Checklist: Before You Buy

Posted Mar 31, 2022

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Use this checklist before you make a purchase to avoid problems and make better decisions:

  • Decide in advance exactly what you want and what you can afford.
  • Do your research. Ask family, friends and others you trust for advice based on their experience. Gather information about the seller and the item or service you are purchasing.
  • Review product test results from consumer experts and comments from past customers.
  • Get price quotes from several sellers.
  • Make sure the seller has all appropriate licenses. Doctors, lawyers, contractors and other service providers must register with a state or local licensing agency.
  • Check out a company's complaint record with your local consumer affairs office.
  • Get a written copy of guarantees and warranties.
  • Get the seller's refund, return and cancellation policies.
  • Ask whom to contact if you have a question or problem.
  • Read and understand any contract or legal document you are asked to sign or agree to online (by clicking "I Agree"). Make sure there are no blank spaces or incomplete terms.
  • Insist that any extras you are promised be put in writing.
  • Consider paying by credit card. If you have a problem, you can dispute a charge made on your credit card.
  • Don't buy on impulse or under pressure; this includes donating to charity.
  • Check your browser settings when shopping online if you don't want your shopping history shared with data brokers.
  • If you are buying a subscription or membership, find out if it is renewed automatically and how to cancel.

Check for recalls

Before you buy a product, especially a used or secondhand item, check that it has not been recalled for safety or health reasons. Some recalls ban the sale of an item, while others ask consumers to return the item for replacement or repair. Check for recalls through media outlets, individual manufacturers and these government websites:

  • Recalls.gov lists government-initiated recalls from federal agencies.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes safety information on vehicles and equipment such as children's car seats.
  • USDA lists recalls that involve meat, poultry or processed egg products.
  • FDA lists recalls that involve food, medicines, medical devices, cosmetics, biologics, radiation-emitting products, veterinary drugs and pet food. 
Source: USA.gov, www.usa.gov

Use this checklist before you make a purchase to avoid problems and make better decisions:

  • Decide in advance exactly what you want and what you can afford.
  • Do your research. Ask family, friends and others you trust for advice based on their experience. Gather information about the seller and the item or service you are purchasing.
  • Review product test results from consumer experts and comments from past customers.
  • Get price quotes from several sellers.
  • Make sure the seller has all appropriate licenses. Doctors, lawyers, contractors and other service providers must register with a state or local licensing agency.
  • Check out a company's complaint record with your local consumer affairs office.
  • Get a written copy of guarantees and warranties.
  • Get the seller's refund, return and cancellation policies.
  • Ask whom to contact if you have a question or problem.
  • Read and understand any contract or legal document you are asked to sign or agree to online (by clicking "I Agree"). Make sure there are no blank spaces or incomplete terms.
  • Insist that any extras you are promised be put in writing.
  • Consider paying by credit card. If you have a problem, you can dispute a charge made on your credit card.
  • Don't buy on impulse or under pressure; this includes donating to charity.
  • Check your browser settings when shopping online if you don't want your shopping history shared with data brokers.
  • If you are buying a subscription or membership, find out if it is renewed automatically and how to cancel.

Check for recalls

Before you buy a product, especially a used or secondhand item, check that it has not been recalled for safety or health reasons. Some recalls ban the sale of an item, while others ask consumers to return the item for replacement or repair. Check for recalls through media outlets, individual manufacturers and these government websites:

  • Recalls.gov lists government-initiated recalls from federal agencies.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes safety information on vehicles and equipment such as children's car seats.
  • USDA lists recalls that involve meat, poultry or processed egg products.
  • FDA lists recalls that involve food, medicines, medical devices, cosmetics, biologics, radiation-emitting products, veterinary drugs and pet food. 
Source: USA.gov, www.usa.gov

Use this checklist before you make a purchase to avoid problems and make better decisions:

  • Decide in advance exactly what you want and what you can afford.
  • Do your research. Ask family, friends and others you trust for advice based on their experience. Gather information about the seller and the item or service you are purchasing.
  • Review product test results from consumer experts and comments from past customers.
  • Get price quotes from several sellers.
  • Make sure the seller has all appropriate licenses. Doctors, lawyers, contractors and other service providers must register with a state or local licensing agency.
  • Check out a company's complaint record with your local consumer affairs office.
  • Get a written copy of guarantees and warranties.
  • Get the seller's refund, return and cancellation policies.
  • Ask whom to contact if you have a question or problem.
  • Read and understand any contract or legal document you are asked to sign or agree to online (by clicking "I Agree"). Make sure there are no blank spaces or incomplete terms.
  • Insist that any extras you are promised be put in writing.
  • Consider paying by credit card. If you have a problem, you can dispute a charge made on your credit card.
  • Don't buy on impulse or under pressure; this includes donating to charity.
  • Check your browser settings when shopping online if you don't want your shopping history shared with data brokers.
  • If you are buying a subscription or membership, find out if it is renewed automatically and how to cancel.

Check for recalls

Before you buy a product, especially a used or secondhand item, check that it has not been recalled for safety or health reasons. Some recalls ban the sale of an item, while others ask consumers to return the item for replacement or repair. Check for recalls through media outlets, individual manufacturers and these government websites:

  • Recalls.gov lists government-initiated recalls from federal agencies.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes safety information on vehicles and equipment such as children's car seats.
  • USDA lists recalls that involve meat, poultry or processed egg products.
  • FDA lists recalls that involve food, medicines, medical devices, cosmetics, biologics, radiation-emitting products, veterinary drugs and pet food. 
Source: USA.gov, www.usa.gov

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  

 

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