Home SHOPPING TIPS AND TRICKS DCP assists shoppers in recouping practically $three million in 2020 tied to...

DCP assists shoppers in recouping practically $three million in 2020 tied to COVID-19-related complaints

Mon, Mar 1st 2021 02:40 pm

Division of Shopper Safety assisted practically 32,000 with a wide range of associated complaints

Nationwide Shopper Safety Week takes place Feb. 28 – March 6

NCPW helps shoppers perceive rights & sources obtainable

To kick off Nationwide Shopper Safety Week, the New York State Division of Shopper Safety on Monday introduced it assisted 31,689 New Yorkers with a wide range of client safety issues associated to COVID-19 in 2020, leading to a document $2,831,400 being returned to shoppers wallets.

Annually throughout the first full week of March, DCP celebrates Nationwide Shopper Safety Week (NCPW) to assist people perceive their client rights and the sources obtainable that assist defend them. As a part of this yr’s NCPW, DCP will host two free digital webinars that includes client safety associated subjects. The primary, “Stop and Shield from Id Theft,” is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 2. Register to take part right here.

The second, “Savvy Purchasing Ideas for Good Shoppers,” is scheduled for six p.m. Thursday, March 4. Register to take part right here.

“COVID-19 has introduced many modifications to {the marketplace} and the Division of Shopper Safety has labored arduous over the previous yr to assist shoppers navigate uncharted territory,” Secretary of State Rossana Rosado stated. “As a part of the Nationwide Shopper Safety Week, we’re highlighting that, in at present’s amplified digital world, shoppers should take precautions to guard themselves from nefarious actors preying on the weak. I encourage all New Yorkers to take these sensible steps outlined by the Division of Shopper Safety to guard their hard-earned cash.”

A press launch acknowledged, “The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in client safety points that precipitated havoc within the lives of many as companies and markets have been disrupted. Three out of the highest 5 criticism classes in 2020 have been direct outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic: journey interruptions and cancellations, leisure cancellations and refunds, and different COVID-19-related points, similar to supply delays, order cancellations, and gymnasium membership charges. DCP performed a central position in guaranteeing the welfare of New York shoppers as extra fraudsters took benefit of the challenges surrounding the pandemic.

New Yorker’s prime 5 client complaints in 2020, together with tricks to defend shoppers, are under:

•Journey interruptions and cancellations resulting from COVID-19. DCP acquired 540 complaints on associated points together with: canceled or rescheduled air journey, resort rooms, rental vehicles and cruise reservations. When making journey plans, shoppers ought to:

√ Pay cautious consideration to cancellation and refund insurance policies. Usually, reservations are supplied with refundable and nonrefundable charges. Paying slightly extra for a refundable charge may save one tons of or 1000’s of {dollars} in the event that they discover themself needing to cancel.

√ Contemplate journey insurance coverage, however rigorously evaluation the phrases and situations, particularly what the insurance coverage does and doesn’t cowl. Some journey insurance coverage insurance policies provide solely partial refunds or restrict protection for excessive circumstances.

√ Pay for tickets and reservations with a bank card. Some bank cards provide extra protections within the occasion of cancellations or whereas touring. One may additionally have the choice of disputing a cost if an organization refuses to subject a due refund.

•Leisure cancellations and refunds resulting from COVID-19. DCP acquired 382 complaints on associated points together with: canceled tour reservations; live performance, theater and sporting occasion tickets; reception deposits and extra. When shopping for tickets or making occasion reservations, shoppers ought to:

√ Evaluate the contract rigorously. When reserving a reception or occasion area, be certain the contract is evident about what occurs to a deposit and any cash paid if the occasion have to be canceled or rescheduled, together with provisions for cancellations by the seller or forces out of 1’s management.

√ Pay cautious consideration to refund insurance policies. If buying tickets, make sure to perceive the vendor’s coverage if the occasion is postponed or canceled.

√ Know your rights. In New York, ticket sellers are required to refund the price of the ticket if the occasion is canceled. This is applicable solely to occasion cancellations, so discover out from the vendor what their coverage is that if the occasion is postponed.

•Miscellaneous market issues resulting from COVID-19. DCP acquired 662 complaints on associated points together with: supply delays, order cancellations, gymnasium membership charges, PPE charges, spa packages and tuition charges. Shoppers ought to:

√ Anticipate supply inside 30 days. New Yorkers are shopping for extra on-line, and transport dates could also be delayed because of the elevated demand. If an merchandise just isn’t delivered inside 30 days in New York and there’s no consent to an extension, shoppers are entitled to a full refund.

√ Know your rights. New York legislation doesn’t permit a well being membership to cost dues or assess charges when the providers for which members are paying are not being offered by no fault of the members. Members have the appropriate to cancel or freeze their memberships with out paying any charges or offering advance discover.

√ Know your credit score report. Reviewing a credit score report can alert one to new accounts being opened or present accounts being despatched to collections – usually earlier than one receives a direct invoice. Get hold of a free copy of a credit score report yearly from annualcreditreport.com. By April 2021, a replica is on the market weekly.

•Refunds and retailer insurance policies. DCP acquired 564 complaints on associated points together with: return insurance policies, restocking charges, refunds for broken/undelivered items, and extra. Shoppers ought to:

√ Ask about refund insurance policies. Shops should present their refund insurance policies on request. Ask whether or not the shop imposes a restocking charge for returned merchandise or if the merchandise have to be in a sure situation for the return to be accepted.

√ Know your rights. On this state, retailers should publish their refund insurance policies. If they don’t, shoppers can request a full refund or retailer credit score inside 30 days.

√ Save all receipts for purchases to permit for ease of returns.

•Web and on-line providers. DCP acquired 425 complaints on associated points together with: inaccurate fees, billing and high quality of products/providers. Shoppers ought to be conscious:

√ On-line is not any excuse. On-line corporations should observe the identical legal guidelines as bodily, “brick-and-mortar” shops. As an illustration, they need to publish their refund insurance policies and take away recalled items from sale.

√ Test on computerized contract renewals. It’s now unlawful in New York state to proceed charging somebody for a web-based service with out providing a straightforward approach to additionally cancel the service on-line.

√ Watch out for scams. With the rise of on-line purchasing and transport, scammers are establishing store on social media and on-line marketplaces. If a deal seems “too good to be true,” it most likely is. Search for retailers with posted insurance policies and bonafide scores. Do a fast internet search on the corporate title and “rip-off” to see if damaging critiques are posted anyplace.

This yr marks the 10-year anniversary since Gov. Andrew Cuomo established the New York State Division of Shopper Safety throughout the Division of State with the mission to help, defend, educate and symbolize shoppers in an ever-changing economic system. The DCP works arduous to help people aggrieved within the market by its criticism mediation efforts, together with educating the general public on market scams, and advocating shoppers’ curiosity earlier than legislative and regulatory our bodies.

The New York State Division of Shopper Safety serves to teach, help and empower the state’s shoppers. Shoppers can file a criticism with the DCP at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. For extra client safety info, name the DCP helpline at 800-697-1220 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, or go to the DCP web site at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. The division can be reached through Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Fb at www.fb.com/nysconsumer.

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