If you’ve turned on the television or radio recently, chances are that you’ve heard at least one advertisement that made you sit up and say “what the…?” From bogus weight-loss products, to suspicious tax “advice” firms, to “free” cruises to the Bahamas, it often seems difficult to avoid ads that are misleading, if not outright fraudulent. At the federal level, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive advertising.
NCL staff has been busy at the Federal Communications Commission lately. From comments on inmate calling rates, to the new FCC chair and activity on wireless cramming, telecom and technology issues remain an area of focus for the League.
The explosion in smartphone use has put the Internet in the palms of consumers’ hands. Consumers use smartphones every day; whether it is for work, to pay their bills, or to find out who “that guy” from “that movie” is. Now imagine that little device vanishes. Might someone use the personal and private information on your phone against you?
Cell phones are becoming increasingly common among younger teens and tweens. To help parents manage their tween’s use of a cell phone, NCL has put together advice for families on how to shop for tweens’ phones, how to keep down costs, and how to set some simple rules to make sure a child doesn’t misuse the phone.
From smart phones to tablet computers, to the hundreds of channels and thousands of on-demand video offerings on TV, consumers have never had more options for how to spend their time. For parents, however, the amount of content that is out there can often lead to anxiety – about what their children watch on TV, what Web sites they are visiting and who they are talking to from behind all those electronic screens. So what’s a concerned parent to do?
The National Consumers League has submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission urging the FCC to adopt a plan that encourages robust competition among current and future broadband delivery platforms, keeps retail prices affordable for moderate-to-low income consumers, creates sustainable jobs, and encourages innovative solutions to bridge the Digital Divide and connect all Americans to the benefits of broadband.
In September 2008, Sally Greenberg appeared before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to discuss the need for greater consumer protections in the purchase and use of prepaid calling cards, a largely unregulated industry that is a “Wild West” of sellers and merchants who too often prey upon the most vulnerable consumers by promising minutes they don’t deliver and loading up on hidden or undisclosed charges and fees.
From slamming to cramming and everything in between, con artists and companies have tapped into telephone bills as a place to bilk consumers out of money they shouldn't owe. Learn to spot the most common phone frauds.
More and more people are relying entirely on wireless phone service to keep in touch with family, friends, and work. Wireless providers’ plans, available phones, and terms of service change frequently. If you're in the market for a new phone, it’s a good idea to shop around, read each company’s offers carefully, and think about your needs before committing to a new contract.
Life's a lot more complicated than it used to be - and so is your phone bill!