Do you know your Consumer Bill of Rights regarding OEM products?
Anytime an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or technician tells you you're required to use OEM supplies, don't be intimidated. That is a violation of the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Act. The law says you have the right to use any product you wish, as long as the product works well with your equipment. This stems from a 1936 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in IBM vs. the United States. Ask the technician to mail you this contract clause in writing on his company's letterhead. The odds are, you'll never receive it. The company would have to prove your non-OEM supplies are incompatible. And since you've been using them successfully, that's unlikely to happen. Besides, the supplies you're using may be more cost-effective than the OEM product.
Don't be a victim of scam artists. Fight back!
We've heard reports of unscrupulous companies taking advantage of honest customers. Scam artists place phone calls allegedly to "gather information" and then mail you a product you didn't request along with an exorbitant invoice. If you are targeted in a scam, there are things you can take to fight back.
If you receive a phony invoice for an unauthorized shipment, don't pay it. Instead:
- Call the U.S. Postal Service
Crime Hotline at 800-654-8896,
24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Contact the FBI at:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Boiler Room Task Force
P.O. Box 880808
San Diego, CA 92108
- You can also call the U.S. Attorney's Office, the phone company and your local police department.
Awareness is the best weapon against telemarketing fraud, especially when you follow through by reporting thieves to law enforcement officials. Be sure to check every shipment and caller. Be aware that some scam artists call claiming to be your regular vendor.
If someone calls claiming to be from Data Focus and you don't recognize the voice of your personal account manager, ask for a name, hang up and call us to check.
Before you buy anything from any unfamiliar caller, get the following information in writing:
If the voice on the phone won't fax you this information, that company doesn't deserve your business.
- Date of order
- Name, address, and phone number of the company
- Total price, including delivery charges and taxes
- Delivery date
- Return and cancellation policies, including cancellation costs
Help STOP Internet Fraud!
As use of the Internet becomes more widespread, the risk of Internet fraud increases. The U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently established a website where consumers and businesses can report suspected Internet fraud.
To reach the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, visit www1.ifccfbi.gov.