Dear Consumer Ed: I have some outstanding credit card debt from seven years ago. I was recently contacted by a debt collector, who is not the actual creditor, attempting to collect this debt. They want me to pay fees and interest that have nothing to do with the original debt. Can you tell me what is the maximum percentage of interest and collection charges that a buyer of old credit card debt can charge the debtor in the state of Georgia?
Dear Consumer Ed: I live on top of the fitness center in an apartment complex. The machines are extremely loud, and my apartment shakes when they are in use. When I moved in, the fitness center hours were 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Recently, a new manager was hired who changed the gym hours to 6 a.m. to midnight. Can an apartment complex do this? My lease states that all residents are to adhere to reasonable quiet time between 10 p.m.-9 a.m., but the gym hours are not mentioned. The property manager will not return my call. What can I do?
Dear Consumer Ed: Are businesses required to offer a “rain check” for items advertised but not available within the time frame of the deal? I understand when they say “while supplies last,” but one store in particular either conveniently runs out of a product early (sometimes the first day) or it tries to switch to either a higher-priced product or a lower-quality product.
Dear Consumer Ed:
My mother purchased a puppy from a pet store for $2,000. She signed the store's "no refund" policy during the check-out process without reading the paperwork. But, during the sale of the dog, the sales clerk referenced the store’s 48-hour return policy, which says that they will offer an exchange within 48 hours. My mom went back to the store within the 48-hour time period because the puppy was showing signs of illness. Is there any protection for consumers in this case?
Dear Consumer Ed: I bought a car at a used car dealership. When I drove off the lot, I noticed the transmission slipping. When I took it to my mechanic, he said the car needed a new transmission, which would cost about $2,000. I took the car back to the dealership, but they said I purchased it “as is,” and they refused to give me my money back or to repair it. What are my rights?
Dear Consumer Ed: My landlord now wants to charge us $30 for a new battery for the smoke detector, $90 for three door stoppers, $125 to patch paint for a small area and for water marks that existed before we moved in. The total bill he’s giving us is for around $1,000. When we moved into the house we did not report normal wear and tear since the house was seven years old. We left the house in great shape, and now he is overcharging us so he can upgrade the house. How should we handle this situation?
Dear Consumer Ed: My husband passed away. What steps can I take to prevent someone from accessing his information and committing identity theft?
Dear Consumer Ed: I heard that the magnetic strip on debit and credit cards is going to be replaced with chip-and-PIN technology. How will that affect who is liable (consumer or merchant) in the case that a fraudulent transaction occurs?
Dear Consumer Ed: I recently purchased a pool cover online. My credit card was charged immediately. Two weeks later, without any notification, the company refunded 95% of the purchase price. When I discovered this, they told me they kept 5% because they don’t ship to where I live. Is that legal?
Dear Consumer Ed: Can a dealership claim a deposit is non-refundable if there was no written agreement and those terms are not explicitly written on their website?