This list is provided as of March 18, 2008. The information provided represents Topics that regularly come into the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama by means of phone calls, in person visits or complaints. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company.
1. Car Warranties…Maybe you have an existing car warranty, are considering purchasing an additional warranty or perhaps you don’t even own a car; it doesn’t seem to matter to the companies in question, based on reports from many callers to the BBB of North Alabama this month. Consumers from all over North Alabama report receiving phone calls or postcards about purchasing an extended auto warranty. Even the BBB has received calls directly from these warranty companies.
If you should receive a call or a postcard offering for you to purchase an extended warranty, contact your Better Business Bureau for a BBB Reliability Report on the business by visiting us online at www.northalabama.bbb.org or by calling your BBB Hotline at 533-1642 or (800) 239-1642, x 3.
2. Myths & Facts surrounding President Bush’s Economic Stimulus Package: Lately, there have been myths circulating around who will be eligible for a payment through the government’s Economic Stimulus Package involving rebate checks. Fact- Not everyone qualifies, but most of those who do will receive a minimum of $300. Individuals or married couples who have no 2007 tax liability must file a tax return reporting at least $3,000 of “qualifying income,” which includes Social Security benefits, certain Railroad Retirement and veterans benefits, and earned income. Filers whose 2007 adjusted gross income exceeds $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly) will receive a reduced payment or no payment at all.
Another myth that’s circulating is that only paper checks will be issued. Fact- Direct Deposit is the best way to receive payment. Most filers who choose Direct Deposit for their 2007 tax refund will also have their Stimulus Payment direct deposited.
Your Better Business Bureau wants to help you receive your payment providing that you are due one. Keep in mind this very important myth- The IRS will contact taxpayers by phone or e-mail about their Stimulus Payments. Fact- Scams related to the Economic Stimulus Package have already surfaced, so be alert! The IRS will only contact taxpayers about Stimulus Payments via the U.S Mail.
3. Phone calls to reduce interest rates are coming into the BBB of North Alabama in large amounts. Consumers reporting these questionable calls report that no phone number for the caller appears on Caller ID. Instead they are greeted by an automated answering machine asking, “Are you interested in lowering your credit card’s interest rate? If so, press 1.”
Once the consumer presses the number, immediately a representative comes on the line asking the consumer to provide detailed information. Stop! You should not be asked to confirm any information about your credit card with an unknown party.
Consumers further report that when they ask for the company’s name, they are hung up on. For any negotiating about lowering your credit card interest rate, check directly with your credit card company.
4. Fake check scam, what else can we say about this one. Monthly, this scam makes its way to our BBB Hot Topics list. The reason for so much consistency is because these fake checks (usually from Canada) are arriving in the mailboxes of North Alabama residences on an everyday basis. Remember, if you receive a check from a foreign country, and you are asked to pay any money upfront or asked to wire money (through Money Gram or Western Union), beware! These checks look like the real thing, but they are fake!!!
Remember; never pay in advance any money if you are the winner of a prize.