The Checkout

A First to the Government for its New Web Site

You know the old saying: Never believe someone who says he/she is from the government and here to help. Well we may all have to revise that point of view, thanks to the federal government's new search engine. FirstGov.gov really does help. It's an incredibly easy-to-use and helpful Web site that can direct you to the appropriate agency to file complaints, obtain a form, get some sort of arcane statistic or consumer advice. It connects you to federal and state government sites. There is so much information on it, you could spend hours researching questions you never even thought you cared about until you visited FirstGov.gov

Just type a word in the search box, such as driver's license, you'll quickly get directed to an index where you can find the appropriate information for you state. Have questions about your credit report? Type "credit report" in the search box, and you'll be able to select a number of different government reports, including tips on how to dispute your report or improve it.

One of my favorite pages is the "Consumer Guides and Protection" which has links to all sorts of valuable information, whether it's for the meat and poultry hotline or kids safety info.

Even better still, FirstGov is also available in Spanish.

Check it out. And let me know what you think of FirstGov at thecheckout@washpost.com. Also feel free to let me know of other great consumer friendly Web sites.

By  |  February 15, 2006; 7:51 AM ET Consumer Tips
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