Breast Cancer Myth Busters Reply

65. breast cancer awareness ribbon

Breast cancer awareness ribbon (Photo credit: TipsTimes)

Breast Cancer was first noted and discovered about 3,500 years ago by the ancient Egyptians.  The Egyptians referred to them as “bulging tumors ” that had no cure.  Thousands of years later we still do not have a cure but with new technology, Western medicine and tenacity, we are heading in a positive direction to finding the cure.

Since it is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I believe that it is so important for women AND men of any age to educate themselves about preventative care and potential risks. Cancer does not discriminate against age or gender. Educating yourself and knowing the facts could ultimately help you lower the risk, or even save your life.

Now, I don’t know what you’ve been hearing lately but everywhere I go I’m told that just about everything can give you cancer. Here are some common myths and facts about this nasty disease.

MYTH:

Breast Cancer ALWAYS comes in the form of a lump.

FACT:

Although a lump can indicate a tumor, it can also be one of many benign breast conditions. Women should also look for swelling, areola retraction, dimpling, More…

Business Consumer Alliance Offers Consumers Tips On Layaway Shopping Reply

Walmart Layaway

Walmart Layaway (Photo credit: Random Retail)

With the Christmas season fast approaching many are thinking about the presents they will be giving come this holiday season. Whether you are shopping for family and friends, or you are looking to shop for yourself, there are several options available to make those holiday purchases. In recent years layaway has become a great payment alternative to shoppers that may want to get away from credit card debt, are on a budget, or don’t want to shell out the entire cost at once for a big ticket item.  Layaway allows you to select an item and pay the balance over time. There is no credit check required, you can avoid paying interest on the purchase, and you may be able to buy unique or hard to find items while they are available.

There are layaway plans available for all types of shopping including electronics, appliances, jewelry, clothing, and even non-retail items like travel, tickets to events, etc. Before you decide to purchase on layaway, Business Consumer Alliance wants you to keep the following in mind:

  • Check out the company by obtaining a reliability report from our BCA website. Also look online and ask around for reviews about the business.
  • Review the layaway policy thoroughly before signing any agreement and putting down a deposit.  Ask questions such as:
  1. How much is the deposit?
  2. How long do I have to pay off the merchandise?
  3. What are the due dates for payments? Can you change the due date for payments?
  4. Are there any additional fees associated with the layaway service such as storage, processing, handling, or service plan fees? More…

Oktoberfest Tips From Business Consumer Alliance Reply

 

espiche en la oktoberfest en villa general bel...

Oktoberfest(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oktoberfest is here and just about every county is celebrating with mini festivals replicating that of the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. What a great time for celebration with friends and family over liter sized beers, loud music, different types of bratwursts and massive pretzels. Bring on the sauerkraut! I look forward to this event just as much as the next German and having German heritage in me, it makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately with every great event come the people looking to make a quick buck. Whether it’s overcharging for a product or taking advantage of the inebriated, there are some things that you should be aware of.

  • If you are planning to purchase tickets before the event, act fast and only purchase them through the tent or event website itself. There are so many “ticket deals” out there that are very appealing, considering the fact that they’re half price and all inclusive. More…

Online Shopping Tips From Business Consumer Alliance Reply

English: Ebay and PayPal headquarters located ...

English: Ebay and PayPal headquarters located in San Jose, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No matter what season, day or hour it is, the mall seems to be always swarming with fast paced consumers. Whether it’s a big sale, grand opening or people leisurely watching others, you can always expect to be just another fish in an overly congested pond when venturing inside a shopping center – Sounds like fun, right? Although I love the mall and enjoy the hustle and bustle of it all, I have found (and millions of others) a more convenient, smarter, less stressful and super easy way to shop; Online Shopping!

I am a member of two shoe clubs, have subscribed to all my favorite stores, receive bi-monthly skin care products, and this is just to name a few. It has most definitely become one of my favorite hobbies. I tend to refer to myself as the online shopping expert. However, this title has not come without experiencing some trial and errors.

Online shopping is one of the safest ways to shop but only if you take the necessary precautions. Here are some things to look for:

While Shopping:

  • When making purchases from an unfamiliar or even a familiar website for that matter, do your research! An easy way to start the research process is by entering the business name in your search engine of choice ( i.e. Google, Bing, etc.) and scan through the plethora of review websites, selecting one that appears to offer unbiased customer reviews. This should be sufficient enough to gather the information to help make your decision.
  • Visiting the Business Consumer Alliance website is another great reliable source for verifying the legitimacy of More…

Beware of Unsolicited Tow Trucks Reply

English: A car being loaded onto a flatbed tow...

A car being loaded onto a flatbed tow truck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, Business Consumer Alliance teamed up with NBC Los Angeles for an investigative piece on 1st Class Auto Craft, an auto repair shop with several complaints alleging excessive storage fees and delays in completing the necessary repairs. Complaints generally start with allegations that tow truck operators show up unsolicited after an accident or vehicle breakdown.  The tow truck drivers identify themselves as being affiliated with AAA or On Star. Consumers are coerced into having their vehicles towed for free to 1st Class Auto on the premise that they are an authorized repair facility for their vehicle’s manufacturer.

It’s not until after the vehicle arrives at the repair shop when consumers find out the tow truck operators were never dispatched by AAA, nor is 1st Class Auto an authorized repair facility for their vehicle’s manufacturer.  Complaints typically allege extensive delays in completing auto repairs, inadequate or incomplete repairs, additional damages to vehicles caused by the company and difficulty contacting the company to get status updates on their vehicle or to have their vehicle released. In some cases, consumers allege they were charged for towing although they never authorized it and the company charged excessive storage fees when consumers decided to take their vehicles elsewhere or refused service.

The company formerly operated under the name of Sunset Auto Crafters.  In some cases, the company responded to complaints by explaining delays and advising that all authorized repairs have been completed or by providing more information on the fees charged to the consumer. 1st Class Auto denies causing additional damages to vehicles and claim no affiliation with the tow truck companies.

Business Consumer Alliance provides the following tips:

  • Be cautious of unsolicited help. Do not allow any tow operator to take your vehicle if you did not contact them.
  • Contact the police or your roadside service contractor and allow them to handle towing arrangements. If the police arrange to have your vehicle towed don’t sign any additional paperwork from the company, which could allow them to add extra fees later on.
  • Check that the name on the tow truck is consistent with the documentation. Do not deal with operators that show up with no company information on their vehicle. Also, if the operator claims to be from AAA or another motor club, contact your motor club membership hotline to see if they authorized the operator.
  • If possible, arrange to have the vehicle towed to your home or to a trusted repair facility of your choice. Be wary of any towing company that wants to take your vehicle to its own repair shop.
  • Do not provide the tow truck operator with your insurance information. Do not provide them with your personal information, as this may be used to file a lien against you.
  • Obtain a printed invoice which includes towing, storage, and any miscellaneous fees.
  • If you suspect fraud or if the tow truck driver refuses to leave, contact the police.

As always, we recommend everyone to check out our Reliability Reports on all companies at our website, http://www.businessconsumeralliance.org.  If you have a dispute with a business, file a complaint and we will do our best to resolve it for you.  Scams should be reported to us so we can investigate the company and write up a report.  All services are free to the public.

Watch the NBC investigative piece: VIDEO - Driver Accuses Auto Shop of Holding Wrecked Car for Ransom

Labor Day Tips With Business Consumer Alliance Reply

labor-day-no-coupons[1]With Labor Day approaching Business Consumer Alliance wants you to enjoy a safe and fun filled holiday. Whether you are staying home to relax, going on a trip, or planning a big end of summer bash, Business Consumer Alliance has some tips that may get you through this holiday weekend.

Shop ‘Til You Drop—Labor Day sales are huge nationwide. Many businesses advertise huge end of summer clearances and specials for Labor Day weekend. Before you hit the mall, favorite shop, or a favorite online merchant, prepare yourself by doing some comparison shopping beforehand. Check your local fliers and online ads to see what will be on sale and how similar merchandise is priced. Make sure to check out any special restrictions, limitations or conditions of the sale. Review the return and shipping policies and also check for any special coupons or incentives that could be used with the offer. Inspect clearance items for any defects or damage and ask about the return or exchange policy on final sale items.

Hitting the RoadAAA Travel projects 34.1 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming Labor Day holiday, a 4.2 percent increase from the 32.7 million people who traveled last year. If you are one of the projected 85% of travelers who will be gassing up and traveling by automobile keep the following suggestions in mind: More…

Oops! Now Wells Fargo Must Pay Reply

Wells Fargo James Center

Wells Fargo James Center (Photo credit: taberandrew)

Those who may have been dejected when Wells Fargo prevailed in a class action lawsuit alleging that the bank unfairly imposed overdraft fees on its customers may now be elated to know that a federal judge has reinstated the $203 million judgment against Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo, the original suit alleged, posted debit card transactions not according to the chronological order of the transactions but according to the high-to-low amounts of the transactions, causing more overdrafts to occur and thus more customer overdraft fees.  With regard to the injunction and restitution order issued, the appellate court agreed with the bank’s contention that federal law allowed the bank to choose its posting order so long as that order had not been determined for the “sole purpose of increasing the amount of returned check fees charged to the customer.” [Business Link March/April 2013.]

Upon remand as to the fraudulent or misleading representations allegations, this same judge more recently held that Wells Fargo had misled customers to believe the posting order would be chronological and reinstated the $203 million order.

Before jumping for joy at the idea that restitution may once again be within reach, customers who have been assessed the unfair charges should, alas, note that Wells Fargo once again plans to appeal.

Kim’s Catch of the Day: Timeshare Relief Now Reply

timeshare ownership

(Photo credit: GGtimeshares)

Here’s the catch:  Timeshare Relief Now promises timeshare owners a way to unload their traditionally unloadable timeshares, avoid the recurring maintenance fees and taxes, help a charity, and maybe get a tax write-off as well.  Those who believe TRN and anticipate relief from their timeshare headaches instead find themselves still pained by delayed action or no action on TRN’s part at all.  Years later, in many cases, their timeshare is still their burden and their fees and taxes still their responsibility. They’ve swallowed a bitter, ineffective pill and paid dearly to do it.  Now, with temperatures rising, most wish only for a permanent vacation from TRN.

Timeshare Relief Now, which also does business as Timeshare Relief, Inc. and Timeshare Cure, promotes its services on its website and, according to some complainants, at free seminars.  It describes itself as “a company committed to helping timeshare owners get out of timeshare contracts using a ‘proprietary’ method . . . the one and only Guaranteed Timeshare Relief Solution.”  After spelling out some reasons for wanting to get out of your timeshare, it concludes that “Timeshare Relief can help!” And if you’re wondering how it can help, the answer is that it “just helps timeshare owners get out of timeshare contracts and is all about providing you with RELIEF.”

If you haven’t learned much so far about just what that “proprietary method” is or exactly what they’re going to do for you More…

Nigerian Scam Still Out To Reel ‘Em In Reply

Nigerian Scam

Nigerian Scam (Photo credit: Florian SEROUSSI)

A number of times in the last 20 or so years, we’ve reported victims’ experiences and warned you about Nigerian money-laundering schemes.  There are variations of the schemes, of course, and not all of them are carried out from Nigeria.  But they’re alive and thriving, and the experience of one Puerto Rico resident who could recently have been snagged by such a scheme makes it seem worthwhile to remind you once again of the dangers in accepting seemingly something for seemingly nothing.

What might catch you off guard in the offer this man received is that the initial letter is allegedly sent from United Nations headquarters, New York, and signed by someone from the “United Nations Compensation Commission.”  Beginning “Congratulations Beneficiary,” it goes on to say that the “UNITED NATIONS, in Affiliation with WORLD BANK” have agreed to compensate all people that have been scammed in any part of the world with “the sum of USD $750,000.00 Dollars.”

What might make you less cautious than usual at this point is that that’s a mighty enticing windfall, especially for any of the many who’ve experienced one or more of the blows caused by the state of the American economy over the past several years.

What do you have to do to claim your money?  Well, first, what doesn’t seem to be required is that you were even scammed at all.  The letter contains no further mention of it nor does it ask for any sort of proof, or even acknowledgment, that you did lose some–or, for that matter, any–money to a scam. More…

Take Dad camping this Father’s Day Reply

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(Photo credit: Kim G. Appels)

Father’s Day is an occasion to mark and celebrate the contribution that your father or a father-figure has made to your life.   Many people send or give cards or gifts to their dads.  Common Father’s Day gifts include sports items or clothing, electronic gadgets, outdoor cooking supplies and tools for household maintenance.

Father’s Day is a relatively modern holiday so different families have a range of traditions.  These can vary from a simple phone call or greetings card to large parties honoring all of the ‘father’ figures in a particular extended family.  Father figures can include fathers, step-fathers, fathers-in-law, grandfathers and great-grandfathers and even other male relatives.   In the days and weeks before Father’s Day, many schools and Sunday schools help their students to prepare a handmade card or small gift for their fathers.

Sound familiar?  Maybe it’s time for a change.  Why not escape the rat race, reconnect with the outdoors and spend some quality time with Dad and other family members?  Fathers should feel special on Father’s Day.   This Father’s Day weekend, June 14-16, 2013, is the one time (this year) when you won’t cost Dad an arm, a leg or even a penny.  Kids 17 and younger camp free at participating KOA campgrounds.   Click the link to find a camp ground in your area and make a reservation. More…