Firstly, let’s just get it out of the way before you read all of this – yes I’m an idiot. In 2014 it was time for a new computer and I saw Apple offering 0% Finance for 24 months through BOQ. Wow!
The mental filter in my my head read Finance as ‘loan’ and not ‘rental’. I briefly pondered how they could possibly make money on this and all I could come up with was kickbacks from Apple and late payment fees. Alas, as you’ll discover, I didn’t read the fine print or ask enough questions.
So thinking this was a pretty good deal and that, of course, I’ll never be silly enough to miss a payment and incur those sneaky fees, I also added a laptop for Hua and then threw in a timecapule for good measure. Total cost $5,975 – big coin, but not too bad on cashflow when repaid over a few years.
Fast forward, and we’re approaching the end of the 24 months. I’ve just received the most curious letter from BOQ saying that my rental agreement will be finishing up in July and I can return the goods, lease them again or make then an offer to buy. Oh, and if I don’t choose, they’ll just keep charging me anyway.
I’m firstly shocked as my brain finally clicked I’ve rented this expensive equipment and I haven’t just taken out a loan (bye bye money). But then I calm myself as, hey, maybe its like Flexirent. I’d used Flexirent before and was familiar with a token payment at the end of the term to hang onto the goods – all good. I figured to myself they’ll probably want to charge me a little more than a token fee though as we’ve had a 0% finance thing running and they’ve now got to make some cash and keep the management happy. Fair enough.
So today I gave them a call and the payout figure is…. drumroll please…. TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE DOLLARS. *** 36.5% of the original purchase price *** (which was $5,975).
In other words, it seems like Apple fan boy me took out a leisurely loan at ~30% interest on these babies. I certainly would have read a banner ad with those numbers differently.
I have since read through the fine print, yes it’s a rental, yes they own my soul, yes they have all the power – its all stitched up. As I perused the legal terms though it did strike me as somewhat wrong that they weren’t clear about what a payout figure is likely to be nor how they would calculate such a figure.
If it was made clear to me I was about to take out a loan at ~30%, I’m pretty sure rational me would have kicked Apple fan-boy me in the nuts and I wouldn’t have gone ahead.
Currently on the BOQ website an unsecured personal loan is 13.9% (16.51% comparison). Big difference. Not sure about this ‘it’s possible to love a bank’ thing. And my beloved Apple, fan boy me is still shocked from the betrayal – how could you be party to such underhanded shenanigans?
I’m likely to just return the equipment to avoid further costs, however if anyone has any advice I’m all ears. It would be nice to hang onto these laptops.
My friends! Please learn from my folly and read the fine print.
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