| Dec 15, 2005

Legalese - December 15, 2005

Back toHome

Legalese - December 15, 2005

Holiday Legalese Part II

by PeterGraham, Lawyer

A column of general information and opinion on legal topics by the lawyers of Rural Legal Services, Box 359, Sharbot Lake, ON, K0H2P0, 613-279-3252, or 1-888-777-8916. This column is not intended to provide legal advice. You should contact a lawyer to determine your legal rights and obligations.

CREDIT CARDS: A friend of mine once remarked that he enjoyed holiday shopping with his credit cards. “It sure beats paying real money for those gifts!”

The same friend, shortly afterward, advised that he had disposed of his credit cards. He was on a strict budget until he paid off the outstanding balances on his cards – which he anticipated to be a long time.

My friend couldn’t handle the ease and convenience of credit cards. To him it wasn’t money.


That isn’t to say that credit card use is bad. There are many advantages. For example, when used carefully, credit cards can help you pay for unexpected emergencies. They allow you to take advantage of sales or special bargains. They help you keep track of your expenses by listing purchases on a monthly statement. You also avoid the danger of carrying large amounts of cash. Bill payments are simplified by allowing you to make one monthly payment.

There is, however, another side to the coin, or credit card in this case. Like my friend, it is easy to forget that the signing of a $100 sales slip is the same as handing the seller a $100 bill. In fact, it can amount to much more if you do not pay your account off completely each month. You will be charged interest on the outstanding balance. Interest charges can mount up quickly as interest rates charged on credit cards are generally higher than those charged on other forms of credit.

If you treat credit cards like cash and are aware of all the charges associated with them, they can be a great convenience over the holiday season. However, if you are like my friend – it’s better to leave home without them! If you use credit cards, don’t set yourself up for any nasty surprises in the New Year.

WARRANTIES: Many of the products that you purchase come with a specific limited warranty – limited in time and the items that it covers.

A typical warranty covers any defect in material or workmanship for a period of one year from the date of sale. During that time the manufacturer agrees to correct such defects by supplying all parts and labour without charge. There are often conditions, which must be met in order for the warranty to be valid.

Before purchasing an item, check the conditions of the warranty. For example, it may be the responsibility of the purchaser to return the product to the service depot for warranty work. The warranty may not cover problems connected with such things as faulty installation or the servicing of the product by other than authorized service centres.

Retailers may also give their own warranties in addition to or instead of any manufacturer warranty. It is important, when considering the value of a specific limited warranty, to determine not only the limitations in the warranty but also who is giving it and that person’s ability to fulfill the promises in the warranty.

If you have any questions about warranties or about any of the holiday shopping topics covered in this column or the previous one, do not hesitate to contact us.

We at the legal clinic wish you the best of the Holiday Season and look forward to sharing some ideas with you in the New Year. If you have any questions or topics that you would like to see covered in the New Year, please let us know.

- Peter Graham, Lawyer

Other Stories this Week View RSS feed

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.