Simple rules for smart spending

If you are in the market for any product or service—such as a car, clothes, stereo system, or educational course—there are several simple rules to keep in mind. If you follow them, your dollars will go further and you will be more satisfied with the results. Shop and compare. Compare products on the basis of features, warranty protection, and price. …

What is a warranty?

A “warranty” is part of a contract that specifies the quality and dependability of the product or service you are purchasing. The warranty tells you what you can expect from the product, what you must do if you have a problem, what the seller will do in return, and how long the warranty is in effect.

Are warranties important?

Yes. A good warranty can save you much money and frustration if the item you buy needs to be repaired or replaced within the warranty period. You always should check to see if the items you intend to buy are covered by warranties and find out exactly what the warranties include and exclude.

Do I have any protection after the warranty period ends?

You might, depending on the situation and what state and federal laws apply. You also may have protection under products liability law if you or someone else is injured by a defective product even after the expiration of the warranty period.

Do these warranties apply to used items?

An item may be specifically warranted by its seller whether it is new or used, but many used items are not covered by a warranty. You should be aware that if an item is sold “as is” it is not covered by a warranty, and you buy it at your own risk. Virginia law requires that used car dealers clearly …

Whom should I contact if I have consumer questions?

You should contact the Virginia Office of the Attorney General – Consumer Protection Office (1-804-786-2042), your local Chamber of Commerce, the State Corporation Commission’s Division of Energy Regulation (for utility complaints) (1-804-371-9611), or the Virginia Bureau of Insurance (1-804-371-9741).