A Damn Shame!!

People wake up to what car dealers can do to you to sell you a car. There is a car dealership, right here in Texas that is taking advantage of credit challenged buyers—especially African Americans. African Americans are being taken to the cleaners when it comes to buying cars.

Let me explain how the car buying rip off goes for credit challenged buyers based on a bunch of situations I am aware of right now. You get a flyer in the mail telling you that you can make a low or no down payment on a new car. You need a car so you go to the dealership. The salesmen thank you for coming and from the moment they lay eyes on you that know they can literally take you for a ride—a big ole take you to the cleaners, predatory lending, ride. Car salesmen are the biggest con artists on the planet, so they smile at you, even call you Mr. or Mrs. From the moment they spot you walking across the parking lot they make bets on how much they can take buyers for—especially women and minorities. And so you fall prey to the initial showroom niceness—looking around at pretty cars—pretty cars that you would look really nice in. After all, Americans worship their vehicles. Americans have a whole image worshipping thing going on around cars. Just look at car commercials on television. They sell a lot of sizzle to rope you in. These new cars can do everything except clip your toe nails. Sell that sizzle—sell that car image making “thang” to folks who feel worthless anyway. Sell that fake imagery of hair flying out of that convertible or some car crawling over rocks or making those S-turns—sailing away to a land of peace and happiness. Sell that sizzle. Car dealers don’t sell the reality of 60 to 75 month car payments on a car that loses almost half its value as soon as you drive off the lot. Car dealers don’t sell the reality that for credit challenged buyers they will be upside down on a car the moment they sign on the bottom line—paying 18 percent interest and higher on cars sold at jacked up prices. But the scam being run on credit challenged buyers and African Americans is worse than that. 

Let me tell you about one outrageous car sale in particular. The African American buyer is living on $748 per month social security disability. He received one of those no down payment offers in the mail. He had to check it out. The same day he drove off the parking lot in a new 2013 Dodge Avenger. The total price for car, tax and title was $22,365. He received a manufacturer’s rebate of $3000, leaving $19,363 to be financed. His interest rate was 18 percent for 75 months—that’s 6 years and 3 months. The total amount financed was $32,626. His monthly payments were $435. Again, his total monthly income was only $748 from social security disability. The car dealership shopped his loan to several lenders and this is what is on the papers, “stated income, $4215”—a month! The “creative paperwork” generated by the back office sales office also said that the buyer was retired for 30 years. Again, the buyer was disabled making $749 a month—never retired from anywhere. The dealership “went shopping” with their back office “creatively revised papers” that the buyer never saw and found a lender. The lender financed the car at the 18 percent interest rate, paid the dealer for the sale and the dealer washed its hands of the poor dumb sucker who got suckered.

And so the buyer started to make payments of $435 a month so he could look good in new 2013 Dodge Avenger. He started making payments in June 2013. In December 2014 he was notified by the lender that he was in default for making late payments. He was behind $869. In order to make the $435 a month car payment the buyer—living off $748 a month– resorted to robbing Peter to pay Paul. He went to food bank organizations for food. He went to community service organizations for help with his light bill. He borrowed money for essential living expenses so he could make his car note. From June 2013 until December 2016 he struggled and somehow paid $435 a month for three years. Do the math. At $435 a month for 36 months that comes to $15,660 that he paid on the car—almost all of this amount applied to interest payments. He received numerous letters from the lender to make late payments. He struggled to keep paying on the car. He made a lump sum payment in early December 2016 of$1000 because he was told that if he paid that amount that they would not repossess. On December 22, 2016 he looked outside and saw a man hooking up his car. It was being repossessed.

Next came a letter saying that the car was sold for $5900 and that he still owed $14,104. The lender is now threatening to sue him for the amount still owed after the car was repossessed and sold. The buyer’s credit is now really in the tank because there is repossession on it. He is now in a sinkhole trying to hitch a ride with whoever will pick him up and take him places—after shelling out more than $16,000 for a car. He would have been better off using a taxi in the first place. But he bought into the sizzle of “looking good” in a new car. His story is just one of thousands who have been taken advantage of by crooked car salesmen. There is literally no help for people being scammed by predatory lending in the auto finance industry. People need transportation. The response from the critics is “let the buyer beware.” The buyer should have known he could not afford to pay $435 a month living off $748 social security disability. He has no one to blame but himself. And so over and over, car dealers, finance companies, lenders of every stripe—payday lenders, auto title lenders—all of them take advantage of credit challenged buyers and minorities, especially African Americans when it comes to buying cars—and almost everything else—houses, car insurance—you name it. We are in a new “robber baron” world of the rich getting even richer off the poor. Trump ushered in a whole new era of robbing the poor. He makes a mockery of sympathizing with the down trodden except to whip them up into a praise and worship rally for himself to bolster his ego. His entire mission is to enrich himself and his rich donors and cohorts. Damn those po ass angry white folks who voted for him. Rip them dumb jokers off too. The worse is yet to come. What a damn shame!!

Copyright 2018 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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