My daughter purchased a vehicle through a dealership without my knowledge or input and I presume the contract was routed to Westlake Financial Services in Los Angeles due to her lack of credit history. (A company that advertises its pride in being a subprime mortgage lender, which is astonishing, given the culpability of such institutions in the mortgage and economic crises we face.)
Being aware that an entity operating as Dollar Rent-a-Car had been awarded 3.1 million in damages against Westlake Financial by a jury that found Westlake had overcharged interest, assessed unwarranted late fees and failed to give credit for countless monthly payments, I was concerned about my daughter's association with Westlake, making the logical assumption that if they engaged in such blatantly corrupt and illegal practices with a company whose activities are monitored by accountants, what abuses might an individual consumer expect?
Further research led to a litany of consumer complaints regarding abuses similar to those of which they were found guilty, as well as a reported pattern of monthly statements not being received. When my daughter had not received a statement nor anything else from Westlake, I couldn't ignore the coincidence, nor the fact that failure to provide regular statements is a means to obscure the type of crimes they'd been found guilty of committing previously.
As the approximate due date of her first payment approached and she'd not received any loan documentation nor even a statement from Westlake, she contacted them by phone, explained the situation and expressed concern not only about the lack of paperwork, but the approaching due date without any information regarding where or by what means payment could be remitted. She was treated with disrespect and it was implied that she was lying about not having received a statement. This made no logical sense, as she had initiated contact prior to the assumed due date of her first payment - but after reading numerous similar complaints, I have begun to suspect that the offensive, take-no-responsibility, insult-the-customer conduct my daughter experienced is embedded in Westlake's corporate culture.
After being placed on hold for interminable periods, passed from one person to the next, none of whom were willing to acknowledge or address the lack of a statement, she was advised that her payment was due and could be remitted by phone with a bank/credit card or by supplying the routing and account numbers for her checking account.
Being aware of the risks associated with credit card numbers falling into the hands of the unscrupulous, and with Westlake's documented history preventing an assumption of trustworthiness, she called Westlake again to supply the necessary account information and remit her payment by check.
She was passed around and ultimately spoke with two representatives whose conduct ranged from merely condescending to abusive and who demanded that payment be made by credit or bank card only, called her dishonest, insulted and demeaned her, and ultimately had the gall to assert that her conduct was indicative of being poor or having money problems and that she looks "really bad." A company with business practices that are not only unprofessional and abusive, but were found by a jury to be so unconscionably corrupt and illegal that the bulk of a multimillion-dollar damage award was punitive, telling a new customer who's invested hours of valuable time simply trying to obtain the an account statement to which she's legally entitled and remit a timely payment that she "looks bad"? I wouldn't do business with such a company at gunpoint.
Evidence available on the internet and elsewhere suggests this company has built its business on the backs of persons who either lack sufficient credit history to obtain loans through banks and other reputable lending institutions, have had credit problems in the past and/or are in the lower income brackets. In short, people with no power or influence. Given the experiences of people who have taken the time to post complaints on this and other consumer sites, with my daughter's experience lending credibility that may not have been assumed otherwise, it would seem that Westlake's policy is to consider its customers undeserving of respect nor even the rights afforded to them by law. As these customers have few options available, Westlake seems to engage in these practices without concern for consequences. Do they assume that the persons with whom they are dealing are uneducated, unsophisticated, inexperienced, insolvent and, therefore, at their mercy? They will find otherwise.
I encourage everyone who has been victimized by Westlake Financial Services to not only post a complaint on this site, but file an official complaint with the State of California Department of Corporations, which is the governmental body regulating lending institutions such as Westlake Financial. The website is located at:
Read the information at the bottom of the page titled "How You Can Help Us" which provides instruction on how to file an informative, effective complaint. Links to forms in the format of your choice are provided, as is the address to which they should be sent.
Persons of limited means are not lesser people and should not silently tolerate unfair and/or illegal business practices. There is strength in numbers and if everyone who has been victimized by Westlake Financial invests a little time and a postage stamp to report their experiences to the State of California and a pattern of illegal business practices is established, the State will take action. In the unlikely event that the Department of Corporations fails to respond satisfactorily, contact the office of Attorney General Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr. The Public Inquiry Unit may be reached at the following numbers:
(((phone numbers redacted)))
Should sufficient evidence exist to prove a pattern of illegality, those inclined to do so may wish to consider civil action on an individual basis or as litigants in a class action suit.
I will be contacting auto dealership owners, finance directors and other commercial entities with whom I've established associations who may unwittingly be having their customers abused and reputations damaged as a result of routing consumer finance contracts to Westlake Financial Services. I urge others having similar complaints to contact the dealerships or other businesses responsible for initiating their contractual relationships with Westlake Financial in order to relate their experiences. Be assured, there is disparity in the treatment of consumers and commercial entities that channel business - and profits - to Westlake. If consumers do not make the companies with whom they've done business aware, it's assumed they are treated with courtesy and professionalism. They need and deserve to know when that is not the case.
U.S.A. CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.