Consumer Awareness


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Learn about your rights and responsibilities in this KQED Education Network presentation.

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Consumer Awareness

  1. 1. CONSUMER AWARENESS Your Rights Your Responsibilities
  2. 2. <ul><li>Financial Information & Privacy </li></ul>
  3. 3. True or False <ul><li>Because I need my social security number for </li></ul><ul><li>so many things, it’s a good idea to keep my </li></ul><ul><li>social security card in my wallet so I can show </li></ul><ul><li>it whenever someone asks for it. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Answer: False <ul><ul><li>Always keep your social security card in a safe place, never in your wallet . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Never give your social security number to anyone unless you need to provide the number for a good reason. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They can use that number to open a credit card account or get a loan using your name. The lender will then expect you to pay for the purchases or repay the money. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other examples of identity theft include using another person’s name or social security number to open a bank account or to open a cell phone or utility account. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. True or False <ul><li>I received an e-mail from my bank telling me </li></ul><ul><li>to click on a link and verify my account </li></ul><ul><li>information. If I don’t do this, I could have </li></ul><ul><li>problems with my account. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Answer: False <ul><li>Beware of misleading e-mails and fraudulent Web sites used to trick you into revealing personal information. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, someone claiming to be your bank may send you an e-mail telling you that you will not be able to use your credit card unless you provide your social security number or your online log-in and password. </li></ul><ul><li>This is called phishing , and is used to obtain personal information for unlawful purposes . </li></ul>
  7. 7. True or False <ul><li>I just got my first credit card, and suddenly </li></ul><ul><li>I’m getting all kinds of credit card offers in the </li></ul><ul><li>mail. If I want, I can contact someone to stop </li></ul><ul><li>sending me this junk mail. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Answer: True <ul><ul><li>When you apply for a credit card or a loan, the bank or store collects your personal information, such as your address, account balances, payment history, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some of this information is made available to other companies, which then use the information to send you solicitations for credit cards and insurance products. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can opt out of this sharing by calling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(888) 5-OPT-OUT / (888) 567-8688 or online at . </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. True or False <ul><li>I received a pre-approved credit offer, but I </li></ul><ul><li>already have a credit card and don’t want </li></ul><ul><li>another one. </li></ul><ul><li>I should shred the offer before I throw it out, </li></ul><ul><li>because it might contain personal information </li></ul><ul><li>that could be used for identity theft . </li></ul>
  10. 10. Answer: True <ul><li>It’s not uncommon for people to go through trash looking for credit or financial information or documents containing your social security number. </li></ul>
  11. 11. True or False <ul><li>I received an e-mail from a stranger in a foreign </li></ul><ul><li>country telling me that he has inherited about $15 </li></ul><ul><li>million from his uncle, but cannot get the money out </li></ul><ul><li>because of complicated rules. He promises that if I </li></ul><ul><li>send him $500 to help him, I’ll be guaranteed a </li></ul><ul><li>percentage of the inheritance. </li></ul><ul><li>Since the e-mail sender knew my name and e-mail </li></ul><ul><li>address, I can trust him. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Answer: False <ul><ul><li>There have been many scams tricking victims into sending money because they expected to receive a large fortune after an initial deposit or “investment.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Names and e-mail addresses are easily available from mass mailing lists. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If a deal sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is a scam. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Credit and Credit Cards </li></ul>
  14. 14. True or False <ul><li>I just bought my first car and got a loan to pay </li></ul><ul><li>for it. Some months, though, I have trouble </li></ul><ul><li>making my payments. </li></ul><ul><li>If I default on my loan, only this lender will </li></ul><ul><li>know about it, and some day, if I need another </li></ul><ul><li>loan, I’ll still be able to get it from another </li></ul><ul><li>lender. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Answer: False <ul><li>When you have a loan or a credit card from a bank or other lender, the lender keeps a record of whether you pay back your loan on time. </li></ul><ul><li>This information is made available, along with information about your other debts, to other lenders or potential lenders. </li></ul><ul><li>Your credit history will affect whether you can get a loan or the interest rate that you will have to pay to get that loan. </li></ul><ul><li>It can also determine if you’re able to rent an apartment or get a job. </li></ul>
  16. 16. True or False <ul><li>I want to know what my credit report says </li></ul><ul><li>about my credit history, but the information is </li></ul><ul><li>secret and I can't get a copy because only </li></ul><ul><li>banks can see my credit report . </li></ul>
  17. 17. Answer: False <ul><li>Your credit report is available to lenders, employers, landlords, and insurers, as long as they have a “legitimate business need.” </li></ul><ul><li>You can order your credit report, and should do so in order to verify that the information is accurate and to see if anyone else has been using your name or financial information illegally. </li></ul><ul><li>Under federal law, you can get a free copy of your credit reports annually. To order free reports, go to or call (877) 322-8228. </li></ul>
  18. 18. True or False <ul><li>I received a lot of money for my graduation, </li></ul><ul><li>and I want to go to the mall to buy a new </li></ul><ul><li>laptop. </li></ul><ul><li>Even though I have the cash, it might still be </li></ul><ul><li>better to use my credit card to pay for the </li></ul><ul><li>laptop. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Answer: True <ul><li>Using a credit card to make purchases offers several advantages over paying with cash. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, most credit cards offer some form of protection if your card is reported stolen or missing, while cash cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. </li></ul><ul><li>Using a credit card may also give you some form of buyer protection if you purchase an item that is defective . </li></ul><ul><li>If you pay by credit card, you will be charged interest on your credit card balance. On most credit cards, you will not pay interest if you always pay off the entire balance - not just the minimum amount due - by the due date. </li></ul>
  20. 20. True or False <ul><li>If I am late in paying my credit card bill, I may </li></ul><ul><li>have to pay a late fee in addition to interest </li></ul><ul><li>charges, and my interest rate may also </li></ul><ul><li>increase. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Answer: True <ul><li>Different credit card companies have different policies about late payments. </li></ul><ul><li>Whenever you apply for a credit card or answer a credit card solicitation , be sure you understand the credit card terms, such as the interest rate, any annual fee, and any late fees. </li></ul><ul><li>The credit card issuer must provide information to you about additional costs if you default , along with other information. </li></ul>
  22. 22. True or False <ul><li>I took out a loan to buy my car, but the bank </li></ul><ul><li>required my parents to co-sign the loan. Since </li></ul><ul><li>I am the only one that drives the car, my </li></ul><ul><li>parents are not responsible if I do not pay my </li></ul><ul><li>loan. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Answer: False <ul><li>Many young people lack a credit history and may need a co-signer to get their first loan or credit card. Anyone that co-signs your loan is responsible for repaying the loan if you default. </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Consumer Purchases </li></ul>
  25. 25. True or False <ul><li>I just bought a dress on sale and found it has a </li></ul><ul><li>hole in it. I can return it and get my money </li></ul><ul><li>back, even though the store had a sign that </li></ul><ul><li>said all sales final. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Answer: False <ul><li>If a store sells goods with warnings like “all sales final” or “as is,” you can not return them to the store for a replacement or refund even if the goods are defective . </li></ul><ul><li>Usually, if there’s no such warning, you can return an item for a refund without giving the store a reason. </li></ul><ul><li>However, it is always best to ask the store what their return policy is. Different stores have different return policies , and different states have different laws about what stores must accept. </li></ul><ul><li>If the store will accept a returned item, you might only receive store credit or an exchange, instead of a cash refund. They can also limit the time period during which the customer may return the goods, or require the customer to pay a fee, provide proof of purchase, or provide the original packaging. </li></ul>
  27. 27. True or False <ul><li>My relatives gave me gift certificates for my </li></ul><ul><li>birthday. Since some of them have expiration </li></ul><ul><li>dates, I should plan to use those first. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Answer: True <ul><li>If you buy or receive a gift card, it’s best to find out what restrictions come with the card. For example, does it expire? Can you redeem it for cash? Is there a fee if you don’t use it right away? </li></ul><ul><li>Different states have different laws about what restrictions stores may place on their gift cards and different stores have different policies about gift cards. </li></ul>
  29. 29. True or False <ul><li>I have a notebook computer that uses a </li></ul><ul><li>lithium-ion battery. I heard that the battery is </li></ul><ul><li>being recalled because it might overheat, </li></ul><ul><li>posing a fire and burn hazard. It has not </li></ul><ul><li>happened to me, so I should just continue </li></ul><ul><li>using my computer. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Answer: False <ul><li>The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from consumer products. </li></ul><ul><li>If a product is being recalled, some consumers have been injured, or a risk of injury or damage has been identified. You can find information on product recalls and recall alerts at . </li></ul><ul><li>If there is a recall announcement on a product, it will tell you whether you can receive a cash refund for your product, a replacement, or a software upgrade. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Rentals </li></ul>
  32. 32. True or False <ul><li>Two months ago, my roommates and I signed </li></ul><ul><li>a one-year lease for an apartment, but we are </li></ul><ul><li>not getting along and I have decided to move </li></ul><ul><li>out. I am not responsible for paying my share </li></ul><ul><li>of the rent after I move out. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Answer: False <ul><li>When you sign a lease, you enter into a contract and agree to keep certain promises, including paying rent on time. </li></ul><ul><li>If you sign a lease for a specified period of time, you are obligated to pay rent for the whole period, even if you move out early. </li></ul><ul><li>The lease agreement might permit you and your roommates to find someone to replace you, but most likely you will need to get the landlord’s consent. </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure to read the lease agreement. </li></ul><ul><li>In most major cities and on many college campuses, you can find services that provide help with landlord-tenant questions </li></ul>
  34. 34. True or False <ul><li>The landlord’s daughter wants to move into </li></ul><ul><li>the house my family is living in. </li></ul><ul><li>Since we are just renting the house, we have </li></ul><ul><li>no choice but to move out right away. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Answer: False <ul><li>Landlords have the right to evict you in some cases—for example, if you don’t pay the rent on time—but generally you will have some time before you must move. </li></ul><ul><li>Landlords sometimes have the right to evict you even if you haven’t violated the terms of your lease or rental agreement. Whether they can do so depends on many factors, such as whether you have a lease or a month-to-month rental. </li></ul><ul><li>It also depends on where you live, since different cities have different laws that apply in such cases. It’s a good idea to contact an organization or service where you live for advice on what your rights are. Most major cities and many college campuses offer services that help with landlord-tenant questions. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Glossary <ul><li>Credit history, Credit report </li></ul><ul><li>A credit history is a record showing individual consumer debts and whether they were paid on time and as agreed. Credit institutions have created detailed documents, called credit reports , of your credit history, which they provide to lenders, landlords, and others. </li></ul><ul><li>Default </li></ul><ul><li>Failing to do something you agreed to do. If you have a credit card, the most common default is not making a payment on time. If you rent an apartment, you are in default if you don’t keep the apartment in good condition. </li></ul><ul><li>Defective product </li></ul><ul><li>Any merchandise you buy that is broken when you buy it or does not function the way the seller said it would. </li></ul><ul><li>Evict, eviction </li></ul><ul><li>To legally force someone to leave the house or apartment he/she is living in. </li></ul><ul><li>Fraud, fraudulent </li></ul><ul><li>A trick or deception intended to gain information or something of value. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Glossary continued <ul><li>Identify theft </li></ul><ul><li>Unauthorized use of someone’s personal data, for example a driver’s license or social security number, for any unlawful purpose, such as to obtain a credit card or loan. </li></ul><ul><li>Landlord; tenant </li></ul><ul><li>A landlord is a person or a company that owns a rental unit and rents or leases it to another person, called a tenant. If the landlord and tenant sign a lease agreement, the landlord is also called a lessor , and the tenant is called a lessee . </li></ul><ul><li>Opt out </li></ul><ul><li>To tell financial companies that you do not agree to their sharing of your personal financial information with other companies that offer loans or other financial services. </li></ul><ul><li>Phishing </li></ul><ul><li>Using electronic communication to obtain personal information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by pretending to be someone you know or have a relationship with, such as your credit card company. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Glossary continued <ul><li>Recall </li></ul><ul><li>To ask or order a product to be returned because it can cause harm or injury. </li></ul><ul><li>Return policy </li></ul><ul><li>A store’s own rules about whether it will accept merchandise you have bought from the store if you want to return it. </li></ul><ul><li>Scam </li></ul><ul><li>A way to cheat people and trap them into giving money. </li></ul><ul><li>Solicit, solicitation </li></ul><ul><li>Solicit means to ask someone for help, money, or information. Credit card solicitations are sent by credit card companies that purchase lists of consumers and use them for mass mailings to offer credit card services to potential customers. </li></ul>
  39. 39. Resources <ul><li>California Department of Consumer Affairs. </li></ul><ul><li>Freddie Mac. </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy Rights Organization. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Federal Trade Commission. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  40. 40. Disclaimer <ul><li>The information provided in this document is intended to raise awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities, and is not intended to be a legal guide. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions about the application of a particular law to a particular situation should be directed to qualified attorneys . </li></ul>
  41. 41. Developed by Sylvia Yau <ul><li>  Sylvia Yau is a candidate for the M.A. degree at San Francisco State University, with a TESOL focus. </li></ul><ul><li>She previously worked as a corporate lawyer, specializing in financial services and corporate law. </li></ul><ul><li>She received her J.D. degree from  from Boalt Hall School of Law (UC Berkeley). </li></ul>