Consumer Groups Call on Auto Repair Chains to Stop Offering Predatory Financing

Advocate Andy

Loans for auto repairs carry rates as high as 189%

A coalition of consumer advocacy groups has sent letters to top auto repair chains across the nation calling on them to stop offering financing for repairs through EasyPay Finance and TAB Bank, noting the loans can carry interest rates as high as 189%.

The letters were sent to AAMCO and Precision Tune Auto Care (Icahn Enterprises), Big O Tires and Midas (TBC Corporation), Grease Monkey (FullSpeed Automotive), JiffyLube, and Meineke (Driven Brands).

The letters follow a report of consumer complaints about receiving loans for auto repairs only later to discover the loans were not interest-free and in fact, carry exorbitant interest rates.

The consumer groups sending the letters include Accountable.US, Americans for Financial Reform, Center for Responsible Lending, CLEAR, Consumer Federation of America, and National Consumer Law Center.

“Consumers struggling to pay for auto repairs repeatedly report being steered into predatory loans with shocking and often deceptive rates hidden in the fine print of applications, frequently not known until after the repairs are completed,” the letters state. “These predatory loans have a lasting impact on consumers, causing harm to their credit reports and leading to debt collection harassment.” The letter urged each repair chain “to disassociate itself from these practices that exploit vulnerable families.” 

Complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Better Business Bureau, and Ripoff Reports describe: 

  • Outrageous interest rates of 100% to 189%, sometimes charged to servicemembers and veterans. Consumers are shocked that payments for months and years have little impact on the balance. 
  • Interest rates hidden in fine print or not disclosed until repairs are finished. Applications taken over the telephone, or required to be completed on tablets and smartphones, without written copies, leave consumers in the dark about the terms. 
  • Deceptive promises of full interest rebates if paid in 90 days, with numerous obstacles that prevent consumers from avoiding interest or knowing their payoff balance. 
  • Electronic debits that were not authorized, differed from the agreed payment, or continued after a payment plan was fulfilled. 
  • Rude and unhelpful customer service and administrative errors, leading to missed payments, fees, and loss of the interest-free option. 
  • Harm to credit reports, including from loans paid in full or reported for the wrong consumer. No response to consumer disputes. 
  • Debt collection harassment and refusal to honor payment plans, including for those impacted by COVID. 

Comments / 0

Published by

Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN
1481 followers

More from Advocate Andy

Comments / 0