(See Also: Personal Finance Resources)

MegaSites—Major Collections of Consumer Resources

Banks / Insurance / Credit

AnnualCreditReport.com

This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Bank Rate Monitor

State-by-state information about bank rates for mortgages,savings, credit cards, auto loans, and more.

Consumer / Debt Education Center

Credit and Debt Counseling links, credit and personal finance management education organizations, et al.

Consumer's Guide to Credit Cards (from the Federal Reserve)

As a consumer, it pays to be smart when choosing and using a credit card. This site--maintained by the Federal Reserve Board, whose goal is to protect the credit rights of consumers--provides a basic guide to navigating the credit card process

Insure.com

Originally founded in 1984 as Quotesmith Corporation, Quotesmith.com owns and operates Insure.com, a comprehensive online consumer insurance information service that caters to the needs of self-directed insurance shoppers. Insure.com provides a comprehensive array of comparative auto, life and health quotes, including a vast library of originally authored insurance articles and decision-making tools that are not available from any other single source.

Entirely devoid of advertisers or commercial "sponsorships," Insure.com is dedicated to providing impartial insurance information to consumers.

Visitors can now obtain instant quotes from more than 200 leading insurers, achieve maximum savings and have the freedom to buy from any company shown. Insure.com, through its salaried personnel and endorsed third parties, also provides personalized insurance brokerage and policy placement services for its customers. Insure.com generates revenues primarily from the receipt of commissions and fees paid by insurers based upon the volume of business produced. Insure.com also generates revenues from certain third party firms which provides quotes and insurance order fulfilment on behalf of Insure.com.

The Company provides up-to-the-day accurate quotes for several lines of insurance including auto, motorcycle, life, individual & family medical, group medical, short term medical insurance, dental, Medicare supplement, homeowners, travel insurance and annuities. In addition to providing the widest selection of instant insurance quotes available from any single source, the Insure.com site also allows visitors to purchase insurance from the company of their choice. Insure.com provides complete, toll-free quote-to-policy-delivery customer service through the use of insurance-experienced, in-house, salaried representatives.

Insure.com also uses reliable third parties to provide insurance information and order fulfillment services. Auto insurance, travel, homeowners and renter's insurance are four examples of us using third party firms and Web sites to provide quotes, information and fulfillment services to our visitors. In every case, all such third party relationships are clearly disclosed to every visitor immediately at the point of site transfer by disclosure language and graphical layout changes.

insweb

A free service that lets you shop for auto, motorcycle, home, condo,renters insurance, etc. conveniently and securely without sales pressure. The site also offers a "Learning Center"—a set of FAQs and tools for educating yourself about various aspects of insurance.

Charities, Frauds & Scams

GuideStar

Billed as "The Donor's Guide to the NonProfit Universe", this is a free information service on the programs and finances of more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations.

Each day, about 20,000 people find answers using GuideStar. The information provided contains searchable data from IRS Forms 990 and the IRS Business Master File, including comprehensive facts on employee compensation and grant activity. With its new eDocs service, nonprofits can add their annual reports, audited financial statements, letters of determination, and other documents to a growing store of information.

Idealist

Over 49,000 nonprofit and community organizations in 165 countries, which you can search or browse by name, location or mission. Check the Best Nonprofit Guides link in particular.

National Charities Information Bureau

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance collects and distributes information on hundreds of nonprofit organizations that solicit nationally or have national or international program services. It routinely asks such organizations for information about their programs, governance, fund raising practices, and finances when the charities have been the subject of inquiries.

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance never recommends one charity over another, and selects charities for evaluation based on the volume of donor inquiries about individual organizations. These policies allow the Alliance to serve donors' information needs and also help donors to make their own decisions regarding charitable giving.

All local Better Business Bureaus in the United States disseminate Alliance educational materials. Local BBB's also report on organizations whose fund raising efforts are local in scope.

National Fraud Information Center

Provides checking into telephone solicitations and possible telemarketing fraud. Also facilitates reporting of scams to law enforcement agencies.

General Consumer Resources

(Free) 100 Most Popular U. S. Government Consumer Publications

Through a partnership among GSA, the U.S. Government Printing Office, and Google, 100 of the most popular government publications are now available to download for free online.

Attorney General, State of Michigan

The Department of the Attorney General is committed to serving the citizens of Michigan. On this site you will find advice on safely surfing the Internet, tips on being a savvy consumer, links for filing a consumer complaint, environmental information, health care and insurance information, and so much more.

Better Business Bureau (National Site)

Allows you to check out a company, file a complaint, offers dispute resolution, and gives tips when donating to charities. Includes useful links for company / industry research, U.S., Canadian and International consumer resources, and links to State Attorney General offices.

Better Business Bureau—Eastern MI

Offers business and charity reports, local and national press releases, tips and scam alerts, and how to file complaints online.

Michigan Business Entity Search Engine

Click on “Search Database by Name” and Search. Click on the name of the business. Click on “Images Available” in the box at the bottom of the screen to view a list by date of all documents on file pertaining to that business. Click on the camera icon, which will open an image viewer to view a document.

Consumer Information Center

(The Federal Citizen Information Center) For years, consumers have written to Pueblo, Colorado 81009 for timely, practical information they trust. FCIC provides, via this web site, the answers to questions about the Federal Government and everyday consumer issues. Full-text versions of hundreds of the best federal consumer publications.

Consumer Search

As its creators put it, "at ConsumerSearch, you will not find reports that read like advertising copy or warmed-over press releases. The site strives to make its content tough and precise, and at no point are our editors influenced by advertising or other commercial considerations. Our purpose is to report the truth about what the experts are really saying. You can also use our service as a search engine to find product reviews and information, as our name suggests."

MI Business License/Registration Lookup

Use this site to search for information on individuals or businesses licensed by or registered with the Bureau of Health Services or the Bureau of Commercial Services.

However, check this Web Site maintained by the Dept. of Labor & Economic Growth to conduct a search for information on individuals or businesses licesned bhy or registered with the DLEG. These include:

Adult Foster Care Facilities, Adult Foster Care, Architect, Athletic Control, Barber, Builder, Carnival Safety, Cemetery Regulation, Certified, Public Accountant, Child Day Care Centers, Children Foster Care Camps, Adult Foster Care Camps, Chiropractor, Collection Agencies, Community Planner, Cosmetology, Counselor, Dentist, Hygienist, Dental Assistant, EMS, Engineer, Family Day Care Homes, Group Day Care Homes, Forester, Funeral Services, Mortician, Funeral Home, Prepaid Contract Providers, Hearing Aid, Land Surveyor, Landscape Architect, Mammography Facilities, Marriage And Family Therapist, Medical Doctor, Nurse, Home Administrator, Occupational Therapist, Ocularist, Optometrist, Osteopathic Physician, Personnel Agencies, Pharmacist, Pharmacies, Physical Therapist, Physician Assistant, Podiatrist, Polygraph Examiner, Psychologist, Real Estate, Appraiser, Broker, Salesperson, Sanitarian, Ski Area Safety, Social Worker, Veterinarian, Veterinary, Architect, Community Planner, Professional, Engineer, Professional, Forester, Hearing Aid Dealer, Land Surveyor, Landscape, and Nursing.


Public Interest Research Group—MI

You must first select Michigan from a list of State PIRGs using the left-hand navigation panel.. The PIRGs are public-interest, consumer-oriented groups which lobby for consumer legislation and monitor trends dangerous to consumers. In Michigan, for example, the State PIRG reports on genetic engineering, urban sprawl, tracks the stance of Michigan's congressional delegation on consumer issues, and works against PACs.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

A large collection of information concerning unsafe products, recalls, etc.

House, Home & Family

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) Buying Guide

This fact sheet (from the Federal Reserve Board) explains adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), loans for which "the interest rate changes periodically, usually in relation to an index, and payments may go up or down accordingly." Includes questions to consider, consumer cautions, ideas for reducing risk associated with ARMs, a glossary, and a mortgage checklist for comparing different types of mortgages. Also available in Spanish.

allapartments.com

Find an apartment by state, college, zip, address or property name from a listing of over 6,500,000 apartments in 6,000 cities.Includes a very useful Apartment Hunting Glossary to help you learn the code words used in real estate listing.

Apartmentlist.com

With over 1.8 million listings nationwide, we are a wonderful free resource for anyone to use to help them find housing. The website pulls from over 100 different listing sources, so it's more of a one stop shop for apartments. You no longer have to bounce from site to site looking for an apartment. Each city on our website is broken down into neighborhoods, highlighting pricing, noise level, nearby attractions, restaurants, shopping, etc.

Buying a Home

Homes & Communities page, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Am excellent and detailed series of nine steps to buying a home.

Dr. Toy's Guide

Over 500 toys and children's products selected, plus resources, articles, and links.

EPA Ground Water & Drinking Water Information

Standards, advice, regulations and guidance.

Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP)

Michigan Dept. of Education's own MEAP office site.

MOVE

Formerly RentNet, this is another site sponsored by Realtor.com, and is geared to finding apartments and corporate housing.

ApartmentSearch

An online guide for people on the move who are looking for an apartment.

As the site describes itself, ""After you tell us where you're moving and what type of apartment you need, we will contact you by phone or email to get more details. After carefully searching our database of over one million apartment units, we will provide you with detailed information on a number of possible matches based on your desired area and price range. If you're in the area, you can visit the apartments you like and we'll work with you as you decide and sign a lease. It's that simple! We can also arrange rental furniture for your apartment if that's something you need.

In over thirty cities, you can search our database for apartments yourself."

Great Schools

GreatSchools is the country's leading source of information on school performance. With listings of 200,000 public and private schools serving students from preschool through high school and more than 800,000 parent ratings and reviews, GreatSchools has become the go-to guide for parents aiming to make a smart school choice.

Trulia Real Estate Search

Trulia a real estate search engine that helps you find homes for sale and provides real estate information at the local level to help you make better decisions in the process.

W.A.T.C.H—World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.

W.A.T.C.H., a Massachusetts charitable non-profit corporation, was founded by Edward M. Swartz, a nationally known trial lawyer and child safety consumer advocate. Since 1968, Swartz has worked to educate the public about life-threatening toys and other children's products, including children's furniture, clothing and playground equipment.

Zillow.com

Zillow provides a free Home Valuation Tool for Real Estate enthusiasts. Free Instant Valuations and Data for 65,000,000+ homes.

Product Evaluation & Comparison Shopping

Biz Rate

The site that rates other online shopping sites.

Consumer Reports Online

A mix of free information and for a small fee, access to reports and product comparisons found in the magazine.

Full text coverage of Consumer Reports is available to Library users through our Online Databases using General Onefile : just select Publication Search and enter Consumer Reports in the search field. Coverage includes indexing of the individual issues (Jan, 2003–current), full-text coverage (Jan. 2003–Jan. 2009) and the Annual Buying Guides from (2003–current). N.B.: The Library retains copies at the Main Branch on the Consumer Reference Shelf [Current 5 Years] and at the Information Desk [Current 2 Years], as well as on MicroFiche 1986–Feb. 2004

ConsumerSearch

Offers multiple reviews of products to help you identify the best buys.

Consumer World

Consumer World catalogs over 2,000 of the most useful consumer resources. Features car comparisons, discount store prices, and credit card rates.

Epinions

Unedited opinions and reviews about a broad range of products, services,and travel destinations, plus links to professional reviews and buying guides.

Google Product Search

This is Google’s shopping search engine, designed to help searchers find information about products for sale online. Froogle applies the power of Google's search technology to a very specific task: locating merchants that sell the item you want to find and pointing you directly to the place where you can make a purchase.

Nextag

Comparison shopping site for products, financial services, travel, automobiles, real estate, education and more.

priceline.com

The buying service where you name the price.

Pricegrabber

At PriceGrabber.com, savvy shoppers can instantly find and compare millions of unique products and services contained in 22 channels, such as Apparel, Autos, Babies & Kids, Books amp; Magazines, Cell Phones, Plans, & Accessories, Computers, Home & Garden, Photography and Travel.

Shop

Shop.com's stated mission is to make your life easier by organizing millions of products from thousands of trusted merchants and brands in a single location, allowing you to conveniently manage all your online shopping needs - start to finish - with one personal password-protected account.

Shopzilla

Shopzilla gives you product pictures, detailed descriptions and consumer reviews. You can even add all of the items you're shopping for to your Shopzilla List and compare their features side by side.

Smarter

Smarter.com empowers consumers worldwide to make smarter buying decisions.

"Our goal is to help consumers make decisions about which product they should buy, and which merchant they should buy that product from."