Saturday, March 9, 2013
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection offers advice to a Doylestown writer with a question about free trial products.
Saturday, March 9
Q. I see certain products advertised on TV, for example the skin care products, which seem to work really well. A few of them even offer a free trial so that I would not have to pay for the product if I tried it and didn’t like it. It sounds like a great deal and it seems to me like that would be the best way to go. What do you think? SC - Doylestown A. It sure does sound like a good deal, which is exactly what the companies want you to think. Keep in mind that some companies use free trial offers as a way to sign you up for more products. This could end up being quite costly as they bill you every month until you cancel. Whether it’s for wrinkle cream or acne products, teeth whitener or weight loss products, all free trials eventually …
Saturday, March 2, 2013
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection advises a Levittown resident on witholding rent because of ignored repair requests.
Saturday, March 2
Q. I have been living in my apartment for six years now. It has been a good arrangement up until about a year ago. I have asked my landlord many times recently to repair things in my apartment and each time my requests were ignored. I am considering withholding my March rent payment until he does fix the problems. What do you think? S.L., Levittown A. Withholding rent may be appropriate for you but only if your repairs would cost more than one month of your rent or if the issues in the apartment are so serious that your home is uninhabitable. But be careful; this is not often the wisest choice because the landlord could possibly start eviction proceedings. In addition while you are withholding the rent, you should be…
Saturday, February 23, 2013
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection advises a Newtown resident with a question about a 'deed processing' solicitation.
Saturday, February 23
Question: I received a "Deed Processing Notice" in the mail from a company called Secured Document Services in Washington, DC. The notice was directing me to send them a fee of $85 by a certain date in order to obtain a copy of the deed to my home. It also informed me of an additional service fee of $35 for payment made after the due date. After going through my files, I realized that I don’t seem to have a copy of my deed but probably should for my records. What do you think? J.Y. Newtown Answer: The notice that you are referring to is from a company that charges you a fee for a service that you can do yourself for much less. While it is not illegal, some might say that it is deceptive. Please disregard the notice and throw it away. …
Saturday, February 16, 2013
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection offers advice to a county resident in trouble with the IRS.
Saturday, February 16
Q. These last few years have been very difficult for me financially. To make matters worse I now find myself in trouble with the IRS over my back taxes and unfiled returns. I cannot allow any more time to pass; I am being penalized and the amount is becoming outrageously high. I have read and, also have heard on the radio, advertisements by companies offering tax relief and that these companies could help me to get the penalties I have incurred reduced. I was hopeful until my friend told me to be careful with these types of companies, because what they advertise may be a scam. What can you tell me? D.D., Telford A. These tax relief companies do claim that they can reduce or eliminate your tax debt and back-tax collection by …
Saturday, February 9, 2013
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection offers advice to a Fairless Hills resident with questions about tax refund loans.
Q. It is that time of year and I am getting ready to have my taxes done. My husband, who usually did our taxes online, is recently deceased and I do not know how to use a computer. I will need to have someone else prepare them for me. I have heard though that some of these tax preparation companies offer to advance you more of a refund than you will actually get back. This is done with the understanding that you will have to repay the additional money with interest set at a high rate. I have a very limited budget and would not be able to pay back the extra money they are offering me. Can you give me any advice? T.T., Fairless Hills A. The “instant refund” is what you are referring to and that was called a “refund …
Sunday, January 27, 2013
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection helps a Langhorne resident with a phone bill dispute.
Sunday, January 27
Q. My father has noticed a charge for a call on his latest telephone bill. After speaking with the phone company, we learned that apparently a third party 900 number service has charged him for a call that he never made. The bill listed a time and date of the call so I thought it would be easy to have the charge removed from his bill. As a matter of fact, not only was he not home at the time the call was supposedly made but he was in the hospital. The phone company informed us, however, that they would not remove the charge and that he would have to resolve it with the 900# billing service. They refuse to accept the fact that no one was at his residence at the time of the call. What can he do? R.G., Langhorne A. The first …
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Got a gift certificate for the holidays? Use it, says the Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection.
Saturday, January 19
Q. I received some wonderful gift certificates during the holiday season from my family. I noticed that none of them expire anytime soon so I am planning a day of pampering and shopping for myself on my birthday in July. Is there any reason that I should not wait and use them sooner? C.C. Pipersville A. The staff at the Bucks County Consumer Protection office would encourage all of our consumers who received gift certificates, especially over the holiday season, to go out and enjoy them as soon as they are able. Although they may not be nearing their expiration date, there could be an even bigger concern with those gift certificates. We have received calls from many consumers who held onto their certificates and, when they decided to use…
Saturday, January 5, 2013
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection said the number of scam phone calls in the area has jumped in recent weeks.
Saturday, January 5
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection reminds residents to be skeptical of phone calls from "government agencies" asking for personal information. In the last three weeks, we have seen a number of fraudulent calls being made to Bucks County residents. Our office would like to remind all of our readers that any calls you receive at your home from people or businesses that you are not familiar with should be looked at with caution. There have been calls received from people posing as government agencies such as Social Security, Medicare, and Grant Offices. If you do get a call like this ask questions, but do not give the caller any information. Hang up and call the agency that they said that they represent with a number that …
Saturday, December 29, 2012
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection advises a Bucks County parent to get proof of delivery when returning a product that doesn't meet your expectations.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Q. My son ordered a skin care treatment for his acne from the television. It had a money back guarantee written on the box. It stated if you are unhappy with the product to return with 30 days. He was unhappy and returned the product within the allotted time. The company ended up charging his credit card. When he contacted the skin care company they said the product was never received. My son tried to dispute this charge with his credit card company. The credit card company told him he would have to work this out with the skin care company. What can be done? A.M., Trevose A. The problem is there is no proof that the product was returned. What your son should have done was send the product back to the company by …
Saturday, December 22, 2012
The Bucks County Office of Consumer Protection advises homeowners who sustained damage after Hurricane Sandy to be wary when hiring a public adjuster.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Q. My brother and sister-in-law own a home in the Lower Bucks County area. Their home was one of the many homes that sustained severe damage in the recent Hurricane Sandy. They have been telling my husband and me about the numerous problems that they are facing since that time. They also mentioned that they have hired a Public Adjuster. Where would someone go to get information about public insurance adjusters? MFB, Plumsteadville A. Public insurance adjusters are independent individuals who, for a fee, legally represent a person who has experienced a property, fire or casualty loss by aiding them in recovering money from their own insurance company. They are not a representative or employee of your insurance company. For…