Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Location: Central Florida

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Government to Stop Collecting Long-Distance Telephone Tax

In case you haven’t heard, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that it will stop collecting the federal excise tax on long-distance telephone service. This tax was first imposed in 1898 and is currently 3 percent of the charges billed for these services.

Taxpayers will be eligible to file for refunds of all excise tax they have paid on long-distance service billed to them after Feb. 28, 2003. Interest will be paid on these refunds.

Taxpayers will claim this refund on their 2006 tax returns. In order to minimize burden, the IRS expects to announce soon a simplified method that individuals may use.

“So taxpayers won’t have to spend time digging through old telephone bills, we’re designing a straightforward process that taxpayers may use when they file their tax returns next year,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “Claiming a refund will be simple and fair.”

Be sure you and your tax preparer remember to make this claim when filing your 2006 return.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sell Clothing on eBay

If you’re interested in selling clothing on eBay – whether you want to just clean out your closet or start a serious retail business – you need to read How to Sell Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories on eBay by Charlene Davis (published by Entrepreneur). For more information and to order your copy, click here.

Charlene is my co-author on Make Big Profits on eBay, and she knows the ins and outs of successful eBay selling.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Consumer fraud tip: small recurring credit card charges

Here’s another reason for always examining your credit card statements completely and promptly: those small recurring credit card charges for products and/or services you may not even realize you’ve purchased.

These charges are easy to overlook because they’re small—typically $9.95, $14.95, $19.95. When the account is held by a couple, often the one who pays the bills just figures the spouse made the charge.

The charges may be the result of a pop-up offer on the internet, a telemarketing call, or what you may have thought was a free offer for something. Companies that do this often operate just barely within the law, or they are outright fraudsters. Though small, the charges can add up over time. If you don’t dispute them within the timeframe required by your credit card company, it’s likely that you won’t be able to get a refund.

What can you do? Review your credit card statements thoroughly as soon as they arrive. Better yet, check your statements online. If you see a charge you don’t recognize, don’t just assume someone else in your family authorized it—find out for sure. And if the charge is not correct, immediately dispute it. Beyond this, take care when accepting online offers and be sure you know exactly what you are agreeing to. Understand the company’s cancellation policies and be sure you follow their requirements precisely.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Sunday, May 21, 2006

First Case of False Caller ID Data

The battle between people who own phones and the businesses that call them (mostly telemarketers and collection agencies) has stepped up to a new level. Technology such as caller ID along with “do not call” legislation is making it more difficult for telemarketers to reach prospects. One way shady marketers are getting around these consumer tools is to transmit bogus caller ID information so you can’t tell who is really calling—and that’s illegal.

The Federal Trade Commission has initiated the first case of false caller ID data. The Justice Department has filed a complaint against Scorpio Systems, Ltd., a financial product marketer, alleging that the company did not transmit a caller ID or sent a phony caller ID. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (U.S. v. Venkataraman, D. N.J., 4/26/06). It should be a case worth watching.

Jacquelyn Lynn

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Online Trading: Great if you know how to avoid the pitfalls

I conduct as much of my personal business online as I possibly can because it’s usually quick, easy, and efficient. And I use an online brokerage for my investment accounts.

Online trading is a generally safe way to buy and sell stocks and other securities, but it has its risks. You need to be sure you’re dealing with legitimate sources, monitor your accounts, and be aware of how scammers work so you can avoid them.

For a great article on the pitfalls of online trading and how to be a safe, secure online trader, click here.

Jacquelyn Lynn