As you might expect, at least one consumer in the above scenario has had his car repossessed. Others were told to hide their cars to avoid the same fate. In addition, the companies involved allegedly failed to provide promised refunds.
The Federal Trade Commission recently thanked the BBB Serving Northeast California for its help in two cases against auto loan modification outfits. The companies are said to have falsely promised A) that they could keep your car from being repossessed and B) that they could reduce your monthly payments. Instead, the companies charged hundreds of dollars in up-front fees and told people to stop paying their lenders.
According to the FTC, Hope for Car Owners typically promised to reduce consumers’ monthly car payments by 30 to 50 percent, for fees ranging from $200 to $500.
In 2010, the BBB asked Hope for Car Owners to substantiate its advertising, concluding that, “We believe that the testimonials on their website are unsupported, and…[you]…should be cautious when relying on the claims as presented.”
In 2011, the BBB challenged Auto Debt Consulting’s advertising, but received no response. Both companies have currently earned an “F” rating.
Both businesses are said to have made website claims like: “Join the thousands who have already SAVED! (Hope for Car Owners) and “Lower your monthly vehicle payments by as much as 40% regardless of your credit score!” (Auto Debt Consulting).
Sound too good to be true?
The FTC asserts that once up-front fees were collected, neither operation did anything to obtain the promised modifications and consumers who tried to get refunds were denied.
Looking for help managing your auto loan?
Check out the FTC publication Ads for Auto Loan Modifications: You May Be Able to Drive a Better Deal with Your Lender. Investigate the reliability of businesses at www.bbb.org.