Consumer Protection Guidelines

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“Consumer Protection Guidelines,” Ensign, Mar. 1972, 24

Consumer Protection Guidelines

Utah Attorney General Vernon Romney has issued eight warning signals in the area of consumer protection. Although prepared for Utah residents, the guidelines are reproduced here because they are universally applicable.

1. Beware of bait-and-switch sales tactics. Some merchants will advertise a product at a specific price or as having specific qualities, but when the consumer attempts to purchase the product, he will be switched to a higher-priced or inferior brand.

2. Beware of “contest winner” schemes. No one is in business to give things away. Some contests are means of inducing consumers into making high-priced purchases they cannot afford.

3. Carefully investigate all guarantees and warranties. Be aware of such things as expiration dates, hidden clauses, and items covered.

4. Beware of “free” goods. Be alert for obscure gimmicks or conditions attached to the “free” offer. Oftentimes these gimmicks result in the consumer’s paying more.

5. Do not be high-pressured into signing contracts. Carefully examine and understand all conditions of contracts before signing. Know what costs will be incurred by signing. Never sign a blank contract.

6. Do not accept verbal agreements. Be certain that spoken promises can be backed up with written contracts.

7. Know the company/salesman with whom you are dealing. Avoid companies without permanent addresses, and fly-by-night salesmen. Usually you are safer dealing with local merchants whom you know.

8. When in doubt, consult your attorney, banker, or better business bureau. The amount you spend for these services may save you a much larger sum later on.