Underneath All Are the Contracts
Ralph Nader explains the problem with standard form contracts and introduces faircontracts.org.
Never lie on your loan application. Lying on a mortgage application is fraud and may result in criminal penalties.
Get a credit card with no annual fee. Make sure that the annual fee doesn’t go into effect after an “introductory” or “enrollment” period.
Forget about companies advertising free credit reports–your reports are already free! You are allowed by law to get one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, every year.
Ignore high-pressure sales tactics, including the “ticking clock” scenario or aggressive posturing. Salespeople use these tactics to confuse and fluster you enough to agree to a deal you don’t want.
Ads that make promises may be there to lure unwary consumers into bad deals with hidden terms. Avoid merchants and lenders that advertise that they can make all your problems go away.
Be wary of “debt consolidation” and “debt management plans” that require up-front payment, pay agents on commission, or charge exorbitant fees. These may be scams that will only get you further into debt.
Always try to pay your credit card bill early to avoid late charges. That means at least a week before you think the payment is due. Credit card companies use numerous tricks, like changing your due date, to force a late payment, which allows them to charge you a late fee and increase your interest…
Always pay more than the minimum payment on your card; credit card companies keep the minimum payments low so that it takes you longer to pay and nets them more interest payments. Pay as much as you can–you should get into the habit of paying off your total balance each month.
Read the fine print on credit card teaser rates–don’t fall for a low rate that balloons to over 20% after an initial term of days or months.
Price isn’t the only important term in a purchase agreement. Make sure you understand all aspects of the agreement, including important elements such as cancellation processes and arbitration clauses.