Car repairs get expensive. These days, with car tech moving at such a high speed, we see more complex systems in our cars. Because of this, formerly minor repairs, like a fender bender, might now be an expensive repair because the bumper has so many sensors and wiring. With that in mind, there has been an uptick in car repair chains baiting customers into exorbitant loans on expensive repairs.
Should you take a loan for a car repair?
This isn’t financial advice as much as it is advice for navigating auto repairs. This problem isn’t new. Predatory lending is a major issue in the States, but don’t fret. The best way to defend yourself against loans like this is to do the research and be prepared, so you aren’t tricked.
According to The Drive, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has flagged some auto repair chains for using predatory and possibly “law-skirting” loans to lure customers into insane interest rates. The NCLC says these “rent-a-banks” charge customers up to 189 percent interest on car repair loans. These criminal rates are leaving folks, even with small repair bills, unable to pay back the loan.
What is EasyPay Finance?
EasyPay Finance is one of the “rent-a-banks” that is accused of being particularly heinous. This group works in conjunction with TBA Bank of Ogden, Utah. EasyPay Finance has received hundreds of complaints of deception surrounding various loans. Customers at furniture stores, pet shops, and automotive repair and tire centers are offered these 90-day payment plans with juicy incentives.
The main hook offers a full-interest rebate if the loan is paid off within the allotted time. However, these loans often hide insane interest rates that reach as high as 189 percent. The NCLC has gone so far as to say that these loans are unethical, cruel, and even illegal in some states. In many cases, the interest rates are hidden in the fine print. Some don’t even mention the rate until after the paperwork is done.
Which companies work with EasyPay Finance?
The Drive says that military veterans and active service members are among the most indebted.
This has led to allegations that the shops facilitating these loans might be working with EasyPay to trap certain customers.
The brands known to be affiliated with EasyPay, according to the NCLC, are Big O Tires, Grease Monkey, JiffyLube, Meineke, Midas, and Precision Tune Auto Care.
Car repairs aren’t a joke these days
With the computerization of nearly every aspect of modern cars, car repairs have become more expensive. So even without the predatory lenders, car repairs can be really tough for some people. By definition, these are the same folks most susceptible to predatory lending.
Elyse Hicks, Consumer Policy Counsel at Americans for Financial Reform, told ABC 27, “Easy Pay and its rent-a-bank partner TAB Bank are preying on people in a way that exploits the centrality of cars in American society.”
To make matters worse, complaints collected from the BBB, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Ripoff Reports by the NCLC are more varied than just high-interest rates. The sketchy practices of EasyPay go into big administrative errors and unresponsive customer support. The Drive notes that EasyPay is even accused of making withdrawals on accounts for amounts not approved by the loan contract. Sometimes, these extra charges would deepen a customer’s debt with EasyPay.
The car market is already tough to keep up with these days without companies actively tricking people. Stay frosty, friends.