Today is the 75th birthday of Ralph Nader, a controversial politician, attorney, consumer advocate and author. While he may be best known as the possible spoiler of the 2000 presidential election, one of his major claims to fame is his intense advocacy for automobile safety in the 1960s, which led to a legislation overhaul that made cars much safer for Americans. In the 1970s he started a nongovernmental
organization called Public Citizen, which leads consumer protection initiatives in everything from economics to health and environmental issues. Nader has since started dozens of other nonprofit organizations that aim to protect American consumers in various industries.
In this week’s roundup, we celebrate Ralph Nader’s lifetime of consumer advocacy and feature blog posts that offer tips for being a smarter consumer.
1. The Consumerist is one of the best consumer advocacy sites on the Web. Earlier this week, it warned consumers about a new credit card data breach, and Heartland denies it had anything to do with this one.
2. Do you constantly find yourself persuaded by salespeople to whip out the plastic for all kinds of unnecessary purchases, only to regret it later? Be an informed consumer! Queercents gives you the lowdown on some of the most common sales pitches so you can learn how to better recognize and avoid shopping temptations.
3. The 2009 Homeowner Stimulus Package was designed to protect consumers, but Four Pillars expresses concern that it is a total waste of money.
4. Thicken My Wallet discusses a controversial feature that most credit cards have, but that most consumers are ill-informed about: credit balance insurance.
5. Ask Mr. Credit Card also discusses credit balance insurance in addition to several other types of credit-related insurance, all of which he says are rip-offs and should be avoided.
6. It doesn’t take a genius to get out of debt; just some consumer smarts. No Credit Needed explains how he and his wife got their family out of debt and into a healthier financial state. A few methods they used were to stop relying on credit and stay motivated with the vision of a debt-free future.
7. Don’t get trapped in a cycle of overdraft fees for the sake of convenience. Not Made of Money discusses the hidden dangers of having autobill payments set up with merchants.
8. My Two Dollars says as the recession gets worse, consumers may need to begin cutting back on more and more expenses. He lists which expenses his family would cut out if times got really tight. Do you really need those 2,000 satellite television channels?
9. American Consumer News is another great online resource for consumers who want to stay informed. This week, they explain why you should just say no to cash advances!