Don’t Use BOQ/Apple Finance (Unless you’re into fine-print)

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).

Holy moly.

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.

Link to this rant on facebook – feel free to share / comment.

Aussie expat builds Chinese apartment hunting site

Toujuwang – An Expat’s Attempt to Improve Apartment Hunting in China

A Q+A with Jason Lim, a successful Australian entrepreneur launching a service aimed at domestic Chinese apartment hunters amid ever-soaring housing costs

By Michelle GuoJason profile pic with logo

The city of Beijing is a place with rich culture, constant changes and a growing startup scene. As one of the more developed tech hubs in the country, Beijing is host to a large and growing number of foreign entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in China.

I sat down for an interview with Jason Lim, an Australian entrepreneur who’s been based here in the capital for the past three years. His newest project,Toujuwang, is an online platform with the goal of bringing transparency to local housing prices for domestic Chinese apartment hunters. With many existing housing websites posting false apartment photos and misleading prices, Jason hopes to win over the local Chinese market by providing an open alternative method for apartment hunting.

Toujuwang is a unique project not only in that it is attempting to provide a service inside the domestic market, but that it builds on Lim’s previous experience building an apartment search service for expats.

Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the name and idea behind Toujuwang?

The idea from the start was to increase transparency in the residential real estate market in China. To achieve this, we want to build a network of renters in China and give them a platform to share and exchange information about their rental situation, like price and quality of property. We want to bring this information to the surface and give them an alternative to asking agents, looking at poor websites or asking a limited number of friends.

The name “Toujuwang” means “transparent living space.” It comes from the Chinese words tòumíng 透明, which means transparent, and zhù 住 (pronounced similar to ju), which means to live. We want to empower renters to share and have access to information that is otherwise hidden or controlled by people who are incentivized to keep the market murky.

Right now if you were to figure out the price of a rental property on your own, there are only a limited number of sources. If you think about it, all of these sources (besides your friends) are biased. Agents and landlords are incentivized to charge more rent to obviously make more money. Websites artificially list lower prices to attract customers, and then switch them to something that is really “available.” You can imagine how frustrating it is for people to hear so many vastly different quotes. We hope that Toujuwang will give people an idea of what the prices are in certain areas so that they can make an informed decision on where to live.


Read the rest at the source:


Great to see Aussie’s building businesses in China!

They’re Hiring

Hey all, I’ve just launched a small experiment in peer to peer recruitment called They’re Hiring. The concept is people can post jobs available in their companies, receive CVs from some interested people who aren’t terrible and submit them internally. If the person is hired, theroetically, they get $$$, movie tickets, or whatever the company pays out.

Please have a look at and submit away!


backlink’en another attempt to simplify it

I’ve got a few blogs that don’t receive too much love. One of the key things everyone talks about is creating lots of links to the site from other sites, which in turn, drives more traffic and hopefully more readers. Making backlinks is hard and takes a lot of work, but there’s different sites and plugins that help to make it easier. The non-automated alternative is to go to each of the 1000’s of social media sites and update them manually. If I was unemployed, a task like that would probably help fill up my day. I’m a mac user, no longer a technology buff and I yearn for simple, simple and more simple integration.

I started out a few years ago with a Twitter Tools plugin for wordpress until they required some sort of API key so it stopped working.

Searching for a replacement that also supported other social media sources, I stumbled upon Network Publisher. A got as far as installing the wordpress plugin before finding you had to sign up for a paid plan. I’m a cheapskate too.

I experimented with Posterous which worked really well. The only problem was every link that got send out into the social-sphere all pointed back to Posterous and not my blog! I thought of moving the blog over to Posterous, but that seems all too hard as well.

My latest experiment is So far I’ve got it publishing to facebook, my identricity facebook page, 2 twitter accounts and tumblr. Not a bad start.

My workflow is looks like

  1. Publish something on my blog
  2. Publish the postname and URL on hellotxt
  3. hellotxt sends it around the internet to those services configured.

I googled a hellotxt plugin for wordpress, but it needs an API key of some description as well. The link in the plugin are out of date so it took me a while to find the API key application form. Then I got stuck (lazy) since it wasn’t dead simple for me to understand what info to put into the fields. For now, I’m keeping my manual workflow.

My next step is to look at other similar services (e.g. to automate to the networks hellotxt doesn’t support.

my sub-conscious is hungry

I think I’ve read it elsewhere on the Internet (so it must be true) when you absorb a lot of input your sub-conscious sort of chews on it for a while and then spits out new ideas. My written-word sensory input comes from a lot of places but my latest source that I thought I’d call out is They collate new business ideas from all over the place and email them out either daily or weekly. I’m showing mercy to my overloaded inbox, so I opt for weekly.

One of the things I like is the ideas aren’t just the latest iPhone app or web 2.0 site (is that still cool?). This throws in something new for my over-worked sub-conscious mind to ponder. Left to my own devices, I tend to focus on “e-ideas” a little too heavily and don’t consider the wider world and its problems. Last email there was a vertical spiral thing for growing a veggie garden in space-constrained areas. I could almost see myself putting a couple of these in, if I ever wanted to put down my iPhone.

Uncrippled iPhone4 now available in China

At last! This is some of the best news I’ve heard in ages. iPhone 4’s with 3g and WiFi  will now be freely allowed for sale in China in the Apple retail stores and from China Unicom. Until recently, only models with WiFi disabled were available on the mainland, driving people to purchase uncrippled models from Hong Kong and overseas.

From a few anecdotal conversations I’ve had with Chinese friends, there was previously stigma attached to purchasing the locally available crippled iPhone models from China Unicom. If a full version is now available, I’d expect increased sales, which further distributes the platform creating further opportunities for application developers.