Questions Answered On the Air:
When I cash my payroll check at the bank, which issued the check, they charge a fee to cash it. That seems illegal.
If you have an account with the bank, it should stipulate in your agreement any fees that you may incur through various transactions. But, if you do not have an account with the bank, in most circumstances, the bank may subject you to fees for cashing checks. State banks may NOT charge additional fees for cashing: social security checks, supplemental security income for aged, blind, disabled, or retirement benefits by the federal government or any agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, regardless of whether the retiree has an account with them.
We plan on a long road trip this summer. Do you expect gas prices to stay high?
I think that gas prices will be high through the summer, so plan accordingly. The change in the outlook for gasoline prices reflects the increased pressure on oil markets since last month. Demand increases and lower-than-expected imports have put strong pressure on domestic producers and gasoline stocks to help meet the incremental demand for gasoline, contributing to higher production and acquisition costs. In Massachusetts, we are currently averaging about $1.90/gallon for regular. In June we will probably peak at a higher price. As a savvy consumer you should look around for the best price and chose an octane level that is suitable for your car. Don't let these high prices stop you from taking your family road trip. Here are a few tips to save money at the pump:
- Don't "over buy" octane. Check your owner's manual for the appropriate octane level for your car.
- Keep your tires at the manufacturers recommended pressure and your vehicle well maintained and the engine tuned.
- Don't exceed legal speed limits. Not only is speeding finable, it also increases fuel consumption.
With the summer approaching my husband and I were thinking about purchasing a time-share. I heard that there are specific protections for time-share purchasers. Is that true?
Unlike most contracts, contracts for time-shares must allow the purchaser a 3-day right to cancel after signing the contract. To cancel a time-share contract, deliver, telegram, courier, or send by registered, return-receipt requested mail, a notice of cancellation to the seller no later than three business days after signing the contract. If you paid by check, a refund must be made immediately as long as the check was not yet deposited into the seller's account, otherwise it must be refunded within 7 days. If you paid by credit card, a credit must be made to your account immediately. Otherwise, read the terms of the agreement carefully and be sure you are comfortable with what you are signing.
Questions Not Answered On the Air:
CVS advertised in their weekly flier, that Pepsi cans were $1.99, limit 4 per customer. When I went to the store, they told me I could only purchase 2? - Rosa, Marshfield
It seems that they may have experienced an advertising error. If an advertisement contains an error, the seller may honor the terms stated in the advertisement or promptly correct the misrepresentation using the same advertising medium. (940 CMR 6.13) Therefore, if it were an advertising error, CVS should quickly correct the mistake.
If it is not an advertising error, and you believe the store is being unscrupulous, you may wish to try to speak with a manager. If you still do not receive any relief, you may wish to write a 30-Day Demand Letter. The letter must outline your complaint, the harm you suffered, and how you want the problem resolved. This is called a 30-Day Demand Letter.
The merchant must make a good faith response within 30 days, or it could subject him/her to triple damages and attorney's fees. The 30-Day Demand Letter serves to encourage the merchant to negotiate and settle the claims out of court. It also establishes the amount of monetary damages you can recover if the charges are proven in court. For more information on the 30-Day Demand Letter, please go to http://www.mass.gov/consumer/Pubs/demand.htm.
I recently closed one of my credit card accounts. I still have a $300 balance on the account. Can they charge me the yearly fee? - Ed, Boston
The best place to find this answer would be to look at the literature you obtained from the credit card company. In your documentation, the credit card company should have outlined all of their provisions regarding fees.
My wife's student loan is in default. The state reduced my husband's tax refund because of this. Is this legal? - Mazen, Norwood
Any questions concerning tax issues and/or tax refunds, please contact the Department of Revenue at 800-392-6089.
I bought a car in 2001 with an extended warranty. The dealership cannot solve the problem. Do I have any rights? - Lynn, Worcester
First, you should speak with the owner of the dealership and the manufacturer. They may be able help you become satisfied. If the dealership or manufacturer is unwilling to hear your complaint, you may want to pursue either or both parties under the Implied Warranty of Merchantability. Under the implied warranty of merchantability, the merchandise must do what it was designed to do with reasonable safety, efficiency and ease, and for at least a reasonable period of time. For example, a toaster must toast, a TV set must have a picture and a clothes dryer should not overheat and catch fire when properly operated.
Every item sold by a merchant in Massachusetts automatically comes with the implied warranty of merchantability. There is no warranty of merchantability if the seller is not a merchant, or if the seller is a merchant but does not ordinarily sell goods of that kind. For example, a computer purchased from a restaurant that does not usually sell computers will not have this implied warranty.
You should start by writing the dealer and the manufacturer a 30-Day Demand Letter www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer/shopping/resolve-a-problem/demand-letter.html. If the 30-Day Demand Letter is unsuccessful, you may want to pursue the issue in court.