I bought my first car when I was seventeen and had to take out a small loan. My mother's full time job is actually to sell car financing at a major South Dakota auto dealership. She financed me with Chrysler and agreed to act as my co-signer.
All went perfectly to plan. I paid all of my payments on time, and often paid more than the minimum required. In less than a year and a half, I had fulfilled my financial obligation with Chrysler and recieved a free and clear title for my car in the mail, along with a signed and dated lien release. I was exited to finally own my first car!
Six months later, I had nearly forgotten about Chrysler Financial all together. I was attenting out-of-state college but Chrysler called my home address and tersley asked for me by name. My mother replied that I was gone to school and a man identified himself as a Chrysler representative, demanded that I still owed Chrysler $693, supposedly due to an error THEY committed more than a year prior, and that I must send the payment in full to them by the end of the month, PLUS interest.
Luckily, my mother had full knowledge of auto financing and the legalities of it. She informed him that I had a free and clear title, signed and dated lien releases, and check copies to prove I had paid in full. He hung up on her.
Two days later, they called again. We once again explained that I had my free and clear title and a letter stating that my loan was paid as agreed. They seemed friendly this time and said "Oh, yes it says here it's taken care of I guess. Our mistake. Sorry to bother you."
We heard nothing from Chrysler and thought perhaps the matter was finished. No. Three weeks later a Florida collection agency began calling and sending letters, threatening to repossess my car unless I produced $693 dollars plus the interest. I refused to pay and sent copies of my signed letters of release certified mail to the debt collectors.
The debtors refused to pursue Chrysler's claim any further until they could prove I was at fault. They could not. They claimed that a computer error in the first year of my loan caused them to credit my account for nearly $700 when they shouldn't have. Yet, it was only a $2,000 loan. Don't you think I would have noticed?? I didn't.
Chrysler threatened to take matters into their own legal hands. My father sought legal advice, for a fee of course. Lawyers told us that their case against me would not hold up in court. My father spent over 6 hours in one week on the phone with Chrysler representatives, to no avail. Finally, again they said the matter was resolved.
We thought perhaps NOW the matter was over, but alas it was not.
Again an angry representative called, demanding their money. My father again spent taxing hours explaining our case and making legal threats to counteract Chrysler's intimidation tactics. They told us the matter was resolved finally again, and after much persuasion finally agreed to send a certified letter saying I was free of obligation to them any longer.
We waited a few weeks. The letter never came. My mother got notice from her credit cards that her interest was being raised due to bad credit. Turns out that Chrysler had ruined both mine AND her credit by reporting that we were now 8 months in default. Again, hours on the phone with unhelpful representatives. Finally someone again agreed to send a letter, now to our home AND to the credit bureaus.
We got the letter, but when my mother ran a credit report from her office, both of our credit was still bad. A call to Chrysler told us to wait a few weeks. 4 weeks pass and still no change. We call and complain again. They say they will fix it.
A few weeks later it seems that Equifax bureau report is clear but the other two bureaus still say we have awful credit. My mom's credit cards continue to skyrocket. I am rejected for a credit card and a student loan at the bank. I have a hard time getting an apartment because of my unlawfully tainted credit history.
Finally, after about a year and a half of legal battling and hiring a lawyer, we intimidated Chrysler into contacting all three major credit bureaus. My mom and I both have clean credit again, after more than $800 in legal fees and countless hours of unpleasant phone calls and being put on hold.
It's so frustrating to think that we could have SAVED money by paying Chrysler the money they didn't deserve in the first place. Needless to say, my mom now helps customers finance with everyone BUT Chrysler. She warns them that it would be her last resort.
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