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Common Consumer Myths

Consumer Myth 1

"After you sign a contract, you have three days to cancel if you change your mind."

Truth: Most contracts are binding when you sign them. The often-repeated myth that you can cancel a signed contract has given many consumers a false sense of security when making an expensive purchasing decision, like buying a new car. This myth is repeated by sales people, lawyers and many, many consumers. But the cold, hard truth is that you must be sure about your decision before you sign the contract. After you sign, it is usually too late to change your mind.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Door-to-door sales and health club contracts give you a three-day right to rescind; timeshares and campgrounds must allow 10 days. However, you must carefully follow the rules about how to cancel and even then you might end up in court battling over whether you canceled in time. If you wait until you're sure you want to buy, you won't have to worry about canceling later.

see:Learn about Signing Contracts

 

Consumer Myth 2

"You actually have won a free prize."

Truth: Think about it. How would a business survive if it were really giving it's merchandise away? If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Say it to yourself every time you get something in the mail that says you've won a fabulous prize - absolutely free!

 

Consumer Myth 3

"Sales offer great deals on quality merchandise at low, low prices."

Truth: Sometimes the prices are low, sometimes they aren't. Just because a store says an item is on sale doesn't mean it really offers the lowest price. You still need to compare prices. If you know how much a particular item usually costs, you can easily determine if it's cheaper at a sale. If you're relying on the "50 percent off everything in the store" sign on the door, you might be in for a rude awakening. You might even find the prices were marked up before they were marked down. And if the sale is a "going out of business" sale, and you purchase something that does not work, you may not be able to return it if the store that sold it to you doesn't exist anymore.

 

Consumer Myth 4

"You can return anything within 30 days as long as you have the receipt."

Truth: Under most state law, stores must post their return policies on the wall, on the merchandise or on your receipt. If the policy isn't posted, the store must accept returned merchandise within a reasonable time period. However; a store can an refuse to accept returned merchandise if that is their posted policy. Or their policy may allow you to return some items but not others. Or, a store may charge a re-stocking fee on some items, such as electronics. All of these things are allowed under the law, as long as the policy is posted.

But if the item is defective, the store must repair the item, replace it or give you a refund regardless of its regular refund policy.

 

Consumer Myth 5

"If you purchase merchandise with a lifetime guarantee, you'll never need to buy another one. Or, if you buy a lifetime membership to anyplace, you can use it until you die."

Truth: From a practical point of view, "lifetime" doesn't mean your lifetime, but the lifetime of the company from which the product is purchased. If you buy a lifetime membership to a timeshare resort and the company goes bankrupt in two years, you're out of luck. The same is true of a product. If you buy a watch with a lifetime guarantee and the company that makes the watch goes out of business, it won't be able to replace your watch.

When you buy any product or service, your best bet is to buy the best quality you can afford at the cheapest price from a reputable dealer. Don't buy it until you know for sure you want it and never allow yourself to be pressured into buying anything. Take your time and make up your mind before you sign on the dotted line.

 

 

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