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The Consumer Team on 1080 KRLDKTRH 740 RadioThe Consumer Team is broadcast every weekend Texas’ most listened to News-Talk Stations.  In Dallas-Ft. Worth,  we’re on the air Saturdays, 6-8 PM on 1080 KRLD Radio.  In Houston, Consumer Team airs Saturday, 5-6 PM on 740 KTRH Radio.

Consumer Team Quick Tips for Avoiding Scams…by Pete Thomson

Don't Give Out Personal Information:
Unless you're hiring someone, never give them vital information. If someone's asking for this information early in the sales process, it's a very bad sign. 

Get a Second and Third Opinion:
It seems obvious but it's amazing how many folks get a bad deal just because they didn't shop around.   Obviously, this is critical on big ticket purchases.

Use The Web!
Better Business Bureau is a great place to start.  We also suggest using a search engine and simply type in the name of the business along with the work 'scam'. Oftentimes, that will show you bulletin and chat boards that have very telling information.   Also, spend time researching comparable prices for your purchase.  When your seller realizes that you're an empowered consumer, they'll be less likely to be dishonest.  

Ask for Current References:
Don't accept references that are older than a month or so. You need to be in contact with consumers who have just purchased the product or service. In the case of builders & contractors, ask for the address of a current job.  Then, show up and ask questions.

Money Down:

If a company needs a deposit from you to purchase the materials for a job, run (don't walk) away from this company. 


The more expensive the product or service, the more necessary it becomes to have terms and conditions in writing.   Don't sign anything without consulting your attorney.  Be especially wary of sales types who are urging you to sign because of some arbitrary deadline.  "Ah, sir, this special will run out today at 5pm.  With your signature we can make you don't miss out on the savings." Additionally, lien releases are increasing important and useful for large ticket items or anytime you're paying a middle man (IE: general contractor) to pay your trades. 

For more information, read my detailed blog on avoiding scams at  http://myconsumerteam.com/blog/storm-season-alert-watch-out-for-scammers.

Til next time…have a great day and remember to 'Shop Smart'! 
Pete Thomson
Pete Thomson's
Consumer Team
Reading Room:
Here are some sites I use in my research….
Consumer Reports is the best source of consumer information on the planet. And as the old ad says, 'often imitated but never duplicated.' For just several dollars a month, you can get 24/7 access to Consumer Reports online database of thousands of product reviews.   
The 'parent' organization of Consumer Reports, Consumers Union (CU) 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. The organization was founded in 1936 when advertising first flooded the mass media. Consumers lacked a reliable source of information they could depend on to help them distinguish hype from fact and good products from bad ones. Since then CU has filled that vacuum with a broad range of consumer information. To maintain its independence and impartiality, CU accepts no outside advertising and no free samples and employs several hundred mystery shoppers and technical experts to buy and test the products it evaluates.
This site focuses on a number of areas of consumer news. However, their information about recalls is what I value the most. You need to be careful to watch out for pop up ads or paid links that appear to be editorial.  
In my opinion, this is the best personalized newspaper/magazine available. It works with both IOS and Adroid. It makes researching and 'after dinner reading' very enjoyable
Thanks for checking out our reading room.  Til next time….Shop Smart and be sure to listen to The Consumer Team radio program, Saturdays 6-8 PM on 1080 KRLD Radio.
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