When my Chevy van broke down with expensive transmission troubles in 2004, my sister suggested instead of paying for a new transmission to try to trade in my van for a newer vehicle. At first I thought this could be a good thing, I could get a newer vehicle, make payments to re-establish my credit, And the dealership was offering a guaranteed $4000 trade in for my broken van for a used car.
I settled on a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser basic model. The car had 16000 miles on it already but we were offered the extended warranty with it. The total price for the car with the trade in was $14, 000. Everything was fine until the dealer had trouble finding me a financer. My credit was shot after hurting myself on the job 10 years before. I had a lot of unpaid medical bills I was fighting since the worker's comp was supposed to pay them. In the interim, I got stuck with them on my credit, lowering my score to about 545.
The dealer finally said he found a bank to take my note, but I would need a co signer. My sister who went with me to the dealer agreed to sign for me, and after signing the papers I drove home with my new/used Chrysler.
I am from Buffalo, New York originally, and HSBC is everywhere there. They have a 22 story tower there, bank branches throughout the region and they sponsor the arena where the Sabres play. I even had my bank account with them for 15 years before moving to Indiana where they don't have branches here. I thought I would get the same level of great service I got in Buffalo, boy was I wrong!
They never sent me a payment book for the car, instead they send a bill every month. The first bill I received said the total balance with the agreed upon 7.9% on my note was close to $17, 000. That seemed about right, and I started to make my payments on time, every month.
Also, they had the wrong name as the primary borrower. They had my sister as the primary and me as the co signer. I called the 800 number on the back of the bill to question this and was told it didn't matter who's name was first, we were both responsible for the bill. This was the first red flag for my sister and I, but we knew we couldn't find anyone else to take the note. So I paid my bill, on time every month so it would not reflect poorly on my sister's credit or mine.
However, there were some months when they would call claiming they did not receive my payment. I knew this could not be right since the payments were going to Carol Stream, Ill, which is near Chicago and we are in Indiana about 60 miles from Chicago. I pointed this out to the representative on the phone that it only takes 1 day to get the mail from Indiana to Illinois and that the payment was mailed at least 10 days before the payment was due. Even if they had the slowest mail room in Chicago, they still should have received the payment.
The rep barely spoke English, he had a very heavy East Indian accent. He insisted that I had to pay my payment by credit card right there over the phone. I refused, and informed him that it is illegal to make such a demand since he could not prove he was actually from the bank. When I pressed back for confirming information, he refused and hung up on me. But an hour later another rep called with the same tune, pay now by credit card. I again asked for confirmation that he was with the bank, and was hung up on. Again, this rep spoke with a thick East Indian accent.
We stopped answering the phone to that phone number, and a few days later the calls stopped. However, every few months or so, I would get calls like this. I made a complaint with the FCC about harassing calls, then they stopped until I actually did have a late payment. But this did not happen until almost 4 years later.
I recently hit a bad spot financially. The rising gas prices, my rent was increased, our utilities went up, so did the cost of groceries. This meant that the loan was getting paid later and later every month. So the calls begin again. This time they were even more aggressive, threatening to repo the car with only one month past due. I missed 1 payment but continued to pay my payment leaving me steadily 1 month behind.
They now call from about 6 different numbers, with different area codes. I went into the hospital in June for a few days. I do not have health insurance and I am self employed. If I don't work I don't get paid and thus don't have any money. I missed another payment with HSBC. I have tried to make as many payments as I can, even partial payments. However, when they send me my statement now, it says that the total of my partial payments is correct. But when you look at the breakdown of how they applied the payments it is nuts! It says for an example, they received $450 in payments that month, out of that payment $350 went to interest payments, $70 went to late fees and the remaining balance was applied to the principle!
I went back and took a good look at how the bills were applied for the last few years, they did the same thing, even when the payments were on time for over 3 years! They took a huge portion of the payment to pay 'interest' and then applied a small amount of my payment, usually less than $50 per month toward the balance owed!
I have loans with other companies, two to be exact. Both of those loans has the total amount owed that includes the interest applied. When I make a payment to them of $110 dollars on time, my bill is reduced by $110 dollars. When I am late there is a set late payment fee applied that must be paid in addition to the regular payment.
I have paid these blood sucking vultures over $12000 on my note which they say with the interest was a total of $17000. So how is it that my bill says that I still owe almost $9000? I don't know who is their 'math wiz' but there is no way I still owe that much on this loan. They are still threatening me with repo, and I am shopping for an attorney to sue. If they keep this up I will put the car in locked storage and buy a beater until this is resolved.