Business: What It Really Costs

Credit counselors invariably bewail the willingness of consumers to take the first time-payment deal they are offered —and with good reason. To test the benefits of shopping around, TIME staffers in New England, the Midwest and the California-Nevada area asked various lenders what terms they would.offer to a salesman who earned $20,000 a year and wanted to borrow $2,000 to take his wife and two children on a vacation. The salesman was assumed to be making mortgage payments on a $40,000 house, and to be paying $110 a month on an auto loan and $50 a month on department-store charge accounts....

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