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The Pure Vermont Newsletter
     By the Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program                                      SUMMER 2013

Auto Issues Rank No. 1 Among Consumer Federation of America's Top Complaints of 2012

The CFA has once again surveyed and compiled information from 40 agencies of 20 different states, including the Consumer Assistance Program of the Attorney General's Office.  After comparing the submissions of all the organizations, the Federation determined that automobile sales and repair issues brought in the most consumer complaints.

Cover of the Used Car Buying Guide

 "It's really no surprise that auto transactions continue to lead the list of complaints.  Not only have cars become more complex and expensive, but many dealers can't get it right when it comes to treating their customers fairly and with respect."

Jack Gillis, CFA Director of Public Affairs

The Consumer Federation of America recommends:

Continue reading about the CFA's Top 10 Complaints...

It Has Been a Scam Filled Summer

Vermonters have reported a whole variation of scams this summer.  Though they range from claiming that "you've won a gift card, and must pay shipping," to claiming there are "issues with your debit card," or claims that someone has "paid for a free medical alert system in your name," all of the scams are attempting to obtain individual's personal information over the telephone.  Such scams are most commonly known as "phishing."


How do scammers benefit from obtaining your personal information anyway?

Typically with gift card or free offer scams, the information of most importance to the scammer is your  method of payment to cover the cost of "shipping and handling." The scammers expect that you will give out your credit card, debit card, or bank account number to pay for the small fee, in which case they would either charge you--and hope the charge goes unnoticed, or sell your information to be used for future fraudulent activity.

The same scenario applies to making false claims about your debit card or other accounts.  The scam is ultimately an attempt to obtain your account information so that they may use it for their own benefit.

The most prominent and reoccurring scam this summer is the "Medical Alert" scam.  The scam typically involves several phone calls to individuals, claiming "a system has been paid for and is pending delivery."  The caller claims that a friend or loved one ordered the system for you.  Then, they further push you to give your mailing address and contact information.  

Based on the volume of calls and how repetitive they are per household, the scammers are using "random digit dialing,"  with the goal of obtaining personal contact information.  They could find such information profitable in selling it to third parties, and other scammers.  

What should consumers do?   

Hang up the phone.

Don't give out your personal information to an unsolicited caller.

Report telemarketing violations to the Federal Do Not Call Registry.

CFPB Helps College Students Decipher Student Loan Lingo


Just as soon as all the forms for college have been submitted and the acceptance forms have been completed, it seems like summer is over and it is time to figure out how to pay for college.  It was reported this summer that Stafford loan interest rates increased.  The average college student will encounter numerous complex financial issues like this and more when preparing for the upcoming term.  

Luckily, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has provided a resource to help students understand exactly what they are signing up for when they agree to take out student loans and what happens when it is time to pay it back.  The CFPB is also the best resource to file a complaint about current issues with educational student loans. 

Link to the CFPB

Back to School Retail Outlook

The NPR anticipates consumer retail "back to school" purchasing trends  in light of other rising expenses. 

Link to NPR Article


Warning: Scam Emails CLAIM "Incoming Money Transfers Received by Your Financial institution"

Online Advertising And Avoidable Pay Per Clicks



Warning: "Motor Vehicle Services" Solicitation for Warranty is NOT from the DMV

Consumer Advisory RE: Lottery Check Scam

      More consumers >>

Pure Vermont 


This month, our office salutes Anthony Bambara for the hard work and dedication he has contributed to our program and Vermont during his time as a student worker, volunteer, and Senior Consumer Advisor. Anthony has played an integral role in supplementing the staffing needs of our program.

He managed a range of complaint portfolios over a period of three years. Consumers and businesses would frequently contact our program and, knowing his quality work, ask for Anthony by name.  

This month, Anthony will depart our program and begin a new adventure.  He has plans to become an attorney and will begin law school.  

Continue reading...

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JUNE 2013

131 New Complaints
Automobiles - Failure to Perform

Automobiles - Deceptive Pricing

Automobiles - Defective Merchandise

Automobiles - Misrepresentation
Retail - Failure to Perform

Entertainment - Bait and Switch

Banking/Credit - 
Collection Harassment


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