Hi-tech with a hi-price

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UP TO 90,000 computer buyers are being tempted into paying more for their machines by finance deals with confusing small print, according to an independent survey.

Computeractive magazine has found that as many as one in three people who buy a pounds 1,500 computer on an interest-free deal - in which payments are deferred - could end up paying far more than they expect.

Among the practices noted by the magazine were 12-month "interest free" options, which can tie the buyer into paying an extra pounds 1,137 in interest on an original bill of pounds 1,493 if the full payment is not made before the interest-free period ends.

"Just missing the date by a few days leaves buyers locked in," said Jim Lennox, editor of Computeractive.