
sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices

Northern Illinois Regional Office     Indiana                               County Offices
of the Attorney General
Zeke Giorgi Center                    State Offices                         Douglas County District
200 S . Wyman St ., Suite 307                                               Attorney’s Office
                                      Indiana Office of Attorney            Consumer Protection Division
Rockford, IL 61101                    General
815-967-3883                                                                Douglas County District Attorney’s
                                      Consumer Protection Division          Office
815-967-3891                          302 West Washington St ., 5th floor
www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov                                             111 E . 11th St .
                                      Indianapolis, IN 46204                Lawrence, KS 66044
East Central Illinois Regional        317-232-6330                          785-330-2849 (Consumer Hotline)
Office of Attorney General            Toll free: 1-800-382-5516 (Consumer   785-841-0211 (Main)
1776 E . Washington St .              Hotline)                              Fax: 785-330-2850
Urbana, IL 61802                      Fax: 317-233-4393                     E-mail: districtattorney@douglas-
217-278-3366                          www.indianaconsumer.com               county .com
217-278-3391                          County Offices                        www.dgcoda.com
www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
                                      Marion	County	Prosecuting	            Johnson County District
County Offices                        Attorney’s Office                     Attorney’s Office
                                      251 E . Ohio St, Suite 160            Consumer Protection Division
Cook County State Attorney’s                                                100 North Kansas Ave .
Office                                Indianapolis, IN 46204
                                      317-327-3522                          Olathe, KS 66061
Consumer Fraud Division                                                     913-715-3003
69 West Washington St ., Suite 3130   Fax: 317-327-5409
                                      www.indy.gov/Pages/Home.aspx          Fax: 913-715-3160
Chicago, IL 60602                                                           da.jocogov.org
312-603-8600
312-603-8700 (Consumer Line)          Iowa                                  Sedgwick County District
Fax: 312-603-9830                     State Offices                         Attorney’s Office
E-mail: consumer@cookcountygov .                                            Consumer Fraud & Economic Crime
com .                                 Office of the Iowa Attorney           Division
www.statesattorney.org/index2/        General                               535 North Main St .
consumer_fraud.html                   Consumer Protection Division          Wichita, KS 67203-3747
                                      1305 East Walnut St .                 316-660-3600
City Offices                          Des Moines, IA 50319                  316-383-7921
Chicago Dept. of Consumer             515-281-5926                          Toll free: 1-800-432-6878
Services                              Toll free: 1-888-777-4590             Fax: 316-383-4638
50 West Washington                    Fax: 515-281-6771                     E-mail: consumer@sedgwick .gov
Richard J . Daley Center, Room 208    E-mail: consumer protection@          www.sedgwickcounty.org/da
Chicago, IL 60602                     ag .state .ia .us
312-744-4006                          www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org           Kentucky
312-742-8705
                                      Kansas                                State Offices
Fax: 312-744-9089
www.cityofchicago.org/                State Offices                         Kentucky Office of the Attorney
ConsumerServices                                                            General
                                      Office of the Kansas Attorney         Consumer Protection Division
City of Des Plaines Consumer          Consumer Protection & Antitrust       1024 Capital Center Dr .
Protection Office                     Division                              Frankfort, KY 40601
1420 Miner St ., Suite 401            120 SW 10th St ., Suite 430           502-696-5389
Des Plaines, IL 60016                 Topeka, KS 66612-1597                 Toll free: 1-888-432-9257
847-391-5303                          785-296-3751 (Consumer Infoline)      Fax: 502-573-7151
Fax: 847-391-5378                     Toll free: 1-800-432-2310             E-mail: consumer .protection@ag .ky .
E-mail: consumerprotection@           Fax: 785-291-3699                     gov
desplaines .org                       E-mail: cprotect@ksag .org            www.ag.ky.gov/cp
www.desplaines.org                    www.ksag.org




 127
                            sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices

County Offices                           Maine	Attorney	General’s	Office       County Offices
                                         Consumer Information and Mediation
Kentucky Office of the Attorney          Service                               Howard County Office of
General for Jefferson, Bullitt or        Six State House Station               Consumer Affairs
Oldham Counties                          Augusta, ME 04333                     6751 Columbia Gateway Dr .
Consumer Protection Division             207-626-8849                          Columbia, MD 21046
310 Whittington Pkwy ., Suite 101        Toll free: 1-800-436-2131 (Consumer   410-313-6420
Louisville, KY 40222                     Protection)                           410-313-6401
502-429-7134                             Fax: 207-626-8812                     Fax: 410-313-6453
Toll free: 1-888-432-9257                E-mail: consumer .mediation@maine .   www.howardcountymd.gov
Fax: 502-429-7129                        gov
E-mail: consumer .protection@ag .ky .                                          Montgomery	County	Office	of	
                                         www.maine.gov/ag                      Consumer Protection
gov




                                                                                                                        Automotive
www.ag.ky.gov                                                                  100 Maryland Ave ., Suite 330
                                         Maryland                              Rockville, MD 20850
Louisiana                                                                      240-777-3636
                                         State Offices
                                                                               240-777-3681 (Anonymous consumer
State Offices                            Maryland	Office	of	Attorney	          tip-line)




                                                                                                                        BBB
                                         General                               240-777-3679
Louisiana Office of Attorney             Consumer Protection Division          Fax: 240-777-3768
General                                  200 Saint Paul Place                  E-mail: ConsumerProtection@




                                                                                                                        Corporate Contacts
Consumer Protection Section              Baltimore, MD 21202-2021              montgomerycountymd .gov
PO Box 94005                             410-528-8662 (Consumer Complaints)    www.montgomerycountymd.gov/
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9005               410-576-6550 (Consumer Information)   consumer
225-326-6465                             410-528-1840 (Health Advocacy unit)
Toll free: 1-800-351-4889                Toll free: 1-888-743-0023             Massachusetts
Fax: 225-326-6499                        Toll free: 1-877-261-8807 (Health
E-mail: ConsumerInfo@ag .state .la .us   Advocacy unit)                        State Offices
www.ag.state.la.us                       TTY: 410-576-6372                     Massachusetts	Office	of	the	




                                                                                                                        Federal Agencies
Parish Offices                           Fax: 410-576-7040                     Attorney General
                                         E-mail: consumer@oag .state .md .us   Consumer Complaints and
Jefferson Parish District                www.oag.state.md.us/consumer          Information
Attorney’s Office                                                              1 Ashburton Place
Economic Crime Unit                      Regional Offices
                                                                               Boston, MA 02108
200 Derbigny St .                        Maryland	Attorney	General’s	          617-727-8400 (Consumer Hotline)
Gretna, LA 70053-5894                    Office-	Western	Maryland              617-727-4765




                                                                                                                        National Consumer
504-361-2920                             Consumer Protection Division          Fax: 617-727-3265
504-368-1020                             44 N . Potomac St ., Suite 104        E-mail: emailcomplaints@state .ma .us
Fax: 504-361-2799                        Hagerstown, MD 21740                  www.mass.gov/ago
                                         301-791-4780
Maine                                                                          Massachusetts	Office	of	
                                         Fax: 301-791-7178
                                         www.oag.state.md.us/consumer          Consumer Affairs and Business
State Offices                                                                  Regulation
                                         Maryland	Attorney	General’s	          10 Park Plaza, Suite 5170
                                                                                                                        State & Local
Bureau of Consumer Credit
Protection                               Office- Eastern Shore                 Boston, MA 02116
35 State House Station                   Consumer Protection Division          617-973-8700 (General Information)
Augusta, ME 04333-0035                   201 Baptist St ., Suite 30            617-973-8787 (Consumer Hotline)
207-624-8527                             Salisbury, MD 21801-4976              Toll free: 1-888-283-3757
Toll free: 1-800-332-8529                410-713-3620                          Toll free: 1-800-720-3480
                                                                                                                        Trade & Professional




Toll free: 1-888-577-6690                Toll free: 1-888-743-0023             Fax: 617-973-8799
Fax: 207-582-7699                        TTY: 410-576-6372                     E-mail: consumer@state .ma .us
www.credit.maine.gov                     Fax: 410-713-3621                     www.mass.gov/Consumer
                                         www.oag.state.md.us
                                                                                                                        Index




                                                                                                                  128
sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices

Regional Offices                     City Offices                            Michigan
Southern	Massachusetts	Division      City of Boston Consumer Affairs         State Offices
105 William St ., 1st Floor          & Licensing
New Bedford, MA 02740                Room 817                                Michigan	Office	of	Attorney	
508-990-9700                         One City Hall Plaza                     General
Fax: 508-990-8686                    Boston, MA 02201                        Consumer Protection Division
www.mass.gov/ago                     617-635-3834                            PO Box 30213
                                     Fax: 617-635-4174                       Lansing, MI 48909
Office of the Attorney General-      E-mail: MOCAL@cityofboston .gov         517-373-1140
Western	Massachusetts	Division       www.cityofboston.gov/                   Toll free: 1-877-765-8388
1350 Main St ., 4th Floor            consumeraffairs                         Fax: 517-241-3771
Springfield, MA 01103                                                        www.michigan.gov/ag
413-784-1240                         Cambridge Consumers’ Council
617-727-4765 (Boston office)         831 Massachusetts Ave .                 County Offices
Fax: 413-784-1244                    Cambridge, MA 02139                     Macomb	County	Consumer	
www.mass.gov/ago                     617-349-6150                            Protection Department.
                                     617-349-6112                            Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
Office of the Attorney General-      Fax: 617-349-6148
Central	Massachusetts	Division                                               One South Main St ., 3rd FL
                                     E-mail: Consumer@CambridgeMA .          Mt . Clemens, MI 48043
One Exchange Place                   gov
Worcester, MA 01608                                                          586-469-5350
                                     www.ci.cambridge.                       Fax: 586-469-5609
508-792-7600                         ma.us/~Consumer
Fax: 508-795-1991                                                            City Offices
www.mass.gov/ago                     City of Fall River Consumer
                                     Services Program                        Detroit Consumer Advocacy
County Offices                       One Government Center                   Northwest Activity Center
Norfolk District Attorney’s Office   Fall River, MA 02722                    18100 Meyers Rd ., Suite 105
Consumer Protection Division         508-324-2672                            Detroit, MI 48235
45 Shawmut Rd .                      Fax: 508-324-2668                       313-224-1000
Canton, MA 02021                     www.fallriverma.org                     313-224-6995 (Complaints)
781-830-4800                                                                 Fax: 313-224-1476
                                     Newton-Brookline Consumer               www.ci.detroit.mi.us/Departments/
617-769-6100 ext . 118 (Hotline)     Office
Fax: 781-830-4801                                                            ConsumerAffairs/tabid/1476/
                                     Newton City Hall                        Default.aspx
www.mass.gov/da/norfolk              1000 Commonwealth Ave .
Northwestern District Attorney’s     Newton Centre, MA 02459                 Minnesota
Office - Franklin County             617-796-1292
13 Conway St .                       617-796-1089                            State Offices
Greenfield, MA 01301                 Fax: 617-796-1293
                                                                             Minnesota	Office	of	the	Attorney	
413-774-3186                         E-mail: consumer@newtonma .gov
                                                                             General
Fax: 413-773-3278                    www.ci.newton.ma.us
                                                                             Consumer Services Division
North Western District Attorney’s    Revere Consumer Affairs Office          1400 Bremer Tower
Office- Hampshire County             281 Broadway                            445 Minnesota St .
One Gleason Plaza                    Revere, MA 02151                        St . Paul, MN 55101
Northampton, MA 01060                781-286-8114                            651-296-3353
413-586-9225                                                                 Toll free: 1-800-657-3787
                                     Springfield Mayor’s	Office	of	          TTY: 651-297-7206 or 1-800-366-4812
Fax: 413-584-3635                    Consumer Information                    Fax: 651-282-2155
Consumer Council of Worcester        City Hall                               www.ag.state.mn.us
County                               36 Court St .
484 Main St ., 2nd Floor             Springfield, MA 01103-1699
Worcester, MA 01608-1690             413-787-6437
508-754-1176                         Fax: 413-787-7781
Toll free: 1-800-545-4577            E-mail: moci@springfieldcityhall .com
Fax: 508-754-0203                    www.springfieldcityhall.com
www.wcac.net

129
                             sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices

City Offices                          Montana                                    New Hampshire
Minneapolis	Dept.	of	Regulatory	      State Offices                              State Offices
Services
City Hall, Room 1C                    Montana	Office	of	Consumer	                New Hampshire Office of the
350 South 5th St .                    Protection                                 Attorney General
Minneapolis, MN 55415                 2225 11th Ave .                            Consumer Protection and Antitrust
612-673-2080                          PO Box 200151                              Bureau
612-673-2157                          Helena, MT 59620-0151                      33 Capitol St .
Fax: 612-673-3399                     406-444-4500                               Concord, NH 03301
www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us              Toll free: 1-800-481-6896                  603-271-3641
                                      Fax: 406-444-9680                          Toll free: 1-888-468-4454
Mississippi                           E-mail: contactocp@mt .gov                 Toll free: 1-800-735-2964




                                                                                                                           Automotive
                                      www.doj.mt.gov/consumer                    Fax: 603-223-6202
State Offices                                                                    www.doj.nh.gov/consumer
                                      Nebraska
Mississippi	Attorney	General’s	
Office                                                                           New Jersey
                                      State Offices




                                                                                                                           BBB
PO Box 22947                                                                     State Offices
Jackson, MS 39225-2947                Nebraska Office of the Attorney
601-359-4230                          General                                    New Jersey Dept. of Law and
                                      Consumer Protection Division




                                                                                                                           Corporate Contacts
Toll free: 1-800-281-4418                                                        Public Safety
Fax: 601-359-4231                     2115 State Capitol                         Division of Consumer Affairs
www.ago.state.ms.us                   PO Box 98920                               PO Box 45025
                                      Lincoln, NE 68509                          Newark, NJ 07101
Dept. of Agriculture and              402-471-2682                               973-504-6200
Commerce                              Toll free: 1-800-727-6432                  Toll free: 1-800-242-5846 (NJ)
Bureau of Regulatory Services         Toll free: 1-888-850-7555 (In Spanish)     TTY: 973-504-6588
Consumer Protection                   Fax: 402-471-0006                          Fax: 973-648-3538
PO Box 1609




                                                                                                                           Federal Agencies
                                      www.ago.ne.gov                             E-mail: askconsumeraffairs@lps .state .
Jackson, MS 39215                                                                nj .us
601-359-1148                          Nevada                                     www.njconsumeraffairs.gov
Fax: 601-359-1175
www.mdac.state.ms.us                  State Offices                              County Offices
                                      Nevada Consumer Affairs                    Atlantic County Division of
Missouri
                                      Division                                   Consumer Affairs
                                      4600 Kietzke Ln ., Building B, Suite 113




                                                                                                                           National Consumer
State Offices                                                                    1333 Atlantic Ave .
                                      Reno, NV 89502                             Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Missouri	Attorney	General’s	          775-688-1800                               609-343-2376
Office                                Toll free: 1-800-326-5202 (NV)             609-345-6700 Ext . 2476
Consumer Protection Unit              TTY: 702-486-7901                          www.aclink.org/law
PO Box 899                            Fax: 775-688-1803
Jefferson City, MO 65102              E-mail: renocad@fyiconsumer .org           Camden County Office of
573-751-3321                          www.fightfraud.nv.gov                      Consumer Protection/Weights
Toll free: 1-800-392-8222 (Hotline)                                              and	Measures                              State & Local
Fax: 573-751-7948                                                                DiPiero Center
E-mail: consumer@ago .mo .gov                                                    512 Lakeland Rd ., Suite 158
www.ago.mo.gov                                                                   Blackwood, NJ 08012
                                                                                 856-374-6161 (Consumer Protection)
                                                                                                                           Trade & Professional




                                                                                 856-374-6001 (Weights & Measures)
                                                                                 Fax: 856-232-0748
                                                                                 www.camdencounty.com
                                                                                                                           Index




                                                                                                                     130
sTaTe, counTy and ciTy consumer proTecTion oFFices


Cumberland County Dept. of               Bergen County Office of                   Ocean County Dept. of Consumer
Consumer Affairs                         Consumer Protection                       Affairs
788 East Commerce St .                   One Bergen County Plaza, 3rd Floor        1027 Hooper Ave ., Building #2
Bridgeton, NJ 08302                      Hackensack, NJ 07601-7000                 Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
856-453-2203                             201-336-6400                              732-929-2105
Fax: 856-453-2206                        Fax: 201-336-6416                         Fax: 732-506-5330
www.co.cumberland.nj.us                  www.co.bergen.nj.us                       E-mail: ConsumerAffairs@co .ocean .
                                                                                   nj .us
Cape	May	County	Consumer	                Hudson County Division of                 www.co.ocean.nj.us
Affairs                                  Consumer Affairs
4 Moore Rd .                             583 Newark Ave .                          Mercer	County	Consumer	Affairs
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210-          Jersey City, NJ 07306                     640 South Broad St .
1601                                     201-795-6295                              PO Box 8068
609-463-6475                             201-795-6163                              Trenton, NJ 08650-0068
Fax: 609-463-6472                        Fax: 201-795-6468                         609-989-6671
E-mail: consumer@co .cape-may .nj .us    www.hudsoncountynj.org                    Fax: 609-989-6670
www.capemaycountygov.net                                                           www.mercercounty.org
                                         Burlington County Office of
Gloucester County Dept. of               Consumer Affairs/Weights and              Passaic County Dept. of
Consumer Affairs                         Measures                                  Consumer Protection/Weights
254 County House Rd .                    PO Box 6000                               and	Measures
Clarksboro, NJ 08020                     Mount Holly, NJ 08060-6000                Dept . of Law
856-384-6855                             609-265-5098 (Weights & Measures)         1310 Route 23 North
856-232-9543                             609-265-5054 (Consumer Affairs)           Wayne, NJ 07470
Fax: 856-384-6858                        Fax: 609-265-5065                         973-305-5881 (Consumer Protection)
E-mail: hspence@co .gloucester .nj .us   E-mail: consumer@co .burlington .nj .us   973-305-5750 (Weights & Measures)
www.co.gloucester.nj.us/                 www.co.burlington.nj.us                   Fax: 973-628-1796
Government/Departments/                                                            www.passaiccountynj.org
ConsumerAffairs/main.cfm                 Middlesex	County	Consumer	
                                         Affairs                                   Union County Division of
Essex County Division of                 Middlesex County Administration           Consumer Affairs
Consumer Services                        Building                                  300 North Ave ., East
50 South Clinton St ., Suite 3201        75 Bayard St ., 2nd Floor, Room 290       Westfield, NJ 07090
East Orange, NJ 07018                    New Brunswick, NJ 08901                   908-654-9840
973-395-8350                             732-745-3875                              Fax: 908-654-3082
Fax: 973-395-8433                        Fax: 732-745-3815                         www.unioncountynj.org
www.essex-countynj