10 Things Every International Student Should Know About the Law


1.  You can get FREE legal advice on campus!  The Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) provides free legal services to all students at the UofA.  You will be able to speak with an attorney, who can advise you on most legal problems or questions you may have.  To make an appointment, call 621-2782.  You can also find a great deal of legal information on the ASUA website (, ‚ÄúLegal Services‚Äù)


2. Don‚Äôt buy a used car without doing some research.  Many students buy cars without knowing much about the process.  There is lots of information available on the internet (check out the links on the ASUA website mentioned above).  Here are some tips:


¬∑      Before you buy a car from a dealer or a private party, research its price on the internet to make sure you are not paying too much.

¬∑      If you buy a used car from a car dealer (someone in the business of selling cars), by law, the vehicle is warranted to be free of serious defects for 15-days or 500 miles, whichever comes first.  You have to give the dealer notice of the defect and an opportunity to repair it.  Information about this warranty should be part of your sales agreement.

¬∑      If you buy a used car from a private individual, the 15-day warranty does not apply.  Beware of a seller whose name is not on the title. Some people purchase cars at auction and re-sell them, claiming that they know the car‚Äôs history and condition.  The problem is that they don't really know anything about the vehicle, which could have very serious problems.  If you purchase a car from an individual, pay a mechanic to check it over first.  If anything about the seller or vehicle makes you suspicious, don‚Äôt buy the car! 


3.  If it sounds too good to be true, it is.  If you receive a telephone call or a postcard telling you that you have won a contest (especially when you don‚Äôt recall entering any contest) BEWARE!!  You will be told that to claim the prize, you must send money.  DON‚ÄôT DO IT!  No matter how good the prize sounds, it will most certainly be nearly worthless.


4.  Call the Better Business Bureau.  Many businesses are members of an organization called the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  This is an organization of businesses that tries to police itself and identify businesses that have problems with their customers.  Before you take your car to a mechanic shop or join a health club or make a major purchase from any business, contact the BBB and find out if the business has a good rating.  While this does not guarantee that your experience will be a good one, it may prevent you from doing business with a company that has had problems satisfying its customers.


5.  Get a receipt when you pay in cash.  That way, if there is ever a question about whether you have paid, you have proof.


6.  Use a credit card to make major purchases, especially over the internet or by telephone or from a salesperson who comes to your door.  Then if you do not receive the merchandise or it is of poor quality or was somehow misrepresented, you can file a dispute with your credit card company (you usually have 60 days from the date you receive the statement with the charge on it).  If the credit card company finds that you did not receive what was promised, it will remove the charge from your account.   If the seller insists on a money order, cashier's check or that you give him your checking account number for goods you will receive later, be very suspicious


7.  Know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. When you rent an apartment, house or room, you have certain rights and certain responsibilities.  These are found in the lease or rental agreement and in the statutes (laws) of the State of Arizona.  Here are some tips for tenants:


¬∑      Pick up a copy of the Apartment Guide and Renters‚Äô Handbook in the Student Union, and look through it ‚Äì it contains lots of valuable information for tenants.

¬∑      Read your lease or rental agreement before you sign it ‚Äì and make sure all the blanks are filled in.

¬∑      If you have questions about your lease, make an appointment with the Student Legal Services office.


8.  Know what to do if you are in an automobile accident. 

¬∑      Call the police and wait for them to come.

¬∑      Get the name, address and telephone number of all witnesses

‚Ä¢     Exchange insurance information, name, address and telephone number with the other driver.


9.  Do not make personal loans in any amount unless you can afford

      to lose the money.  Many international students receive money for the entire semester at one time.  Beware of fellow students who need a loan and claim they will pay you back as soon as their own financial aid or stipend arrives. 


10.  If you own a car, you must purchase automobile insurance.  By

law, everyone who owns an automobile in this state must purchase liability coverage. This insurance will pay for the damage you do if you cause an accident.  It will not cover damage to your car. 


If you have any legal questions about these tips or anything else,

call 621-ASUA( 621-2782) and make an appointment

to talk to a lawyer.