Janice: Belton

February 8, 2016

My name is Janice. I live in Belton, Texas with my husband and 5 children. I moved from Puerto Rico to New York in 1989. In 2013, my husband was promised a job in Killeen. My whole family moved from New York to Texas because of my husband’s new job. We, as a family, were very excited. However, the job that my husband was promised never opened up.

In order to pay for all the bills and an apartment for the 7 of us in my family, we took out an auto title loan in 2012.  The amount I borrowed was $1,500. In the beginning, when I got the loan, I understood from the employee that as I made payments, the amount paid would go to the principal and fees. The employee gave me the impression that the auto title company was just like a regular bank. However, I began to notice that the payments that I made were only fees. The principal was not getting paid off each additional time I went to make payments to the auto title lender.

When I went to speak to the manager the next month, he was transferred to another store and I felt lied to me and that they were stealing my money because it was not what they promised to me. They said that I misunderstood the 20 pages of paper work. I did not know what to do but to continue paying the fees, even though I could barely afford it.

In the winter of 2013, I was late on my payment. Because of this, my minivan was repossessed. My family had no car. I was told that it was taken Austin. To come up with enough money to rent a sedan and drive to Austin to get my car back, I sold a lot of personal items and my jewelry. Our whole family had to fit in the sedan for 5 days before having the time on the weekend to drive down to Austin to get our minivan back. Then we had to drive to Killeen to retrieve our personal items that were left in the minivan.

In March of 2014, after 21 months, we had paid more than $2,100 in fees. We still owed the original $1,500 on the loan.

Thankfully, Helping Hands Ministry of Belton was able to help me out. They paid the $1,500 to the auto title company in March. I am so thankful for their help. Without them, we would not have been able to pay it off. We would still be paying money every month to the lender and would still owe $1,500.

I will never get another loan with an auto title company and I will never recommend a payday or auto title loan to anyone else. I do not think it is fair or right to charge more in fees or interest for the principal loan.