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Interest-Free Car Loans; U.N. Conference Under Way Working on Global Guidelines for Tracking and Trading Weapons

Aired June 28, 2006 - 08:31   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Detroit is giving away some free money, interest-free loans, if you buy certain GM cars. You might be interested to know, though in some cases these enticing deal cost you down the road, if you will.
Jeff Bartlett, deputy editor for Online Consumer Reports joins us now.

Jeff, good to you have back with us on the program.

First of all, why GM? Why zero percent? Why now?

JEFF BARTLETT, "CONSUMER REPORTS": Well, the time has come for the big three manufacturers to incentivize their vehicles. They found that their day supply is exceeding 100 units, and that refers to how many cars they have on hand. Right now, with summer coming is a great time for them to reduce their inventory down to a more comfortable level.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, well, given what vehicles are offered in this particular package, it's important to really do the math. Let's look at how things go down the road. You buy a car up front at zero percent. Explain how that works.

BARTLETT: Absolutely. Vehicles with incentives are essentially on sale because they are perhaps less desirable than other models. Right now you see that the vehicles with the greatest incentives actually have the poorer fuel economy in general. Gas prices have really taken their tolls on large sedans and SUVs. So caution is definitely needed when taking look at incentives. You need to look at the overall cost picture of a vehicle, not just the incentive alone.

M. O'BRIEN: So if take gas prices today and compare the mileage between the zero-percent deal and something else that isn't incentivized that way, you might actually come to the conclusion this vehicle in three or four years will cost you more?

BARTLETT: Absolutely, because you want to look not only look at the cost of gas, which is rather straightforward, but you also want to consider the depreciation. A model that's less desirable today may be less desirable tomorrow, especially if gas price remain the same or even increase through the next few years.

M. O'BRIEN: OK, so this sounds like, you know, common sense advice, but people get kind of swept up in the whole deal sometimes. It's important to buy the vehicle you need, right? BARTLETT: Absolutely. "Consumer Reports" certainly recommends that you buy the vehicle that has performance, reliability, fuel economy and safety. And if that vehicle also has a great incentive on it, so much the better. But we want to make sure that consumers look at the full picture, not just the numbers that they'll see this weekend.

M. O'BRIEN: So if it's that a big SUV at zero percent, but you only need something smaller, maybe the thing to do is go with something smaller?

BARTLETT: Absolutely. There's always a cost for buying something larger. You know, in cases, of course people need the tow capability or space. But consider your needs, not just the wants.

M. O'BRIEN: If you need the vehicle. Going back to the -- all right, good buys in the zero percent realm. You're recommending the Mercury Grand Marquis. I didn't even know they still made a Grand Marquis. It's still out there, folks. And maybe that's why zero percent. And then the Chevy Tahoe. Why these two cars?

BARTLETT: Well, in our recent analysis, we found that over three and five years these vehicles actually were reasonable buys, with large incentives up front. They do compromise a little on fuel economy. If you didn't need the size either of those, we think you could find a "CR"-recommended vehicle that had better depreciation and fuel economy.

M. O'BRIEN: And the one that you are kind of high on right now is the Toyota RAV -- RAV, they call it RAV.


M. O'BRIEN: Tell us about that.

BARTLETT: The RAV-4 is redesigned for this year.

M. O'BRIEN: Nice-looking car, by the way. I like the way they redesigned it.

BARTLETT: Redesigned 14 inches larger than it was before. It's an interesting example, because it's available with three rows in a V- 6, with 269 horsepower. This is an interesting alternative to a midsize, perhaps even a full-size vehicle, for a family looking for all-weather traction and the comforts of an SUV.

M. O'BRIEN: Decent mileage?

BARTLETT: Excellent mileage. For example, compared to the Tahoe, which gets 14 miles per gallon in "Consumer Reports" testing, the RAV-4 get 22 with a big V-6.

M. O'BRIEN: Interesting. I'll have to do some math on that one, because I've got that Yukon XL, which I call the rolling zip code. It may be time to turn that one in. All right, thank you very much, Jeff.

BARTLETT: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Always a pleasure having you drop. Jeff Bartlett is with "Consumer Reports" and he stops by periodically to steer us clear of a bad deal, so I hope you listened up -- Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Miles, thanks.

Listen to the statistics. Every day more than 1,000 people worldwide are killed by guns. According to weapons control advocates most are killed by illegal weapons. Well, right now, a United Nations conference is under way working on global guidelines for tracking and trading weapons. Not everybody is happy about that.

Senior United Nations correspondent Richard Roth has our story this morning.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Deloca sells guns in Queens, New York, legally. No license and I.D., no weapon. He's aware just a few miles away an international conference to halt illegal gun trafficking is getting under way, but unimpressed.

JOHN DELOCA, GUN SHOP OWNER: We don't need people to come in from other countries to critique us or tell us how to do it.

ROTH: Deloca says just enforce existing laws to help tackle gun- related violence. These anti-gun activists agree with him, but they also want better laws. At a rally outside the U.N. conference, they display and AK-47 built out of prosthetic limbs, and they haul a petition, they say, has been signed by a million people affected or distressed by gun violence.

REBECCA PETERS, INTL. ACTION NETWORK ON SMALL ARMS: We're sending a message to the governments of the world that are gathered here today, saying you must bring in basic rules to govern the international trade in guns, because they're killing 1,000 people a day.

ROTH: But the loudest message heard so far has been sent by members of the National Rifle Association in the United States to the U.N. Conference chairman.

PRASAD KARIYAWASAM, SRI LANKAN AMB. TO U.N.: I, myself have received 100,000 letters from some in U.S. public criticizing me personally, saying that you are having this conference on Fourth of July. You are not going to get our gun on that date.

ROTH: The u.n. is a frequent target of the gun lobby.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: If a criminal is at your door in the middle of the night, I guarantee you, Kofi Annan is not going to be there, nor will the rest of this U.N. crowd. KOFFI ANNAN, U.N. SECY-GEN.: Mr. President, with your permission, I would want to repeat, because there are people around who either have not heard this or do not want to hear it. We are not negotiating a global ban, nor do we wish to deny law-abiding citizens their right to bear arms in accordance with their national laws.

ROTH: Destroying illegal weapons is fine with the Bush administration, but a new global treaty is not.

JIM BOLTON, U.S. AMB. TO U.N.: Illicit trafficking in light weapons is something that can exacerbate conflict situations, but that the responsible use of firearms is a legitimate part of national life.

ROTH: Julius Arile's brother was killed in a raid on his farmland in Kenya.

JULIUS ARILE, KENYAN GUN VICTIM: You only need to sell 10 cows and you have a gun, but these arms are highly destructive.

ROTH (on camera): The illegal gun trade is worth $1 billion a year, and conference advocates say for many countries that's too high a price to start silencing the illegal trade of weapons.

Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.


M. O'BRIEN: All morning long we've told you about the flooding heading northward into the New England region, parts of New York, and as it turns out, parts of Pennsylvania, Scranton, part of the world that's looking bad right now.


M. O'BRIEN: Flooding in the east, as we just told you about. The opposite problem in the West out toward Albuquerque. We're still watching dozens of wildfires. Some 1,000 people stuck in Grand Canyon are finally free. They got stuck this weekend after fire officials shut down the highway leading in to the park there. Fires destroyed more than 58,000 acres so far. We're watching some other fires in Utah and in Nevada as well.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, a single mother's life is turned upside down by a case of mistaken identity. Turns out a criminal stole her name and it was easy to do. We'll explain.

M. O'BRIEN: Plus a hurricane-ravaged town. It's fed up with Washington and the slow pace of recovery. We'll tell why they're turning to China for help. That's ahead.


S. O'BRIEN: And now a story about identity theft. It is not, though, about computer-savvy thieves or hackers who break in to a corporate database. It's a story about an act that's so simple, it's scary just how easily it was pulled off and scary just how much trouble it caused for one woman.

Here's CNN's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every time Stancy Nesby looks in the rearview mirror, she can't help but wonder if she's about to be pulled over.

STANCY NESBY, IDENTITY THEFT VICTIM: Everybody needs to put themselves in my shoes and know that this could happen to them.

SIMON: A 30-year-old single mom with four kids who holds two jobs working as a nurse's assistant. Life was hard enough before her problems with police.

NESBY: It's made it really hard for me to smile and be the normal person that I felt like I was at first.

SIMON: It started four years ago when Stancy was pulled over for speeding in the Bay area. She admitted going too fast, but couldn't understand why she was being arrested.

NESBY: I ended up going to jail that day. They didn't believe anything I was saying.

SIMON (on camera): It turned out Stancy had a warrant for her arrest. The police database has showed she'd been busted for cocaine possession here in San Francisco's seedy Tenderloin District back in 1999, but that she never showed up for court appearances.

Stancy had to spend three days in jail. The problem? She was innocent.

(voice-over): Police later confirmed it when her fingerprints didn't match the real suspect who had used Stancy's name.

NESBY: I've had nightmares about this.

SIMON: She says police told her they'd fixed the problem. But two months later, Stancy was arrested again. This time at her home in Berkeley. Once again, she says when the officer discovered the error, they told her they'd help her clear her name. But three months later, Stancy was arrested again in yet another jurisdiction.

And it didn't end there. From 2002 to 2004, Stancy was arrested or detained seven times by five police departments. In one instance, hauled off right in front of her children.

NESBY: The kids were crying. And basically they ended up, you know, throwing me on the ground and sticking their knees in my back.

SIMON: Every time she says authorities promised to fix the problem, but didn't.

NESBY: Maybe it's because I'm not a rich person, that they feel like I'm nobody. But I am somebody and I have feelings and I don't think that they should ruin people's lives like this.

SIMON: Stancy filed this lawsuit against San Francisco, claiming false imprisonment and emotional distress after failing to remove her arrest warrant from state databases. Her attorney says the case is clear-cut.

MATT GONZALEZ, NESBY'S ATTORNEY: You think you've seen so many cases that you're jaded to what you're going to see, but this one still hits you in a very kind of visceral level. You just -- you just look at it and you say this is not right.

SIMON: The city says it's not responsible for correcting faulty arrest warrants. It also notes that Stancy was never arrested in San Francisco, but concedes she was wronged.

MATT DORSEY, CITY ATTORNEY SPOKESMAN: This is something that I don't think you would wish on your worst enemy. You know, you pray it doesn't happen it to you.

SIMON: No one has taken responsibility for Stancy's ordeal. The courts ruled against her twice. Her attorney says he'll appeal to the state Supreme Court if necessary.

GONZALEZ: Bureaucracies don't change because people wake up and want to make them more efficient. They generally change because they're forced to take responsibility for something that they're doing that they shouldn't be doing.

NESBY: I just can't believe that people that are supposed to be helping, you know, people that are supposed to protect and serve would actually hurt somebody who's innocent.

SIMON: Even though a judge dismissed her lawsuit, the court asked the D.A. to remove the warrant from the database, which finally cleared her name.

Still, she can't help looking in the rearview mirror.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.


S. O'BRIEN: Wow. Dan's report first aired on "ANDERSON COOPER 360."

John Roberts is in for Anderson with a look at what's coming up tonight on the program -- John.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Soledad, tonight the Democratic party and religion. Democrats very publicly talking about what many have preferred to keep private. Is it an election year necessity and do voters somehow have the notion that God's a Republican? "360," tonight, 10:00 Eastern -- Soledad.


S. O'BRIEN: Thank you, John. Up next, Andy Serwer's "Minding Your Business." Andy, good morning again.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" COLUMNIST: Good morning again, Soledad. Here's news for you. A fast-food CEO speaks the truth. Plus the stupidest corporate name change ever.

M. O'BRIEN: Wow. Ever?


S. O'BRIEN: Because there's been a lot of stupid ones.

SERWER: There have been. This is a good one. You'll like it.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll have to think about that one.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Andy, thank you very much. Also ahead this morning, actor Adrian Grenier joins us in the studio. Ooh. He's such a cutie. He's in the new movie "The Devil Wears Prada," and of course he's in HBO's "Entourage." We'll talk to him about both of those roles just ahead on "A.M. Pop." Stay with us.





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