Violette Morin, of Pulaski, N.Y., a 74-year-old grandmother, said she did not need or particularly want to buy a car. But after receiving a mailing from a local dealership promising a prize of a pearl necklace and a fishing rod, she visited the used car lot in May 2015.The dealer qualified her for a $20,350 loan, according to her lawyer, to purchase a 2011 Ford Fusion. Earlier this year, she stopped making the payments. “I eventually had them come and get the car because I couldn’t pay for it,” said Ms. Morin, who lives on Social Security, receives food stamps and lives in subsidized housing.
Ms. Morin, the borrower from New York, said that when she asked for a copy of her loan application, she noticed that the document listed her monthly income as more than $3,300, which was false. She collects about $850 a month in Social Security.
Ms. Morin worked with the consumer law clinic at the Syracuse University law school, which contacted the lender, a credit union, on her behalf. Ms. Morin’s loan was forgiven and her default was scrubbed from her credit report.
“I wasn’t car smart, I was just an average person,” Ms. Morin said. “I am car smart now.”
Nashua Moore, 28, gets up at 2 a.m., takes two buses, and reaches her office in Las Vegas by the time her shift as a medical dispatcher starts at 5 a.m. She schedules plenty of time to avoid being penalized for being late. By car, her commute takes about 20 minutes, she said.
“I was desperate to get a car,” said Ms. Moore, who went back to work this spring after her daughter was born.
She borrowed $6,580 at a 30 percent interest rate to purchase a 2008 Chevrolet Impala. Her car was repossessed this fall, after she got in a dispute with the dealership. She is now working with a legal aid lawyer to get her down payment back and other damages.
Democrats have tried, in vain, to rein in this sort of thing. They created a Consumer Protection Agency to weed out the worst of these deals and try to warn people about them as well (more on that in a coming post). The problem with this approach is threefold:
1. As I have noted in the past, the people who will shout the loudest to protect predatory lenders are their victims. The efforts of the Democrats to help the poor and working class avoid these raw deals were clearly shouted down by the election of Donald Trump. Well, not shouted down, but a combination of people shouting and other people just not caring enough to even vote.2. The Republicans have hampered the Consumer Protection Agency at every turn, from its inception, limiting what it can do. They will kill this baby in the crib.3. In a few short months, the Consumer Protection Agency will be a vague memory, as the GOP wipes it out of existence.