July 21, 2008
Jefferson City, Mo. - As the back-to-school season approaches, Attorney General Jay Nixon is reminding parents and students of a useful consumer brochure published by his office, the Student Consumer Guide. The publication offers information useful to teens and young adults preparing to enter the world of buying and selling and using credit.
Topics covered in the guide include cell phones, credit cards, used cars, renting apartments, travel scams and many others. One section gives students advice on resolving problems with merchants, including a sample complaint letter consumers can send to a company. In the guide, Nixon also offers warnings against financial pitfalls, scams and bad deals students need to avoid.
Extra attention is given to the topic of credit. Credit card offers and other easy money temptations confront every new college student, and the Student Consumer Guide warns of the long-term financial danger that can come from using credit carelessly. It explains, for example, that having a $3,000 credit card balance and only making the minimum payment can take nine years to pay off and cost $3,000 in interest charges.
"It's never too early for students to learn the basics about their consumer rights and the threats they will face when they hit the marketplace," Nixon said. "I want these young adults to be prepared to watch out before signing bad contracts, getting deep in debt or falling for a scam."
Students, parents and schools in Missouri request more than 15,000 copies of the Student Consumer Guide each year from Nixon's office.
The publication is available at no charge by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or using the online order form at the Attorney General's Web site, ago.mo.gov. At the Web site, consumers can also download a PDF version of the guide.