Consumer Action releases free Pre-purchase Resource Guide

New guide lists 41 resources to help consumers make wise buying decisions

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Nonprofit consumer education and advocacy organization Consumer Action releases a new Pre-purchase Resource Guide today offering a road map to free information to help consumers make wise decisions before they plunk down hard-earned cash. The featured resources, mainly Web-based, offer purchase checklists and comparison tools that can inform consumers’ buying decisions, whether they are shopping for health insurance, buying a used car or hiring a contractor.

Consumer Action’s Pre-purchase Resource Guide lists 38* websites and agencies that are worth exploring before making important financial decisions. The guide breaks down resources by category, from credit cards to wireless phone service, energy savings to automotive sales and safety.

While the recommended resources vary widely, from sleek websites to basic databases, Consumer Action’s suggestions offer value to consumers looking for information, guidance and advice in making wise buying choices. The guide steers consumers to user-friendly resources and spells out the services offered, sources of information and how they’re funded (non-profit, for-profit, or government). Consumer Action also weighs each resource’s strengths and, in some cases, what could be improved.

“Consumers can save money when they know where to find comparison-shopping tools and can avoid buyer’s remorse by learning from others’ experiences through public complaint databases,” says Ruth Susswein of Consumer Action. “Consumers need to be armed with the best information they can find to tailor their buying decisions and make the most of limited resources.”

Listed resources include Privacyscore, which rates websites’ privacy protections based on criteria such as which companies track users while browsing online, and, designed to help consumers compare healthcare coverage options under the new Affordable Care Act.

The Consumer Action guide highlights one resource per category as a “standout site.” For example:

  • stands out for its side-by-side vehicle safety comparisons and tips on car maintenance and damage prevention. Next year, used car buyers will be able to enter a car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) into the database to learn if recall repairs have been made.
  • shines with overviews of health insurance plans and costs, including alerts on unexpected charges.
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Wireless Savings Calculator lets consumers quickly compare costs of wireless plans from major carriers.

To complement the Pre-purchase Resource Guide, the latest issue of Consumer Action News provides pointers for checking a professional’s credentials, tips on vetting the research tools you use, and information about consumer rights if problems arise.

To view or download the free Pre-purchase Resource Guide (PDF), visit

* 41 resources from 38 websites (two sites are listed more than once) are included in the resource guide.

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Consumer Action ( has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Consumer Action focuses on consumer education that empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.

By providing consumer education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, a comprehensive website ( and annual surveys of financial and consumer services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. Nearly 7,500 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials and support.


Consumer Action releases free Pre-purchase Resource Guide   (PrepurchasePR.pdf)




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