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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > April 2024 > Maximize your tax refund

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Maximize your tax refund

According to recent IRS data, the average tax refund this year is $3,182. Taxpayers use their refunds in many ways – often to increase their savings, pay down a debt, or make a major purchase or repair.
If you're contemplating a major purchase (say, a large appliance) or repair (to a vehicle, perhaps), consider the following:
  • Buying a car “as is”: Exercise caution when purchasing a car “as is,” because you assume responsibility for any problems that occur after you drive it off the lot. Before finalizing the purchase, check the car’s history with the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System at and have it inspected by a trustworthy, independent mechanic.
  • No right to cancel: Ohio law typically doesn't grant the right to cancel a car purchase.
  • Title Defect Recision (TDR) Law:  In Ohio, licensed dealers are permitted to sell used vehicles before obtaining their titles. If a dealer fails to provide your title within 40 days of the purchase date, you may have the right to a refund. Also, be aware that you may be eligible for a refund from the Title Defect Recision Fund if you buy a rebuilt salvage vehicle but were not given a written disclosure prior to purchase, if the dealer makes an inaccurate odometer disclosure, or if the car is a Lemon Law “buyback” and you were not given a written disclosure.
  • Repairs: Ohio law grants you the right to an estimate for car repairs that will cost $50 or more, or for the repair of other products such as large appliances that will cost $25 or more. Always get an estimate in writing, as it tells you the expected cost of the repair. If the cost later increases to more than 10 percent of the estimate, the shop must get your approval in advance to do the extra work.
  • Warranties: Before purchasing goods and services that involve warranties, it’s important to evaluate and compare warranties. Also, some sellers may offer service contracts. The main difference between a warranty and a service contract: Warranties are provided by a manufacturer or seller and are included in the price of the product. Service contracts, on the other hand, typically are provided by third-party vendors for an extra charge beyond the product’s cost. Be sure to review what a warranty specifically includes to determine whether a service contract is worth the additional cost.
  • Payment: Once you have decided to make a purchase, you need to decide how to pay for it. Some people choose to utilize a refund anticipation loan or pay for the item in installments. Offers for instant or “fast” tax refunds may actually be costly refund anticipation loans or refund anticipation checks. These products might involve substantial fees. Avoiding these types of loans may save you money without diminishing the amount of your refund. Rent-to-own payment plans usually involve a higher-than-average weekly or monthly payment for 36 to 78 months. Be sure you understand all terms and conditions of the loan, including taxes, fees, and the repercussions of late or missing payments.
Consumers who suspect a scam or an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.