Consumer Rights - Welcome Back to the World of Plastic!
The world is on edge as the year comes to a close. With only a select amount of days left of the heavy shopping season left, consumers begin breaking out the best of the best in gifts, toys, electronics and often pay for it with that little piece of plastic that has become such a huge part of life; the credit card.
But there are rules, rights and wrongs, and consumer rights that every buyer should be aware of. As those sixteen digits slip from your wallet, it is really important to keep in mind that there may be times when precautions should be taken.
Know Your Buying Power
The season is filled with shoppers all over the world using credit cards like crazy. Visa and MasterCard have reported in past years that consumers tend to use credit cards more during this time of year, and the majority of them have a tendency to pay them off in the smallest amounts possible. Consumer fact: paying off your credit card early does not hinder your credit limits. Rather, it reduces the amount of interest, late fees, and overcharge penalties that you may acquire during the holidays. Companies are now offering consumers' higher credit limits the sooner they pay off their balances, but try to keep the information hush-hush over the phone.
Credit limits are exactly that: limits. Buyers who are new to the credit world need to remember that if their limit is $300, then any charges over that, including late fees and overcharges will hinder their abilities to use the card until it is under the limit and will also have penalties applied. By paying off the card in smaller amounts, consumers acquire a monthly interest rate, making it seem like the balance will never go down.
Warranties, Specialties, And Sales – Oh My!
Buyers have the right to a warranty on specific items. However, that warranty will run out eventually. Doesn't it seem odd that the product seems to break right after the warranty has run out? Consumer fact: This does not mean you can't have it repaired, fixed, or get a replacement. State and federal laws now have consumer protection rights that cover a certain time frame after a warranty has run out, as well as the manufacturer itself. It is good to buy additional warranties on top of the ones that already exist with products that are higher in price or more fragile, but all buyers should know that they are protected for an additional amount of time for many products after warranties expire.
Special sales mean certain things to buyers, but mean other things to retailers. Sometimes it means they received an overloaded shipment and they are trying to get the products off the shelf and out the door. This is also known as spontaneous purchasing. Other times, it is the manufacturer that is trying to introduce and sell their products. The important thing here is to read the labels and ask questions. If you do not understand something about the product, or are confused in anyway, ask questions. Use your phone and call the company or search specifics about the product as well as consumer feedback online. Finding reviews about products, especially new ones, is not hard and can give you a better outlook on whether or not this product is for you.
Always know that no matter how pleased you are with that strip of plastic so many people carry in their wallets, you have rights and protections that you may not be aware of. Credit card companies want you and you want the items they can so easily provide. It is indeed a win-win situation so long as your remember the basic rules of shopping.