Well, let me tell you the back story, and then work my way into the bad stuff. Me and my girlfriend were running low on money. We were getting kicked out of her mother's house, and we needed to come up with roughly $800, in order to get our own apartment. Ironically, the day that we were told that we had a short time to move out, the title from my girlfriend's 1997 Dodge Intrepid, (Which she had just purchased) came in through the mail.
Can you guess what ran through our heads at this point in time? Yes, we would pawn the car title, get a place to live, pay the payments until it was paid off, and go on with life. My girlfriend was about 4 weeks pregnant at this time, we were happy, we were going to get our own place, we were going to have a child. Everything was working out good.
Well, the next day we drove to Augusta, Ga. and stopped at a Title Bucks.(Which is a subsidiary of Titlemax). Oh wait, first we went to Wal-mart and had a copy of the key for the car made. Well, we walked into Title Bucks, there was a nice lady in there. We told her our situation and that we needed some cash. She was glad to help us. She went outside looked at the car, took some pictures, faxed them to somewhere, then asked us how much we needed. We told Karen, (That was her name) that we would need $1000. So, she entered some more stuff into the computer, had my girlfriend fill out a form, and then she chatted a little bit more about something random.
Moving on. My girlfriend then came to the part of the form she was filling out that asked for employment information. Karen informed us that she would have to have some proof of income. My girlfriend was unemployed at the time, but I wasn't. NOW HERE'S A CRUCIAL PART. I was only 17 at the time that this took place in March of 07. I still am 17. I don't turn 18 until Dec. I neglected to tell her this, seeing as how she had already taken both of our licenses, and scanned them, and had them in her computer.
Now keep in mind that in the state of Georgia, anyone under the age of 18 cannot enter into a legally binding contract, or any kind of contract for that matter. If a minor slips through the cracks, the contract is invalid.
Well, in coming to a close of the deal, Karen handed us each 1 piece of paper, asking us to sign the bottom. My girlfriend signed without hesitation, but I read over the whole page, then became a little skeptical. I asked Karen what the APR was. She stated clear as day to me that it wasn't that high, only 12%.
I looked over the page again and didn't find anything saying anything regarding an APR, and signed the page.
Karen then handed us another page to sign. Again I looked over it, didn't see anything dealing with APR or Interest rates, and signed. Karen handed us a check, took back the signed contracts, and made copies. She handed us each back a copy. This copy had 3 pages, the middle page being the page with the APR, but I didn't notice at the time. It slipped my mind that I had only seen and signed 2 pieces of paper before this point. Karen handed us a pay plan breaking it down for 24 months. So anyway, we then said thank you, and went to the nearest bank.
Well, a month passed, we had our apartment, our car, our baby on the way. I looked at the payment sheet to see how much I owed Title Bucks. On my way to work I payed them. I did this about 3 times. After the second payment was made, I decided that it would be a good idea to actually look at the receipt that I was handed. The principal was still $1,170. So I was wondering what had happened to the $300 I had already payed them. Shouldn't it of been closer to $900 left to pay? Heh, silly me. I then reviewed the contract and noticed the middle piece of paper that wasn't handed to me to sign. APR = 180%
I decide that I'm not going to pay that. I'm going to pay off the principal all at one time. But before I can save up that money, it's time to pay them another $150. This time the payment was late. When I went in to pay the third time, there was a completely different staff working there. Brian, the new person, became very upset with me that I was late and charged me $20 more in late fees.
Time passes, the Kirby job didn't work anymore, bills don't get paid. All the while my girlfriend is pregnant and I'm struggling to find some way just to feed her.
Well, then it all started. Brian couldn't get in contact with us, so he proceeded to call my girlfriends entire family that lived in the same city. Then he called my parents. Looking for us and the car. One day I happen to get the call from him and in a very stern voice he tells me that I need to come up there and pay. I tell him okay. Time passes, I don't pay. He then calls our all family members again, with the addition of friends of ours. I end up talking to him because he called when I was asleep, and I just answered the phone. You can imagine how irate i was to wake up to his arrogant speach about how we need to pay.
Then disaster strikes. My girlfriend has to go to the hospital. There's something wrong with the baby. A few days later they have to do an emergency C-section. My daughter was born on 7/7/07. My girlfriend was only 5 months pregnant. My daughter dies 30 minutes later, on 7/7/07.
My girlfriend was in the hospital for about 3 weeks after this too.
Then guess who calls again! Brian, that wonderfully angry little man.
I tell him that I don't know where the car is, and he hangs up.
This continues for about 3-4 days when he calls back and informs me that he needs to find that car, or else he is going to have to take legal action to get the car back. Well, by then I'm just so pissed off that I tell him to stop calling me, take legal action if he wants to, and that I'm sure it will go over well with the charge against him of harassing a minor. He then realizes that I'm 17 and looks it up on his computer.
The calls stopped. No family members were called. It was great. He gave up.
And he really had. It wasn't until my girlfriend's cousin gets in a pissy mood and decides to call Title Bucks and tell them where the car is. We knew nothing of this until it was too late.
We're sitting there one night, my girlfriend goes and gets something out of the car. The keys were inside of the house because we never locked it.
We go to sleep around 4.
The next morning at 6 when somebody went out to get in the car, it was gone.
We reported it stolen because after all I am 17 and their contract was not valid. The officer then informs us that even though all of that is true, that they had a right to come and get their collateral, and if I really was 17 to get a lawyer and take it to court. Well long story short, everybody loses their jobs.
Inside of the car, which is god knows where now, were a ton of our clothes, some personal notebooks of mine, my cell phone, random things that had some use, and MY DAUGHTER'S ASHES.
We call a day later and ask them when we can get our stuff, (This was a different person on the phone) (We asked for Brian but he had quit or left that office or something) Well, the guy said that they were inventorying the car and that they would call us back in a few days and let us know.
2 weeks pass
I call up there this time. Speak with yet another person that I haven't ever talked to. I ask how long we have to come and retrieve our personal belongings. He says 60 days. I ask, just to make sure, if there was going to be a problem, if they were going to mess around and not give us our stuff. I explain that the Ashes were in the car. He assures me that it won't be a problem, that all we have to do is sign a release form and take our stuff.
The car was repossessed on July 25.
August 30th after finding a vehicle to use, we go to collect our belongings.
And would you believe it, there was a completely different person there, he wasn't the one I had talked to on the phone. We tell him what we're there for, he says okay, and looks it up on his computer. He asks us to hold on for a second.
He messes around with the computer some more, and then calls somewhere asking about the stuff in the car. He's on the phone for about 5-10 minutes.
He messes with the computer and then turns to us and says. They've sold that vehicle.
My girlfriend flips out, cusses at him, and walks out the door. I stay and chat.
I say, that's fine, but where is my stuff. I tell him about the ashes of my daughter. He apologizes and then says, but there is nothing that he can do.
I'm still calm, (somewhat), and then question him about the 60 day thing. He tells me that the limit is 2 weeks. I laugh and keep on talking, inquiring. He asks why we didn't come the day that it was repossessed. I then explain to him that Jackson, SC is a hell of a long walk from Augusta. Then his story changes and he says that, "Well, after the first day they put the car up for sale, if somebody buys it, then it's too bad"
I ask him why our stuff wasn't removed, I'm sure that whoever bought it didn't want it with someone's baby's ashes in it. He then states that the doors were locked, and that they didn't have a key. Which isn't the case either way you look at it, because NEVER locked the car, and we brought them a key. I then ask him to explain to me how they made the key disappear and how somebody drove the car off with out said key. He stops, he's caught up in his words, then shows me on his computer that the inventory was returned saying that they couldn't get into the car because they didn't have a key and the doors were locked. I refused to look, I was content as far away from him as I could be.
He proceeds to tell me that they have to take everything out of the car and keep it somewhere for people to come and get, but that our doors were locked and they didn't have a key. I ask about the 60 day thing again. He asked who it was that I spoke with over the phone. I don't remember his name. He looks on his computer, and magically, there was never any call.
I dangle the keys in his face and say, well, here's those keys, why didn't you call and say, "Hey! We don't have a key to the vehicle. We can't get your stuff out." You didn't call and tell us that you sold the car. You didn't call back like you said you would about the inventorying. What's up with that?
Well this guy is shaky by now because he knows that I have caught him in a lie. He then sits back and continuously apologizes and tells me how he's only been working there for 4 days. I leave.
Now, here I am 3 days later, missing a whole bunch of clothes, notebooks with very important stuff, my GED diploma along with my Tech School information that I have to take back in on the 5th of Sept, all of my girlfriend's clothes are gone too. Oh yeah, and nobody knows where our daughters ashes are.
How's that for a good company? I am not stating that I did the right thing by not paying, but that I couldn't afford it. I admit that it was a stupid move to do the pawn transaction in the first place. And I also acknowledge that I was lied to about 100 times over the course of this whole thing. If ANYBODY that reads this can help out in any way, shape, or form, PLEASE let me know. Anybody that has any helpful information, respond to this report. I don't care if I never see my clothes, GED, notebooks, or car again. I just want my the cremated remains of my daughter that lived for roughly 30 minutes.
I highly suggest that if you must participate in a title pawn, DO NOT USE ANY COMPANY THAT IS AFFILIATED WITH TITLEMAX IN ANY WAY! They are a horribly vile company, that should be shut down, and if I had the funds to do something about it, trust me, I would.