Did you know that when you download music, you might not actually own the song? You may only have a limited license that permits you to listen, but restricts sharing and the number of devices you can listen on. Learn more about your rights when downloading music: #ThanksCAH
It seems that right after you get a new cell phone, a newer one with improved features comes out. Standard mobile service contracts allow you to upgrade after two years. Several major carriers are offering a new type of contract that allows you to upgrade sooner.
While standard phone contracts require you to pay only a portion of the phone’s full cost (up to $250), these new plans may require to pay the full cost of the phone ($600 or more). Before you sign up for these early upgrade plans, do your homework.
Some question to ask include:
Is there an upgrade fee?
Does the upgrade fee include insurance?
How soon after you sign your contract can you upgrade?
Are you required to pay a down payment? Is a down payment required for each upgrade?
Does your old phone have to work and be in good physical condition to upgrade?
How frequently can you upgrade per year?
How many months will you have to pay for the full price of the phone?
Is the early upgrade option available with all of the carrier’s plans or only select ones?
What percentage of the phone’s full value are you responsible for paying before you are eligible to upgrade? After how many months?
Keep in mind that if you have an early upgrade plan and pay the entire phone’s price, you may still be required to return the phone to your provider on your next upgrade. Also, if you owe money on the phone, you may not be able to switch carriers until the balance is paid.
In this episode of Ask Marietta, Marietta responds to a letter from an Army base in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and shares some of the resources available in the Consumer Action Handbook for our military members and their families.
Hi, this is Marietta with the Consumer Action Handbook, and in this series, Marietta’s Mailbag, we read and respond to letters and emails that come in from readers like you, who have used the Consumer Action Handbook.
Today’s letter comes from Army community services at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Ed says, Dear Marietta, We provide classes in the consumer services, financial planning and credit reports, to help hundreds of service members and their families each month.
The Consumer Action Handbook is a big help in these classes. We couldn’t do it without this publication.”
First let me say thank you to the service men and women for your sacrifice and service to our country.
It delights me to know the Consumer Action Handbook is a helpful resource in your life.
The Consumer Action Handbook includes so much information specifically for military families. Information on frauds and scams and knowing where to get resources that can help you.
If you have a question, send it in! We love to hear from you!
You can write us, you can email us or you can tweet us using the hashtag #AskMarietta
Home improvements and repairs can cost thousands of dollars and are the subject of frequent consumer complaints.
If you need work done on your home, keep these things in mind when selecting a contractor:
Get at least three written estimates. Insist the contractors come to your home to evaluate what needs to be done. Be sure the estimates are based on the same work so that you can make meaningful comparisons.
Check contractor complaint records. Your state or local consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau can provide this information.
Make sure the contractor meets licensing and registration requirements. Your state or local consumer protection agency can help you find out what these requirements are.
Contact your local building inspection department to check for permit and inspection requirements. Be wary if the contractor asks you to get the permit; it could mean the firm is not licensed.
Be sure your contractor is insured. They should have personal liability, property damage and worker’s compensation insurance for workers and subcontractors. Also check with your insurance company to find out if you are covered for any injury or damage that might occur.
Insist on a written contract that states exactly what work will be done, the quality of materials that will be used, warranties, timetables, the names of any subcontractors, the total price of the job, and the schedule of payments.
Be especially cautious if the contractor:
Comes door-to-door or seeks you out;
Just happens to have material left over from a recent job;
offers you discounts for finding other customers;
quotes a price that’s out of line with other estimates;
pressures you for an immediate decision;
offers an unusually long guarantee;
can only be reached by leaving messages with an answering service;