Tips and resources

A contractor doing business in Rhode Island is required to be registered with the Contractors’ Registration Board. Before signing a contract, check with the Contractors’ Registration Board to ensure the contractor is registered and licensed and if there have been claims and/or violations. The information is available by calling (401) 222-1268 or online at www.crb.state.ri.us.

If the complaint is regarding work done within one year of the signing of the contract, file your complaint with the Contractors’ Registration Board.

While debt collectors have a right to seek payment, they must follow the guidelines set forth in both the federal and Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices acts. To stop a debt collector from calling, write a letter to the agency instructing them to cease and desist contacting you by telephone at home or at work and that all future communication be made to you via mail. Send the letter certified and retain a copy for your records.

If the debt collector fails to comply with your request, you may file a complaint with our Consumer Protection team.

A debt collector may contact you seven days a week between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Yes. Rhode Island’s Lemon Law covers any “motor vehicle”, defined as an automobile, truck, motorcycle, or van with a registered gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds. You can find more information about Rhode Island's Lemon Law here.

 

Yes. Read the entire contract before signing it. Please note that the time to ask questions is now. Remember, a contract is a binding, legal document. It is also important to read and understand the warranty protection the product manufacturer offers you.

No. As of July 8, 2005, no gift certificate or any agreement with respect to such gift certificate sold may contain language suggesting that an expiration date may apply to the gift certificate. Any unused portion of a redeemed gift certificate shall be afforded to the consumer by reissuing the gift certificate for the unused amount or providing cash where the balance due the consumer is less than one dollar.

However, these rules do not apply to gift cards or or prepaid or store value cards that are issued by third-party issuers, usable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or service providers.

Yes. A retailer may have its own refund policy and it must be posted at the point of display, cash register or store entrance.

You are entitled to a refund if you have the sales slip and return the item unused within ten (10) business days from the date of purchase.

Yes. The law does not apply to the sale of books, magazines or any publications, food, perishable items, merchandise which is substantially custom-made or custom-finished, items for internal consumption and items sold “as is,” or any items presently prohibited for refund, return or exchange by a retailer by federal or state law or any rule or regulation promulgated by any state agency.

No. It is illegal for a retailer of any goods or merchandise to record any credit card or social security number obtained from a purchaser as a means of identification.

It is illegal for sweepstakes promotions to require consumers to buy or pay anything. Anyone not making a purchase (i.e. magazines) must be given the same chance of winning as those who do make a purchase.

Phone prize offers are common vehicles for scams. Although it is tempting to believe you have actually won something, be careful. Usually, such “deals” end up costing you money in a hidden way. It is not much of a prize when you must purchase something, make a donation or send a bogus tax or processing fee payment in advance to claim the “prize.”

Yes. Consumers should be wary of telemarketers who insist on immediate payment by pre-paid debit cards (known as "Green Dot" cards, wire or overnight delivery. Do not send money to anyone who insists on this type of payment. Legitimate businesses respect the fact that you may need time to consider a purchase.

When being solicited by phone, do not give out any personal information over the telephone especially your credit card, bank account or social security numbers.

If you are interested, ask the telephone salesperson who offers a product or service to contact you by mail so you can see the offer in writing.

Feel free to hang up on telephone solicitors who tell you they need an immediate commitment or use other such tactics. Most legitimate businesses do not expect you to make an instant decision.

Whether you are donating to a charity on the telephone, over the Internet or in person, it is important to do your research: don’t be afraid to ask questions about the organization’s track record and how your money will be spent. First and foremost: Verify the legitimacy of the charity. In Rhode Island, all charitable organizations must register with the Department of Business Regulation. In addition, several websites, including www.charitynavigator.orgwww.give.org and www.guidestar.org provide helpful information regarding numerous charities. These websites can be a useful starting point for consumers looking to research companies prior to making a donation.

The Rhode Island Landlord-Tenant Handbook