Introduction To The Checklist By Ralph Nader

Purchasing a product or service is too often a seller's game. And without proper training, it is an easy game for consumers to lose. To learn how to win in the marketplace is like giving yourself a raise. Money saved, as Ben Franklin advised, is money earned.

This book of checklists is designed to help you develop your consumer skills and help you make smart and safe purchases. The information contained between these covers will give you the tools to save money, find better quality products and services, protect your safety and improve your ability to work with other consumers to exercise organized consumer power throughout the marketplace. The Frugal Shopper Checklist is divided into sections to help you select the areas you want to explore.

The auto section describes in detail just what to know when buying, leasing or repairing a car. It includes a list of consumer rights and what to look for. By simply knowing these items on the checklists, you can turn a manipulating sellers' market into your buyers' market.

The health section demonstrates how, these days, good health is less a function of luck and more a function of the individual's role in shaping health care. Not only do we need to ask the right questions about our condition, but we need to ask the right questions of our doctors and about their qualifications and practices, and of our insurance companies and their detailed and confusing policies. By using the information we provide, you can gain more control of your own health, your most important asset.

The home section can enable you to prevent household accidents, fires and other tragedies. Securing your home is a matter of knowledge and action. Taking the right steps can help you prevent hazards to your children or to yourself, forestall expensive repairs and cleanups and band together with your neighbors for savings and security.

The section devoted to money offers a variety of financial checklists. Whether borrowing, investing, opening an account or just paying the bills, money can be an overwhelming topic. Knowing what you can afford and how to budget is hard enough without frequent billing fraud, folding banks and disastrous investments. But there are laws to protect you and there are people to help you solve the money puzzles. It is a matter of knowing who to ask, what to look for and where to turn.

Whether you need a lawyer, a mortgage or a rental car, this book can help prevent you from being taken. It will help you become an assertive and happier consumer. There is tremendous potential to transform the seller-favored market.

But potential does not move into action until buyers get moving themselves. We must band together for better buying values, easier complaint handling and more powerful shaping of corporate and governmental policies. One buyer's dollar has much greater value when banded together with another, and another.

In the marketplace consumers can improve the quality of the economy and environment by unleashing vast bargaining power. While in the civic arena they can motivate government officials charged with enforcing health, safety and other consumer protection laws.

As you take in the details, keep in mind how you give the seller the upper hand. Even if you just remember this reverse checklist to avoid, you will have an advantage in the marketplace.

  1. Buy before you think
  2. Buy before you read
  3. Buy before you ask questions
  4. Buy before you can afford to buy
  5. Buy before you see through the seller's smile and smooth tongue
  6. Buy before you comparison shop
  7. Buy when you are tired or hungry
  8. Buy when you are rushed
  9. Buy to dote on your child or because your child demands the product
  10. Buy just to keep up with your friends or neighbors

A little practical knowledge and consumer expertise can give you consumer power. Let this book help you to take control of the market. Let it allow you to do your part to ensure just treatment for all consumers.

Ralph Nader

Washington, DC