Are post-holiday consumer problems plaguing you?

Assess your options and act quickly!

Once the holiday hustle-bustle has passed, there is a good chance that some consumers will have issues regarding the products or services that they purchased or received. Maybe the item doesn’t work, is missing a piece or came in the wrong color. What should you do? Consider these helpful tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to tackle your consumer problems.

  • Visit the retailer and speak with an employee or customer service department if available. Be sure to bring the item in question and proof of purchase or a gift receipt. Without these documents your options may be limited to an even exchange or store credit.

(Tip: You may need to request to speak to supervisor or store manager.)

  • If a purchase was made online, visit the company’s website. Look for a toll-free number or “Contact Us” link. If you cannot find one, use caution when searching retailers online. Scammers use misleading company names and phone numbers to try and steal your credit card number or to install malware on your computer. For the most reliable information, visit the company’s “official website”.
  • Don’t procrastinate! Many retailers have time limits on returns or refunds, so address the issue as soon as possible.
  • If a phone call or email has not been effective in achieving a resolution then consider writing a complaint letter. For a helpful letter template, visit the FTC.
  • Some credit cards may offer purchase protection plans. If your card offers this benefit, make sure you understand the terms, conditions and restrictions. 

If the above are ineffective consider an alternative dispute resolution program and filing a complaint with the FTC. When pursuing your issue, remember that most businesses want to keep you happy, so that you will keep coming back. 

Michigan State University Extension offers financial literacy and homeownership workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. For more information of classes in your area, please visit either the MSU Extension events page or MI Money Health website. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to access if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health. 

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