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  • Identity Theft | INPIRG
    do use one however be extra careful not to lose it and to know that the business or organization you use it for is trustworthy What you should know about credit cards Try to carry as few credit cards with you as possible and keep a list of all your accounts in a secure place This information should include account numbers expiration dates and telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments in case something goes wrong Make a note of when cards are coming and call the company if the card doesn t arrive on time Finally always cancel inactive credit cards because you may lose track of unusual activity if it occurs Keep track of all financial accounts It is important to review your statements on a regular basis to make sure everything looks right Also dispose of your receipts and statements in a way that they won t be accessible to dumpster divers When you order checks you should pick them up at the bank rather then have them mailed to you and you should destroy all checks when you close a checking account Know the warning signs of identity theft If phone calls have been made to your bank s security department asking about your purchases by someone other than yourself you could be in danger The same goes for phone calls from debt collectors about debts you don t owe If your card is rejected in a merchant transaction if odd accounts are appearing on your credit report or if you are receiving bills for accounts you did not open you should worry What To Do if You re A Victim In general if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft or fraud you should not be responsible for fraudulent charges but you do need to clear your name To lessen the impact of fraud and theft take the following steps immediately Contact one of the three major credit bureaus Place a fraud alert on your credit report and obtain free credit reports Once your alert has been confirmed by the credit bureau the other two bureaus will be notified and all three must send you a free credit report Fraud victims are entitled to a free report from each bureau even if they have already obtained one under their state s law The bureaus will immediately send you additional information including information how to 1 extend your initial 90 day fraud alert to 7 years 2 How to file fraud affidavits to dispute charges made by a thief to clear your name and 3 how to block false trade lines from appearing on your report You ll need to check your reports again to make sure these steps are taken Victims are entitled to 2 additional reports for free in the year after filing an extended fraud alert Contact the credit bureaus to set up fraud alerts and block false information from appearing on your report Equifax 800 525 6285 P O

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/page/sp/identity-theft (2016-04-29)
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  • Renter's Rights | INPIRG
    damages or cleanliness Did you get a copy of the signed rental agreement The landlord is required to give you a copy of the rental agreement and it is best to get the copy in person at the time you sign it If there is any later dispute the first thing you need is the agreement If you lose your copy of the lease you may request that the landlord make you a copy Your Rights as a Tenant Responsibility for maintaining a decent dwelling and a good rental relationship is shared by the landlord and tenant Tenants must Use the unit only as a dwelling and not as a business unless the landlord agrees in writing and not for illegal activities Use the parts of the unit kitchen bath etc as they should be used Keep areas under their control clean sanitary and free from accumulation of debris garbage and filth Use facilities such as electric heat and plumbing in a reasonable manner Not deliberately or negligently damage or remove or knowingly allow others to damage or remove any part of the premises Conduct themselves and visitors in a manner that will not disturb the neighbors tenants are responsible for the actions of their guests and parents for the actions of minors You have a right to live in an environment free from harassment If you are upholding your responsibilities your landlord should do the same You have a right to be treated with respect and dignity as does your landlord The landlord must keep the rental habitable at all times Habitable generally means A weatherproof and waterproof exterior roof walls doors and windows Approved plumbing facilities in good working order Hot and cold running water from an approved water supply connected to an approved sewage system and maintained in good working order Safe drinking water if the water is under the landlord s control Adequate and approved heating facilities in good working order Electric lighting wiring and equipment approved and in good working order Clean and sanitary buildings and grounds free from accumulation of debris filth rubbish garbage rodents and vermin and safe for normal and reasonable uses these obligations only apply to common areas after the tenant moves in Adequate garbage receptacles It may be the tenant s responsibility to pay for garbage collection if specified in the rental agreement Floors walls ceilings stairs and railings in good repair If provided ventilation or air conditioning elevators or other facilities and appliances washers dryers stoves refrigerators etc in good working order Safety from fire hazards Working locks for all outside doors except doors to common areas and keys to locks that require keys Working latches for all windows that open except common areas unless fire or safety regulations prohibit them Be sure to notify your landlord of all needed repairs Unless you have specified a different agreement your landlord must give you at least a 24 hour notice before entering your apartment Entry is permitted for work repairs

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/page/sp/renters-rights (2016-04-29)
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  • Credit Cards | INPIRG
    This will remove your name from pre screening lists at the three major credit bureaus 6 Seek credit counseling as soon as financial problems arise To locate a free or low cost credit counseling agency near you call 1 800 388 2227 or visit www nfcc org For one on one counseling over the phone call 1 800 680 DEBT or visit www myvesta org on the Internet 7 If you believe you are the victim of unfair interest rate charges late fees or other penalties or deceptive marketing and the credit card company fails to address your complaint file complaints with your state Attorney General s office and the national Office of the Comptroller of the Currency E mail Customer Assistance occ treas gov fax 1 713 336 4301 or by mail Customer Assistance Group 1301 McKinney Street Suite 3710 Houston Texas 77010 8 Know your financial means and limitations and don t spend beyond your means Create a budget that takes into account your average credit card payments each month and stick to it 9 Free Credit Reports from One Source Consumers can get a free copy of their credit reports once every 12 months from the three major national credit bureaus Experian Equifax and Trans Union visit www annualcreditreport com or call 877 322 8228 or write Annual Credit Report Request Service P O Box 105281 Atlanta GA 30348 5281 10 Look out for Errors When you get a copy of your report review it carefully for errors According to a recent PIRG study one in four credit reports surveyed contained serious errors that could result in the denial of credit employment or insurance If you find inaccurate information dispute it with both the credit bureau and the person or company that provided the information to the credit bureau Visit www occ treas gov customer htm or call 1 800 613 6743 M F 9am 3 30pm CST How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Report It s important to check your credit report at least once per year for errors Your credit report and credit score can determine whether you qualify for insurance or loans the price you pay for credit and can even impact your ability to get a job How to Dispute Errors Once you have notified the credit bureau of any mistakes in your report the bureau will have 45 days to investigate the disputed items if you obtained a free annual copy of your report from the new centralized source it will have 30 days to investigate in all other cases but may extend this time period to 45 days if it later receives additional information from you that is relevant to the investigation The credit bureau must remove any disputed information that is found to be inaccurate incomplete or unverified and provide you with an updated copy of your credit report At your request the credit bureau must notify any persons who recently have obtained your credit report that the

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/page/sp/credit-cards (2016-04-29)
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  • Spring Break and Travel Ripoffs | INPIRG
    Fees Departure City Surcharges Travel Insurance Fuel Surcharges How to Avoid a Spring Break Rip off Read ALL of the fine print carefully This is by far the best step you can take to protect yourself Companies need to tell you how your trip will operate Even if they make their policies difficult to read smart consumers will look them over before sending any money If you can t get answers to your questions or are misled or deceived you should avoid using that company Avoid any company that mandates arbitration for disputes Don t give up your legal rights Read your invoice You should understand the purpose and amount of each fee Research a company before sending money Do not assume that a company is legitimate based on its flyer Ask friends if they know anyone who has used the company before If you re unsure contact your Attorney General s office to find out if any complaints have been made against them File a complaint if you have a dispute In most states you can do this through the Attorney General s office This calls attention to the company so that future travelers will not repeat your experience Also the attorney general may mediate your dispute to help resolve it Be aware of cancellation policies Before sending any money you should know how much you will lose if you need to cancel About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports Internships Work

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/page/sp/spring-break-and-travel-ripoffs (2016-04-29)
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  • Cell Phone Plans | INPIRG
    carrier s local or regional areas Roaming Roaming refers to calls that you make or receive either when you are outside of your home calling plan or on another carrier s network Some cell phone plans charge high fees for roaming others do not Several carriers reserve the right to terminate service if over half of your calling time is used while roaming Tip Be aware that even nationwide plans can include roaming fees Some carriers define nationwide as anywhere in that carrier s service network not anywhere in the country Once outside of that network subscribers will have to pay roaming fees that can be as high as 79 cents per minute Included Minutes Most carriers offer different calling plans that include a set amount of minutes for use each month This is often called a basket or bucket of minutes Generally if you use more than that specified amount of minutes you will have to pay additional charges Many carriers will offer a limited amount of daytime or peak minutes and unlimited off peak minutes In addition some carriers offer plans with additional minutes that can be used for calling other subscribers to that carrier s network Tip Carriers can define peak and off peak minutes differently Read the contract terms carefully to understand the bucket of minutes included in a particular plan Exceeding your allotted minutes can be costly Service Contracts The national carriers all require that new customers sign a one to two year contract for service unless they sign up for prepaid plans While many carriers will allow you to move from one of its calling plans to another while you are under contract making this kind of change will often extend the length of your contract with the carrier Most contracts carry a high termination fee if you decide to cancel the service early Tip Read the service contract carefully Most providers contracts include clauses that allow them to modify the contract at any point in the future and that prohibit you from resolving any disputes through court or class actions Consider striking out these kinds of clauses The carrier ultimately may not agree to your suggested contract changes but at the very least you can express your dissatisfaction with the terms of its form contract Monthly Billing Some carriers will provide you with detailed billing itemizing each call you made or received during a billing cycle at no cost others will charge a fee for this information Tip Billing mistakes are the largest source of complaints about cell phone companies reported to the FCC When you get your first bill read it carefully to verify that the cost and terms of the plan are the same as the company represented to you If Something Goes Wrong If you are unable to resolve billing or service problems by contacting your carrier directly you may want to file a complaint or take further action Consider the following options Federal Communications Commission FCC The FCC has

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/page/sp/cell-phone-plans (2016-04-29)
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  • Student Consumer Action Network | INPIRG
    The 2013 Trouble in Toyland report is the 28th annual INPIRG survey of toy safety In this report INPIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards Keep Reading News Release INPIRG Consumer Protection Report In Indiana Experian Gets Big Complaints A new report by INPIRG found that the most complained about credit reporting agency in Indiana is Experian and that Indiana ranks 42 nationally in credit report complaints per 100 000 residents Keep Reading Report INPIRG Consumer Protection Big Credit Bureaus Big Mistakes Since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began collecting complaints about credit reporting in October 2012 the CFPB has recorded more than 10 000 complaints about credit reporting Keep Reading Media Hit Consumer Protection Indiana residents complain most frequently about bigger banks Thanks to the complaints database consumers who get ripped off or misled by their banks can make their voices heard and get satisfaction said Alec Sprague a federal advocate for INPIRG Other consumers can view the public database and make smarter more informed financial choices By providing a roadmap for navigating the tricks and traps of the financial marketplace this database is another way the bureau gets real results for consumers Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection Higher Ed Hunger Sustainability Textbooks Transit Highlights from Fall Semester Thanks for being part of INPIRG and helping make 2011 such a success Check out some of our highlights from the year Collecting 250 pounds of food and 300 articles of clothing to fight poverty in Bloomington Keep Reading Add new comment Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 next last View All RSS Feed About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/campaigns/in/student-consumer-action-network?page=1 (2016-04-29)
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  • Student Consumer Action Network | INPIRG
    annual U S Public Interest Research Group survey of toy safety In this report U S PIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards Keep Reading News Release Student PIRGs Consumer Protection Higher Ed Student Debt Banks Skim Millions in Fees from Student Aid Using Debit Card Linked Student IDs Washington D C Over 9 million students are at risk for increased educational debt due to bank affiliated student debit cards that come with high fees insufficient consumer protections and few options Financial institutions now have affinity partnerships with almost 900 campuses nationwide grafting bank products onto student IDs and other campus cards to become the primary recipient of billions in federal financial aid to distribute to students Keep Reading Report Consumer Protection Higher Ed Student Debt The Campus Debit Card Trap Banks and other financial firms are taking advantage of a variety of opportunities to form partnerships with colleges and universities to produce campus student ID cards and to offer student aid disbursements on debit or prepaid cards In addition to on campus services such as student ID functions offered on the card some cards offer traditional debit card services linked to bank accounts other cards provide additional reloadable prepaid card functions The disbursement of financial aid and university refunds is the most significant partnership identified Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection Higher Ed Student Debt The New Student Battle Cry Don t Double My Rate During a speech Tuesday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill President Obama led students in the chant Don t Double My Rate Then he flew to University of Colorado in Boulder to deliver the same message to Congress and was at

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/campaigns/in/student-consumer-action-network?page=2 (2016-04-29)
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  • Student Consumer Action Network | INPIRG
    Cards Spring Break and Travel Ripoffs Cell Phones Health Insurance Private Student Loans Thank President Obama for Protecting Consumers Latest Updates Resource Consumer Protection FAILbook Summary Facebook makes it pretty tough for you to control who gets to see your personal information This guide will walk you through step by step how to adjust your settings to control who can see your information on Facebook Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection Today CFPB to announce overdraft fee investigation unveil penalty box disclosure possibly end 39 lattes By Ed Mierzwinski Consumer Program Director Keep Reading Media Hit Consumer Protection Higher Ed Textbooks Groups target textbook prices to rein in college costs A push to create free or inexpensive textbooks is gaining momentum as educators philanthropists and policymakers nationwide search for new ways to rein in college costs Keep Reading Resource Consumer Protection Student Consumer Action Network Project Packet Summary Download this resource for everything you need to know to organize the consumer campaign on your campus Keep Reading Blog Post Consumer Protection 2012 Starts with a Win 2012 has already brought a tremendous victory for students and families Today the President appointed Richard Cordray as the director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB The CFPB will rein in the bad business practices of banks lenders and credit card companies The president is doing the right thing for students and consumers and he should know we appreciate it Keep Reading Add new comment Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 next last View All RSS Feed About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/campaigns/in/student-consumer-action-network?page=3 (2016-04-29)
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