UMi*c*.cÂ«M.MÂ«t, jM.a,)g INDEPENDENT (AM) of mobile homes hit owners 01 shoddy work, costly financing schemes' By MICHAEL CONLON WASHINGTON (UPI) People .who own or live in mobile homes are frequent victims of shoddy construction, costly financing schemes, unscrupulous trailer park operators and numerous safety hazards, according to a new study. Mobile homes are now a major source of housing, with over 9 million Americans living in them, many of them consumers who could not afford current high mortgage rates, the Center for Auto Safety report said. But after Â· studying the industry for Wz years, the center said, it appears the mobile home business is more concerned about profits than about "quality, safety and integrity." GOVERNMENT is partly to blame, it said, because the peculiar status of mobile homes, which are ;neither vehicles nor houses, has allowed regulators to duck the issue. "Because mobile home loans are handled as con- su'm'er credit and are usually arranged through the ;dealer, interest rates are ! high, averaging 12 per cent in 1973," it said. "On a 10-year, $10,000 loan, this means more than $7,000 in finance charges. When mandatory long- term; insurance is added to the financing package, as.'is frequently the case, finance charges are need- les.sly jacked up further." In addition it said mo- ibi'l.e.' homes depreciate , -rapidly because of poor Construction. The center, a non-profit research group funded by Consumers, Union and other foundation grants, said two- thh'ds of the 1,000 letters it received on the issue were complaints about 'construction. "IN MANY instances, low quality. can be traced to . the manufacturer's emphasis on cheap, flashy interiors (which) help to lure prospective buyers but (which) serve little purpose other than to conceal shoddy construction," it said. Because of a severe shortage of space in trailer parks, the report said, "many operators run their parks like miniature f i e f d o m s , enforcing unreasonable rules and charging exorbitant rents and fees wholly unrelated to the services provided. "PARK residents, generally unprotected by leases, usually suffer in silence because they fear retaliatory eviction and would have nowhere else to park their home," it said. The materials used in home interiors, the study said, make them especially vulnerable to f i r e s . Sloppy wiring is also commonplace, it said, with 31 per cent of all mobile home fires traceable to electrical origins. In addition, it said, a mobile home is 30 times more likely to be damaged or' destroyed by high winds than a conventional home. Ford keeps same deal Chrysler switches rebates to bis cars (\jf i) -- uirysier wrp. moves mio the second week of its new "car clearance carnival" Monday with an offer to pay $300 to buyers of its Dodge Monagp, Chrysler New Yorker or Newport. ' '.;.-. : : -;;-Â·Â·Â· Â· - ; - Â· - ; - - Â· Â· . . ' "'' '. Â· And, if the customer .trades in a Buick or Oldsmobile, Chrysler will rebate another $100. In the,first week of its campaign to promote sales, Chrysler offered rebates of $200 on its two small models. The Ford Motor Co., the only other member of the automotive "Big Four" playing, the rebate game,; continues to offer payments of $200 to $500 until Feb. 28. Ford customers are offered $200 back on the purchase of 1975 model Pintos, Mavericks arid Comets; $300 on 1975 Mustang II hardtops and Two-; plus-Two models; $500 on the Mustang Mach I, .Mustang Ghia and 1975 Capris; and $350 on the Supercab light truck. Strong sales reports seen at Ford, Chrysler Help for Pan Am, TWA hit DETROIT (UPI) More automotive assembly plants are open this week than have been open since before Thanksgiving as auto executives await reports on the success of .the price war between Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. Eleven plants are closed. Strong sales reports are expected from Ford and Chrysler, which began giving $200 to $500 cash rebates to purchasers of selected models last week and could push General Motors Corp. into the same action, industry analysts say. . ' It could also mean an earlier return to work for 176,000 hourly workers now on open-ended layoffs. Another 46,000 are on temporary l a y o f f s this week at the closed assembly and manufacturing plants. THE mid-January sales report is not due until Thursday, but sales managers for Chrysler and Ford said deliveries are definitely up. I n d u s t r y analysts say the Jan. 11,to 20 figures will be' among the best since the 1975 models went on sale in September; the early January report-was the worst since the 1940s. "The cash we are offer- ing is bringing back some of the customers who were chased out when they saw the 1975 prices," one Detroit Chrysler dealer said. Despite the drop in the number of plants closed -- down from 28 last week to 11 this week -- more than 222,000 workers are still idle. Another 30,000 salaried workers at the three major auto eompa* nies also are off the job. THE TOTAL number of workers actually on the job in the auto industry increased by 53,000 last week, due chiefly to large- scale callbacks of workers on temporary layoffs at Ford and General Motors. Indefinite l a y o f f s , however, climbed by more than 3,000 to 176,250 this week -- one of every four U.S. auto workers. GM, the giant of the industry, will have 10,455 workers on temporary l a y o f f this week and another 93,000 either already on indefinite layoff or scheduled to be idled by the end of the month. Ford will have 21,750 workers on temporary layoff and another 3,350 on open-ended furloughs, and Chrysler will have ,13,700 workers on temporary layoffs and another 49,900 on indefinite layoffs, . Kuwait nationalization of its oil fields hinted KUWAIT (UPI) -- The newspaper Al-Wattan said Sunday Kuwait may announce complete nationalization of its oil fields next month, despite recent official disclaimers that the Persian Gulf state was in no hurry to do so. Quoting "reliable sources," the newspaper said Kuwait has just concluded a comprehensive study on nationalization and that a "100 per cent takeover may be declared in February." Kuwait currently owns 60 per cent of the Kuwait Oil Co. with two foreign operators, British Petroleum and Gulf Oil sharing the remaining 40 per cent. Their production output 1 last year was slightly more than 2.2. million barrels per day. The newspaper said the nationalization study has been submitted for review "to the highest authorities in the country as a prelude to being adopted by the Cabinet in the form of a nationalization decision." The sources did not indicate how much compensation Gulf or BP might be offered for their holdings in KOC-. When Saudi Arabia re- c e n t l y announced i t s intention to take over its oil industry from the Arabian American Oil co., the company was reportedly offered only one month's oil earnings as compensation. CJUIB SeiiaU; p action to bail ont airlines 'improper' By DAVID BURNHAM New York Times Service ' WASHINGTON - A : senate subcommittee has sharply criticized .the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Department of Transportation for their effort during the last year to help Pan American World Airway and Trans World Airlines avoid a . serious financial crisis. In a report made public Sunday, the subcommittee on administrative practice and procedures said the activities of both agencies in attempting to f o r c e the supplemental airlines to adopt a floor on t r a n s a t l a n t i c c h a r t e r fares were "improper and possibly unlawful." Though the charter floor initially was endorsed by President Ford in September, the administration reversed its position in November and said it opposed the plan because it was "seriously inflationary." The proposed floor would have two effects. First, it would increase the revenues Pan Am and TWA receive from their c h a r t e r operations: Second, by reducing the gap between charter and scheduled air f a r e s , it would encourage more travelers to fly on the more expensive scheduled flights of the two airlines. THE CAB approved floor is now being challenged in the Federal Court of Appeals by the Justice Department, the National Student Travel Bureau, the National Air Carrier Association and the Aviation Consumer Action Project. The report of the subcommittee, headed by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., concluded that its hearings "revealed a classic case of unsound procedure leading to unsound policy." The report said the evidence indicated that while Department of Transportation officials claimed they wanted the minimum charter floor in order to eliminate "predatory pricing," the floor actually was sought "in order to help Pan- American with its financial problems." The subcommittee said that internal studies conducted by the Transportation Department showed that the goal of assisting Pan American could have been achieved by 'other means at less cost to the public and that the minimum floor which the government was attempting to establish "would have established a fare level "significantly higher than the cost of at least some supplemental carriers and the fares desired by those carriers." CONCERNING the CAB, the' subcommittee said its rule making proceeding was not designed to formulate a price policy, but to enforce "a policy that DOT and the CAB had already determined to be desirable." A CAB spokesman said the commission would not comment on the subcommittee's allegations until it had time to study them. Your Money's Worth Guides for conserving PORTER C7 JLM.M. fiÂ£ J rr.it.t.itt* By SYLVIA PORTER You, the millions of men and women who manage America's businesses, can -- all on your own and without any mandatory controls whatsoever -- easily match and surpass our national goals for slashes in consumption of energy. You can save Startlingly huge totals of money in the process as soaring costs of fuel demand larger and larger chunks of your daily operating budgets. AND YOU can achieve these imperative as well as advantageous objectives via simple, cheap modifications in your admittedly extravagant and shamefully wasteful lighting, heating and air-conditioning equipment and practices. ' You do not need to be forced to conserve by an mandatory controls! This is the essence of today's report. But you must gain respond to pleas to save energy, as you responded in the midst of the crunch a year ago. You must learn and obey the Federal Energy Administration's fuel-saving guidelines. You must (as you so easily can) reduce your use of energy in commercial, industrial and public buildings by at- least 25 per cent instead of the 5 per cent reduction you've settled on since the oil embargo ended. The potential for energy saving and cost-cutting is enormous -- and the potential will grow mightily. The Federal Energy Administration estimates, for instance, that our country could save 300,000 barrels of oil a day and reduce consumption of electricity by 90 billion kilowatt-hours over the next year merely by following a few simple practices. THIS amount of electricity is enough to supply the yearly needs of New York City, Philadelphia and Detroit combined. This savings to users would come to $1.35 billion annually (not counting the higher energy prices inherent in new tax-tariff programs). -- More specifically, in federal buildings where FEA guidelines have been followed for almost a year, energy bills have been reduced by an average of 27 per cent. 'Â· -- In Pittsburgh, a large, 25-story federal building cut back its energy use by 35 per cent and saved Â·$106,000. ' , ' . . Â· -- In New York City, a towering, 41-floor high Â·-' rise got by on 24 per cent less electricity by institut- ing the conservation guidelines and cut its energy Â·; expenses by $384,000 in 1974. ..'. -- In Los Angeles, where winters are mild, a government building's maintenance crew replaced light bulbs, turned down thermostats, and cut out Â·Â·Â· weekend cooling in the eight-floor structure to save -^ $115,450. And in a smaller office building in Colunv-;;-" 1 bia, S.C., consumptionof energy was cut 15 per cent --'-in 1974 for a saving of $3,600. The effects of the guidelines that you, as custom- .-;" crs and employes in these buildings, will notice at once are: dimmer lighting indoors, more individual ." lamps and fewer overhead fixtures, cooler temperatures this winter (65-68 degrees) and warmer tern- ; - pcratures this summer (78-80 degrees). The effects--;/entrepreneurs will realize at once will be dominated Â·Â·Â· by cost savings that will climb steadily year by year'"'" along with higher fuel costs and lower use. MAIN TARGET of energy consumption guidelines is the commercial sector of our nation which "Â· consumes one-fourth of all electricity used in the U.S. and which has had an energy growth rate of 5.4 per cent a year since 1960 -- topping that of both industrial and residential users. To respond for your own as well as our nation's benefit, I repeat that all you -- owner and occupant of the buildings involved, hospitals, schools, public buildings, shops, markets, the like -- need do is think " constructively about. following year-round energy "' savings policies. Higher fuel costs well may giveÂ·Â» Â» your "patriotism" a spur which other factors might. Â· Â· - Â· not and these higher costs you may be sure are on' - Â· ' ' ' the way. . - ' ' ' TO GET the guidelines for energy conservation, write for "Lighting and Thermal Operations Guidelines for Commercial, Public and Industrial Buildings." It is available from the Office of Commercial and Public Buildings and Lighting, Federal Energy Administration, Federal Building, Room 7149, Washington, D.C. 20461. Or you can obtain a ctpy from one of the FEA s regional offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Kansas City, New York City, Philadelphia, Â· 1 Seattle and San Francisco. Debts tough to collect from jobless; bad accounts soar By RICHARD HUGHES UPI Business Writer Because of hard times, collection agencies say they have more bad debts than they can handle, find it harder than ever to collect money and claim t h e y ' r e Â· m a k i n g less money because of it. "We're h a v i n g basket- loads of new accounts and are unable to collect hardly any," said Mrs. Mary Lou Bowen of the Adjustment Bureau of Concord, N.H. An official of an Atlanta agency said in his 15 years in the business he's never seen bad debt accounts "pouring in like they have in the past 60 days." WITH FEW exceptions; this growth in bills turned over to collection agencies is typical throughout the nation, according to a survey by United Press International. Thousands of Americans who always paid their bills on time suddenly lost their jobs, were unable to pay their bills and were turned over to professional dunners. "One thing we've got to r e m e m b e r is t h a t so many of the delinquents were forced into their condition," said Bud Grout, president of American Collection Service in Chicago. "They had no control over conditions. What can that kind of guy do? We simply play our best card -- riot too forcefully -and hope he's back at work soon and ready to resume his financial obligation." "We've found that the average debtor today is not from the ranks of the poor, but someone who probably had a pretty good job until recently and fell victim to unemployment," said Ernest E. Barlough, owner of a Los Angles collection agency and a director of the American National Collectors Association. BARLOUGH said agencies are being more lenient with debtors than before. , "You almost have to be, because there are a great m a n y people unemployed," he said. "Where before we could collect entire balances we are finding we have to go along with debtors much more in accepting payments." Getting hit the hardest by bad debts are doctors and dentists, traditionally the last to be paid. "People who have been paying $5 a week call and ask if they can pay $3," said Mrs. Doris Teivel, owner of a Buffalo, N.Y. agency that mainly handles collections for the medical professions. There have bfien a few incidents of fly-by-night operators t a k i n g advantage of the situation. Buffalo police say a man has been threatening people if they don't pay bills. He gives a i f a k e name and he tells creditors to take their payment to where they owe it, not to an agency. He apparently is legitimate in that he is working for firms where people owe, but his tactics are frowned upon. A spokesman f o r the Boston Better Business Bureau said there has been a growing number of consumer complaints alleging harassment by collection agencies. "It used to be only occasional but now it's much more often," he said. IN CERTAIN areas of the nation that have yet to feel the impact of the recession, there has been no signifcant increase in delinquent accounts. For example, Don McGill of the Automobile Recovery Bureau in Houston said there has been an increase in "payments as to reposses- opposed sions." The number of bad debt accounts may be on the:,' : rise, but collection agen- /rlt! cies, which get paid a./',Â·Â» percentage of what they;!.:: collect, said they maker ' more money during good":' times because people can afford to pay their bills. Mrs. John Smith, treasurer of the Twin City Collection and Credit Bureau of Monpelier, Vt., said "we've got a lot of accounts but the money isn't coming in." "Business is definitely not booming," said Barlough, the Los Angeles -" debt collector. "Collection- agencies have to work a"' ' g r e a t e r volume of ac- Â·-"' counts in order to recover the same number of dollars they made with a smaller volume of busi- ' ness a year ago." Â· "Â· Daily Investor Treasury bill yield based on cash outlay By DON G. CAMPBELL Q: In a recent question a writer wrote in indicating that he had bought a $10,000 one-year Treasury bill which was being advertised at 9.53 per cent yield and when he sent his $10,000 check in, he only received a check from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York for $843.40, which was his advanced discount on the bills. He indicated to you that ho felt that this was an 8.43 per cent yield for one year and asked your opinion. In your answer you indicated that in buying Treasury 'bills you' arc going to an auction, which is Iruc. However, you failed to show him that his $843.40 was not income based on $10,000, but income based on the amount of cash outlay of $9,156.60, which, is the way that the yield on Treasury bills is figured. Working t h i s w a y , his yield is 9.2 per cent and not 8.43 per cent. A: You're quite right, iiiiil several of you caught it with the deftness of' a s h a r k spotting a b a r e ankle. The actual yield is, indeed, based on the cash outlay and I can only say, in apology, that neither I nor the Federal Reserve Bank of New York -- to whom I had submitted an identical situation a few weeks before -- caught it. The arithmetic involved in computing the true interest on a Treasury bill is: the discount di- vidied by the cash outlay. This gives you a percent- 'agc figure which is then divided by maturity. Or, in this case: $843.40 divided by $9,156.60. This gives you 9.2 per cent which, divided by one (the m a t u r i t y ) , gives y o u , naturally, an annual yield of, again, 9.2 per cent, i Let's take the same equation and apply it to a three-month bill which is auctioned at $9.778.50 and on which you receive a "discount check" of $221,5(1. Okay, here we go: $221.50 d i v i d e d by $9,788.50 equals 0.023 per cent. Now, for the annual yield, divide this by 3/12 (one- fourth of a year) and you come up with 9 per cent. Sorry for the confusion -- I got too enthralled with the main thrust of the gentleman's l e t t e r which dealt with the question of why the actual yield on a Treasury mii doesn't match the "advertised" yield (because it's an auction and the advertised yield always has to be an approximation). Q: You've mentioned, several times, the matter of good grade bonds yielding 9% to 10 per cent as well as "money management" funds paying 9'A to 12 per cent. Would you please advise an amateur how you go about investing in either of the above? Do I have to have a stockbroker, or do I i n v e s t through a bank? A: Don't hold me too rigidly to those yields since they'll all fluctuate -- literally daily -- as the demand for money ebbs and flows. Any stockbroker or banker can help you seek out good grade bonds suitable for your investment needs. As far as the "money management" f u n d s arc concerned, you're more on your own here since most bankers V are reluctant to charge customers a fee (on which t h e y d o n ' t m a k e a n y money, anyway) since the customer can do it quite satisfactorily on his own. W i t h only rare exceptions, the money management funds arc "no-load" (they charge no commission, t h a t i s ) . Most bankers -- at least for good customers -- will i!!'.".! a'ivic'.' fin the various m o n e y m a n a g e m e n t On bonds, the standard practice among bankers is to charge a flat fee, regardless of the amount of money involved, and, nationally this seems lo fluctuate in the $20 to $30 range. V 'Kind of panicked' TV, pool table, bed go to help pay bills DENVER Iff) -- Guy Baker is advertising to sell his color television, pool table and double bed. He says he can't find work and needs the money to help feed his family of six. "My wife and I just decided we had to sell some things to make ends meet. I've been out of work for a while and need the money." Baker, 34, is a self-employed carpenter who has been able to find work "only on and off" since last fall. He is one of the millions of unemployed Americans caught in the inflation-recession juggernaut. "CONSTRUCTION is always bad this time of year, but this is the slowest I've ever seen it in my eight years here. "We'll just have to do without some of these extras -- the TV and the pool table -- until things gel better." Auctioneer Al Meyer says there are a lot more things for sale secondhand now than there were a year ago. "More people want to sell things and more people are looking for bargains," he says. "We've kind of panicked," said Baker's wife, Deloris. "We're going around in circles trying to pay our bills. We just don't know what to do." She said she has been unable to work because she needs to stay home to care for the couple's 22- month-old twin girls. Mrs. Baker said their money troubles have been compounded by having to pay for costs related to the twins' birth. THE FAMILY moved to Colorado from Huntington, W. Va., eight years ago "to find better work and more money," Mrs. Baker said. "This was a pretty good place to get. started again ... until the last year or so," she said. "We just hope things get going better again, because it doesn't look like there's anyplace else to move to."
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