Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Review Your Bills By Heidi Harrison Chain President 112th Precinct Community Council - Guest Columnist

Review Your Bills

By Heidi Harrison Chain

President 112th Precinct Community Council

In this economy some vendors are trying new marketing techniques to entice us to buy additional products. This week I heard about people receiving a bill for “renewal/new order” for a magazine subscription to a magazine that they had never ordered and never received. Rather than include literature regarding purchasing an additional magazine, there was simply a bill. So my consumer advice to you is to be sure that you read all of your bills before you pay the bill. In the instance of the bill in question, we are sure that if the individual paid for the new magazine that they would receive it- -- but it was not something that they wanted.

In addition, this morning a major department store announced that due to computer errors, some of their customers mistakenly were charged twice for their purchases during the holiday period. SO YOU MUST review your department store bills before paying these bills.

There are other instances of people who receive bills for products that they did not order and never received. Regardless of whether the bill is for an option to receive a new product or if the bill purports to be for a item that you ordered, or if it for two of the item that you did in fact purchase--- you must review your bills to be sure that the item listed is something that you want to purchase or that you have already purchased.

The Federal Trade Commission on its website had the following quote:

“Tricking consumers into paying bills they don't owe for products and services they didn't order is one sure way to attract the attention of the Federal Trade Commission,” said Lydia B. Parnes, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

You also must review your credit card bills carefully to insure that the purchases listed are yours. There are so many ways that people fraudulently can obtain your account number and charge items to your bill that is not yours.

News from the 112th Precinct Community Council:

We have new FREE 2009 safety calendars for you. Please come to the January 21st precinct council meeting to get you calendar.