AG McDaniel Promotes Consumer Protection Week

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February 02, 2007 Highlights Hazards of Online AuctionsLITTLE ROCK Online auction sites are often a convenient and easy way to purchase goods; however, they are also a convenient and easy way for scam artists to take advantage of consumers. In fact, in the National Consumer Leagues list of top ten scams of 2006, online auction site scams ranked #1. This is particularly a problem for Arkansans. Sixty-six percent of Arkansans who filed complaints with the FBIs Internet Crime Complaint Center, filed complaints regarding online auctions and lost an average of $409. In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, February 4-10, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert to offer Arkansans tips on how to avoid falling victim to online auction fraud: Make sure you understand how the auction works, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the sellers obligations are before you buy anything. Find out as much as you can about the seller, as most online auction fraud occurs when sellers misrepresent themselves or their goods. If you are buying from an individual, you should read customer reviews, consider how the seller is requesting payment, inquire as to warranties and exchanges, and understand that if the seller is in another country, it may be harder to resolve a problem because of the difference in laws and the distance. If you are considering buying from a business, you can get more information from the Better Business Bureau before making your purchase. Regardless of whether you buy from an individual or business, you should never have to give out your drivers license or Social Security Number. Get the web site/company complaint policy, as many companies have a standard course of action to resolve problems. Even if the site you are using has a complaint policy, you should also consider getting insurance on your transaction and shipment if it is available. If you have problems during a transaction, try to work them out directly with the seller, buyer, or site operator. If that doesnt work, you can file a complaint with the Arkansas Attorney Generals Office Division of Public Protection, the Better Business Bureau and/or the Federal Trade Commission. For further information on other consumer matters, contact the Public Protection Division of the Attorney Generals Office at Suite 1100, 323 Center Street, Little Rock, AR 72201. The office can be reached by calling 682-2341 (Little Rock) or 1-800-482-8982. Spanish-speaking consumers can also call (501) 683-3130. TDD service is available for the hearing impaired at 682-6073. The address on the World Wide Web is"