So one of my kids needs braces and I've gotten quotes from two orthos now. They seem criminally expensive, but I'm sure the prices are typical, or maybe even cheap compared to what other people pay. My post isn't about the total cost though, it's the way they structure it. Here's an example from my latest quote:

Total cost for 12-18 months of treatment: $3850

Courtesy discount for payment in full: 8%, resulting cost: $3542 (which I realize isn't precisely an 8% discount)

Zero interest payment plan:

$1000 down payment by start of treatment

$2850 / 12 / 2 (semi-monthly payments) = $119.00 per payment

So they claim they offer zero interest payments, but right from the start you can see that what they are really doing is requiring pre-paid interest to the tune of $308: the difference between 3542 & 3850. Further, even if you make payments, you need to do $1000 down anyway. I used

this calculator which lets you do a semi-monthly loan payment and inputted the following information:

22.9% interest rate

12 month term

$3542 total loan amount

$1000 down payment

That's the real deal here. Since $3542 is the "paid in full" amount and making payments ends up with $3856 repaid, that's what we're really dealing with. They require a $1000 down payment, so you're actually taking out a 22.9% interest loan on $2542 and even with semi-monthly payments it still accrues $314 worth of interest over the 12 months it takes to pay it off.

Does anyone else ever bother to do the math on this stuff? I mean, I can probably pay it off in full from savings, but even if I didn't have the money, 22.9% interest is so freaking high that I would literally be better off putting it on a 12.9% interest rate credit card and taking a year or even longer to pay it off. I'll bet that a ton of people just hear "Oh, zero percent interest, I'll do that!" and effectively sign up for that 22.9% interest payment plan instead. Does anyone on this forum bother to do the math on things like this?