On 10/09/2010, I contacted Fast Auto and Payday Loans, Inc. in Modesto, California by telephone after reviewing their website on the internet. In speaking with a Nick about my needs, collateral value and rates, I was told that my 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 would suffice for a $3500 title loan and that there was no pre-payment penalty. Being in dire straits for this amount of money to cover some unexpected financial obligations, I was convinced that this was the sensible thing to do.
On 10/10/2010, my family and I took the hour long drive to Modesto (after calling Nick to inform him with an ETA) with the full intention of consummating a $3500 loan that was going to pay some bills, register our second car and alleviate a little stress.
Assuming that what I had been quoted by Nick the day before was the truth, we walked into their office in a relaxed mood with the usual loan rate and term questions in mind. Once we introduced ourselves to Nick, he immediately started telling us that he had spoke to the boss yesterday after speaking to me and that the value of my Dodge was now not enough to cover a $3500 loan. When we immediately asked him what is the value and why?, he replied that he did not know and that he had to call the boss for the answers. He handed me an application to fill out and went to the desk in the back and picked up a landline and began to speak (or so we thought). When Nick hung up the phone, my husband and I both looked at him for the answers. He stated that the boss had to call him back with these answers and to go ahead and finish my application. Concerned but not yet worried, I did as he asked.
I completed and signed the application and handed it over the counter to Nick. He told us to have a seat as he sat down to a computer and started typing. As we waited and passed the time with small talk, it had been a good half hour and the phone had not rang. Then, Nick stood up from his computer at the front of the office and said he was going to call the boss back and again went to the back desk. We could not hear what he was saying on the phone, but when he hung up this time he came back to the counter and started to inform us that the most they could now loan against the truck was $2500 and had no explanation why. This was a bit upsetting due to the fact that the original $3500 that I expected was all designated for important obligations and now something was not going to get paid. My husband and I stepped outside to discuss this situation and talked it over for quite some time. After discussing our immediate options and justifying the $1000 difference, we decided to proceed with this loan and try to pay it off ASAP.
We walked back into the office and informed Nick to go ahead and start the paperwork. About 20 minutes later, he produced loan documents that we were not prepared for. The amount to finance was a peculiar $2501 and the annual percentage rate was 160% with a $6000 finance charge. Fifty payments of 162.02 every 14 days. Although we knew that the rate and term was ridiculous, in our minds we were going to pay it off early to avoid the majority of the interest so we went ahead and signed the loan agreement. They then had me go to DMV the next morning and list them on our truck title as a lien holder and as a loss payee on our insurance policy. With verification documents in hand, I drove back down to their office in Modesto where they reviewed my completed documents and handed me a check for $2500 and a one dollar bill. At the time I thought this was strange but did not concern myself - until we discovered why
As the months went by and with my husband out of work, we struggled along with the rest of the country and even lost our home of 15 years to foreclosure. When we had to move and got behind on the truck payments, the truck sat in the driveway for almost a year unregistered. Finally, my husband landed a new job that put him on the road. So we borrowed money from relatives and re-registered the truck, bought new tires, grill and headlights and readied it for the road with my husband starting his new job on April 16.
They repossessed it 3 days ago and wont let us redeem it.
When we discovered the truck missing out of the driveway, we called to see if they had taken it VS it being stolen. After a lady confirmed this to me, I asked for the General Manager to discuss my options. She said that he was busy and that she would have him call me back. I waited all day and no return call. Finally, at 5:55 pm, I called once again and asked for the manager.
NICK answered the phone! He was utterly rude and could have cared less about us needing our truck. We then discovered that he had always been the manager and when we researched the California Laws on repossession and usury, we realized that we had been duped into that minimum magic loan number of $2501 that eliminates the rate caps!
We were lied to to get us in, lied to about the trucks value and the boss and set up with a loan that defies all usury laws.
And my husband is supposed to start his new job in two days!