Car repair

Auto repair chains lure customers with terrifying interest rates on sketchy repair loans

Auto repairs are expensive. Nowadays, with automotive technology evolving at such a high speed, we are seeing more complex systems in our cars. Because of this, once-minor repairs, like a fender bender, could now be an expensive repair because the bumper has so many sensors and wiring. With this in mind, there has been a rise in auto repair chains that entice customers to obtain exorbitant loans for costly repairs.

A person looking under the hood of a car | Getty Images

Should you take out a loan for a car repair?

It’s not so much financial advice as advice for navigating car repairs. This problem is not new. Predatory lending is a major problem in the United States, but don’t worry. The best way to defend yourself against loans like this is to do your research and be prepared, so you don’t get cheated.

According to The Drive, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) flagged some auto repair chains for using predatory and possibly “circumventing the law” lending to lure customers into outrageous interest rates. The NCLC says these “rent-a-banks” charge customers up to 189% interest on auto repair loans. These criminal rates leave people with even small repair bills unable to repay the loan.

What is EasyPay Finance?

Brake pad service on a Ford Mustang performed by IFBB professional wheelchair bodybuilder Johnny Quinn

Servicing the Brake Pads on a Ford Mustang | Patrick Smith/Getty Images

EasyPay Finance is one of the “rent-a-banks” accused of being particularly odious. This group works in conjunction with TBA Bank of Ogden, Utah. EasyPay Finance has received hundreds of complaints of deception regarding various loans. Customers at furniture stores, pet stores, and auto and tire repair centers are offered these 90-day payment plans with juicy incentives.

The main hook offers full interest repayment if the loan is repaid within the specified time. However, these loans often hide insane interest rates that reach up to 189%. The NCLC has gone so far as to say that these loans are unethical, cruel, and even illegal in some states. In many cases, interest rates are hidden in the fine print. Some don’t even mention the rate until the paperwork is complete.

Which companies work with EasyPay Finance?

The reader says military veterans and active service members are among the most indebted.

This has led to allegations that stores facilitating these loans may be working with EasyPay to trick some customers.

Brands known to be affiliated with EasyPay, according to the NCLC, are Big O Tires, Grease Monkey, JiffyLube, Meineke, Midas and Precision Tune Auto Care.

Auto repairs are no joke these days

Tesla auto car service performed by service technician in Ningo, Zhejiang, China

Tesla car service | Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

With the computerization of almost every aspect of modern cars, auto repairs have become more expensive. So even without predatory lenders, auto repairs can be very difficult for some people. By definition, these are the same people most susceptible to predatory lending.

Elyse Hicks, consumer policy adviser at Americans for Financial Reform, said ABC 27“Easy Pay and its leasing partner TAB Bank are attacking people in a way that exploits the centrality of cars in American society.”

To make matters worse, the complaints collected from the BBB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the NCLC’s Ripoff Reports are more varied than the high interest rates. EasyPay’s sketchy practices lead to big administrative errors and unresponsive customer support. The Drive notes that EasyPay is even accused of making withdrawals from accounts for amounts not approved by the loan agreement. Sometimes these extra charges add to a customer’s debt with EasyPay.

The automotive market is already hard to follow these days without companies actively misleading people. Stay chill, friends.

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