Fireside Bank and Auto Finance — Harassment and Abuse
Dealing with Fireside Bank (now Auto Finance) has been a horrible experience. The dealer where I purchased my auto pushed me into financing with them (probably gets a kickback or piece of the interest but he is now out of business), and since that time, has been the worst experience I have ever had with any particular financial institution. Fireside no longer makes loans and its only function is to collect on the assets they have financed. First, they start calling the minute your account is one day past due. The farther past due, the more they call during the day. They will call every number they have on file, and if your account ever goes two payments, they will call in excess of 20 times a day like every fifteen minutes. They have an auto-dialer from hell to speak. And they use various numbers from various states to call and sometimes even show the numbers as "Private". Never give them a work number, but you can request they not call at your work under law. Once they get you on the phone, that is where the real abuse begins. They are threatening and rude and make false and intimidating statements. They will disclose information to third parties not on the account in violation of the law and collection codes. Once a friend answered my phone, and the agent stated, "we will keep calling until he pays the damn account." And unless you pay that minute over the phone, they will require you to give a post-dated check or credit card. Even if you explain you cannot pay, they never note the record and continue to call and harass until you pay. They are the most aggressive and obnoxious bank collections group in the USA operating more like a sweat shop collections agency. Also, if you process the payment over the phone or their web-site you have to pay a $9.95 transaction fee to Western Union. This is most likely illegal and not disclosed in your loan documents. Also, they probably receive half of the fee back in revenue from WU for the service. This is the only financial institution that does not allow you to pay on-line without a fee and are too cheap to set up this arrangement (or because of the kickback from WU). They also charge this fee in addition to late charges. And they do not want you to pay through your on-line banking as they say that is delayed (more than likely they do not receive the fee from WU which the employees are probably incentivized to collect). Fireside has been involved in numerous lawsuits including a recent class action in CA involving repossessions. A really ethical company!!! Eventually they will be out of business as all of the accounts will eventually pay off or charge off and they will have no more assets. To conclude, the employees of Fireside are the rudest out there and have no empathy for customers and their situations and offer no solutions to assist when times are tough. If you can re-finance your loan, you are better off than dealing with these loan sharks representing themselves as a financial institution.