Let the buyer beware!

Consumer rights

Consumer Action Handbook offers dozens of plain language pages summarizing your legal rights concerning all kinds of transactions. The following sites are most frequently requested:

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
consumer news, alerts, and complaint forms
Consumer Information Center
consumer publications from the Federal Government...many are online full-text
Cooling-off Rule
FTC's rule may give you 3 days to cancel purchases of $25 or more
Direct selling
read the code of ethics from the Direct Selling Association
Home ownership
information from HUD includes section on housing discrimination
Landlord/Tenant rights
information on claims and restitution from the New Jersey Superior Court
Shopping by phone or mail
consumer tips from the Federal Trade Commission...also check out their page on cybershopping (ordering products through the Internet)
Unsolicited merchandise
your rights according to the U.S. Postal Service
Opt Outs, from World Privacy Forum
how to get off lists and out of databases

New Jersey state regulations (11 N.J.A.C 3-10.4) mandate sources to be used for valuing vehicles for insurance purposes. Drop us
a note or call (973-285-6969) if you need the numbers from state-mandated (N.A.D.A. & The Automotive Red Book: A Primedia Digest [formerly National Market Reports' Automobile Blue Book] sources. What you should know about automobile insurance in New Jersey.

MCL's carguide page links you to pricing, safety/crash tests, technical service bulletins and recall information.

Automobile buying tips new & used.
how to evaluate sales contracts, leasing agreements and financing options
New Jersey's Lemon Laws cover both new and used cars.
overview of the current laws and restitution procedures
Prices, new and used and leasing primer
Edmund's and Kelley Blue Books
Better Business Bureau Auto Line
how to file a lemon law/warranty complaint


Checking on charities
Is an organization really a charitable (non-profit) group? Check the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)
Cumulative List of Organizations (Publication 78). Most charities are also required to register with the NJ Charitable Registration Division. Many groups have similar names. Make sure you have the exact name of the charity you are researching.
Charity Navigator
3,400 charities rated and ranked by efficiency. Includes summary financial data, executive compensation and donor privacy notes.
American Philanthropy Institute
Charities giving 75% or more of money raised to program costs.
BBB Charity Reports
check here for complaint records on hundreds of charities
CBBB Standards for Charitable Solicitations
guidelines for evaluating how charities spend their money
Charity Checklist
precautions you can take to ensure that a charity is legitimate
Guidestar's Nonprofit Database
search 600,000 tax exempt organizations by name, location and activity...includes links to financial reports and home pages
990 Search, Foundation Center
Financial forms filed by non-profits with the IRS (current and recent years)
Wise Giving Alliance
offers tips on charitable giving and links to 200+ reports on major charities

Class action lawsuits
Securities Class Action Clearinghouse--active suits filed in the U.S. court system.
sponsored by Stanford University School of Law

Health & food
Consumer news
the Federal Trade Commission warns about indoor tanning, health spas, sunscreens, diet fads and other common health concerns
Cruise Ship Vessel Sanitation Program
considering a cruise?...check out your ship's latest health rating
Health Information for International Travel
"Yellow Book" precautions, warnings and required immunizations by country; sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control
Hospital fines & enforcement actions
NJ Dept. of Health provides brief summary including reason for citation, list begins November 4, 1999
Meat & Poultry Recalls
latest news on the companies, contaminants and statistics
MedWatch Alerts
controversial medication news from the Food and Drug Administration
New Jersey Licensed Physicians
NJ Doctor List
includes malpractice violations
Toxic Release Inventory
database maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection for toxic chemicals in your neighborhood (just enter your zip code!)

Insurance companies
Companies that have been cited by NJ for
fines, license revocations and suspensions.
A. M. Best
free ratings online; MCL owns current directories
Health Insurance in NJ, licensed companies & consumers guide
Fitch, (formerly Duff & Phelps)
offers free ratings on the Web
Mergent (formerly Moody's)
offers free ratings on the Web--not comprehensive, these companies have requested ratings
NJ Dept of Banking and Insurance--consumer guides, licensee information, online complaint forms
Standard & Poors
offers free ratings on the Web--not comprehensive, these companies have requested ratings
MCL owns print edition of (formerly Weiss) ratings for HMO companies.

Investment advisors & financial planners
Make sure you are doing business with a registered broker or
certified financial planner and that the stocks he wants you to purchase are legitimate.

Securities dealers

New Jersey Bureau of Securities
call (973) 504-3600 to make sure your broker is licensed to do business in our state, Web site includes online complaint form and list of recent disciplinary actions. The Investment Advisor Registration Depository (973) 504-3656 will verify a broker/dealerís credentials. You can request a free report on any NJ investment advisor from this department. Requests must be made in writing and can be faxed (973) 504-3601. Turnaround time varies according to current workload.
U. S. Securities & Exchange Commission-Investor education & assistance
complaint center includes online forms...(202)942-7040
Regulation Complaint Program (NASD)
everything you need to know about broker ethics, federal regulation and disciplinary procedures from the National Association of Securities Dealers.
Investor Alerts (SEC)
read up on the latest scams
Investment schemes (FTC)
how to evaluate the legitimacy of Internet-based investment opportunities, rare coins, international lotteries, time-share resales...

Financial planners
Some financial planners are also investment managers and a regulated by the organizations listed above. Planners are not listed in industry-specific directories nor are they required to be licensed by the State of New Jersey. There are several organizations which certify financial planning specialists. Financial planners are listed in the local telephone book and in the
Reference USA database.

Online security
Anti-Phishing Working Group
fake companies trolling for your identity
On Guard Online,US Federal Trade Commission
Guide to online ID theft, spam, spyware and phishing.
Symantec's Threat Explorer
latest computer threats, viruses & hoaxes

Scams & frauds
Better Business Bureau Alerts
arranged by date so you can locate the latest scams
Business scams
many schemes target small business all about the Nigerian Letter scam
Insurance fraud
Report insurance cheaters to the NJ State Division of Insurance
Mail fraud, US Postal Service
the U.S. Postal service warns about employment solicitations, personal finance schemes, chain letters, and bogus sweepstakes winner notifications
National Fraud Information Center
general information on telemarketing schemes, Internet ploys and scams targeted at the elderly
Ripoff Report
Online & offline schemes
New scams, most popular, also keyword searchable
Scholarship Scam Alert
warning signs of possible scams, suspicious scholarships and what to do if you think you are a victim
Telemarketing ploys
don't fall for these common schemes
Telephone slams, phone cloning & cable complaints
facts and remedies from the Federal Communications Commission
Urban Legends
rumors & ripoffs
Work-at-Home schemes
straight from the Better Business Bureau

Complaints & remedies
Consumer Action Handbook, published by the Federal Citizen Information Center, is the best place to find everything you need to know when it comes to solving consumer disputes. Looking for company contact information? If you can't find it online, call your library. Need a sample complaint letter?
Auto Safety Hotline
report your problem to the U.S. Department of Transportation toll-free 888-327-4236
Better Business Bureau
how to file a complaint with the BBB's Dispute Resolution Service, includes information on the BBB Auto Line
Federal Communication Commission
telephone service complaint form
Federal Trade Commission
sets forth guidelines you can follow to resolve your disputes
Identity theft
What it is and how to rectify the situation.
Mail Preference Service
want to reduce your junk mail?...the Direct Marketing Association will arrange to have your name purged from most major mailing lists (free!)
National Do Not Call Registry
Or call 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone you wish to delist
New Jersey Division of Insurance
will handle your complaints online.
New Jersey Office of Consumer Protection
general information about our state's advocacy programs
Postal Service, US, Inspection Service, online complaint form
Professional Boards and Advisory Committees
There is no one central licensing board for all New Jersey regulated professions. Use this list to determine the board you need to contact to verify a current license or complain about services rendered.
Small claims court
basic guidelines and procedures for suing in New Jersey courts
Ask us
© Morris County Library 1997
16 July 2014

Caveat Emptor!

NJ licencee directories
consumer rights
Better Business Bureau
class action lawsuits
company contacts
complaints & remedies
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home improvement contractors
insurance companies
investment advisors & planners
online security
public records
scams & frauds

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