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Free Consumer Information Guides from the Federal Citizen Information Center

I just learned that it’s National Consumer Protection Week [3] and the featured resource is the very book I mention below, the Consumer Action Handbook!

Did you know that the U.S. General Services Administration’s Federal Citizen Information Center offers hundreds of publications that you, as a consumer, could benefit from? Each year, they send out a catalog of their pamphlets and booklets and I received mine last week. I now receive it because I once ordered a copy of their Consumer Action Handbook [4], yet another entirely free publication. I never order anything because all the documents are available online (and if it’s available online, why waste the paper printing it out and the fuel on shipping it to me?).

Let’s take a look at some of the publications in their “Cars” category [5]:

Some of the publications have a price listed but you can all of them online. There is a wealth of information available and the best part it’s entirely free! I recommend going through all the categories and saving the PDFs that you think will be useful to you. Be sure to check out the Money Category [6], I believe it’s the largest one.

I also recommend getting a copy of the 2009 Consumer Action Handbook (request one here [7]):

This everyday guide to being a smart shopper is hot off the press and chock-full of helpful tips about preventing identity theft, understanding credit, filing a consumer complaint, and much more. In the 2009 edition, you’ll find updated information about filing for bankruptcy, finding a lawyer, and planning a funeral, along with many other useful topics.

I got one a few years back and flip through it occasionally (back then the booklet didn’t have such a nice cover, it was a boring red and gray) whenever I want to get a quick handle on something. The best part was the information about filing complaints with companies and the local BBB.