On Jan. 31st 2008, my husband and I went to a professional dealership in our home town to purchase a car. I was very nervous. My husband was relaxed...of course.
We ran our credit first, to see what we could afford and not. Test drove two, looked at four. So we were shopping, basically.
By two hours, we had found the car we wanted. A Grand Prix GT (04). Used, but in very top condition and loaded. So needless to say, very happy with our choice.
The loan officer, at the dealership, told us to go to lunch, take the car, that he'd have the loan done, and official, by lunchs end. So once lunch was done (an hour) we went back...and come to find, he had signed us with Drive Financial Services. ( enter 'stress' and 'end of the world music' music here )
He had said, first thing when we got back, that because of our issue ( I have a great credit score and a license, but not my own income. My husband makes the income, but doesn't have a license, and he has a Zero credit score -(no credit) ) that it was basically the only bank left to go through.
My husband thanked him, excitedly, but the first words out of my mouth where..."Thanks, Good...are we upside down?" He said "No, of course not"...but I wasn't relieved yet.
He proclaimed, "...but the bank wants more down...at least another Fifteen hundred." Of course, I asked why..and he said "...so the payments would be lower..." While my husband and the loan officer were chatting like two hens in a klatch, I was sitting there trying to figure out what the world is going on...I didn't feel right, figured it was because I was already nervous. But all in all, to get, you gotta give...So we gave it, to get it. Two thousand, five hundred dollars.
While we signed paperwork, the loan officer explained that this would build my husbands credit, make mine even more strong, about taxes and how Drive would do a 'welcome call', within one week from that day. He stressed that we seriously needed to pay down as much as we can, on the loan, so we could refinance by the end of the year, or trade up, so we could get out from under Drive, as our lien holder. Basically, at the end of the year, we'd be paying on interest, instead of the car. I agreed that was the best thing.
He makes copies of our insurance, my drivers license and other information that they need, including a page full of references my husband had to have.. he faxes it on to Drive, to complete the deal.
We're not 'upside down' on the loan nor have a high payment, but still, going home, I felt uneasy...and couldn't figure out why.
When we got home, I did a Google search of Drive. It popped up complaint after complaint after complaint, along with their site. I did a Better Business Bureau search, and they have a DD- (minus) report rating, and it's going down further, it seems, with every complaint they have.
On the sites, I read reports where people are being ripped off through payment scams and all other problems in between...I can't help but think what mess we've gotten into.
I told my husband, about the issue. He tells me everything will be fine...instead of listening to his reasoning, I go to our bank and apply for another credit card and get it ready to make the payments.
On Feb. 5th (our anniversary), Drive calls, but we're not here -saw it on Caller ID- so, my husband calls the loan officer just to touch base. The loan officer said he'd send them an email and let them know we're there, at the house, call again. So...we wait...we wait another day, figured they'd call the next day, seeing they missed us. Next day comes, they don't call...so, I tell my husband, that maybe, with all the bad reports they have about paperwork, maybe they have it recorded that they called and talked to us, when they haven't...he agrees (finally).
One week passes, the loan officer from the dealership calls saying that Drive needs more proof that your husband works and that you have car insurance...do you have any? We had given Drive three copies of his pay stubs and two copies, already, of our car insurance. So we drive down to the dealership and give the loan officer, yet more proof. He is complaining how we're having to do this and that, how drive only communicates via email, no one answers the phone...so he faxes the information. We see him do it, once again. We tell him that Drive still has not called. He said he would let them know via email (again) seeing thats the only way to get a hold of them. He does it right in front of us.
On Feb.18th (a holiday), at Ten Twelve in the morning, the loan officer calls. Says Drive needs more proof your husband works and insurance and if we don't get it done by Twelve today, they're not doing the loan. He said he called, and finally got someone, cussed them out. I asked why. He was really, really upset and when he called me, his heart was still racing. Of course, I understood, but still wanted to know what was going on. He said that Drive had claimed they've tried repeatedly to get a hold of us, that we haven't bothered to answer the phone. That when they finally do call, they were going to "let us have it". The loan officer and I knew they were lying about calling and with the threats, he was getting very intense with his temper...so he cussed them, said he lost his temper. He said they're very unprofessional. Of course, I agree, with the whole thing. I told him, at that time, that they have a very poor rating with the BBB. He said he wasn't really one bit surprised. That he to, was going to complain. He added that they were going to call by eleven that morning. We discussed what to say and do when they did. I asked if I got rude or upset to, could they void the loan. He said, no, of course not.
Eleven came, and went. No call. They finally called at eleven fourteen. Sure, they finally called, but they can't even call on time. It was the 'welcome to the company' call, but strangely, in the call, there was no welcome, no hi, or hey. Just questions, off the bat, to verify the information we had given the dealership. All information was verified. Insurance, employment and other numbers. Call ended at eleven seventeen.
I called the loan officer back, left a message that they called. I wanted a record of it.
I go on their site, to make a payment a week and a half before due date. All the information they have was wrong...but anyway; to pay, you have an extra charge of such and such, depends on which way you pay. The hidden charges they do not explain in the 'welcome to the company' call, or even before you sign with them. The loan officer didn't even know about the charges is how hidden they are. The hidden charges are explained in the paperwork you get in the mail, though.
I make the payment because 'you don't have a choice' and pay an extra amount, that will not be seen in my paperwork.
I print out all receipts and notices to verify that I have paid..and all this is due to the complaints I've read...and some on part that is just what I do, but mainly all the printing and receipts (and using the credit card) is due to the complaints of others. The best way to learn sometimes, is you learn from others.
Two days later, after payment, I noticed that my credit card had a pending charge from them on it and the payment had went through. I know that most companies do this, to ensure you're the card holder and it's a true card. That's fine...but I've also been told that once a company has been paid, the pending comes off. This pending did not. It stayed for a week. So I notified my bank of this company and basically their reports. It took two times to get them to understand. Finally, they ensured me that if I do get a charge that I don't agree with, contact them...sure that's nice, but I'm keeping an eye out.
During that week, while the pending was on the card, Drive tried to enter the card two times. They tried to take money out, saying it was authorized by me, which of course, it was not. My bank notified me of this. When they did, all I could say was "see what I meant?" Within two hours, the pending was off after sitting there a week and doing what they had done. They couldn't do what they wanted, so stopped, I suppose. This was the main reason I got a special card for this, so they couldn't just go into my bank account and take money, like I've read has happened to others...but they still tried, on a credit card!!
Also during that week, we received yet another notice in the mail that we needed to provide proof of car insurance. Of course, I'm getting really tired of this (actually already am), so I go home, print out a copy again, go to the Post Office and send it by certified mail. Receipt and all. Need a signature. I also called the insurance company and had them fax it over.
March eighth at eight eleven am Drive calls, two days after the certified letter said it arrived and was signed, by them. Well I was surprised by a call that early - the caller ID.. all it says is Zero or O. No number, nothing else. I answer and it's them. No Hi, No good morning, nothing other than "my name" and "this is Drive Financial". My first words are "whats wrong?...need more paper?" She continues with "since you've made your first payment, this is to ensure all our paperwork is correct" I said, "yes go ahead...I'll be happy to help you keep your paperwork straight."
She continues on with the 'interview' and asks me questions that made me feel very comfortable, such as "Does your husband live with you?"...that made me feel very comfortable because here is this person calling very early in the morning, (which is an hour BEHIND my time) asking me personal questions. I asked her "what is the reason for needing to know if my husband lives with me?"...she claimed it "was just a question because I use another address for mailing". I confronted her and told her to ask questions pertaining to the Loan and that is it. She started with an attitude and I told her like it was...just like everyone here has been saying, along with the other sites. She said didn't like 'my tone' at all, as she claimed. It had gotten to the point where I had told her that I just did not believe she worked for Drive because why in the world would she be calling so early and acting like such an donkey (but I didn't say donkey) She actually told me to tell her what she needed to give to me to prove she did work for them. I sat there a second and thought...I finally said, "..how about proof of car insurance, got any?" She was shocked...so I said "no seriously..do you?" Finally I gave up and said, "give me your phone number where you're calling from now." She did...I made her repeat it three times.
She got tired of me acting like her, so finally said, "can I continue with the interview ma'am?" I don't know what came over me, but starting acting like my mom..."I don't know, can you?"...so she continued.
Every single piece of information she had wrong...I corrected her. Again and again.
I asked how much information did they actually take from the loan application, to place in the file...she snapped to and said, "all ma'am". I told her..."My husband had to give at least seven references. He gave nine. You used only three. I had to give my car insurance information repeatedly over and over, and yet, you still ask for it, even after a certified letter claims that you do have it and it was faxed. My mailing is incorrect, even after I had the dealership correct it and I have to, on the site and through emails...so no, you do not take the information given and file it or you'd not be calling right now, right?"
She claimed "they call to verify all information", again, like she had said when she first called. I said "are you done?" she said "almost..." I sat there, trying to figure out what it was in the background. I heard voices, almost like they were telling her what to say because I was "one of those irate complainers". So as I was sitting there, she was saying my name, and I was trying to concentrate on the background, so I didn't hear her. She apparently said my name a few times and finally asked, "are you eating cereal?" (my husband was) Then she yelled my name. I came to and finally said "oh I thought you were talking to someone else"...then I had asked..."do you know what time it is there?" and she replied "about thirteen minutes to eight." I had said, "so it's early? why are you calling so early?" She ignored me, and said, can "I continue?" I said, "damn, are you this way during sex to?" So needless to say, I made her feel comfortable to and she ended it with ..."have a good day"
I would rate this company, for future payees, has : Unprofessional. Can not keep records. Takes unauthorized payments, dishonest...and We have only had them as a lien holder for only a month.
I recommend if you have to have them as a lien holder: Keep records of all that is said via phone, email and/or other. Use an answering machine to record conversations or your computer while your phone is on speaker. Print and file receipts. Make copies of everything you send them, and you can even go as far as sending a copy to yourself via certified or regular mail to prove you sent a copy to them.
If you have to send them something via snail mail, send it where you have to get a signature. Keep the copy when it comes back and the receipt of what it cost. (if you file a charge against them, you can actually get refunded any and all extra fees you paid out of pocket -that also could include the 'hidden fees' -but depends on which fee it was - my attorney gave me that tip)
When I made my first payment, I also sent them an email to let them know I had, right after I had. USE THE SITES contact form. Not your email provider. They didn't like that at all, because they actually had gotten proof that I had paid through a system that they can't control. Their web service provider. They were very mad at me, actually wrote me back and said in big letters "THANK YOU". You could tell they were MAD! Once you send it, you'll get a confirmation page, print that out. If they reply, print that out to. Include, if you can at all possible, the headers of the emails.
Also, I had set up my credit card (with points-so get rewarded when you pay!!) with the payments to pay "one payment at a time". Do NOT set up your payments to be automatically withdrawn. They can go in ANYTIME to take your money, if you set it up that way, and they will. With a "one payment at a time" they have to get your approval every time (but keep an eye on it anyway) And as soon as you see something you don't agree with, tell your bank!
If you send via personal check (send certified), get the checks with carbon/duplicate copies. Save all your copies, of course. I would go a step further, email them, like I said I did, on their site, and let them know when you sent it. Your bank will have the copy, you have a duplicate copy on your carbon and now you have a certified proof they got it, two times over (email on their server and the certified mail)
Why go to all these lengths? Because, if you've done a search on Google (or any search engine) read the complaints, read the BBB report and if you actually have a loan with them, you'll WANT to do all this, and possibly more. It's the extra steps you have to do to, to make companies like this, close their doors and sale their contracts, because if you do end up with problems with them and file a report, you have to have proof...the same proof you'd have to show to the company that you did pay or that you did so and so...so keeping, and doing the extra, should just come as second nature when dealing with companies like this one. This isn't my first time dealing with companies like this...the best way to fight them is don't be what they THINK you are...desperate. Keep your head and keep your records. They have a very terrible BBB rating..and a lawsuit on them, right at this moment...it won't be long and they're contracts will be sold. I just hope to a better owner than the present one.
Keep in mind when they call, whether you're late or they're just calling...You're a person, not a victim just because you had to use them. They have NO right to belittle you (no one does), if they do, Hang Up. And file a complaint at the BBB, immediately. And file a complaint via their contract form on their site.
One BBB rep told me, once the BBB gets so many complaints on one company, they file a claim on them to get their license revoked. That's just something to think about. They're not just for filing reports. They actually do help...but it takes every one working together, to get something done.