DriveTime / Preys on people with badcredit
I was in a car accident and totaled my car in October of 2009. I had just started a new job and could not miss work or I would lose my job (job probation). I only had $700 available as a down payment on another vehicle. A friend was able to get me to work for two days only, so during that two days I shopped around many places trying to buy another vehicle. Due to my credit and lack of money and short time on the job the only place I could buy a vehicle was DRIVE TIME. I was offered two vehicles only. A Chevy Lumina and a Ford Taurus. I had had previous experience with a Lumina and did not want to even consider that option. I asked what the MPG was for both cars. I drive 100+ miles per day round trip for work. So gas mileage was a must. They assured me that the Ford Taurus would get 26mpg. Now DRIVE TIME's selling feature is that they do a (22 or 32) point inspection on all vehicles. I don't remember the number. This is to reassure you the buyer that you are not getting a lemon. I put down my $700. I signed papers. I was told that I could make payments right there in the local store. My second day of owning the vehicle I called them back because the brakes were making noise. Basically I was told that was not covered and I would have to take it elsewhere. I said what about this inspection you were supposed to do.. I got the run-a-round. So it turned out that my back brakes were completely worn down and needed replaced desperately. So a year goes by.. I am stilling paying over $340 a month for this car that gets 19-21 mpg TOPS, and I get an ad from a local car dealership that says they see I have a Ford Taurus and they have been authorized to buy it back from me and put me in another car for less money. I go. The truth is I need gas mileage. I am spending $140+ every two weeks on gas. I get there and I go through some paperwork with them, only to find out that they cannot buy my car because I am financed through DRIVE TIME. They explain that the interest rates with DRIVE TIME are 19%... and that the bluebook on my car is $2000. I owe $8000. They explain how companies like DRIVE TIME know that you cannot trade this vehicle in and are forced to pay the entire contract.
So I immediately call DRIVE TIME and talk to them about all this information which came to light. They explain that "THEY" have a buy back program, where I can trade the car in for another one. Not much of an offer. But at this point I am thinking I need gas mileage, prices are going up. So I am told to call back on Monday and speak to someone about trading in my car. I call Monday. I get run-a-round. I call back Tuesday and they finally tell me that they will not take my car in trade until I owe less than $2000. At this point I say.. I have had the car over a year and paid you on time and from day one you have shafted me. Lied to me about gas mileage. Lied to me about your inspections. So I said I will let all my friends know how you do business. What else could I do?
Which brings me to point 3. Remember I could pay at my local DRIVE TIME. Well they removed that option. You can have the car payment deducted from your bank account monthly. You can pay at bill paying locations for a fee. You can pay online for a fee. My local pay location is 30 miles away. So I started paying online for a $5.50 fee. Hated to pay that fee, but I figured by the time I drove 30 miles one way and paid at the location plus the fee I was saving money by paying online. Here' s the problem with that. I paid with my bank debit card. The money is withdrawn immediately. DRIVE TIME however did not collect the money immediately. When it is not collected it goes back into your bank account. Two weeks later they re-collect the money. Now YES the money is still there, but because you do not get a monthly bill, nor can you ever see anything online to show your payments, interest and so on.. How do I know if I am getting charged a late fee?
So I ask.. Now DRIVE TIME should be politicians because they have a gift for answering your question without ever answering your question. So basically I don't know. So I requested an itemized statement of what I have paid. I have yet to get that in the mail, however I was told verbally what I owed at that moment.
So that brings me to two weeks ago. My paycheck is direct deposited (late the night before payday). Sometime during the night my check was deposited and a debit came in (unauthorized ) and removed that paycheck. By the time I get up the next morning, that transaction is final. So I call the bank and let them know I did not authorize that transaction. So they suggest I call that company to get them to give me the money back, where upon you get the run-a-round of you must sign this and that.. and it gets investigated. So I go back to the bank and have them start investigation. Anyway long and short.. I did not have the money to make my car payment. So I call DRIVE TIME and notify them. I get a lovely operator who says You have been a good customer let me apply for a deferment. So she applies. I am told to call back the next day to see if it was approved. NO it was not. So she says well we have other options. So a week later when I have to make my usual car payment again, we re-apply for the deferment. Once again it was denied. My circumstances are not considered a hardship. So they suggest I pay 90% of the lost payment. At which time I say Don't you think I would pay something if I had any of that money returned to me. It was at this point that I realized that this company is not about helping people. Many circumstances can produce bad credit. Five months without a job can do so much damage to your credit report. And it takes years to catch these things up. Years. And for companies to prey on people who are in these positions is inexcusable. They say that statistically 95% of the United States population is two paychecks away from bankruptsy. A huge chunk of the population does not have good credit. When companies charge 19 % interest.. and sell you a car for $14, 000 that is not even worth $4000 that is scandalous. Is it any wonder that people cannot get ahead when you are forced to do business with companies such as this? So I am writing this in the hopes that we can petition the Government or someone into stopping these unfair practices and creating a environment for people with poor credit to get ahead and clean that credit up.
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