Consumer Protection Law

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Consumer Watchdog Questions

Once known as the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, the Consumer Watchdog is non-profit organization that supports the rights of taxpayers and consumers. Below are questions about consumer watchdog groups and how they work.

We are on a fixed income and in our 80's. A car salesman talked my husband into buying a $35,000 SUV that we cannot drive. I told the salesman that we didn't want the vehicle but he drove it to our house and took our car for a trade in. Is there anything we can do?

In a situation such as this, you may consider hiring a consumer protection attorney to assist you in correcting the situation. Many times, people are talked into making deals that they normally wouldn't consider. This is due to the overly anxious attitudes of car dealerships trying to make a sale. Having an attorney speak on your behalf usually gets the dealerships attention.

If hiring an attorney isn't an option, you could file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General's Office and your states dealer's licensing board. These agencies are designed to handle situations like this but may take time doing it. You may not receive the results that you hoped for and the car may end up being repossessed, ruining your credit.

You may consider writing to Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety CARS. This is a consumer watchdog group who has been attempting to get more rights for California car buyers. Here is the link: this site offers answers to many of the frequently asked questions about this new law.
California Attorney General:
California Dept. of Consumer Affairs:

I have invested $ in a home business that I was told would set up a website for me to process clients who are willing to change their credit card terminal transactions that process their credit cards to a reduced fee per transaction. The way I was to make $ was by getting a % of the overall monthly total of each business that contracted with them thru my site. I now feel this is a scam and have disputed charges. Is there any possibility I can still get my credit card company to rule in my favor if I dispute?

In order to get your money back, you will have to complete the following steps.

1. You need to contact the credit card company and ask for the fraud department. Do not ask for the dispute department. The fraud department is a separate department all together. When you are connected to the fraud department, inform them of the internet scam and how your card was charged for the fee and you never received any services. Ask for a new credit card with a different number and have them cancel the current one. By doing this, you shouldn't be charged any additional fraudulent charges. You can expect to fill out some information from the credit card company. You will fill the forms, sign them and return them to the credit card company. The credit card company will contact the company that scammed you. It is unlikely that the company that scammed you will respond to the credit card company. After 30 Days of contacting the scam company, your credit card company will issue a credit to you.

2. There are federal agencies that govern internet fraud investigations. You should report the company:

3. The Federal Trade Commission is considered a consumer watchdog, you should report the company to this agency also:

4. Report this scam to your State Attorney General's office. You can find their website by typing your state-___________Attorney General Consumer Complaints".

I bought a car from a dealer who said that if I had any issues, they had a mechanic that would fix the car and add the charges to the end of the payments. The motor started messing up and the dealer said it was caused by misuse of the car and won't repair it. The motor is now blown in the car and the dealer will not work with me on making payments. What can I do?

You can report the car dealer to the state licensing agency for fraudulent acts. You will have to prove the car dealer actually promised to repair the car and are now denying the repairs. It is possible that they would agree to take the car back but there are no laws that require them to do so. In order to force the car dealer to do anything at this point, you would have to sue.

Another option would be to contact your States Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division and the Better Business Bureau. You could also contact the agency that issued their license. You will probably not see any quick changes by contacting these offices. If you want to shake the car dealer into action, you could contact your local news station. The station may have a consumer watchdog that would be willing to air your story.

Consumer watchdog groups offer advocacy for consumers. If you have any doubts about a consumer watchdog, or whether you can take your case to the consumer watchdog groups, you should ask an Expert to evaluate the details of your case and provide legal insights that would help you take the right decision.
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