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.