December 16, 2005
Jefferson City, Mo. — During the holiday season, many retailers will use a variety of offers to try to boost sales. Zero-percent financing is one such offer where consumers should look closely at the advantages and disadvantages, Attorney General Jay Nixon advises. Such offers require no payment from consumers for several months or even one or two years after the purchase, but charge high interest rates on any unpaid balance after the grace period.
"These offers are particularly popular in selling big-ticket items such as electronics and appliances," Nixon said. "If you pay the entire amount within the specified period, it can be a great deal.
"The problem arises if you pay nothing or only a little during the allotted time," Nixon said. "If that happens, then you'll likely be charged an interest rate as high as 25 or 30 percent. You could end up paying much more for the item than you ever thought you would."
Nixon said there are a number of steps consumers can take this holiday season to avoid putting themselves in a financial hole of zero-percent financing deals: