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FTC Chips In on DTV Education

The Federal Trade Commission is trying to do its part to educate consumers about the upcoming transition to digital TV.

Its most recent "consumer alert" -- an advisory it posts on its Web site -- was about the transition.

The FTC provided some consumer-alert tips for those shopping, including the following (taken verbatim from the article):

1. Never pay for a coupon for a digital converter box. The coupons are free from the federal government.

2. Don’t give your Social Security number or other sensitive financial information when you order -- or redeem -- your coupon.

3. If you return a converter box you bought using a coupon, you can’t get the value of the coupon back in cash.

4. Installing a converter box is easy, but if you decide to hire someone to install it, get the price in writing before you agree to the job.

5. Ignore any offer for a “free” converter box, especially if it requires you to pay for shipping or a warranty. The companies that are making these offers are not certified by the government, and their converter boxes are not eligible for the coupon program.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.