Auto title loans offer quick cash for holidays, but critics warn of rising debt – Reuters

Scott Sweetalla, an auto loan customer, had his car repossessed by a lender due to high interest rates. “The money you would get from these people is not worth what happens later,” he said. (Photo by Erica Lang/Cronkite News)

Advertisements and online listings for auto title loans make them especially attractive during the holiday season when many families need extra money.

“I didn’t have a lot of money then, I wanted to buy Christmas presents, pay bills for my family,” said father-of-two Scott Sweetalla.

The Air Force veteran shopped around and thought he had a deal when he called Maximum Title Loans.

“And the gentleman who answered the phone asked me a few questions about my vehicle and then said ‘I can get you $2,000 for $150 a month’ and I thought, wow, that was awesome .”

But he also had to pay an extra $300 a month in interest. When Sweetalla fell behind, Maximum Title Loans called her referrals.

“In my case, they called them over and over and over again,” he said. “My sister doesn’t even want to talk to me anymore because of this.”

Maximum Title declined an interview request and would not comment on the terms of this or any other loan.

Seven months later, when Sweetalla could no longer make the payments, Maximum Title sent someone home.

“I woke up the next morning to go to work and my car was gone. My heart sank a little. I kind of imagined what it could have been,” he said.

As the number of auto title lending companies grows, so do the customers who don’t understand the risks.

“They keep going into debt because they believe it’s the only option they have,” said state Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix. “I think we’re pushing these families into more debt and away from opportunities for themselves and their children.”

After the law allowing payday lenders to operate in Arizona expired in 2010, auto title loans filled a similar role.

“If you drive through certain neighborhoods, we know it’s like an economic red line. We know they’re looking for families with an annual income of $40,000 or less,” McCune said.

McCune said she was working with consumer groups to ask the legislature for tougher regulations to “tighten up some of this.”

“Anything that limits that availability will just force consumers to go to offshore lenders, tribal lenders, unlicensed lenders, maybe someone down an alley,” said Scott Allen, president of the Arizona Title Loan Association. “That is to say, it’s definitely not a benefit to consumers in any state, especially Arizona.”

Allen describes auto title loans as “fast, efficient and convenient.”

He said reviewers should talk to consumers who have had a successful experience with a lender and appreciate the service they provide. He made Michael Donahoe, a title loan client, available to talk about his loans.

“It’s always worked, I haven’t had any complaints about the fees,” Donahoe said.

Donahoe said he worked as a lawyer for 40 years, practicing administrative law for airlines and business aviation. Now retired, he says he does legal advice.

He said he had taken out eight title loans in the past 12 years and usually paid off the loans in 90 to 120 days.

“The best thing about Cash Time is that they’re really fast,” he said. “They make good profits on me. So we both win,” Donahoe said.

Federal regulators are working to make sure consumers understand the terms of their loans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency created in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is considering a proposal to end “debt traps.” which would include advice to lenders on assessing whether or not a consumer has the ability to repay the loan.

“There are currently no federal rules that require lenders to determine whether or not the consumer has the ability to pay small loans like payday loans or car title loans.” said Christopher Peterson, special adviser to the director of the consumer office.

“We are very concerned about practices in the marketplace that appear to trap consumers in debt,” Peterson said.

The bureau plans to announce a notice of proposed rulemaking as early as 2016, followed by a 90-day public comment period. But there is no timetable for when or if a new regulation will come into effect.

In the meantime, the industry continues to grow. But it’s hard to know exactly how many auto title loan companies have replaced payday lenders in Arizona.

“Since the Sunset became active in July 2010, we’ve had an increase in sales financing licenses,” said Lauren Kingry, Superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions. “However, it is difficult for us to determine if these are payday lenders or if these are companies interested in a simple sales financing license.

The department also receives consumer complaints.

“Many complaints are resolved by simply discussing what was signed and discussing the details of the transaction without further action being taken by the consumer,” Kingry said.

Sweetalla is still looking for her car.

“I see a similar vehicle every now and then on the street and I’m like no. This is not mine.”

He won’t be looking for another auto title loan.

“The money you would get from these people is not worth what happens later.”

Tom Hanks shows off his beard on a Vespa scooter in Los Angeles

Larry plays the clown! Tom Hanks shows off his white beard as he has a ball on a fashionable Vespa scooter around Los Angeles

He fell in love with the scooter on the set of box office bombshell Larry Crowne.

And it looks like old habits die hard for Tom Hanks after he was spotted taking a jaunt in his fashionable Vespa in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The 59-year-old looked like he was having fun as he rode his wicked machine through the upscale Pacific Palisades neighborhood.

Born to be wild: Tom Hanks was spotted cranking his engine on a scooter ride in Los Angeles on Saturday

The Bonfire Of The Vanities favorite took great pleasure in showing off his white beard, which he drew attention to by wearing a white open-faced hard hat.

He completed his tough biker look by wearing a trendy green hooded top, shorts, flip flops and chunky-rimmed tinted glasses.

Tom had a great time riding glamorous Julia Roberts in Larry Crowne, which he also directed, but admitted at the premiere that it almost proved their downfall.

The witty star said, “The only scene where I walk her home, I almost got into a car. She said, ‘You almost killed us both’ and I said:” Hush, hush, I don’t want the director to know that! “‘

How good: Hillary Clinton supporter wore flip flops for her outing in the sun

A little all white: the handsome actor has proven that he turns into a silver fox with his macho beard

A little all white: the handsome actor has proven that he turns into a silver fox with his macho beard

Riding his iron horse: The actor proved he enjoys the thrill of the freeway as he sped along in his Vespa

Riding his iron horse: The actor proved he enjoys the thrill of the freeway as he sped along in his Vespa

Tom is quite the master of transport when it comes to the big screen.

In addition to riding a 1981 Yamaha Riva in Crowne, he also rode a BMW sports motorcycle in the 1987 classic comedy, Dragnet.

He has also proven to be an adept of navigation, having played the role of a container ship commander in Captain Phillips in 2013, as he paddled the tropics in a dinghy on his popular tour. forcibly acting in 2000 Cast Away.

Indeed, he even managed to launch a slingshot around the moon in his critically acclaimed tower as astronaut Jim Lovell in the 1995 hit historical drama Apollo 13.

Fatal attraction: Tom confessed he almost killed his sweetheart Julia Roberts when they filmed Larry Crowne

Fatal attraction: Tom confessed he almost killed his sweetheart Julia Roberts when they filmed Larry Crowne

It's more like that: he put a female co-star on his helicopter when he filmed the 1987 comedy Dragnet

It’s more like that: he put a female co-star on his helicopter when he filmed the 1987 comedy Dragnet

Transport Master: He even proved adept at paddling an inflatable dinghy in Cast Away.

Transport Master: He even proved adept at paddling an inflatable dinghy in Cast Away.

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Tom Hanks turns heads as he speeds up on a trendy Vespa scooter in Los Angeles

Catch Me If You Can! Tom Hanks turns heads as he speeds up on a trendy Vespa scooter in Los Angeles

On the big screen, he traveled all over America and drifted across the ocean on a makeshift raft.

But Tom Hanks was seen zooming in on a more trendy and reliable mode of transportation as he took a scooter ride in Los Angeles on Friday.

He seemed to be having a good time as he raced through the sunny streets of Santa Monica astride his Vespa.

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The sweet: Tom Hanks looked like he was having fun riding his scooter in Los Angeles on Friday

The 59-year-old looked remarkably sharp for his age in a gray t-shirt, shorts and sandals combo.

Happy Days favorite Tom completed his look with a white hard hat and a pair of sunglasses.

In arguably his most iconic role in Forrest Gump, Tom has leaned on his swift feet to get around places ranging from Savannah, Georgia, to Vietnam.

Not bad for 59: actor looked good for his age as he sped through trendy Santa Monica

Not bad for 59: actor looked good for his age as he sped through trendy Santa Monica

Larry Crowne returns: but even his most loyal fans are unlikely to be excited about the prospect

Larry Crowne returns: but even his most loyal fans are unlikely to be excited about the prospect

Nice headpiece: The hip actor paired his protective headgear with a trendy pair of sunglasses

Nice headpiece: The hip actor paired his protective headgear with a trendy pair of sunglasses

But he managed to sate his love of horseback riding when he filmed the horrid romantic comedy Larry Crown in 2010.

The movie received horrendous reviews, but in despair, Tom tried to generate some interest by showing up to the premiere while riding a scooter.

His co-star Julia Roberts, who rode in the back of the bike with him during scenes in the film, was quick to point out that he was far from a fluent operator.

“He almost killed me,” she joked about filming with the veteran star. “He almost tore my leg off – The right leg!” “

It's all downhill from here: his Vespa's engine would benefit from the momentum as he descended the hill

It’s all downhill from here: his Vespa’s engine would benefit from the momentum as he descended the hill

Run Forest run: Its most iconic character relied on a more rudimentary means of transport

Run Forest run: Its most iconic character relied on a more rudimentary means of transport

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Scooter riders warming up for next weekend’s Redcar Scooter rally

Redcar will resonate with the sound of two-stroke engines when it welcomes scooter enthusiasts from across the country next weekend.

The annual Redcar Scooter rally will be held again on June 5-6, having been resuscitated in 2014 after a hiatus of more than 20 years.

Scooter drivers gathered at the Stray Cafe in Redcar yesterday for a warm-up before the big event begins in earnest.

Damian Hunt, 45, who is hosting next weekend’s event alongside his friend Paul Power, said: “Last year has been brilliant. Over 1000 people came with their scooters and it was a great success.

“Obviously we want to get bigger and better every year, so we want more people to join us this year.

“I think it’s a good thing for Redcar. We have sold tickets to people all over England, I think the furthest away so far is Northampton.

“This means, hopefully, good business for businesses – pubs, cafes, bed and breakfasts – in Redcar.

“I remember the scooter rallies we had at Redcar in the 1980s. It got me into it when I was a kid. I liked the style, I liked the music and the lifestyle.

Dozens of scooter riders gathered for a preview of the rally yesterday, including 19-year-old Charlie Leech.

The Redcar teenager brought his Vespa scooter, which he spent £ 1,300 to modify.

He said: “I can’t wait to be at the rally. When I was in school, I got into music and then clothes and I said to myself: I need to get a scooter.

Music over the two-day festival, which will be held at the Redcar Rugby Club, will come from Clashed, The Extra Specials, Ordinary Affairs, Slow Moving Targets, The Revolve and Acoustic Weller.

Tickets are available for Friday and Saturday events, and for the whole weekend plus camping, on the website or Facebook at Redcar Scooter Rally 2015.

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A New Way to Tackle the Poor: Car Title Loans

The rusty 1994 Oldsmobile that sat in an alley just outside of St. Louis was an unlikely ATM. That was until the owner of the car, a 30-year-old hospital lab technician, saw a TV commercial describing how to get money from such a car, in the form of a short-term loan.

Lab technician Caroline O’Connor, who needed about $1,000 to cover her rent and electricity bills, believed she had found a financial lifeline. “It was a relief,” she said. “I didn’t have to beg everyone for the money.”

His loan carried an annual interest rate of 171%. More than two years and $992.78 in debt later, his car has been repossessed.

“These companies put people in a hole they can’t get out of,” O’Connor said.

Autos are at the center of the biggest subprime lending boom since the mortgage crisis. The market for loans to buy used cars is growing rapidly. And in the same way that a booming mortgage market once prompted millions of borrowers to recklessly exploit their home equity, the new boom is also prompting people to take out risky lines of credit called title loans.

In these loans, which can last up to two years or as little as a month, borrowers surrender title to their cars in exchange for cash – usually a percentage of the cars’ estimated resale value.

“Turn your car title into holiday money,” TitleMax, a major title lender, said in a recent TV commercial, showing a Christmas stocking brimming with cash.

According to a survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, more than 1.1 million households in the United States used auto title loans in 2013.

For many borrowers, title loans have dire financial consequences, causing owners to lose their vehicles and put them further in debt. A review by the New York Times over three dozen loan agreements revealed that after factoring in various fees, effective interest rates ranged from nearly 80% to over 500%. While some loans come with 30-day terms, many borrowers, unable to pay the full loan and interest, say they are forced to renew loans at the end of each month, incurring a new set of charges.

Many people find that they find it hard to follow almost as soon as they walk away with the money. As a result, about one in six title loan borrowers will have their car repossessed, according to an analysis of title loans by the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit organization in Durham, North Carolina.

“It’s nothing but government-sanctioned loan sharking,” said Scott A. Surovell, a Virginia lawmaker who has proposed bills that would further restrict incumbent lenders.

The lenders say they provide a source of credit for people who cannot get cheaper loans from banks. High interest rates, say lenders, are necessary to offset the risk that borrowers will stop paying their bills.

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The title lending industry thrives because of the importance of the car.

While people seeking title loans are often the most desperate — facing job loss, divorce, or family illness — lenders are willing to give them loans because they know most borrowers will pay their bill to keep their car. Some lenders don’t even bother to assess a borrower’s credit history.

“The threat of repossession turns the borrower into an annuity for lenders,” said Diane Standaert, director of state policy at the Center for Responsible Lending.

Unable to raise the thousands of dollars he needed to repair his car, Ken Chicosky, a 39-year-old army veteran, felt hopeless. He received a $4,000 loan from Cash America, a lender with a storefront in his Austin, Texas neighborhood.

The loan, which carries an annual interest rate of 98%, helped him fix the 2008 Audi he was relying on for work, but it caused his credit rating to drop. Chicosky, who is also attending college, uses some of her financial aid to pay her title loan bill.

Chicosky said he knew the loan was a bad decision when he got the first bill. It detailed how he would have to pay a total of $9,346 – a sum made up of principal, interest and other fees. “When you’re in a situation like that, you don’t ask a lot of questions,” he said.

Title lenders benefit as state authorities restrict payday lending, effectively kicking payday lenders out of many states. Although title loans share many of the same characteristics — in some cases, they carry rates that dwarf those of payday loans — they have so far escaped a similar crackdown.

In 21 states, car title lending is expressly permitted, with title lenders charging interest of up to 300% per year. In most other states, lenders can provide loans with cars as collateral, but at lower interest rates.

Johanna Pimentel said she and her two brothers have taken out several title loans.

“They’re everywhere, like liquor stores,” she said.

Pimentel, 32, had moved his family from Ferguson, Missouri, to a more expensive suburb of St. Louis that promised better schools. But after a divorce, she struggled to pay her rent.

Pimentel took out a title loan of $3,461 using his 2002 Suburban as collateral. After running late, she woke up one morning last March to find the car had been repossessed. Without it, she would not be able to continue running her daycare business.

TVS launches the new Wego scooter 2014, price INR 46,410 Ex-Delhi

TVS has launched its refreshed 2014 Wego scooter. The scooter market is becoming more and more competitive and TVS reacted earlier with the all new Jupiter, and now with the 2014 Wego. In its new 2014 avatar, the Wego is priced at Rs 48,857 ex-Mumbai for the variant. front drum brake. There is also a higher specification variant offering a 220mm front disc brake, priced at Rs 49,580. The price of Wego in New Delhi starts at Rs. 46,410 ex-showroom

New 2014 Wego TVs (1)

The new WEGO TV comes with new features and is also available in new solid and two-tone colors. In addition to changes related to functionality and cosmetics, TVS Motor Company has incorporated several improvements in the engine of the new TVS WEGO. The emphasis has been on refinement and smoothness, and TVS says the new Wego is now one of the best in its class. Wego now shares the 110cc engine with the Jupiter which benefits from a higher compression ratio and reconfigured ignition. Quick starts in cold weather, improved efficiency and smoothness are the advantages associated with the new engine. We will judge the new engine after we have done a test drive.

Click here to learn more about TVS products

Click here to read our TVS Jupiter review

In terms of technical specifications, the Wego is powered by a 110cc, single cylinder, 4 stroke engine developing 8 PS of power at 7,500 rpm and 8 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. Energy efficiency is rated at 62 kmpl by TVS
While many might not have noticed, the WEGO is the only all-metal body scooter in India.

WEGO 2014 features include

  • Fully digital instrument console
  • Tubeless tires
  • Parking brakes
  • New exhaust silencer (seems to have been taken from Jupiter)
  • Patented TVS econometer
  • New WEGO TV comes with new monotone graphics and new two-tone colors
  • The seat has been slightly worked
  • 12 inch alloy wheels
  • Telescopic front suspension
  • Gas rear shock absorbers
  • Multi-reflector halogen headlight
  • LED tail light with optical guides

The style of TVS WEGO has enabled it to become the recipient of the prestigious India Design Mark (I Mark) by the India Design Council. We have always maintained that the Wego is one of the best scooters on sale in India today, and with the Jupiter, it is mandatory for buyers in the segment to be tested before making a decision.

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Sozzi: 5 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About A Vespa Scooter

NEW YORK (TheStreet) – The financial community is obsessed with colorful graphics. If you create a historical chart on something and infuse it with bright colors, BOOM, go retweets and favorites that boost Klout on Twitter. The craze for Apple (AAPL) – Get the Apple Inc. (AAPL) report The iPad lifetime unit sales charts are intense, as are the total number of acquisitions made by Google (GOOG) – Get the Alphabet Inc. Class C report for a given year. Don’t make me go to the sexy graphics showing how many electric cars You’re here (TSLA) – Get the Tesla Inc report sold in a quarter compared to General Motors (DG) – Get the report from General Motors Company (GM) and Ford (F) – Get the report from Ford Motor Company. Actually, I guess social love makes the effort of compiling charts worth hours, right?

Unfortunately, graphics can’t necessarily be shared during a discussion on the Memorial Day weekend barbecue unless you want to be the person releasing the iPhone 5 (Note: you never want to be this anybody). Mom or Dad may not have a chart either. So I tend to focus on collecting stats and fun facts from the companies I speak with for clients and in interviews, filling my head with enough financial anecdotes that make my life a reality. any party.

LOOK: More videos on TheStreet TV | More videos of Brian Sozzi

The Vespa team were kind enough to share these five fun facts. Godetevi! (“To enjoy” in Italian)

    18 million Vespas have been sold on five continents since the brand’s launch in 1946.

    A full tank of gas on a Vespa = 245 miles.

    To ensure stiffness (which I felt during a test drive in Central Park in New York), the Vespas are made from pressed steel.

    Although there is much debate within the Vespa community, the most sought-after classic model is the 1958 G5. It represented the start of the Sport category for Vespa.

    Vespa fans are affectionately referred to as “Vespisti”.

    Yes, this is what the interior of a Vespa looks like …

    By Brian Sozzi CEO from Belus Capital Advisors, analyst at TheStreet. At the time of publication, the author does not hold any positions in the mentioned stocks.

    This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial team.

    Brian Sozzi is CEO and Chief Equity Strategist of

    Belus Capital Advisors

    . He is responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of mid and large cap stocks, in addition to leading the company’s digital content initiatives. He is also a personal finance columnist for

    Men’s health


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    Suzuki Let’s Scooter Price and Detailed Specs – Pre-booking Open in India

    Suzuki Motorcycles India has now opened pre-booking for its latest scooter on the market called “Suzuki Let’s”. The scooter was unveiled worldwide at the Delhi Auto Expo 2014 alongside the Suzuki Gixxer bike in January. Although the company has not revealed an official release date, the Suzuki Let’s scooter has a price in India of Rs. 47,000 (ex-Mumbai showroom). Interested parties can pre-book the scooter with their nearest Suzuki dealer for Rs. 1,000. Ready to take on the new Yamaha Ray, TVS Jupiter, Honda Activa i and possibly the next TVS Scooty Zest two-wheeler, the scooter Suzuki Let’s deserve a good review of its specs and features from consumers looking to buy a new one for the family in 2014.

    Suzuki shared that they built the Let’s Scooter from the ground up and it’s brand new inside and out. Powered by a 112.8 cc engine that delivers a maximum power of 8.7 hp at 7,500 rpm and maximum torque of 9 Nm at 5,500 rpm, the Suzuki Let claims a fuel consumption of 63 kmpl (credit attributed to SEP or Suzuki Eco Performance technology). It should be noted here that – the Suzuki Let’s differ from the company‘s previous models such as Suzuki Access 125 and Swish 125 in terms of looks and the features it offers. The new two-wheeler wants to target young girls and college students.

    On the look side, the Let’s Suzuki scooter is doing well with its intermediate proportions and its deeply cut silhouettes on the front apron. As you can see from the images above, there is a clear lens and a halogen equipped headlight on the front. Placed centrally under the handle is a unique bag hook that gives the rider quick access for mounting luggage. Below the convenience area, we found that the storage under the seat is quite adequate. The front and rear suspensions are both coil spring and oil damped, while the front is telescopic, the rear is a swingarm type. The scooter is fitted with 90 / 90×10 tubeless tires.

    It is important to note here that the scooter weighs only 98 kg, but does not have a disc brake option. Other important features are electric start assist, digital speedometer, fuel gauge, low fuel indicator, side stand alarm and low beam. The company will launch the scooter in 5 color variants – Pearl Mira red, Pearl Mirage white, Sparkle black, Metallic Triton blue and Metallic Sonic silver.

    It’s all about the features and specifications of the all new Let’s Suzuki scooter. How would you like to ride it on Indian roads? Share with us in the comments below.

    Source: Zigger

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    Suzuki Motorcycle launches a new scooter, bicycle; deploy more

    Japanese two-wheeler maker Suzuki Motorcycle, which today unveiled two new products – a scooter and a motorcycle – announced it will launch two more products in the country this calendar year to increase its market share in the world’s second-largest market for two-wheelers. .

    The company currently commands 16% of the pie in the home scooter space, while it is only 1% in the motorcycle segment.

    The company also hired Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra to endorse its new Let’S ‘scooter model, while superstar Salman Khan, who has endorsed the Japanese company’s bikes for the past two years, unveiled the new bike. Gixxer.

    “We are rolling out four new products this calendar year, including the two unveiled today. The new scooter model will launch next month and the bike will hit the road by July,” said Atul, executive vice president of Suzuki Motorcycle India (SMIL). Gupta said here.

    SMIL is the wholly owned subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan.

    Gupta, however, did not disclose the pricing of the two new offers, adding, “The prices will be announced at the next Greater Noida Auto Show and they will be very, very competitive.”

    The 110 cc scooter belongs to the personal segment, while the 155 cc bike is a premium bike in the luxury segment, he said.

    Forecasting stable growth for the two-wheeler industry in the current fiscal year, Gupta said entry of new players intensifies competition, adding that scooter volumes are the only silver lining for the industry. .

    Stating that a good mix of product and distribution were the main challenges for SMIL, Gupta said that over the next 12-18 months, the company will focus on consolidating its presence by tackling these issues.

    “We have to go a long way before we get closer to the main players. We are still not present in the 75% of the market and our share only comes from the 25% of the market that we cover. So that way we are quite in those markets, ”Gupta said.

    “Also, we still don’t have a lot of products and their variations. So we try to get as many products and their variations to get closer to the competition,” he said.

    The company’s sales in India grew more than 10% month-on-month in 2013 thanks to improved production capacity and deeper market penetration.

    Gupta also said that to improve its reach in more markets, SMIL will increase the number of its dealers from 300 to 400 currently, in addition to increasing the number of touchpoints to 1,000 from 600 in this calendar year.

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    Wisconsin Auto Title Loans agrees to $2.75 million settlement

    By Gitte Laasby of Sentinel Diary

    UPDATE: Checks have been issued as part of the Wisconsin Auto Title Loans Inc. settlement. If you were expecting a payment but did not receive one, please see this story for a possible explanation and guidance on what to do. you have to do if you have any questions.

    After a 10-year battle, state officials and the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee announced that they have reached a $2.75 million preliminary agreement with Wisconsin Auto Title Loans Inc.

    If approved by a judge later this year, the deal will secure nearly $2 million in compensation for tens of thousands of customers the company allegedly tricked or coerced into paying for car club memberships. type insurance, which was marketed as optional. This is on top of already high interest rate loans of over 300%.

    As part of the agreement, Wisconsin Auto Title Loans will extinguish all finance charges and fees accrued on its approximately 36,000 accounts, the Wisconsin attorney general’s office said in a news release Monday. State officials estimate this will amount to millions of dollars. Wisconsin Auto Title Loans will also release any existing liens on such borrowers’ vehicles.

    Wisconsin Auto Title Loans is based in Green Bay and operates 22 locations across Wisconsin. It provides short-term loans to vehicle owners by putting liens on their auto titles, usually for much less than the cars’ blue book values, from $300 to $10,000.

    Annual interest rates are up 300%. The loans were generally expected to be repaid within a month, but many borrowers were unable to repay the loans in full within a month, the complaint states. The loans are generally intended for people with very low incomes or poor credit history.

    In addition to loans, Wisconsin Auto Title Loans has also enrolled customers in an insurance “auto club” type service, which reimburses the member for a small portion of services in the event of an emergency, such as $15 in the event of a flat tire. , $50 for roadside assistance and $100 for legal fees in the event of an accident.

    In some cases, company employees claimed that optional membership was a one-time or mandatory fee to obtain a loan. Most consumers did not pay club fees up front, so the amount was added to their high-interest loan, officials said.

    In one case, a consumer took out a $700 loan and seven months of club membership for $105. The interest on the loan was 360%, so for the first month the client paid $31.07 in interest only, the complaint states.

    “Although the product is meant to be optional, consumers reported not knowing they purchased the product or being told the product was a required purchase with their title loan,” the attorney general’s office said. “In most cases, the additional cost was rolled into the total loan amount and became subject to the high interest rate attached to the loan.”

    State law requires that all finance charges be disclosed in advance. They weren’t, meaning the interest rates referenced to customers were inaccurate, the state said.

    “I am particularly pleased with the outcome of this case because people are often already suffering financial hardship, and it is disturbing to see these individuals being targeted by a deceptive scheme,” Attorney General JB Van Hollen said in a statement.

    According to the press release, customers who purchased Wisconsin Auto Title Loans’ Continental Car Club service membership between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2010 will be eligible for a cash payment from a restitution fund if they paid as much, or more, than the money they received from the business when they took out the loan.

    Wisconsin Auto Title Loans customers who may be eligible for a refund will be notified by letter Sept. 27, the state said.

    Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Michael D. Goulee previously approved the settlement on Sept. 6.

    A judge has yet to make a final decision on whether to approve the settlement at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 10. Consumers who do not want to be part of the settlement can either opt out or object before it does.

    By September 27, state officials plan to create a website called which will detail the terms of the settlement. Beginning September 27, affected customers can also call (877) 435-4065 for more information on the terms of the settlement.

    Wisconsin Auto Title Loans denies doing anything wrong or that any customers were injured or “resulted in actual damages,” according to the settlement.

    “Nevertheless, the defendant has concluded that it is desirable and beneficial to the defendant that the action, including any claim for attorneys’ fees, be settled to avoid the burden, expense, risk, inconvenience and substantial distractions from ongoing litigation,” the settlement states. .

    The case began in 2002 as a private class action lawsuit brought by the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, which alleged that Wisconsin Auto Title Loans engaged in false, deceptive, misleading and impermissible conduct in selling contracts mandatory “car club” service in connection with auto title loans.

    The state, including the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Consumer Protection, then stepped in to seek consumer restitution, penalties, and other relief under the State consumer protection laws.

    The “arm’s length negotiations” between the company and plaintiffs spanned more than a decade, the settlement says.

    As part of the settlement, Wisconsin Auto Title Loans would be prohibited from selling Continental Car Club memberships for two years after the day of the judgment, which would result in more than $3 million in lost revenue for the company. said the AG’s office.

    Wisconsin Auto Title Loans is owned by Community Loans of America.

    For more consumer stories, visit the Public Investigator’s blog at


    Twitter: @GitteLaasbyMJS

    About Gitte Laasby

    Gitte Laasby is the public investigator for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She investigates government issues and consumer affairs.

    The problem with car title loans is NOT that people lose their cars | News

    A stock lending store in Nashville, Tenn. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

    According to three researchers led by Vanderbilt’s Paige Marta Skiba, the standard swipe at car title loans is a toothless claim that the deal leads to people losing their cars and then their jobs because they have no means. transportation to get to work.

    “Repossession affects few borrowers, and our evidence indicates that most borrowers will not lose their only way to work because of repossession,” said Skiba, associate professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School. . “Thus, prohibitions on title loans based on the premise that borrowers frequently lose their vehicles are wrong.”

    Title loans are small, short-term, high-cost loans secured by a vehicle that the borrower usually owns. These loans, as well as payday loans, are used by many people excluded from the traditional banking system. The most common term for title loans is one month and the interest rate is usually around 300%, when expressed as an annual percentage.

    If the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can repossess the vehicle from the borrower.

    Skiba, Ph.D. in Vanderbilt Economics. student Kathryn Fritzdixon and Jim Hawkins, assistant professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center, surveyed 400 title lending clients in three states (Georgia, Idaho and Texas) in partnership with a title lending company in November and December 2012. The three states have distinct approaches to securities lending regulation, but enough similarities to allow meaningful comparisons.

    their study, Dude, where’s my car title? : The Law, Behavior and Economics of Securities Lending Marketscan be read at It will be published this year in the University of Illinois Law Review.

    Paige Marta Skiba (Vanderbilt School of Law)

    The study showed that less than 10% of vehicles involved in title loans ended up being repossessed. Additionally, less than 15% of borrowers said they had no other way to get to work if their car was repossessed.

    “While not insignificant, this small percentage suggests that the dire consequences the critics predict are unlikely to occur for the vast majority of securities borrowers,” Skiba said. “Rough calculations would put the percentage of securities borrowers who lose their jobs as a result of securities lending at 1.5%.”

    Regulators could be of some help in titling loan consumers, Skiba said. Research shows that most title loan customers are overly optimistic that they will repay their loans on time, which means the loan ends up costing them much more than they realize when they pay it back. receive for the first time.

    “Policymakers should require securities lending companies to publish information about how people actually use securities lending: information about how many times people renew their loan, the total amount of those renewals, the number and amount of late fees and other charges people pay and the likelihood of default on the loan,” the study read. [lquote]”Research has shown in real-world markets that disclosure rules can be used to inform people about how others are using loans, which can change their expectations about their own use of the product.”[/lquote]

    Auto title loans put borrowers’ wheels at risk: Plain Dealing

    The payday loan industry is tempting cash-strapped Ohioans with an even riskier product: auto title loans.

    Consumers who cannot repay these expensive short-term loans could lose their car.

    Like payday loans, auto title loans have triple-digit annual percentage rates and fast payback times. Lenders make money by issuing a series of new loans to pay off old ones, which can be due in as little as two weeks to a month.

    But because auto-title loans are secured by a consumer’s car, cash-strapped borrowers could find themselves without wheels if they are unable to pay, according to a Ohio Policy Issues Report which sheds light on automatic securities lending, which is relatively new in Ohio.

    “Linking something like your car to one of these loans is incredibly dangerous,” said David Rothstein, author of the report released today.

    Policy Matters found that auto title lenders skirted the same legal loopholes exploited by payday lenders after Ohio capped annual interest rates on short-term loans at 28% annual percentage rate, or APR.

    By examining two lenders, Policy Matters found that the structure and cost of the loan varied depending on the law the companies used to issue the loans.

    For example, Policy Matters found that Ace Cash Express provides two-week loans directly to consumers, placing a lien on a borrower’s car title until the loan is paid off. Ace’s loans, Policy Matters said, are issued under state mortgage law and carry an effective APR of 350%.

    LoanMax acts as a loan broker and is licensed as a Credit Service Organization, or CSO, another license used by payday lenders to circumvent the price caps of the United States Short-Term Loans Act. ‘State. LoanMax connects its customers to Integrity Funding Ohio LLC, a South Carolina-based lender that is licensed here under mortgage law.

    Ohio’s “Keys as Collateral” report looked at a LoanMax client’s contract and found an effective APR of 371%.

    Ohio voted in favor of the Short-Term Loans Act in 2008 in an effort to limit payday loans. The law, which capped APRs and gave consumers at least one month to repay a loan, was largely ignored by payday lenders.

    None are currently permitted under the Short Term Lending Act. In a case involving Cashland stores, the state’s Ninth District Court of Appeals recently ruled that lenders who provide payday loans outside the short-term loan law must settle for the default of the lender. ‘State. interest rate of 8% if they take legal action to recover defaulting customers.

    Citing that ruling, Policy Matters Ohio urged the Ohio Department of Commerce and Attorney General’s Office to use their authority to prohibit lenders from using in issuing payday loans and auto title loans under the Credit Services Act.

    He also recommended that the General Assembly create legislation expressly prohibiting the lending of automobile securities.

    Follow Sheryl on Twitter: @consumerwriter

    On Facebook: PDConsumerAffairs

    Hundreds of Vespa putt-putt scooter enthusiasts in New Orleans | Entertainment / Life

    The big man walked up to Savannah Porter and said, “Let me guess, you are the person who owns this scooter.”

    “I guess people tailor their scooters,” said Porter, 23, whose pink and green strands in her shoulder-length blonde hair match well with her new meerschaum green scooter and custom multicolored seat.

    To prove his point, Porter pointed to a pink scooter with a pink leopard-print seat. Its owner, she said, was the petite woman in a skirt and heels, holding a parasol.

    As she spoke, a two-wheeled cycle passed, its two-stroke engine producing the distinctive putt-putt sound that has been heard for half a century in Italian squares. (Vespa means “wasp” in Italian). It’s also become more common in this country’s urban landscape, as evidenced by the 500 scooter enthusiasts from across the country who converged on New Orleans for the weekend.

    Organized by the Vespa Club of America with support from the New Orleans Scooter Cooperative, AmeriVespa 2011 is more of a rally than a conference. So, rather than watching PowerPoint presentations and panel discussions, delegates and their buzzing scooters will spend more time visiting the city and enjoying its culture.

    Enthusiasts have joined a club with a stylish history. They follow in the footsteps of movie stars, including Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in “Roman Holiday”. Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Charlie Chaplin and even Louis Armstrong are said to be other well-known and actual Vespa owners.

    Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali created what is believed to be the world’s most valuable Vespa with his signature and other artistic additions; his bike is now part of the collection of an Italian museum created for the manufacturer of Vespa, Piaggio.

    Porter, who paid $ 3,200 last month for his real scooter, a Buddy model, compared his ratings on Friday with two other AmeriVespa newcomers, Laura McCalla and Jared Fuller.

    The couple, both 25, recently purchased their second-hand Sunset Buddy for $ 1,700. For this weekend, they towed him from Amarillo, Texas.

    Most AmeriVespa scooters arrived in town in trailers, although some were hung from trailer hooks or tied to pickup beds. A few groups, from the East Coast and California, drove the bikes to the conference en masse and others went solo, including a woman whose bike caught fire outside of Harper, TX, l ‘forcing her to abandon her journey, even though she was not injured and was not injured. in New Orleans anyway.

    Porter said that during her month on the scooter, she found that the typical New Orleans street chatter increased for scooters. “People talk to you a lot,” she said.

    And although she lives on Broadmoor, she’s learned to avoid Broadway at all costs – too bumpy – and keep an extra headset under her seat for friends who want to take a ride. “It’s really good with gasoline,” Porter said, noting that she can pay $ 4 to refuel and that it can take anywhere from a day to two weeks.

    The life of her tank depends on her mileage and whether or not she has a passenger, she said. “Which I usually do; all my friends want walks.”

    Fuller and McCalla said their scooter can comfortably ride at around 60 mph.

    Tom Hunter, 55, a member of the Milwaukee Scooter Rats Club, said he avoided freeways, preferring the speeds of city streets. Once, on his 1966 red Vespa, “I hit 72 going downhill, saw God and slowed down,” he said.

    And although Hunter’s club members put their bikes away for much of the winter, Lawrence Murphy said he’s been riding in temperatures as cold as 19 degrees on his matte black Vespa, which has a rubber rat. on its floor and a cast iron rat mounted on the front, as a figurehead of sorts.

    Pam Mackey, 58, the woman holding the umbrella, brought her real pink scooter, a model Stella, in a trailer from Memphis, Tenn., Alongside a Cushman Eagle scooter owned by her husband, Ted Mackey, 70 .

    The two are common in downtown Memphis with Momo, their Chihuahua, sitting in Pam’s basket with rose-colored glasses and a small pink helmet.

    All “scooters” try to give their rides their own personality, said Pam Mackey.

    “Mine is a fast pink bike with a lot of bling,” she said.

    Katy Reckdahl can be contacted at [email protected] or 504.826.3396.

    Purchases made through links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission

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    Biker tribute to John Norman Martin

    A HUGE scooter procession is expected to pass through Bishopthorpe today for the funeral of a York scooter enthusiast known to his friends as “Vespa John”.

    The death of John Norman Martin, 53, was greeted by family and friends with shock but also with warm memories of a “quite decent guy”.

    He died suddenly in his sleep at his home in Bishopthorpe on March 30.

    His girlfriend, Hayley Owen, 21, said the last time she and John were together was on a scooter from Knaresborough to York, just days before she died.

    She said: “I met John through the Inset Scooter Club – we did it all together. She was a soul mate.

    “It’s a big shock for everyone. The Sunday before his death the sun was shining and we looked forward to summer. Everyone was saying how good John looked.

    John Martin was born at Campleshon Road in York and was a student at Tadcaster Grammar School. He was an early member of the York Scooter Club when it was founded in the 1970s, and when he wasn’t playing scooters, John loved flash cars as well.

    His sister, Dawn Pawson, said: “He once had a Starsky and Hutch car – red, with a white stripe. He also had an MG, but he always came back to scooters.

    “The scooter guys were always around our house. My father was never able to drive his car.

    For the past seven years John had been a member of the Inset Scooter Cub where he was a familiar site on his Vespa, called “CHIPS”, which was decorated in the colors of an American police motorcycle.

    Fellow and friend Nick Beilby said: “He loved being a part of the scooter scene.

    “Whenever we went for a scooter run and one of us broke down, as we invariably did, he always helped.

    “I know it’s a cliché, but he didn’t have a bad say in anyone. He was a really nice guy and he will be missed.

    Alan May, founder of York Inset, said: “He was a popular member of the club and could always be relied on to show up at gatherings. He was a good guy in every way.

    Bikers and scooter riders are expected to gather this morning at 10 a.m. to pass St Andrew’s Church for Mr Martin’s funeral at 10:30 a.m.

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    Frampton’s mother’s safety appeal to scooter drivers

    A MOTHER who lost her daughter in a scooter accident 10 years ago has issued a safety warning to all road users on two wheels.

    Cathy Loving’s daughter, Jo, was 17 when she was killed in an accident on the A37 at Wrackleford, north of Dorchester.

    Cathy, from Frampton, was deeply shaken by the tragedy but did her best to get something positive out of it and every year she hosts a fun day to raise funds to help promote road safety in memory of Jo.

    She said: “It’s about making people on two wheels aware that people on two wheels are vulnerable and making them think. It’s not just motorcyclists and scooters, but cyclists as well.

    Cathy says the fateful night of July 20, 1999, when she lost her daughter, appears to be “only yesterday”.

    She said: “She was coming home around half past nine or ten in her Vespa on the A37 when a car hit her head on.

    “He just didn’t see her and she died at the scene.”

    She added: “It’s like it’s still yesterday, but when you think about it, 10 years is a lifetime. Now that the 10 years have passed, I think about what it would have been like now.

    Cathy said her campaign, which grew out of these tragic events, was not aimed at scaring people away from scooters, motorcycles and bicycles. This is to raise awareness of the use and enjoyment of safe two-wheeled transport.

    She said: “Jo was born around scooters and has been around them her whole life.

    “When I gave her younger sister Charlotte her first scooter, someone said I must be mad at what happened.

    “But I didn’t want to take away his independence, I couldn’t do that.

    “We just want to educate people as much as possible about the dangers of the road.

    “I just hope people embrace it and ride sensibly, and they realize that there are people on the road who don’t care about other road users.”

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    Good option for quick cash? – Denver Post

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    You need money fast, but what if a bad credit rating prevents you from accessing traditional short-term loans or lines of credit? Taking out a car title loan is a way to get your hands on quick cash with no credit check and minimal income verification. It may sound simple enough, but this type of loan can lead borrowers to take on more debt and, in extreme cases, go without a car.

    How car title loans work

    If you were to take jewelry or other valuables to a pawn shop, an employee behind the counter would appraise your items and issue you a loan based on the value of your items. In this case, the pawnbroker will lend you money and charge interest. If you do not return the money within the agreed time, you will lose your items. This is similar to how a car title loan works.

    In a car title loan, the lending company assesses the price of your car based on wholesale values ​​and then grants you a loan based on the value of your car. The lending company then retains title to your car until your loan is paid off. The loan is not similar to when you purchased your car. This loan is a short term loan with a high interest rate; if you don’t pay the money back within a specified time – with interest – you’ve essentially sold your car to the default lending company.

    Who is eligible

    Since this type of loan is based on the equity you have accumulated in your car, with most title loan companies you will need to own your car. If you still owe money on your car loan, the title to your car is still with the bank, so you can’t use it as collateral for a loan. Other requirements may include a minimum age, proof of your residency, and proof of your income.

    Read the big print and the small print

    Driving your car to the title company to get the cash you need quickly might seem simple enough, but before you give that loan the green light, you need to know what you’re legally getting into. Look for the following information in your contract:

    * How interest is calculated and the period for which the interest rate is calculated. For example, an interest rate of 3% may seem acceptable until you read on and see that it is 3% per month, which equals 36% per year. Also keep in mind that because car title lenders are in a different class than credit card companies or banks, they are not subject to usury laws and are therefore able to charge higher interest – much higher interest.

    * What are the penalties for late payment or non-payment. Can a late payment lead to the withdrawal of your car? Does the interest rate on the loan increase or are additional fees charged for late payments?

    * What are the mitigation rules? Are you required to go through mediation or can you sue the loan company if it becomes necessary later?

    Alternatives to Car Title Loans

    As with any loan, it is important to assess what other alternatives you might have to acquire the money you need. Compare the interest rates and penalties of other loan options that may be available to you.

    * Credit Cards: If you need cash on the fly, be sure to compare your credit card rates with a car title loan. If your credit card doesn’t have a high enough limit to cover the money you need, call your credit card company and ask for a higher limit. The better your payment history with them, the more likely you are to increase the credit limit. You’ll still want to make sure to compare the rate, which should be lower than borrowing with a car title loan.

    *Emergency work loans: Your company may have an emergency loan program available to help employees with short-term financial constraints. Programs vary from employer to employer, but the loan can be interest-free or have a low interest rate set by your employer. Repayment terms also vary. Contact someone in your company’s human resources department to see if this is a service available to you.

    * Payment extensions: If you are considering borrowing money due to an emergency, such as needing money to pay your utility bill or rent, check to see if the recipient ( your utility company or landlord) will grant you a payment extension. A 30-day payment extension on your utility bill or a five-day extension on your rent could save you from spending high interest on a car title loan. If you receive permission to pay your rent late (payment extension), be sure to get the rent extension in writing so you don’t go to work one day and come home to find the locks removed. And, be sure to ask your apartment management company what your late fees will be, so you can carefully weigh your options.

    * Personal loan from your bank: Banks offer personal loans with lower interest rates than car title loans, but may not be better than your credit card rates. The advantage of a personal loan from a bank is that you can discipline yourself to repay it within a set time frame, as there is a set number of months in which you must repay your loan.

    * Payday Loans: Although payday loans can also charge high interest rates, you won’t lose your car if you break your contract due to late or non-payment.

    * Pawning other valuables: If you’re considering getting a loan or selling a valuable asset to get the cash you need quickly, it might as well be something you can afford risk, like a guitar you don’t play. more or jewelry you never wear. Along the same lines, you may be able to receive more money for your items if you are willing to wait a bit longer, such as by selling your stuff through an online auction or online storefront. , such as eBay or Amazon.


    Car title loans are one way to get cash when you need it, but they’re not the only way. If you need money fast, look for other options, such as credit cards, personal loans, payment extensions, payday loans, emergency workplace loans, and selling items you no longer use.

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    Safety course for scooter riders

    Gasoline prices fuel scooter sales, but much of the appeal of scooters is their non-threatening profile and ease of use. You don’t swing one leg on a scooter like you would on a motorcycle. You just take the plunge and sit down. You also don’t need to master a manual transmission. You just turn the handle and go.

    Yet scooters are prone to many of the same safety concerns as motorcycles. Their size makes them difficult for drivers to see, and on smaller displacement models in particular, their low horsepower makes mixing with fast traffic more difficult.

    If you want to ride a scooter and aren’t already a regular two-wheeler, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a few recommendations.

    First, start riding a bike – “just to get used to balancing on two wheels and using the hand controls,” said Ray Ochs, MSF’s director of training systems. “Make sure you’ve integrated motor skills. It is very, very important.

    Once you have mastered these skills, you would do well to enroll in a safety course. MSF is the organization that provides most of the motorcycle safety training programs in the 50 states. Two of these courses apply to scooters. His Scooter School is a beginner’s class that teaches riders street strategies as well as how to use the controls on scooters 200cc and smaller. The four hour course offers riders a series of 10 exercises, but it does not end with a skill test; they will still have to pass the driving test required by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain the M1 license to operate a motor vehicle, without pedals, of 49 cc or more. Scooter school is not currently available in California, so a better option is the Basic RiderCourse administered by the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. The 15 hour course is the same safety course recommended for novice motorcyclists. It includes five hours of classroom instruction to familiarize drivers with the safety concerns of operating a two-wheeled motor vehicle on the street and 10 hours of driving that teaches proper starting, stopping, braking and cornering. The class ends with a skill test which, if successful, overrides the driving test at the DMV; the written test remains compulsory for the M1 license.

    Most sites use 250 cc motorcycles, but scooters are welcome. Beginner cyclists can bring their own or borrow one from a site that already has a scooter in its regular fleet. Sites in the LA area that have scooters available for loan are: West LA, the San Fernando Valley, and Long Beach.

    I recommend taking the course before buying a scooter, just to make sure the scooter is right for you. This way, you can find the answer in a safe environment without spending or risking anything other than the cost of the course, which is $ 150 to $ 235.

    For more information on the nearest BRC and class availability, call (877) 743-3411 or visit

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