Consumer Protection Resources

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Consumers are subject to scams, fraud, unscrupulous business practices, identity theft, and unsafe products. To avoid becoming a victim, consumers must know their rights and the federal protections afforded them by law. The following resources help consumers to understand credit card disclosure requirements, learn how to read a credit card offer, bank statement, and mortgage application in order to fully understand their legal obligations and avoid costly surprises and misunderstandings. For consumers who have purchased unsafe products or who have experienced fraudulent or unscrupulous service from businesses or charities, the following resources explain their legal recourse.

Government Agencies

 

Better Business Bureau 

  • Better Business Bureau: Allows consumers to search for accredited businesses, to investigate businesses and charities, and file complaints. Also includes tips for consumers for avoiding fraud.
  • BBB Business Reviews: Search for a business or charity by name, type of business, phone number, URL, and/or location.
  • File a Complaint with the BBB: Allows consumers to file complaints against businesses or charities.
  • Consumer Information: Consumer resources from the BBB.

Legal Protections

Identity Theft

Banks: Loans and Mortgages

  • Loans and Mortgages: Tips from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on understanding loans and mortgages.
  • Truth in Lending: The Federal Reserve’s Truth in Lending requirements.
  • Bank Scams: Tips to avoid bank related scams, such as foreclosure scams.
  • Consumer Protection in Banking: Information for consumers on banking-related issues; includes information on reverse mortgages, foreclosure and foreclosure scams, and consumer rights and resources.
  • Federal Reserve Consumer Help: Consumer protection laws and other resources; includes information on how to file a complaint against a financial institution.
  • Mortgage Help: Tips to avoid foreclosure and loan modification scams.

Credit Cards

  • Credit CARD Act of 2009: Summary and text of the law requiring more transparency between lenders and consumers.
  • Credit Cards: Credit rules, consumer rights, how to read a credit offer and a credit card statement, and more information for credit card consumers. 
  • Credit Fraud Protection: Consumer fraud protection from Experian.
  • Annual Credit Report: Consumers can request one free credit file disclosure, or credit report, every 12 months.
  • Credit Cards and Charge Cards: Explains the differences between credit and charge cards and details what companies must disclose to consumers.

Safety Resources

  • Recalls: Recall alerts, sorted by category.
  • Product Recalls: Food products, health products, pet products and vaccines, and consumer goods recalls.
  • Food Safety: Meat, poultry, fish, egg, dairy, fruit, vegetable, and other food product safety resources and recall alerts. 
  • Food Safety and Inspection: Information on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food safety and inspection programs.
  • Household Products Database: Information on health effects and safe handling procedures for household products.
  • Product Safety: Information on automobiles, children’s products, and household and office products.

Additional Resources

  • Consumer Reports: Nonprofit publication that rates cars, electronics, appliances, and other consumer products. 
  • Unwanted Telemarketing: Consumer protection from telephone marketing.
  • Fraud: Tips on how to avoid telemarketing and Internet fraud and scams as well as resources for victims of fraud.
  • The Consumerist:A blog discussing recent consumer news.
  • RipoffReport.com:A resource that provides information on scams, consumer complaits, and reports of fraud.