July 21, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Consumer Web sites

While you’re surfing the Web during the hottest days of the summer, check out these consumer friendly sites. They may be helpful when making decisions that affect you, your family, and your pocketbook.

Protection for Texas Consumers
In our nation’s current financial situation, there are fraudulent businesses that will attempt to take advantage of consumers. If you’ve ever been taken advantage of by such a company or been a victim of identity theft, you know how frustrating it can be.

It is important to report these abuses. The state can investigate them and prevent fraudulent businesses from exploiting your fellow Texans. The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection page is a great resource that explains the consumer complaint process that you may pursue if you feel that you have been wronged.

Take advantage of this site not only to file a complaint, but also to educate yourself about the types of scams that are out there. The Web site includes consumer alerts that can save you a lot of headaches. So visit www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/index.shtml for more information.

Control Healthcare Costs
Sponsored by the Texas Hospital Association, www.Txpricepoint.org provides helpful information you need about area hospitals, the services they provide, and the cost of these services. This user-friendly site allows you to compare the cost of common procedures between hospitals all over the state so that you and your family can make informed decisions about your health care needs. The site also has links to other health care Web sites that can better help you navigate the health care system and explore your options.

Investigate Your Insurance
Another great site to check out is www.opic.state.tx.us from the Office of Public Insurance Counsel. This site provides information on various types of insurance including home, health, and automotive. Visit it to compare types of coverage and costs from various providers.

The site also features consumer updates on changes in the law that will affect your insurance or insurance companies that are being penalized. So before you purchase a new insurance policy, check out this site to learn about types of coverage you need and policy costs.

These Web sites are an introduction to the information available to assist Texas consumers in making smart budget decisions. For assistance with specific consumer issues other state services, please contact my office at 214-370-8305.