Financial Assistance Program
Consumer Information Guide
What Can I Afford?
Buying A Car
Scams & Schemes
This guide gives you the information and
resources available to become a
Welcome To The World Of
As a consumer in today’s market place your
DOLLARS are actively sought!
You are targeted by:
married or single
As a soldier you are a prime target:
You have a steady income
It is highly unlikely you will receive
a pink slip at the end of the month
Words like Government, Military, Service,
Armed, Veteran, Guarantee, United States,
Forces and Soldier, just to name a few, are
used to attract your attention.
This doesn’t mean that this product or service
is endorsed or backed by the government!
MYTH #1 I have a three-day right to cancel
any purchases or contracts
- You have three days to cancel purchases of $25 or more
if you buy an item in your home or location that is not the
seller’s permanent place of business. It does NOT apply to cars. Cancel all contracts in writing and send it
Certified Return Receipt within the allotted time.
MYTH #2 Deposits are refundable
- A deposit is an agreement between you and the business.
In most cases you do NOT have a right to receive your
money back. Get all promises in writing.
MYTH #3 Retailers are required to give
- A store is not obligated to accept items for refund,
exchange, or credit except in cases where the item is
defective. Find out the store’s refund policy before
purchasing an item.
MYTH #4 If my car breaks down I can
return it under the “Lemon Law”. - Texas Lemon Law applies to new cars only. NOT used cars. There are a number of steps, requirements, and
procedures, which must be documented and followed.
MYTH #5 The bank cannot cash a post-
dated check before the date on the check. - Most checks are processed through the bank
electronically. The date on the check is a memo for your
purposes only. Once you write a check it is a valid
negotiable instrument and can be cashed immediately.
Command Financial Specialist/
Family Advocacy Specialist
Have you ever wondered what happened to your hard earned cash?
Do you want to save money?
Is your bank account drained and payday is a week away?
Are you about to buy a car or other expensive item?
Is there a possibility that you might deploy?
Do you consider overdraft protection your emergency savings?
Is there a way to get out of debt?
Does Mr. Payday loan know you by your first name?
Is someone trying to sell you an insurance policy as an investment?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you’re in luck.
Your Battalion CF/FAS can help you find the answers; assist you in developing a budget; and gain control of your finances. Need their telephone number? Call 288-2862
Commanders & First Sergeants - IAW with III
Corps & FH Reg 210-8 Each Battalion is required to have a primary and alternate CF/FAS.
Financial Education Classes
? Home Buying Class
? Budget/Debt Management
? Credit Booster
? Savings & Investing
? Understanding Insurance
Mandatory Personal Financial Management Training
-First Term Soldiers in the ranks of E1-E4
-First Permanent Duty Station
Contact 288-2862 or 287-8979 for class location, date, and
? Car Buying 101
? Consumer Affairs Overview
? Identity Theft Seminar
? Baby Budget
? Pre-Deployment Budget
All of these classes are available to family members as well
as soldiers. Call and make an appointment for yourself or
schedule any of these classes for your unit or Family
Army Emergency Relief 287-1686
Provides financial assistance for soldiers, active or retired,
their family members and the spouses and children of
deceased soldiers during period of valid emergencies.
Approval of an AER loan is based on the need created by an
emergency beyond the control of the individual, i.e., POV
repair, emergency travel, funeral expenses,
eviction/foreclosure, and utility termination notice.
Consumer Affairs Office 287-CITY
NADA Quotes – Before buying a new or used car or trading in your car call Consumer Affairs to find out the fair market value.
Pre-Purchase Advice – From Automotive Repair to Home Improvement to Renting a Car. Brochures and information are
available to assist you in making a wise consumer choice BEFORE
Business Inquiries - Call 287-CITY to find out how many complaints have been filed against a business. Consumer Affairs cannot make
recommendations. You must ask about a specific Business.
Call The Better Business Bureau at 526-2600 to receive additional
information about the business.
Renting off post – The Housing Office (287-4212) handles all inquires and complaints. Check with them before you rent.
Complaint Resolution - Consumers who need assistance in resolving problems can call for an appointment. Walk-ins will be seen if a
counselor is available.
Remember oral promises are very difficult to prove in a court of
law. Get every single promise, quote, or warranty in writing.
The key to saving consumers money, time, and grief is education and
advice. The ability to solve problems and resolve complaints is limited
by bad consumer decisions and legally enforceable contracts.
Solicitations on Fort Hood 287-6483
AR 210-7 governs the rules a salesperson must following on Military
Installations. The following is an abbreviated version of this
A solicitor must follow a strict set of rules. The solicitor:
? must have a prearranged appointment with the client (cannot
knock door to door. i.e. barracks, government quarters) and
the appointment cannot be during the soldiers duty hours
? must have a solicitation permit issued by the Fort Hood
Solicitation Office, ask to see the permit
? cannot posses or process allotment forms
? cannot make courtesy visits to the chain of command
? cannot leave business cards or advertising material for
display or distribution
? cannot address mass, group, or captive audiences
? will prepare DA Form 2056 for soldiers in the rank of E1-E3
and ensure the soldier has been counseled by his commander
before processing an insurance policy
? active duty members cannot solicit to another member who
is junior in rank or grade, at any time, on or off the military
? If appointments are to take place in the barracks, the
commander must set a specific place for the solicitors to
meet with the clients.
? Commanders will provide information and education
programs on the conduct of personal commercial affairs.
Under no circumstances will commanders use the services of
commercial agents, including loan, finance, insurance, or
investment companies for this purpose. (The bank or credit
union located on the military installation may be used for
? Oral or written representations, which suggest or appear that
the Army sponsors or indorses the company or its agents, or
the goods or services are prohibited.
If a solicitor is participating in any prohibited activities, contact the Fort
Hood Consumer Affairs Office at 287-CITY (2489).
Looking To Buy A Car?
Before you start - attend the Car Buying 101 class!
? Evaluate your needs verses wants
? Next determine how much you can afford. Include Tax Title &
License (TT&L), accessories, insurance, fuel and maintenance in
your budget. See your Battalion’s Command Financial Specialist for
assistance and more information
? Do your research. Include reliability reports and safety records.
Check out the online resources provided
? Call Consumer Affairs & the Better Business Bureau to check out
the dealership’s reliability report
Determine the fair price of the car you want to buy and your trade in. Call the Consumer Affairs Office for the NADA value or check it out
Used Cars - you will need to know the make, model, year, mileage, and
New Cars – Take into account the dealers invoice, holdbacks, and
manufacturer’s rebates during your negotiations.
The Three Steps of Car Buying
Keep each step separate – 1. Set the price 2. Arrange the financing (arrange financing with your bank or credit union before going to the car
lot) and 3. Negotiate the trade-in.
Watch out For Dealers Extras - Dealers prep, credit life insurance, window etching, acid-rain protector, etc. These cost extra.
Have the car inspected and go for a test drive - take the used car to a
certified mechanic to perform a thorough inspection and request a
CARFAX report from the dealer or order one online.
Review your warranty before signing – There are a number of provisions, requirements, and ways to VOID your warranty. Most
service contracts do not cover pre-existing conditions and require you to
have your car inspected by a certified mechanic before signing your
Review the contract in detail before signing. Make sure every
promise is included in the contract. Your Legal Assistance Office
will be glad to review your contract before you sign.
AS IS Warranty - As is means just that. The dealer assumes no
responsibility for repairs regardless of any oral promises. If the
dealer promises he will fix a part or anything that goes wrong it must
be spelled out in detail on the buyers guide (the sheet of paper on the
window of a used car).
Voluntary Turn-In is the same thing as repossession. The car is
usually sold at an auction for a lot less than you paid for it. If you
owe more on your car than it was sold for you are still under
obligation to pay the difference.
Lemon Law –Covers new cars only. Stop by the Consumer Affairs
Office and pick up a tri-fold with more information.
Cooling off period - You do NOT have three days to get out of a car
deal. Once you sign the contract it is final. Have all promises
included in your contract.
Web Sites of Interest
Consumer Affairs - Online Car Buying Class
The Better Business Bureau www.centraltx.bbb.org
Edmund Car Buying info www.edmunds.com/index.html
NADA guides www.nada.com
Kelly Blue Book www.kbb.com
Fort Hood Legal
Consumer Reports Online www.consumerreports.org
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety www.hwysafety.org
Federal Trade Commission www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu-auto.htm
TEXAS HAS NO COMPREHENSIVE STATUTE
SPECIFICALLY GOVERNING AUTO REPAIRS
The key thing for you to remember is that it is YOUR responsibility to
get everything in writing before anyone touches your car.
Check out the business with the Better Business Bureau, Consumer
Affairs, friends and family.
Review your warranty and insurance policy. Follow all the procedures to
include maintenance and pre-approval. Are rental cars and towing
included in your policy?
Diagnosis - state the symptoms not the diagnosis. Get a written estimate for the diagnosis. Sign the estimate & keep a copy. You might consider
taking a picture or video of the current condition of your vehicle. Have
the estimate state they need your written permission if they are going
over the estimate and before they start the repairs. Don’t leave any
valuables in your automobile.
Estimate to start repairs- get a separate written estimate that includes
the following: the price for parts and labor; if the parts are new or used
and if you are requesting your old parts back; the condition to be repaired;
other fees, date repairs will be finished; if you are authorized a rental car;
payment arrangements; how long the warranty is for and if it covers both
parts and labor. Sign the estimate & keep a copy. Have the estimate state
they need your written permission to go over the estimate.
When you pick up your car – ask the service manager to explain what
was done to your car and look over your car for damages. Get a copy of
the final bill. Always remain professional and don’t lose your cool or make threats.
Storage Fees- If you don’t pick up your car right away the repair shop might charge storage fees. After 30 days they will request a mechanics
lien through the State Department of Transportation and then sell your