Do you ever get the feeling you've been "had"?
No matter how hard you try, it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep one step ahead of the fraudsters - or practitioners of "sharp business".
We thought it was time to lay down a few ground rules, to help you deal with these crooks!
With the help of our friends at Cumbria Trading Standards and BBC Radio Cumbria's Lunchtime Show, we've compiled a list of 'top-tips' for the consumer.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
|Buying a car is just like making love...|
1. THOU SHALT ALWAYS SHOP AROUND FOR THY BEST DEAL.
Always shop around for the best deal and compare different prices. Never allow someone to sell you something you neither want nor need.
2. DIALLETH NOT A PREMIUM RATE NUMBER, FOR IT IS WRIT THAT THE COST OF THE CALL MAY BE GREAT.
If you're told you've won one of several "star prizes", and you're requested to call a premium rate number to claim the prize… be aware that the cost of the call is likely to be greater than the value of any prize you may have won.
3. BE NOT THE FOOL... RUSH YE NOT TO PURCHASE SOMETHING THOU DOST NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND.
Don't let an eager salesman rush you into buying something you don't fully understand and ALWAYS get any agreement in writing.
4. THOU SHALT SHREDDETH - AND NOT SIMPLY CAST AWAY - THY PERSONAL DEEDS.
Always shred your personal papers containing your name and address, including credit card receipts. Never put them in the bin - as they may be found by fraudsters.
|"Forget ye not - if it looketh too good to be true, it probably is."|
|St Martin of Plenderleith|
5. THOU SHALT STAY THY HAND, AND READ YE THE "SMALL PRINT".
When taking out insurance, warranties or extended guarantees, NEVER assume the level of cover.. and ALWAYS read the small print.
6. BEWARE THE SALESMAN WHO CALLETH AT THY DOOR WITHOUT IDENTIFICATION.
If anyone calls at your door requesting access to your premises, ALWAYS ask to see identification and have a door chain fitted and USE IT!.
7. BEWARE THE ONE WHO DEMANDETH THE "PRIZE RELEASE FEE" - FOR HE WALKS WITH SATAN.
Never send money to anyone asking for a release fee for lottery or prize draw winnings... they'll keep your cash and you won't see a penny!
8. WHEN THOU SHOPPETH ON THY COMPUTER, THOU SHALT ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE SIGN OF THE PADLOCK.
When shopping on the internet, always check the site is secure by looking for the padlock icon AND check the postal address of the company. Are they based in the UK?.
9. BEWARE THE STORE CARD - AND WORSHIP NOT AT THE ALTAR OF HIGH INTEREST.
If you're asked to take out a store card - remember they're often charged at a MUCH higher rate of interest.
10. THE NUMBER OF THE PIN IS SACRED - AS IS THY MOTHER'S MAIDEN NAME.
...and likewise the name of your first pet. Never give your bank details, pin numbers, mother's maiden name or other personal details to anyone who contacts you out of the blue.
Forget ye not - if it looketh too good to be true, it probably is!
We want to hear about your consumer problems ... if you want a response, remember to include your email address. Also, don't forget about libel, defamation, slander and all the other things that can land us in trouble!
Tune in to Martin Plenderleith's Lunchtime Show, weekdays 11.30am-2pm, for the best consumer coverage on the radio*
(*Okay, so now we're at it too!)