Carlos Smith needed rent while he was in between construction jobs, so he tapped his biggest asset – a paid 2008 GMC Sierra Denali pickup truck. He promised it to a storefront lender as security for a $ 4,000 âauto-title loanâ with an interest rate of 70%.
This 2013 transaction led to a three-year ordeal in which Smith’s debt grew even as he made payments. When he was late, the lender would send a tow truck driver to take possession of his van. He would catch up on payments plus fines and storage fees, then fall behind again and soon find the repo man at his door or his phone ringing with the debt collector. He started to feel harassed.