College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Personal Finance
Do Not Dismiss The Fine Print!

Chris Borg -- Statistics show that on average, only 10 percent of people scrutinize an ad for the fine print. Unfortunately, the details in the fine print can affect your financial freedom.

You know what I am talking about. There always seems to be a catch with many transactions. Furthermore, it seems that the catch is always buried in the fine print. Why is it always in the fine print! Why don't the advertisers just put the annoying details right in front of you where you can simply say no and move on. The answer, of course, may or may not be so obvious, but one thing is for sure... the details in the fine print can definitely affect your financial freedom!

Statistics show that on average, only 10 percent of people scrutinize an ad for the fine print. Furthermore, approximately the same number of consumers, 10 percent, will scrutinize the monthly statements from their creditors, to check on any line entries that seem less than what they originally had bargained for. Because of such a low number of checking that takes place, marketers and advertisers are allowed to get away with "things" that will ultimately affect your financial freedom.

So what exactly are they getting away with and are these things illegal? Obviously, some deals are outright fraud and consumers everywhere must keep a close vigil and watch out for them while keeping their guard up. For our purposes here, we want to look at some of the more common "grey areas" that pick away at your pocketbook and affect your financial freedom.

One of the most common areas that affect many people is a free trial of something such as a magazine or a nutritional supplement which then converts to an ongoing monthly subscription or monthly shipment of the item if you do not cancel by a certain date. Very often, the clock starts ticking right when you agree to the trial and not when your trial gets into your hands. Diligence is key here if you have no intention of continuing the item. Check the fine print.

Another very popular grey area that will affect your financial freedom is the sneaky auto-renewal box. Sometimes this box is already checked and the transaction requires you to un-check it, or else! Or, in the case of a monthly subscription, there might be a field with a drop-down menu where you would in-put the length of time that you want the subscription to run for. You need to make sure that the field is filled in with your desired time frame and not auto-filled in with a period greater than you would like.

While these are only two of the many types of situations that are buried in the fine print, the bottom line is that you must never let your guard down when entering into any transaction that will affect your financial freedom.


Chris Borg is a practicing pharmacist and financial adviser who writes about health care and investing. Chris's latest website on financial freedom is at RatraceBgone, where Chris provides financial tips such as the 9 Steps To Financial Freedom.

© 2013 Chris Borg

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.