Savvy Consumer Secrets

How to avoid scams and rip-offs Be a savvy consumer

Are you a savvy consumer? Even smart people get ripped off for thousands of dollars every day-avoid being a target by being the hunter, not the hunted. Any company that pursues you too aggressively should be ignored; for instance unsolicited flyers and phone calls for carpet cleaning, house painting and home remodeling, to name a few. Conduct your own research and then hire the person of your choice.

If a home improvement contractor rips you off or does inferior work, some states will reimburse you.

It's called "construction recovery" or "contractor's guaranty"; a source of funding up to $50,000 or more and it covers general contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. All you have to do is check with the state board of contractors or department of licensing to see if such a fund is available.

Tip: Hire a contractor licensed in your state to be eligible; you could be reimbursed in as little as 60 days.

A coupon to clean four rooms of carpeting for $29.95 is not a good deal.

Beware the upsell. Initial low prices like this are always followed by sizable "upcharges". You can expect extra charges for things like pretreatment solutions, deodorizers, moving furniture and cleaning carpeting in the closets. Reputable carpet clearing companies charge by the square foot, not by the room. To find a reputable cleaner in your area, contact the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification at 800-835-4624. They provide certification classes, and will give you names of Certified Carpet Cleaners in your area. Visit their Website at

Say this when you get an unwanted telemarketing call:

Ask the telemarketer to put you on their company's "do-not-call" list, this request has a lot more teeth than saying "Take me off your list." By law, telemarketers must maintain and honor their "do-not-call" lists.

Three "Do Not Call" lists to contact:

The Direct Marketing Association list 212-768-7277,

Your state's "Do Not Call" Registry, contact your state consumer protection agency office to find out if your state has one.

The Federal Trade Commission's National Registry 888-382-1222,

Do this to improve your credit score in 24 to 72 hours:

It's called "rapid rescoring" and it's a legitimate service that's offered by local credit bureaus when you apply for a home loan. Rescorers work with all three major credit bureaus to correct errors on your credit report and they restructure your debt in ways that boost your credit score. The service costs about $200.00, but it's worth it if you can qualify for a lower mortgage, thus saving you thousands of dollars.

Ask your mortgage broker or lender to refer you to a rescorer since they don't work directly with consumers.


Add a comment

0 answers +0 votes
Post comment Cancel
Ngozi Nwabineli
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Jan 24, 2010
Catherine Lugo
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Jan 21, 2010
Amanda Bradbury
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Jan 21, 2010