Browse Questions

Store scanning driver's license barcodes

June 29, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I purchased a bottle of wine at my grocery store last week.  I showed them my driver’s license, as requested, and they proceeded to scan the barcode on the back of my license into some piece of equipment. In the past, they simply looked at my ID and typed in my birthdate. What personal information is stored in these barcodes? What kind of devices can read the information? Are businesses storing this data? Who has access to it?

Landlord overcharging for damages upon move-out

June 20, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I moved into an apartment and paid a pet fee since I have a small dog. When it was time to move out, there were a few carpet stains, but they were confined to one room.  I was charged $200 for an overall cleaning of the apartment, plus $1,000 to replace all the carpet in the apartment. Can the apartment complex do that?  When I spoke with them, they said that their carpet is five years old, and when they replace it, they replace all of it, but that I was given a break and charged a discounted rate.  This doesn’t sound right to me. What do you think?

How can Medicare protect my Social Security number from being stolen?

May 22, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I hate giving out my Social Security number, but there are times when you really do not have a choice. How can Medicare protect me when my Social Security number is on my Medicare card and I frequently have to present the card at doctors’ offices, where my card is then photocopied?

Finding a reputable dog breeder

May 8, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I want to get a Golden Retriever.  I looked online and found a dog breeder that is located about an hour away. They seem to be honorable, but how can I confirm that they are reputable before I proceed? 

Unwanted shipments following free trial offer

April 24, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I responded to an online ad for a free trial offer of skin cream. I received the cream and my credit card was charged $4.95 as stated. A month later, I received another jar of the skin cream, and my credit card was charged $94.99.  I never ordered that second jar of cream.  Then the following month I received another jar and there was another $94.99 charge to my credit card.  It was a big hassle to get the company to refund my money. I never asked to be sent additional products after the free trial offer. Didn’t the company violate the law by doing this?

My Social Security number was compromised

April 5, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I recently purchased a home and the closing attorney's office did not send my documents via encrypted mail, which resulted in the exposure of my personal information, including my Social Security number. What guidelines do attorneys who practice in the real estate area have to follow regarding the safe handling of consumer's personal information?

I paid for merchandise that I never received

March 27, 2018

Dear Consumer Ed:  I purchased custom shirts that were supposed to be ready within two weeks.  It’s now six months later and still no shirts. Is it a crime to take money and not produce the goods that you sold? What can I do?