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Zero percent financing can cost you big bucks

Posted at 3:14 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 20:37:48-05
Zero percent interest can be a good way to pay off a purchase.
 
But Margereta Valdez found it can also cost you more than you thought.
 
She bought window blinds for her house through Superior Blinds in Litchfield Park.
 
Margereta financed them through Wells Fargo and got zero percent interest for 18 months.
 
But when she got the bill, she says it was higher than expected.
 
She let me know and the Assistance League of Phoenix team got to work.
 
Volunteer Jim tried talking to owner Oscar Lobo but couldn't get his calls returned.
 
Lobo did end up showing us his calculations, standing by his prices and says he thought Margereta understood.
 
He says he was charged more than $400 by Wells Fargo to offer Margereta that special financing.
 
Lobo says he added fees and then passed the $637 on to her.
 
So bottom line, while Margereta thought she was saving money by paying no interest for 18 months, she was paying $637 to get it.
 
After we contacted Wells Fargo, the bank removed the charges from Margereta's account.
 
Lobo says he ended up paying for it himself.
 
While many stores pass those costs onto consumers through their products and services, Lobo charged it as a separate fee.
 
He says that isn't allowed.
 
Stores pay banks to provide these special financing deals.
 
Which means while it may not be as blatant as what happened here, in some way, those costs are being passed on to you and me.
 
Make sure you know all of the details before you sign up for any special financing deal.
 
And if there's a problem with the store, call the bank directly.
 
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Need my help? Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers at 1-855-323-1515. You can also send me an email, or a video email where you attach a video explaining the problem.
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