Don’t slip up
■ Credit-card woes
■ TV ad disclaimers
■ Drug disposal
on these charges
By David Horowitz
DO YOU STILL RECEIVE charge slips that show
the full card number and name of the cardholder?
That’s a recipe for identity theft!
You should know that all businesses in the
United States are legally required to truncate credit-card information on electronically created receipts:
Cash-register receipts may display no more than the
last five digits of a credit-card number, and cannot
display the expiration date. However, these rules
don’t apply to handwritten or “imprinted” receipts,
created when your plastic card is used to transfer the
numbers physically onto a paper receipt.
If you find a violation after a purchase, you
should inform the manager that the business is risking civil actions and fines. To file a complaint with
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), go to their
Web site, www.ftc.gov, or call toll-free (877) FTC-HELP (382-4357).
while they view television drug ads, to see if they’re
blinded by advertising smoke and mirrors.
For more information on this issue, visit www.
news-medical.net/?id=33976. In the meantime, always
consult with your doctor or pharmacist before trying
any new drug.
I SIGNED UP for a time
share two years ago, and
have never used it. I owe
and am paying $232
monthly plus maintenance. I was not made
aware that I must pay
an exorbitant 15 percent
on the unpaid balance.
I admit I did not read the
contract’s fine print; like
most trusting people I
was duped by the sales
pitch. Now I really want
to sell it!
The biggest U.S. credit crisis is the mortgage
meltdown, about $900 billion of securitized debt,
reckless lending and “no-doc” or adjustable/inflat-able loans that consumers now can’t afford.
But credit cards are at the root of another consumer debt crisis. Americans owe about $915 billion
in such debt, a figure that is growing. Many homeowners are scrambling to cover inflated mortgage
payments and are paying less on their cards.
Citigroup reports that their customers are beginning to increase the balance on their credit cards,
or take out cash advances for the first time. Experts
say this is a sign of future consumer trouble. One
industry source predicted credit-card delinquencies
will more than double in 2008. And card issuers also
stand to lose if consumers default.
To see whether you may be heading for credit-card-debt disaster, and for tips on how to develop
smart credit habits, visit the FTC’s Web site, www.ftc.
gov, and click on “Consumer Protection,” then
“Consumer Information,” then “Credit and Loans.”
Disposal of unusable drugs
The pharmaceutical-disposal industry was
started in the early 1990s and has been limited to
manufacturers and pharmacies. But now, such service may be extended to c onsumers.
The traditional method of
flushing unwanted medications
down the toilet has come into disfavor, in an effort to stem the rise
of toxic substances in the water and
soil. The alternative is incineration, which has a minimal
effect on the environment when done properly. Federal approval
could take years, but, in
the meantime, pilot
disposal programs are
popping up around the
Note: Costco pharmacies offer free, environmentally responsible
disposal of unwanted or
expired medications for
members within the framework of pharmacy law and
regulations. Check with
your Costco pharmacist to
find out what can and
cannot be thrown away.
TV images affect drug sales
Do people tune out the disclaimers on risks in
television drug ads, distracted by the upbeat images?
Drug companies are legally required to present
a balanced picture of a drug’s benefits and risks in
promotions. But critics claim those warnings, usually contained in verbal descriptions, are often
downplayed and overshadowed by the images of
smiling and relaxed “consumers.”
In reaction to these charges, the Food and Drug
Administration is studying the reactions of people
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate.
His “Fight Back!” commentaries are heard daily on
the Jones Radio Network. For stations and times,
check the radio page at www.fightback.com.
© 2008 FIGH T BACK! INC. ALL RIGH TS RESERVED.
READING THE fine
print of any contract is
Contact the organiza-
tion for information
regarding their regula-
tions about sales,
usage and fees that
could affect the
ability to transfer
can find a buyer
yourself, ask for a
referral from the
nization or use a
Check out the
has excellent informa-
tion regarding sales of
If you believe you
were the victim of false
or deceptive marketing,
contact the Federal Trade
Commission at 1-877-FTC-
Do you have a question for David?
Just log on to www.fightback.com and “Ask David.” He will personally respond
to your problem if you follow the instructions printed on his Web site. (Costco
members receive a rebate off the normal fee.) Questions and answers of the
greatest interest to Costco members will be used in this column with the
permission of the contributor and will be posted on www.fightback.com.