BBB’s Checklist for New-Car Buyers

by Categorized: Auto Date:

Recommendations from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau for new-car shoppers:

Determine your budget - This sounds straightforward, but there’s more to budgeting a new car purchase than just the monthly payment itself. How good is the vehicle’s fuel efficiency? Remember that your results may vary from EPA mileage estimates. The website FuelEconomy.gov is a good resource for ‘real-world’ mileage data reported by car owners.

How much will insurance cost on the vehicle? Contact your insurance agent for quotes on various models you may be considering. How much will maintenance and repairs cost? Online reliability reports can give you a sense of which models are more expensive to repair.

When considering monthly payments, use online calculators to see how different rates, down payments and loan terms can impact your payment.

Look at the big picture – Don’t become so focused on the monthly payment that you lose sight of the purchase price or total cost over the term of the loan. Extending a loan from 60 months to 72 months for lower payments can translate into additional thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Explore financing options – Visit your local credit union or bank to see what interest rate they can offer, and consider getting pre-approved for a loan. Having this information (or an offer) in hand will allow you to decide whether dealer financing is the best option for you, and gives the dealer a ‘target’ to match or beat.

Comparison shop online - You can get a price quote on a vehicle from most dealerships in a matter of hours, and then compare competing offers. Websites such as Edmunds.com provide free information on what you can expect to pay for a particular model in your region, and can help you determine the value of your trade-in.

Look for rebates – Many rebates are available, but some carry eligibility requirements that should be disclosed in advertising, such as loyalty bonuses, active duty military, trade-in bonuses, etc. Make sure you understand these qualifications to avoid disappointment.

Understand leasing options - If you decide to lease a vehicle, make sure you’re clear on the terms of the lease, and the pros and cons as opposed to purchasing. Leasing can mean driving a nicer car at a lower monthly payment than might be possible with a purchase, but if you drive more than about 12,000 miles a year or are concerned about “excess wear and tear” charges, leasing may not be the best option.

What’s the bottom line? When looking at the price of a vehicle, remember that you will also pay fees for documentation, title and registration, along with applicable sales tax.

Mortgage Rates Steady Heading Into Fourth Of July Weekend

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates remained steady in the past week, with 30-year rates averaging 4.12 percent and 15-year rates averaging 3.22 percent nationally, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
Thirty-year rates averaged 4.14 percent and 15-year rates were at 3.22 percent.

The numbers in New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.12 percent
15-year: 3.22 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.14 percent
15-year: 3.23 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 4.31 percent
15-year: 3.42 percent

FTC: T-Mobile Charged Customers Millions For Bogus Services

by Categorized: Telecom, Uncategorized Date:

(FTC)
The Federal Trade Commission charged T-Mobile USA Inc. Tuesday with adding hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus charges to mobile phone bills that were never authorized by its subscribers.
The FTC, in its suit filed in civil court in Seattle, alleges that T-Mobile in some cases billed customers for subscriptions, typically $9.99 a month, from scammers for flirting tips, horoscope information or celebrity gossip. The FTC says T-Mobile, which received 35 percent to 40 percent of the charges, continued the billing even after customers complained.

Review: Livescribe 3 Smartpen Transfers Written Content Via Bluetooth

by Categorized: Consumer Electronics (TV Date:

hc-hunt-livescribe-pen-opt

This week’s tech column, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:

If Watson, IBM’s cognitive computer and “Jeopardy!” winner, were taking notes while working with students at Ohio State University this summer or dreaming up another barbecue sauce recipe, it’d probably reach for a Livescribe 3 smartpen.

In human hands unaccustomed to a technologically adroit writing tool, however, the Livescribe 3 instantly dazzles with its sleight of pen. This faux fountain pen, with an actual ballpoint tip, records handwritten notes and transfers them, in real time, to a compatible Apple device synced via Bluetooth. It adds corresponding audio when the note-taker touches the ballpoint to record-pause-stop icons on special Livescribe “digital” notebook paper, activating the iPhone-iPad-iPod Touch microphone.

More . . .

State Holding Unclaimed $599 Million: Look Up Your Share Here

by Categorized: Banks Date:
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

This weekend’s Bottom Line column:

State residents, past or present, have left behind nearly enough unclaimed property to pay for a new XL Center, the proposed downtown minor-league baseball stadium and the $55 refund once promised for every current taxpayer in Connecticut.

The total, about $599 million, includes unclaimed bank accounts, certificates of deposit, payroll checks, stock proceeds, utility deposits, estates, insurance payouts, inheritances, bonds and other proceeds. Seven people have not claimed property worth more $500,000. Thirty-seven others have unclaimed property worth more than $250,000.

More . . .

Freddie Mac: Mortgage Rates Lower Than Same Time Last Year

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Fixed mortgage rates dipped in the past week to levels lower than the same time last year, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
Thirty-year rates averaged 4.14 percent, down from the previous week (4.17 percent) and lower than a year ago (4.46 percent). Fifteen-year rates averaged 3.22 percent, down from the previous week (3.30 percent) and lower than a year ago (3.50).

The numbers in New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.14 percent
15-year: 3.23 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.18 percent
15-year: 3.30 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 4.45 percent
15-year: 3.49 percent