Consumer Protection Tips

A lawyer may be needed if you think fraud has occured or basic rights or laws were not followed.
The following consumer areas are highly monitored for service and fraud problems.

If some of the tips below have been violated or you feel you were defrauded, contact our lawyers for legal help.

What can you do?

Hiring a Contractor

Get bids from several contractors. Check status of the contractors license with the State Department of Labor and Industries. Beware of Con Artists who go door to door in unmarked trucks and claim to have left-over materials from a nearby job site.

Signing a Contract

When signing a contract, make sure all the terms are in writing and include:

  • An exact description of the work
  • A list of all the materials to be used
  • Who is responsible for permits
  • The total cost and a payment schedule
  • Any warranties
  • Who does the clean-up
  • Signature of both parties
  • Ask about liens - - you may want to request the contractor give you original "lien releases" from each supplier & subcontractor before you make final payment.
If you are a victim of fraud or identity theft and in need of legal assistance, consult with an attorney in your area to discuss the details of your case.

Auto Repair

Before You Have Repairs Done:

  • Ask family & friends for recommendations
  • Check with your local Better Business Bureau
  • Ask about warranties for work done

Diagnostic charge

  • You need to ask for damaged parts to be saved
  • You are entitled to written estimate on repairs over $100.00 if you deal face-to-face
  • Your permission must be given for repairs that are more than 10 percent over the authorized estimate
  • Get all warranties & promises in writing

Identity Theft

How to Avoid Becoming an Identity Theft Victim

  • Do not give your Social Security number, mother's maiden name or account numbers to strangers who contact you, especially by phone, Internet or mail. Identity thieves sometimes pose as business, bank or government representatives to get you to reveal personal information. Legitimate financial or government organizations that do business with you already have this information and will not ask for it by calling you.
  • Pay attention to what time of the month your bills arrive. If they don't arrive on time, call the creditor to make sure an identity thief hasn't changed your billing address to keep you from discovering phony charges.
  • Guard your mail from theft. Don't leave outgoing mail in your mailbox. Take it to a collection box or your local post office. Promptly remove mail after it has been delivered. If you are planning to be away from home, call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request a vacation hold.
  • Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's name, your birthdate, the last four digits of your Social Security Number, your phone number or an easy series of numbers such as 1234.
  • Don't carry your Social Security card. Leave it in a secure place. Give the number out only when necessary. Use other types of ID when possible.
  • Don't carry credit cards or ID cards you don't need.
  • Tear or shred charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards and credit offers you get in the mail.
  • If you want to inspect your credit report, order a copy from each of the three major consumer reporting agencies. Make sure it is accurate. The law allows credit bureaus to charge up to $9.00 for a copy of your report. You can request a free copy if you've been turned down for a credit application and the denial of credit was based on the information from the reporting agency.
If you are a victim of fraud or identity theft and in need of legal assistance, consult with an attorney in your area to discuss the details of your case.