Think you may be the victim of a scam? Someone trying to sell you something you don’t want? You bought it, it doesn’t work; now what? There are recourses for all of these situations, but many people either don’t know where to go or who to call, or they don’t want to “cause trouble.” If someone has caused you harm, it should be no trouble at all for them to make it right. Consumer rights are your rights and it’s your right to seek satisfaction and get protected!
National Consumer Protection Week
To call attention to the rights of consumers, several partners participate in National Consumer Protection week, March 5th-11th. The Bureau of Consumer Protection housed in the office of the Federal Trade Commission, is one such partner. Since its creation, the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection features has focused agency resources and national experts on safeguarding American identities, financial records and other elements related to consumer activity. Another component of the FTC is the Bureau of Competition that is responsible for protecting the competitive process, which can deliver lower prices, enhance innovation, and increase quality and choice for consumers.
Through the FTC’s wealth of information, you can learn about how to get a free credit report and how to choose a credit counselor; your rights in dealing with a debt collector and stopping unwanted calls and emails; job scams and business opportunity scams, among many other topics. Your first line of defense in protecting yourself and your rights is to be informed of unscrupulous methods sometimes employed to gain your confidence. This is particularly important for seniors and our military community who are often targeted.
To learn more about your protecting your consumer rights, and how to file a consumer complaint online click here or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a good time to familiarize yourself and help your family and friends understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about money matters.
National Consumer Protection Week Partners
Here is a partial list of partners who may be able to help:
Better Business Bureau
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Federal Communications Commission
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Florida Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Florida Public Service Commission
Internal Revenue Service
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Report Immigration Scams
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Report Incidents
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division
United States Postal Inspection Service
US Department of Labor – Employee Benefits Security Administration
The more you know the less vulnerable you are!
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Audrey Gibson is a State Senator and paralegal with the Terrell • Hogan Law Firm.