Pure Vermont Newsletter Articles June 2013


Avoid the Burn of Unclear Sunscreen Labeling

After the long winter without concentrated sunlight, Vermonters venture outdoors to enjoy summer activities, which puts them at risk of direct sun exposure. Unfortunately, the same thing that can bring people so much happiness can also be the bearer of unfortunate health consequences.  

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60,000 people were diagnosed with skin cancer in 2009. 90% of these diagnoses are the consequence of sun exposure. This is not to say that people should not hang out at the beach or enjoy a day at the park, but they should make sure that they are properly protecting their skin.

There are three types of rays that consumers should be knowledgeable about when selecting an appropriate sunscreen:

Many people are not aware that there are multiple types of ultraviolet light, and not all sunscreens are capable of protecting against all of these. The “UV” we so often hear when talking about sun protection refers to the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

New regulations put forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dictate that sunscreens must offer “broad spectrum” protection, which guards skin against UVB and UVA rays.

No sunscreen is completely waterproof or sweat proof, and can no longer be labeled as such. Sunscreens can be water resistant, but it is important to note how quickly they wear off so that people may reapply adequately.

In addition, the FDA’s research has shown that sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or above can help reduce the risk of sun-induced skin cancer. But SPF, which stands for sun protection factor, refers to the ability of the product to deflect UVB rays. Therefore, even if the sunscreen has a very high SPF, it does not mean that it is “broad spectrum”, and it may not protect against UVA rays. 

Starting this year, if a sunscreen is not “broad spectrum” or above SPF 15, then it must contain a warning label stating "Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging."

The new FDA regulations talked about here are being grandfathered in, so some available products may not yet conform to the new requirements.  The FDA is also working toward future regulation of the front labels of sunscreen in order to ensure that all necessary information is presented to consumer.

This summer keep in mind that, if the bottle does not clearly read “broad spectrum” along with an SPF of 15 or higher, the sunblock may not be effective in protecting against harmful ultraviolet rays.

It is important that consumers are aware of how to care for their skin and that they are provided with the resources to do so properly. The sun can be a person’s best friend or their worst enemy. But with the proper knowledge and use of sun protection products, you can continue to enjoy the sun without worrying about the burn.

References:
http://www.coolasuncare.com/sun-science/uva-vs-uvb
http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/index.htm

Article Contributor:  Megan Matthews


Home Solicitation Sales and the Right to Request a Chargeback

Vermont's new Credit Billing for Certain Home Solicitation Sales law may be of interest to you and your credit card issuer. Effective May 18, 2013, Vermont consumers will have at least one year to request a credit card chargeback (or longer, if the credit card's rules so provide), regardless of whether they have already paid the charge if:

  1. A home solicitation sale is involved, that does not qualify as an exemption to the rule,

  2. Proper oral and written notice of the right to cancel has not been given, or a proper request to cancel has not been honored, and

  3. There was deception or unfairness in the original transaction. 

View the Changes Online



Pure Vermont Recognition

The second Pure Vermont Award was issued on June 11, 2013, to Mike Smith the VT President of FairPoint Communications.  Smith has made significant efforts to educate and bring attention to telephone and wire fraud scams originating from the Jamaican "876" area code.  Among efforts include creating the "Beware: Scams from Area Code 876" website and being a proponent of awareness in the Federal legislature.  

Smith's efforts are particularly meaningful because wire fraud is a national problem that directly impacts our Vermont seniors.  Last year, Vermonters reported having lost more than $10,000 to fraud-induced wire transfers initiated by the Jamaican scam and lottery/sweepstakes scams.  The actual total loss is greater.  Wire fraud is an effective scamming method, because once the money is sent it is virtually impossible to get it back.

The best way to stop these scams is through vigilance, such as that demonstrated by Mike Smith!  
Click here to learn more about wire transfer fraud and other common scams.  Continue Reading...

Find out more about Pure Vermont Now!

Pure Vermont is about bringing consumer awareness to every door step while celebrating the wholesome values that Vermonters are known for, such as helping our neighbors, caring for our community, and promoting fair dealing in the marketplace.  The most important component of the Pure Vermont initiative is you.

Nominate someone for the Pure Vermont Award Now! 



 

BUSINESSES:


Patent Trolling Protection

Press Release:  Vermont Attorney General Sues "Patent Troll" in Groundbreaking Lawsuit


Business Credit vs. Personal Credit

When starting a business or running a start up a question you may have if you are considering opening lines of credit for the business is should you utilize your personal credit or establish credit for your business?  Whatever you decide is ultimately up to you, though there is a lot you should know in order to make an informed decision about your credit options.  We have outlined some of the primary differences in credit here.


Type of CreditPersonalBusiness
ParametersCredit is linked to an individual person, typically the owner of the business or Sole Proprietor or a Partner
Business credit is linked to a specific business referenced by the EIN or FIN.  Even Sole Proprietors and Partnerships will have a business credit history.  To establish a business credit line separate from personal credit, the business should file as an LLC or Corporation.
Number Linked to Credit LineSocial Security Number or Driver's LicenseEmployee Identification Number (EIN) or Federal Identification Number (FIN)
Credit ScoreRange is between 300 and 850
700+ is typically considered "excellent"
Range is between 0 and 100
75+ is typically considered "excellent"
Calculation of ScoreScore calculation is typically based on:
  • Payment History
  • Amounts Owed
  • Length of Credit History
  • New Credit
  • Types of Credit Used
Score calculation is typically based on:
  • Credit:  Number of trade experiences, balances outstanding, payment habits, credit utilization trends overtime.
  • Public Records:  Recency, frequency and dollar amounts associated with liens, judgments or bankruptcies.
  • Demographic Information:  Years on file, Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code and business size.
Credit Reporting Bureaus
  • Equifax
  • Experian
  • TransUnion
  • Dun and Bradstreet
  • Equifax Business
  • Experian Business
  • TransUnion Business
ProsPros of using personal credit for your business:

  1. Building a credit history may be easier and fairly effortless, because 90% of creditors automatically report to and reference credit reports when concerning personal credit.
  2. You likely already have a credit history.

Pros of building business credit:
  1. With a divide between personal and business credit, may help to protect your personal assets and limit your personal liability relative to the business.
  2. Credit is relevant to business and score is determined using business-specific information.
  3. May help you obtain 10 to 100 times more financing than an individual would
  4. May help to improve company image.
ConsCons of using personal credit for your business:
  1. Though using personal credit cards may appear easier, it is riskier because business expenses are often far greater than common personal expenses.
  2. Using personal credit for business purposes could lower your personal credit score, .making it more difficult to obtain personal loans in the future (like for a home or car).
  3. Personal credit history could impose on the likelihood of being able to obtain credit specifically for business purposes.
  4. If issues with personal finances arise, they will show up on the credit report.
  5. Personal credit is typically issued in small quantities, so if seeking a lot of credit, this wont be the best option.
  6. Credit score is determined based on individual-specific information, not business.
  7. Business that maintain a status of Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, personal credit will likely still be considered, even when trying to build business credit.
Cons of building business credit:
  1. Only 10,000 of 500,000 suppliers of credit to businesses actually report to business credit bureaus, so to build credit, businesses have to:
    1. Register their business and 
    2. Follow up by requesting that their creditors report to the bureaus.
  2. Business records must be accurate and up to date, because creditors will check:
    1. Corporate records and EIN/FIN numbers
    2. State filings
    3. Licenses that are required
    4. Permanent company address and phone number
    5. Have business-specific bank/checking accounts
    6. Maintain financial statements and a professional business plan
    7. Maintain good personal credit as well.
  3. Businesses should stay up to date on credit market requirements.
  4. Will have to find a business that will want to grant credit, which is not as easy as obtaining personal loans. 






Resources:

"Managing Your Business Credit" brochure by sba.gov.  


References: 

US Small Business Administration

Experian.com

Businessweek.com

Entrepreneur.com/

See more info for businesses, go to the Consumer Assistance Program website:  www.uvm.edu/consumer/?Page=business.html


CONSUMERS:

Office Launches Facebook Page

Press Release on Facebook page launch!


Used Car Purchasing Guide

Review the tips on used car buying before you go to the dealer.  Check out our buying a car page.

Check out our Used Car Purchasing Guide.



More info for consumers, go to the Consumer Assistance Program website:  www.uvm.edu/consumer