Resolve To Be A Smarter Consumer

It’s that time of year again, when the gym sign-up fees are low and the expectations are high. It’s the time for making resolutions, and if you’re looking for a few… we have some suggestions. This year, you can resolve to be a smarter consumer.

Resolve to Stop ID Theft. Never give your credit card information over the phone to someone who phones you, pretending to be the gas company. Shred your documents before putting them in the trash. Use secure p4ssw0rds. You know, ones with letters and numbers. Don’t use the same password for different websites. Keep an eye on your credit card statements. Report fraud. Do not give your SSN to strangers. Ignore fake emails from “PayPal,” “Ebay,” “Bank of America,” etc. Check your credit report yearly. Don’t be fooled by fake collection letters. Smash the RFID in your passport. Go crazy.

Resolve to Get Executive Customer Service. Don’t take no for an answer. Let “May I speak to a supervisor?” be your mantra. If that doesn’t work, go straight to the top.

Resolve to Never Purchase The Extended Warranty. If you’re looking for extra warranty protection, some credit cards offer it automatically. Get one. (The major exception to this rule is Apple Care.)

Resolve To Ignore Rebates. Do not buy something just because there is a rebate, unless you are a really, really, really, anal Type A person. Rebates are designed to “encourage breakage.” This means rebates are designed to keep as many people as possible from getting their money. If your purchase comes with a rebate, fine, but don’t buy something “because” it has a rebate.

Resolve To Exercise Your Rights. Don’t like your cell phone? Get out of the contract during the trial period. Don’t like being searched at the door at Best Buy? Politely decline.

Resolve to Document, Document, Document. Here at the Consumerist we tire of complaints that are not accompanied by documentation. Did you call Verizon? Great. Record it. Did you get a stupid cable bill? Great. Scan it. Did someone not get your flowers on time? Great. Send a picture of your flowerless friend and her bitter salty tears. Send us something. Even if it’s just a picture of your middle finger, send us something. This site depends on you.

Resolve to Write The Consumerist. Get ripped off? Don’t like it when the people at Cold Stone Creamery sing? Love Walmart? Hate Home Depot? Tell us (with documentation) about it at tips@consumerist.com. Good luck in 2007! —MEGHANN MARCO