With the Target data breach so fresh on everyone’s mind, National Consumer Protection Week couldn’t come at a better time. This scare has left people wondering what happens when credit card information is stolen and nervous to use their debit cards. Whose responsibility is it when a retailer is attacked on such a large scale? What are your rights? Who protects you?
March 2-8 is National Consumer Protection Week, and once again MCUCD is celebrating by joining government agencies and advocacy organizations to provide consumers valuable resources throughout the month of March.
Almost all states and the federal government have enacted laws and set up agencies to protect the consumer from inferior, hazardous products and deceptive or fraudulent sales practices. The organizations that enforce these laws, also aim to protect your identity and your money. Though it is difficult to understand legal terminology for most of us, it is wise to have a general understanding of the laws that were passed to protect you as the consumer.
Here are a few common ones:
Below is a list of government organizations that work to protect your rights:
Federal Trade Commission: The FTC is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace. Also check out their newest consumer help website, consumer.gov.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The CFPB’s mission is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.
Montana Office of Consumer Protection: In Montana, the Department of Justice works to protect your rights.
Check back each week throughout March while we talk about your rights as a consumer and where to turn if you have been a victim of fraud. It most cases it is illegal for people to rip you off and there are laws that protect you. It is your hard-earned money and you have rights as a consumer.
Check out the following links for more great online resources for consumers.
Consumer Federation: The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of non-profit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.
National Consumers League: The National Consumers League is America’s oldest consumer organization, representing consumers and workers on marketplace and workplace issues since our founding in 1899.
Fraud.org:A project of the National Consumers League (NCL), a non-profit advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, was founded in 1899 to promote the interests of consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.
National Association of Consumer Advocates: National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) is a non-profit association of attorneys and consumer advocates committed to representing customers’ interests.
Consumers Union: Consumers Union is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.
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This Consumer Tip and MontanaLawHelp.org is a joint project of Montana's Credit Unions and Montana Legal Services Association. MontanaLawHelp.org has information about consumer issues, housing, money management, and more.