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Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 1999 /4 Teves, 5760

Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams
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Termite company not liable for termites? -- DEAR BRUCE: I recently bought a house in Florida. After the closing, my wife discovered termites. The company that did the termite inspection says that they are not liable because the infestation was hidden behind wallpaper. The bank and title company say they have no recourse and recommend that I pay the pest company. -- TICKED NEAR TAMPA, via e-mail

DEAR TICKED: In your part of Florida, termites are an extraordinarily common problem. I am sure the termite inspection company had some kind of clause in their report that made them not liable for hidden damage. But the termites couldn't survive without getting down to the ground for moisture, and they would leave mud tunnels an expert should be able to find. I think their excuse is weak, and you should consider taking them to small-claims court.

DEAR BRUCE: I have just finished reading a step-by-step guide for beginners about how to get rich in the stock market. It says you should tell the broker what to do, not the other way around. It was interesting reading, but at the end, they try to sell you a course for $195. Is it worth it? -- K.J., Norristown, Pa.

DEAR K.J.: If it's so easy to make millions of dollars, why in the world are they publishing this very valuable information for $195? I suspect there's a lot more money in selling courses than there is to be made in the marketplace. With those promises, would I spring for that sort of money? Not by the hair on your chinny-chin-chin.

DEAR BRUCE: Four years ago, my wife was seeing a gentleman. When he bought a car, she co-signed for him. After six months, he stopped making payments. The company took the car and sold it, leaving a balance of $6,000. She is now paying $75 a month under an arrangement she made with the company. Even though she didn't buy the car -- only co-signed for it -- is she still obligated to meet all of these payments? How long will this problem stay on our credit account? -- M.V., Vallejo, Calif.

DEAR M.V.: A co-signer is equally responsible to the company as the person purchasing the car. The reason they loaned money to this guy was because of her then-good credit. Unfortunately, unless she pays the loan off within the terms she agreed to, her credit will suffer. It may seem unjust that she's on the hook for $6,000, but that's when you realize that you have dynamite at your fingertips -- your signature. Unless you find the miscreant, I'm afraid she's stuck with the debt. You may be able to offer them a settlement -- if you gave them $2,000 or so in cash, they might accept it.

Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).


12/10/99: Services provided must be paid for
12/06/99: How do we minimize house-sale gain?
12/06/99: Maximize your tax shelter!
12/02/99: My neighbor won't maintain even a modicum of civility
12/01/99: Long-distance rentals a bad idea
11/29/99: Mortgage strategy A-OK
11/18/99: Students can work and learn
11/16/99: Value is what will sell
11/11/99: Y2K: No big deal for real estate
11/08/99: Real life is tough luck
11/03/99: The right time to cash a savings bond
11/01/99: Slow road for savings accounts
10/29/99: What do you want from insurance?
10/27/99: You have a right to see your tax forms!
10/25/99: Why own a house at 65?
10/22/99: Online fine, but CDs?
10/20/99: Love, honor -- and separate credit
10/18/99: Find the value of your stocks
10/15/99: Property lien prevents trade
10/13/99: Clear up debt, only then tie the knot
10/11/99: If it ain't broke...
10/04/99: Should I stick with the company IRA?
10/04/99: Get a financial education!
10/01/99: Insurance: Not much one person can do
09/30/99: Lost tickets are lost cash
09/29/99: Trusting only one financial planner
09/27/99: Adult children should help out
09/24/99: Tips for first-time home buyers
09/21/99: Use the rule of 72s!
09/17/99: Legal strategy can be a pain
09/15/99: Teen drivers drive up insurance
09/13/99: Always use an attorney!
09/10/99: Whose taxes are they, anyway?
09/08/99: How do I roll over my 401(k)?
09/03/99: How can I work out my IRS payments?
09/01/99: When your company can't pay you
08/30/99: Beware of shady viatical investments
08/26/99: Landlords vary on security deposits
08/25/99: Educational IRAs must be spent on education
08/23/99: Finding out the value of old stocks
08/20/99: How to get an FHA refund
08/19/99: 100 percent financing is a scam
08/16/99: Will I have to pay a capital gains tax?
08/16/99: Thinking about PMI
08/13/99: Short-term mutual funds a-OK
08/11/99: It's your job to shop around
08/10/99: Sometimes, roots need to be uprooted
08/09/99: 'Pre-approved' doesn't mean a thing
08/06/99: Only you can determine your investments
08/04/99: Bank IRA the lowest-risk option
08/03/99: Reverse mortgages good for the elderly
08/02/99: Get the survey BEFORE you buy the house!
07/28/99: Get a lawyer -- it's worth it!
07/27/99: If it ain't broke...

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