Better Business Bureau: Upgrade energy efficiency and save
By Tracy Bracy
About the time the thermometer hits 100 degrees for the first time every year, you may start fantasizing about moving to Canada - at least for the summers.
Instead, try to turn your attention to cutting down on your energy bill. The Better Business Bureau recommends staying up-to-date on the latest energy efficient systems, service your AC unit yearly and follow simple do-it-yourself methods. You can cut back on excessive energy use by choosing an energy-efficient system. By upgrading, you may end up spending less money to heat and cool your home.
You may also want to consider performing a home energy assessment to look at how efficient your system is and where your home is wasting energy. This assessment can either be done by a professional, or you can choose to do it yourself. To find out more about staying cool and saving money, visit bbb.org.
Top five summer scams to look out for
Summer is a great time to take that long overdue vacation or make much-needed home repairs. But as the weather heats up, so do scams. The bureau warns consumers about some of the top summer scams.
1. Don't let a scam ruin your vacation. Fake travel agents and websites are known for touting too-good-to-be-true deals in the hopes of getting your money in return. Make sure an offer is legitimate by checking bbb.org first. If there is no BBB Business Review on the company, then dig deeper. Google the phone number or website to see if others report problems.
2. Keep your belongings safe during your move. Summer is the peak time of year for changing residences, and unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take advantage of the busy season. Always research the company and check out the movers at the bureau's Business Review at bbb.org.
3. Beware of summer concert ticket scams. Before paying for concert tickets online, make sure the seller is reputable. Oftentimes, phony sellers will trick consumers into wiring money with no intention of sending real tickets. Most concert venues now allow ticket holders to print tickets from personal computers, which also gives scammers the opportunity to sell the same ticket over and over to unsuspecting consumers.
4. Be wary of high pressure door-to-door sales tactics. Many legitimate companies use door-to-door sales, and various city ordinances regulate solicitors to protect residents from unscrupulous individuals. However, consumers need to watch for individuals who try to work their way around the system to line their pockets. Before saying yes, get all promises in writing, including start and finish dates.
5. Beware of job scams that can turn a hot summer cold. Finding summer employment is a top priority for most college and high school students. Always be wary of employers who require fees for training and background checks or who tout "no experience needed."
Tracy Bracy is the regional director of the Better Business Bureau for Corpus Christi/Victoria. Contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.