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Chapter 28 – Consumer Skills
Being a Good Consumer • Consumer is a person who purchases goods and services. • Consumers should be familiar with the products, by reading about them and doing researching before they purchase. • Have self discipline. If you don’t really need it, don’t buy it. • Try to be a cautious consumer. • Good consumers know if the price is fair.
• Learn about quality by reading consumer advocate groups and magazines say about the product and the manufacturers who produce it. • There are 4 conditions which make a purchase a true bargain: – 1. Product is needed and wanted. – 2. Item’s quality is suitable. – 3. Product sells at a price you’re willing to pay. – 4 Dealer is reputable. • Sometimes the lowest price is not the best bargain. You do get what you pay for.
Comparison Shopping Tips • Comparison shopping is where you look at the same item at a variety of stores to compare the price. • Know what you want, write down the features for the item. • Check the unit price which is the measure of cost per unit.
Comparison Shopping Tips Cont. • • Use the phone to call stores to save time and gas. Compare similar items so you know what’s out there. Check for the warranty. Compare credit terms if you are putting the item of a credit card or store charge. Check return policy, you may not get your money back, only store credit. . Check for fees involved in returns. Sometimes there is a restocking fee. Impulse buying is purchasing without thought or consideration – Avoid this. Store layouts promote impulse buying.
How to control your spending • Know what you want and buy only that. Try using a list and sticking to it. • You should be in control of the advertisements, don’t let them control you. • Direct advertisements appeal directly to you, so you buy it. EX. Glamour, health and success are topics advertisers promote. • Indirect advertising is more subtle uses celebrities to endorsement. EX. Sports figures drinking certain beverages.
Being a Savvy Consumer • Learn to separate fact from fiction. Don’t’ rely on the ad to tell you everything. • Recognize “No-promise. ” It MAY help you. • Watch out for “Below cost” sales and percent off ads, the prices may have been raised and then had the discount taken off, which usually means you’re paying the same or higher price. • Get the whole story about the product. There may be shipping and handling fees, limited quantities, or only certain parts of a whole system.
Consumer Rights • State and federal laws protect you, so know what they are. • You earn rights by living up to your responsibilities. • Consumers have equal rights to safety, to be informed, and to be heard. • You have the right to purchase products that safe. Watch for recalls. • Directions are given for safe use, follow them.
Consumer Complaints • If there is a problem, write, call, or visit in person to complain and take the product with and receipt. • People who cheat the system raise the prices for everyone. • Letters of complaint need include the receipt and the problem. Keep it simple.
Billing Problems • Billing problems occur and they need to be solved quickly, contact the company right away. • Errors which are real, the bill will have to be corrected and interest will be removed. • Watch time frames for error solving, if it’s not an error, you have 10 days to pay.
Resources for Consumers • Gov’t. Agencies – county and city agencies concerned with problems of fraudulent charges or products. • Better Business Bureaus – organizations who keep records and complaints on companies. • Consumer Action and Advisory Panels – org. to help solve consumer problems.