There used to be a proposal titled Consumer Issues and Protection at http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/40853/consumer-issues-and-protection (now deleted)

Consumer issues didn't get as far as I had hoped, and it is half users of this site any way. You can be a consumer in the economy without dealing with money.

Consumer Issues and Protection Proposed Q&A site for everyday consumers who want to know about their rights, learn to deal with a product/service problem, understand common scams & rip-offs, avoid unsafe products, interpret guarantees/warranties, and make better buying decisions. No shopping questions!

I think we can easily say all of those topics are personal finance.

  • When we talk about rip-offs and scams, we generally are talking about money.
  • When we talk about consumer protections, generally we mean money (and occasionally physical health, but usually money)
  • Solving problems with service or products is about getting the most of your money. (And we frequently talk about getting returns)
  • Warranties and guarantees are about shopping, so I can see not allowing that.

Bottom line, we need more questions, and to get more questions we need more visitors. We need to broaden the scope of the site.

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Bumping this. The Consumer Issues and Protection proposal I had created at area51 died. Perhaps we should consider scope-expansion here? Lines need to be drawn, though .. I'm sure there are all kinds of questions we don't want that could broadly be considered consumer issues. –  Chris W. Rea Jan 24 '13 at 20:27
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5 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I think you're right, and I believe that at least some questions on consumer issues had found their way to Money.SE (I even opened/answered some myself). While economics is not all that related to personal finance, consumer issues are very tightly so, and I think your proposal makes sense. But I'm biased, consumer issues are the main theme of my blog:)

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I think this is a good addition to the site, because it's a natural fit. Many popular experts in financial advice are also experts in consumer protection (ex: Clark Howard). Let's face it, part of succeeding at Personal Finance is avoiding scams. Also, many of the same skills are required, particularly reading the fine print and common sense.
Certainly there is a potential for subjective questions good and bad, but that's something money already deals with. The same techniques we use now (or should be using) should be adequate here.

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I think this is a great idea. But I do see this as potentially opening the door to a lot of bad subjective questions. If we do this I think we will need to be vigilent but not rude about dealing with these questions. I have seen it quite a bit on The Workplace where bad subjective questions get voted up and questions that are not bad but out of scope get piled on and rude comments.

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+1 especially for the NOT RUDE. No need for attitude at all. –  MrChrister Aug 13 '12 at 21:09
    
There was a thread on the stackoverflow meta site that suggested that politeness wasn't nescesary, only accurate answers. Given the tone at some other boards, I think we are doing pretty well here. I agree, need to monitor questions carefully to avoid subjective. –  JoeTaxpayer Aug 15 '12 at 4:08
    
@JoeTaxpayer blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/07/kicking-off-the-summer-of-love - I would submit that the tone used by some very active members may be part of what keeps us in beta. I am not accusing anyone but I think most of us have seen it. And more recently blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/08/… –  Chad Aug 15 '12 at 13:09
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Right, the second link is what I had read, Chad. I'll stick with the attempt at civility and kindness, and if I stray, I imaging the regulars will put me back on the good path. –  JoeTaxpayer Aug 15 '12 at 16:27
    
@JoeTaxpayer - Even though we seem to disagree on occasion I hope all of our discussions have been courteous. I have never seen you address anything but the issue and always in a professional and friendly manner. –  Chad Aug 15 '12 at 16:31
    
I think so, Chad, thank you for your kind words, likewise for your approach. –  JoeTaxpayer Aug 16 '12 at 14:04
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With the caveats mentioned, I agree this expansion is a good idea.

I'd suggest the FAQ contain the constraints this question should have to keep them non-localized, and to avoid too much tangential discussion that deteriorates to argument. I think the regulars here do a great job in closing questions that need closing, and this addition would just rely on the same judgement.

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Although there is a overlap, there aren't too many users on "Consumer Issues and Protection", just 16 right now ...

Overall the type of answers on "Consumer Issues and Protection" may not be concrete and in general may not fit the Q&A format ...

On the other hand, "money" is doing well ... just some more time and it would be on its own ...

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MORE time? It has been two years! =) –  MrChrister Aug 3 '12 at 16:14
    
We still have few days to complete 2 years ... i think we are just there :) –  Dheer Aug 3 '12 at 16:19
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This site was a Stack Exchange 1.0 site, Basically Money, and its birth date was October 5, 2009. If you count from that date, then the site is almost 3 years old. See meta.money.stackexchange.com/questions/99/… –  Chris W. Rea Aug 3 '12 at 18:34
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