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Search GovSpot or Google |   Great Must-See sites   |   Read Articles and Lists | Find answers | Did you know?  
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Consumer Affairs

In August 2000, 14.4 million tires were recalled from sport-utility vehicles following reports that 119 people had died in accidents relating to the tires. The far-reaching recall was an example of U.S. government consumer protection agencies at work.

The government regularly releases product safety and consumer information on the Internet. The U.S. Consumer Gateway is an all-encompassing consumer information portal. The site issues news alerts about important safety issues.

The U.S. Consumer Gateway issues safety news and advice on many topics, such as health, money, food, children and technology. The site also posts ScamAlerts, such as Scholarship Scams and Federal and Postal Job Scams. You can also find Tips for Online Investing.

The Federal Consumer Information Center was established in February 2000 and is another essential resource for consumers. The center publishes Scam and Fraud alerts and instructions for Filing a Complaint. The center's site contains advice on many subjects, such as How to Spot Health Fraud.




The Consumer Action Handbook is one of the FCIC's invaluable publications. This booklet, in print and online, can help you resolve consumer complaints. For example, if you have a mechanical problem with a new car, the handbook explains how to deal with the car manufacturer. The handbook includes a directory of Federal Agencies, Consumer Organizations and State, County and City Government Consumer Protection Offices. Consumers will also find advice on home improvement loans, travel tips and resources for people with disabilities.

Who Handles What?

Over 15,000 products, from refrigerators to pencil sharpeners, are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agency is responsible for testing products and enforcing safety guidelines. Visit the CPSC Recall page for the latest safety news. You can also search a directory of recalled products and report unsafe products.

If you are not sure which agency to report to, check the CPSC's Directory for a list of products under other agencies' jurisdiction. Products outside the CPSC's watch include vehicles and child safety seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for testing the safety of these products. The agency's New Car Assessment Program conducts crash tests and evaluates safety features on new vehicles. The agency's site provides detailed information on air bags and Automotive Safety Information for Persons with Disabilities. The agency also maintains a list of recalls and relies on the public to report vehicle safety problems.

The Food and Drug Administration works to maintain the safety of food, cosmetics, medicines and medical devices. The FDA offers Consumer Information for radiation-emitting products, clinical trials and other topics. At Consumer Drug Information, patients can learn about the side effects of many drugs.

The Federal Trade Commission protects consumers through antitrust legislation and by monitoring the economic market. The FTC embarked on a Gasoline Price Investigation to study the causes of recent price hikes. The Consumer Protection division also offers reports on identity theft, telemarketing and tobacco.

If you have grievances to report about air travel, telephone issues, environmental violations and more, visit GovSpot's Government Complaint Center.




   --- J. Britten

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