A.M.’s Story

Waller County—January 2021

Grandmother, Caretaker for Grandchild

My job in March 2020 closed due to COVID-19 and I wasn’t able to get another job until June 2020. In August, I took out an $1,800 auto title loan, around the same time my daughter “K” suffered a breakdown and I also had to pick up my grandbaby, who is still with me.
In October I asked them if the payments could be lowered, as my salary has changed, and I couldn’t pay $474 each month on time. I asked for help—I can’t make that much of a payment— my only income right now is Social Security. I asked, don’t you have something for COVID? Instead of offering help, the staff told me they can only make arrangements on the loan. In the end of December, I was contacted for collections of $474. The staff member at the loan store told me that if I go past thirty days I would be in default of the loan and in jeopardy of losing my vehicle. Yet, I find out later that the loan store received the support during COVID to help out people affected, a $25 million dollar supplement at 3%!! They charged me 357% during COVID.
After a lot of phone calling, I was contacted by the regional office to work out a settlement arrangement—$393 for five months to pay off the loan. That means I will end up paying over $3,700 on the principle [sic] of the loan. I do owe the loan and I am willing to pay it. However, what is the purpose of giving them $25 million to support their loan customers? How are they able to charge me these rates with money they were given to help people?"