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Consumer Brochures

Helpful information from the National Consumer Law Center for consumers and advocates on a range of issues from bankruptcy to telemarketing fraud.

Creditor Threats - Are They for Real?

Health problems, car accidents, and credit cards can make it tough to pay your bills. Creditors and debt collectors may contact you and threaten to take your income and property. You should know that federal and Iowa law protect certain property from being taken by most of your creditors

Dealing With Medical Debt

It is important to plan for medical expenses. Equally important is knowing how to deal with medical bills when you have no money to pay them.

Financial Matters for Older Iowans

Many older Iowans may find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to financial matters, especially after the death of a spouse who handled the family's finances.

Funeral Purchases - Protections Under The FTC Funeral Rule

Your funeral may be one of the most expensive consumer purchases you or your family ever makes. To avoid overspending, it helps to understand your rights under the "Funeral Rule" enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (the "FTC").

Help With Phone Equipment for Iowans with a Hearing Disability

If you are an Iowan and have a hearing disability, you can get help with special phone or other equipment to make it easier to talk or communicate by phone

Homestead Exemption for 65 and older

Homestead exemption available for 65 and older

Is Your Social Security Safe from Debt Collectors?

With several important exceptions, your social security check is safe or "exempt" from claims of creditors. The money in your account, however, may not be automatically protected. You might need to tell or prove to the creditor or bank that your money is from social security and is exempt.

Just Say "No" to Unwanted Door-to-Door Sales

While there are reputable businesses that sell door-to-door, many use high pressure and assorted tricks to get your money. The best way to deal with a salesperson who is selling something you don’t need or want is to just say “NO”!

Payday Loans - a Convenience You Can't Afford!

The use of "payday loans" (also sometimes known as "cash advance loans," "check advance loans" or "delayed deposit checks") has become a ritual for many working Iowans, including the elderly. Unfortunately, the Iowans using these types of services do not realize what the service is costing them.

Predatory Lending - Don't Be a Victim

Predatory lenders take advantage of unsuspecting consumers by marketing and making mortgage loans with vastly inflated interest rates and fees and other burdensome terms. Predatory lending is a serious problem throughout the country, one that can leave you penniless and homeless.

Pre-Need Funeral Arrangements - Pros and Cons

There are many advantages to planning and paying for your funeral in advance. Iowa law has a number of provisions that protect consumers who make pre-need funeral arrangements.

Prioritize Your Insurance Needs

A review of the main kinds of insurance and if any make sense for you.

Property Tax Suspension for People Who Get SSI

Many people with a disability own or are buying their homes. Iowa law allows people who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or State Supplemental Assistance (SSA), or live in a health care facility, to get their property taxes suspended.

Protecting Yourself from Telephone Marketing Fraud

Telemarketers often use illegal and deceptive practices such as contests, free prizes, sweepstakes, fake charities and other tricks to seduce older Iowans out of their hard-earned savings.

Rent Reimbursement and Property Tax Credits

Each year, Iowans who are elderly or have a disability may be able to get a property tax credit on their home and rent reimbursement on apartment or mobile home lot rent.

Should You Take Your Pension In A Lump Sum?

Some companies offer to cash out the pensions of certain retirees and instead give them one lump-sum payment. Read this information on lump sum payments and how they could negatively affect your retirement finances.

Small Claims Court Information Booklet

How to file a case in small claims court.

Telephone Slamming

Telephone slamming occurs when a telephone company changes your telephone service without your consent. Slamming is illegal, and you can protect yourself from being slammed by following a few tips.

The Basic Rules of Credit Cards

Credit cards should only be used as a source of funding for emergencies such as car repairs, or for short-term loans for large purchases only. Before using your card to make a purchase, think about where the money will come from to pay it off. All who use a credit card should know the basic rules of credit cards.

The Federal Trade Commission

Your funeral may be one of the most expensive consumer purchases you or your family ever makes. Most people, however, do not handle a funeral purchase the same way they approach other major purchases. To avoid overspending, it helps to understand your rights under the "Funeral Rule" enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Golden Years and Debt

Major changes older people face often have a dramatic impact on their finances. Someone who is not realistic in dealing with these changes can be trapped by expenses and spending that quickly deplete savings.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income people pay for winter heating costs. The amount of money a person can get depends on household income and size, fuel used, and the type of housing. LIHEAP is not intended to take care of the whole bill - it helps cover costs where the need is greatest.

US Senate Special Committee on Aging Fraud Hotline

Investigations and referrals of issues of fraud concerning retirement savings, identity theft, phone scams, Medicare, Social Security, and a variety of other consumer issues important to seniors and the elderly.

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