DORA issues holiday-season and year-end consumer advisories

DENVER (Nov. 23, 2016) — The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) encourages consumers to take five minutes to get wise and review the following tips to help  avoid common pitfalls that could save time, money or both. At DORA, consumer protection is our mission. Our divisions — Banking, Civil Rights, Consumer Counsel, Financial Services, Insurance, Professions and Occupations, the Public Utilities Commission, Real Estate, and Securities — are sharing the following tips to provide consumers with helpful information so they can enjoy the final days of 2016 with some additional peace of mind.

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Don’t Let Plumbing Issues Drain Your Holiday Savings

Black Friday is one of the busiest days for our nation’s retailers ... and plumbers. One of the country’s largest plumbing and drain cleaning services told Reuters in November 2014 that the day after Thanksgiving is its busiest day of the year. DORA’s Division of Professions and Occupations offers seven tips to avoid plumbing problems and, if you do run into issues, how to check with DORA to make sure your plumber is properly licensed to do the job.

Avoid Parking Woes (and turkey fires) in HOAs

Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year at your HOA? Often HOA-governed communities come with strict rules regarding guest and street parking. Don’t let HOA parking conundrums ruffle your feathers this holiday. Follow these reminders when hosting your holiday extravaganzas in an HOA.

Travel

Keep a Close Eye on Cab Fares

How much should you pay for a cab to and from Denver International Airport? The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) at DORA reminds consumers that under PUC rules, a map displaying the three Denver metro area zones and the applicable flat rate to each zone must be posted in each taxi, and drivers are required to inform passengers of the total fare prior to beginning the trip.

Consider Travel Insurance Before Hitting the Road

According to the United States Travel Insurance Association, nearly 17 percent of Americans have had their travel plans impacted by illness, natural disaster, carrier-caused issues or severe weather. The Division of Insurance at DORA encourages all travelers to consider getting covered first.

Money

Be Aware: Pre-Paid Cash Cards Scams on the Rise

DORA is dedicated to the financial literacy of all Colorado consumers and urges awareness regarding new scams occurring around pre-paid cash cards. Pre-paid card usage increased to 27 percent in U.S. households in 2015, up from 24 percent in 2014. Recently scammers have started to target consumers to obtain the PIN number on the card and wipe the card clean of all funds. Authorities such as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department have seen activity of this nature and issued a consumer alert in early November 2016.

Be Wary of Holiday Party Investment Advice

We all know the old adage “Don’t talk religion or politics at the table,” but what about finance? A recent national survey of investment fraud victims found that 70 percent had relied solely on investment tips or advice from friends and family, not bothering to follow it up by researching the investment product or professional. This holiday season, DORA’s Division of Securities encourages consumers to be skeptical of “high returns, low risk” investment talk, even by well-meaning family and friends. And if you do talk finance, always take 5 minutes afterward to do some follow-up research with DORA.

8 Tips for Safer Online Shopping

DORA is dedicated to the financial literacy of all Colorado consumers and offers eight tips for staying safe when shopping online.

Advisories will also be posted on askDORA.colorado.gov.

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The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit www.dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675
 

Media Contacts:
Rebecca Laurie
Department of Regulatory Agencies
p: 303-894-2338 | c: 720-724-0612