New Year, New You

As the new year rolls into our lives, many people take the time to reexamine their habits, finances, and goals. In our opinion, any day is a good day to start good financial methods in your home. Here are some tips from Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

be financially fit

Be Smart with Your Money

There have always been people out there looking to take advantage of you and your money. It seems like they are more sneaky and aggressive than ever before. It’s good to be skeptical of claims that seem too good to be true or offer “free” trials. It’s better to be hesitant with money in your wallet, than gullible with your money in their wallet!

Financial Fitness > Physical Fitness

According to the Iowa Attorney General, one of the most common complaints his office receives is in regards to health-related scams.

Online Health Products

It is legal for dietary supplements to be sold without being tested for safety or efficacy, unlike prescription medications. Marketers of dietary supplements make any claim they want without any scientific research to back it up. Just like anything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If there was a miracle cure for a particular ailment, it is likely to be all over the news, not a “well-kept secret.”

These supplements do everything from helping you to lose weight to fending off cancer and everything in between. In April of 2018, the Attorney General reached settlements with the marketers of Intellux. This supplement was supposed to boost your mental abilities and was “promoted” by Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and other celebrities. Over 180 Iowans spent almost $25,000 on these “miracle” pills before the Attorney General’s office stepped in.

Free Trials and Memberships

People all over the country are also being regularly scammed into memberships or buying clubs that they didn’t sign up for. The Consumer Protection Division¬†fields complaints from Iowans that think they are purchasing one supplement or beauty product and end up being billed month after month. Another popular ruse is to have the victim register for an event and the person later discovers that they are being billed to be part of a membership program.

The Attorney General’s Office recommends you read the fine print. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Examples are what happens if you don’t cancel and what is the time limit to cancel. If they already have your billing information, it makes it very simple for them to continue charging your bank account or credit card. Check your credit card bills and bank statements every month for unauthorized charges. Dispute them as soon as you discover them and do it in writing. Keep an eye out for email or regular mail that state you will be billed unless you cancel. These notifications can look like junk mail so that you will overlook them and they can bill you legally.

Health and Fitness Clubs

During this time of year, many people join fitness centers or other health clubs. Don’t join a club that makes you pay for a whole year’s membership up front, most reputable places will let you try their facilities for a trial period. According to the law, if you pay ahead and then quit¬†after a few days, they don’t have to give you a full refund. Iowa has laws that specifically cover “physical exercise clubs”. You can click on the preceding link to find out what your rights and responsibilities are regarding fitness and health centers in Iowa.

Don’t take or make agreements verbally, make sure contracts are in writing. These contracts have to be signed by the buyer to make them valid. If the health organization violates the law, it voids the contract with the buyer. These laws do not apply to nonprofits, private clubs, and physical rehabilitation facilities.

Protect Your Wallet and Your Waist

We know that your physical health is important and we want you to be healthy and also happy, but not at the expense of your finances. Make wise choices when it comes to your money, just as you should also with your diet and exercise. Contact the helpful experts at Consumer Credit of the Quad Cities for more assistance in keeping a healthy financial waistline.