Tag Archives: deal


If you are the owner of a Chevrolet, you may have recently received a postcard from a manager at the Chevrolet dealership where you purchased the car. On this computer-generated postcard, the manager says that she is interested in buying your 2009 Chevrolet Impala. She says that the Chevrolet dealer has customers looking for these vehicles, but they don’t have any on their lot. She asks you to please call her ASAP, and she gives her phone number.

The postcard itself is a top-notch job in marketing. The name, address, phone number, and logo of the local dealership on the postcard gets your attention and keeps you from immediately throwing the postcard into the wastebasket. You have done business with this dealer in the past and have had a good experience. In fact, you probably continue to take your car to that dealer for routine maintenance. If you’ve ever needed a major repair, for sure you have taken the vehicle to a Chevrolet dealer. The “message” on the card is written in the handwriting style of a woman. It’s a personal touch to a business transaction. Finally, the writer appeals to the universal desire for a good deal by saying, “As a manager, I can offer you more!”

Is this a legitimate offer to buy your car, or it simply a trick to get you into the dealership so they can sell you a new car? Does the dealer actually have a potential customer who wants to buy a 2009 Chevrolet Impala? How much more in cash can the manager really offer? If she gives you $500 more than the Kelly Blue Book trade-in value of your car, is that really such a good deal? You would no longer have your car and would have to buy another one. You’d be standing there in the dealer’s showroom salivating over all the new cars. The dealer has you exactly where he wants you.

Ask yourself this question: Would a dealer send out thousands of postcards to find one 2009 Chevrolet Impala to sell? With all due respect to owners of 2009 Chevrolet Impalas, these are not high value collector cars. How much money would the dealer make by selling one 2009 Chevrolet Impala?

More likely, a computer at Chevrolet headquarters has generated thousands of postcards to Chevrolet owners like you. Each postcard is personalized with the owner’s name in the “handwritten note.” Each postcard names the correct make and model of the owner’s car. Each postcard is “signed” by a manager at the dealership. It is all a clever marketing tool to get you into the showroom.

If you really are interested in buying a new Chevrolet, do your research and go to your friendly Chevrolet dealer. You don’t need an invitation. They will be delighted to see you.

—By Karen Centowski



A credit score is a number, usually between 300—850, which predicts how likely you are to pay back a loan on time.  Lenders use this credit score to decide if you are a good credit risk.

The credit score is based upon information in your credit report.  Your credit score is determined by using a mathematical formula.  Actually, you may have several different credit scores depending on the mathematical formula used and the data used to calculate it.

FICO score is the most widely used score in lending decisions and ranges from 300 to 850.  A FICO score of 750 to 850 is considered excellent.  Those with a score in that range have access to the lowest rates and best loan terms, according to myFICO.com.  A score of 700 to 749 is considered good.  Individuals in this range will likely be approved for loans but might pay a slightly higher interest.  A score of 650 is considered fair.  These individuals will pay higher interest rates and could even be declined for loans and credit, according to myFICO.com.

The three credit bureaus—EQUIFAX, Experian, and TransUnion—have also created the Vantage Score, which ranges from 501 to 990, and the Vantage Score 3.0, which ranges from 300 to 850 (to mimic the FICO range).

How can you get and keep a high credit score?

Pay your bills on time. Set up some system to ensure that you meet the due dates.  For example, pay the bill as soon as you touch it.  Be aware that the due date is often less than thirty days from the issue date.  Be careful to allow time for the post office to deliver your payment.

You could set up automatic payments or electronic reminders.  Be extra careful if you have paperless billing.  Don’t forget to pay a bill.

Don’t get close to your credit limit.  Don’t “max out” your credit card.  Keep your balance at less than thirty per cent of your total credit limit.  If you have credit cards, pay off the balance each month.  Paying off your balance each month actually helps you get the best scores.

Only apply for the credit that you need.  If you suddenly apply for a lot of credit over a short period of time, it may appear that your financial situation has taken a turn for the worse.

Build a long credit history.  Credit scores are determined by your record of paying your bills on time.  If you have a long record of paying your bills on time, you will have more information to indicate that you are a good credit risk.

Order your credit report every year and dispute any errors you find.  Errors in your credit report can reduce your credit score.  Be sure to put your corrections in writing, and save a copy of your letter.

 Where can I get my credit score?

 Check your credit card statement or other loan statement.  Many major credit card companies and some auto loan companies have begun to provide credit scores for all their customers on a monthly basis.  Check your monthly statement or log in to your account online.

Talk to a non-profit counselor.  You can often get a free credit report and score from a non-profit credit counselor or HUD-approved housing counselor.

Use a credit score service.  Many websites advertise a “free credit score.”  Be careful!  Some offer a free credit score, but you must sign up for a credit monitoring service with a monthly fee in order to receive the free credit score.

Buy a score.  You can buy a score directly from the credit reporting companies such as EQUIFAX, Experian, and TransUnion.  You can buy your FICO score at myFICO.com.  If you decide to purchase a credit score, you are not required to purchase credit protection, identity theft monitoring, or other services that may be offered at the same time.

Where can I get more information about credit scores? 

For additional information, go to the website of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov.

By Karen Centowski