Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Play

Warnock projected to win in U.S. Senate race for Georgia; new report urges Governor-Elect to fix PA unemployment system; rising land prices pose challenges for VA farmers.

Play

The nation watches as votes are counted in the Senate runoff in Georgia, the House holds hearings in the lame-duck session, and Capitol Police Officers receive medals for their heroism on January 6.

Play

The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Holiday Shoppers Vulnerable to Zero-Interest Offers

Play

Monday, December 17, 2012   

AUSTIN, Texas - 'Tis the season for splurging. And why not, when stores make it so easy - even if you're short on cash. Half of the nation's major retailers offer so-called "zero-interest" financing plans. But consumer advocates are offering their own holiday message: read the fine print. Deferred-interest deals, they say, can wind up increasing total financing costs by more than 27 times.

The catch, according to the Texas Legal Services Center attorney Judy Doran, is that, after the grace period, interest is retroactively applied to the entire purchase price, regardless of how much of it has already been paid off.

"If, originally, the price was $100, and you've paid it down to $50, instead of interest on $50, the interest rate is on $100."

A recent report by www.CardHub.com provides details on the deferred-interest plans of leading retailers. It calls out 14 companies for not being transparent enough about their policies. Included on Card Hub's "wall of shame" are Home Depot, Walmart, Apple, Best Buy, Victoria's Secret and Amazon.com.

Doran manages her legal-aid organization's Elder Exploitation Project. She says one of her clients - a 70-year-old living on Social Security - bought a $1,000 TV last year, and now owes more than $650 in interest. She says seniors on fixed incomes are particularly vulnerable during the holidays.

"It's an emotional time, and you want to buy something for your children or grandchildren. It sounds like a good deal. But if you think you're getting too good a deal, you probably are."

While it is possible to avoid the excessive interest by paying off an entire purchase before the end of the grace period, Doran says, the safest way to beat the system is to avoid it altogether.

"If you see something that says you can buy this with a deferred interest plan - no interest for a year - run away from it. And if you have already bought something, see if they'll take it back."

She says retailer deferred-interest plans should not be confused with introductory deals from credit card companies that charge interest only on remaining balances after a zero-interest grace period.

More information is available from the Elder Exploitation Project, http://bit.ly/UZBOXT. The TEEP hotline is 888-612-6626. The Card Hub report is at www.cardhub.com.




get more stories like this via email

According to Consumer Reports, crowded windowless "factory farms" likely contribute to salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in poultry. The consumer advocacy publication suggests choosing organic-raised poultry over conventional. It acknowledges organic production is more costly. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

A new study is focused on concerns for Nebraska waterways. The three-year, independently funded research identifies rising levels of phosphorus and …


Health and Wellness

Inside a massive appropriations bill now in Congress is a provision which would allow federal funding for dental therapists. Dental therapists …

Environment

Promoting access to nature for underserved communities can improve quality of life while bolstering biodiversity and fighting climate change…


Small businesses like the Goddess Mercado in East Los Angeles employ almost half of all private-sector workers in California. (Martin Gamez/Goddess Mercado)

Social Issues

This holiday season, shopping at local small businesses could bring them as much as $88 billion, according to a survey from Intuit QuickBooks…

Social Issues

Minnesota's projected budget surplus now stands at more than $17 billion, and supporters of clean energy projects and other infrastructure needs say …

Montana landowners and hunters have butted heads in the past about how to best manage the state's elk population. (kojihirano/Adobe Stock)

Environment

With Montana lawmakers looking at a large budget surplus, a group of hunters, scientists and landowners is asking them to consider creating a trust …

Environment

The Iowa Watershed Planning Advisory Council just released its annual report and said the Iowa Water Plan needs an update. The report showed climate …

Social Issues

By Phoebe Petrovic for Wisconsin Watch.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Wisconsin News Connection reporting for Wisconsin Watch-Public News Service …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021