Savvy Consumer: Read Your Contract's Fine Print

ByABC News
August 17, 2006, 3:58 PM

Aug. 18, 2006 — --

Read the Contract Ahead of Time

Here's what I suggest. Whenever you're making a major purchase, insist on seeing the contract well in advance of when you need to sign. Don't rely on the salesperson's summary of what the contract means. If possible, take a copy away from the business so you won't have to read it under the sharklike gaze of the manager. Take a coffee or lunch break and bring the contract with you. Better yet, take it home overnight.

Once you've got some privacy, you should not only read the entire contract but make sure you understand it. If you have trouble with the legal mumbo jumbo, get a friend to help. Maybe you know somebody who's knowledgeable about cars, diamonds, time shares or whatever. Maybe there's a lawyer in the family.