• Myth 1: You have the right to cancel any purchase or contract within three days.
The three-day right to cancel a purchase
or contract does not apply to everything; in fact, it only covers a limited
number of transactions. In Connecticut, the three-day right of rescission
applies to health club contracts, timeshare purchases, home improvement
contracts and door-to-door sales. Consumers should always be careful when
purchasing things such as automobiles and vehicles, which are not covered, and
always thoroughly read any contract before signing.
Major purchases should
be made carefully, and always
be sure to read the fine print before
signing a contract.
• Myth 2: When returning merchandise you have the right to a store refund if you request one.
FACT: In Connecticut, retailers have the ability to
set their own individual return policy, which must be disclosed to consumers
when purchasing. If a policy is not disclosed or no refund policy has been set,
a consumer making a return can be refunded in the manner in which they
originally paid. This does not apply to food, perishable items, plants,
custom-made or custom-ordered goods, items that have been used, items that
cannot be resold under state regulations, or items marked “as is” or “final
sale.” Retailers are not obligated to make refunds without proof of purchase,
such as a purchase receipt or bill of sale
• Myth 3: “Awards," "Prize" and "Lottery" notifications sent by U.S. mail must be official.
One of the
most common ways consumers may be defrauded is through phony notifications that
they are the recipient of an award, sum of money or have lottery winnings.
Often times these notifications will ask for "entry fees," donations,
advance payment or personal information. Contests that ask that consumers send
money or that guarantee that "everyone’s a winner" are illegal in
Connecticut. Don’t be fooled – consumers cannot win a lottery they did not
enter, and they never have to pay in advance for legitimate awards, prizes or
• Myth 4: The “Lemon Law” applies all big-ticket items you purchase, including used cars.
Connecticut's Lemon Law applies to new
motor vehicles purchased or leased in the state and covers repair attempts made
within the first 24,000 miles or during the first two years of use and, in
limited circumstances, apply to second owners. Generally, used cars are
not covered by the lemon law, so always investigate the history of a used car
or product and have it checked by a mechanic or other knowledgeable person
before purchasing. Connecticut has a separate used car warranty law covering
some used cars purchased from dealers.
• Myth 5: The majority of money contributed to a charity must go to the charitable purpose.
FACT: Charitable organizations are not obligated to
spend a minimum percentage of funds raised on their charitable purpose. Before
giving to a charity, consumers
interested in contributing should
ask what percentage of donations go to directly support the charity's purpose, as opposed to administrative or
marketing costs. Consumers should also research any charity they would like to contribute to so they can ensure
that it is legitimate and registered, and is not a scam. For a list of
registered charities, visit: www.charitynavigator.org.
• Myth 6: It is safe to use your credit card information for identification purposes.
Consumers should never use credit card
information to identify themselves, especially over the phone or in person.
Thieves and scammers can use this information to make unauthorized purchases
with your card. Using a credit card to place orders, make hotel
reservations or make other purchases over the phone and online from reputable,
established businesses is usually safe. However, consumers who believe they are
a victim of credit card fraud or have not received the product or service they
purchased, should contact their credit card company. Many credit card companies will refund
consumers whose cards were used fraudulently.
Keep in mind that such protections may not apply to debit card purchases
made by consumers.
• Myth 7: Purchasing magazines improves your chances of winning a publisher sweepstakes.
is illegal in Connecticut for any type of sweepstakes promotion to require
consumers to make a purchase or payment to enter. This ensures that those who
make purchases have the same chances as those who do not.
• Myth 8: No one can take money from your bank accounts without your written authorization.
providing another person with a bank account number may allow him or her to
make withdrawals from that account. A bank may disburse your funds without your
express or approval to a person who has the account and/or routing number. In
order to prevent this from happening, consumers should never give out their
bank account number or routing number, especially in response to an unsolicited
call or email.
• Myth 9: Credit reports are private and only accessible by third parties with your authorization.
In some circumstances, potential employers,
landlords, insurers and retailers may access credit reports as part of a
background check procedure and for credit checks. Thus, it is vital to ensure
that your credit reports are accurate.
Consumers may obtain a free copy of their credit report from each of the
three credit reporting bureaus every twelve months by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling
1-877-322-8228. Review your credit report for accuracy and if you notice
errors, contact the credit bureau immediately.
• Myth 10: Advertisements on the radio, on television, in newspapers and magazines or on major Internet sites must be accurate, otherwise they would not be run by reputable organizations.
It is not
required that advertisements be submitted to a government agency for review to
determine truthfulness or accuracy. Also, the media is not legally required to
review advertisements for truthfulness or accuracy prior to broadcasting them.
Connecticut law however, does prohibit businesses from making knowingly false
statements about their products or services.
Before making significant purchases, consumers should independently
research claims made in advertisements before purchasing the product or service.
Talk to friends and family about their experiences with a product or business
and always remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably
• The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, provides extensive consumer information on its Web site, www.ftc.gov.
• For additional information, or if you have any questions, call the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Assistance Unit at 860-808-5420.