Citifinancial Auto Complaint - Deceptive Business Practices
CALIFORNIA -- I purchased a vehicle with financing from a lender who eventually sold my loan to Citifinancial Auto. The original loan was for a 5-year period rather than the typical 3-year period.
To keep my finances on track, I use Direct Debit services whenever possible and I made arrangements to have my auto loan paid through Direct Debit.
During this time, I moved and provided Citifinancial with my current address, but they continued to send any and all communications to my former address. My forwarding order expired after the first year and I again provided them with my correct address.
In April, I left work and found that my car was not in the parking lot. I called the police and was told that my car had been reposessed.
I immediately called Citifinancial to find that "no one could take my call," so I emailed them. Four phone calls, 2 faxes, and 3 emails later, I had still received absolutely no information from Citifinancial Auto.
Finally, the towing company called and asked me to come and get my belongings. Because I was so upset, the employee called Citifinancial Auto (they actually answered her call!) and when I arrived to get my things, she told me that they had reposessed the car due to nonpayment.
I received no notice that they had stopped collecting the payments via Direct Debit nor did I give them my permission or agree to that arrangement. No other company with whom I have made Direct Debit arrangements has terminated the arrangement, so I know this is unusual.
I don't think it is a coincidence that all of this happened when I reached the 3-year mark for my loan.
Additionally, Citifinancial tried to file a claim for damages through my auto insurance company, saying that the entire front end of the car was destroyed. When I visited the tow yard 3 days after the reposession, the car was completely intact.
They still have not filed any paperwork with the DMV to claim ownership of the car and I continue to receive notices from the DMV regarding overdue registration.
So...the $11,000+ that I paid toward owning the vehicle is completely wasted, the reposession is on my credit record, I spent nearly $400 on a rental car, and I had to come up with cash to purchase a used vehicle because I live in an area with next to no public transportation.
I believe that Citifinancial Auto deliberately terminated our Direct Debit arrangement without notifying me so that they would not have to honor the nontraditional 5 year loan.
How are they allowed to get away with this and why don't consumers have an option to pursue dishonest businesses without spending thousands of dollars on an attorney?
The BBB is great, but there is not a thing they can do if the business refuses to negotiate with them, and in the case of most large corporations, that is exactly what they do. Large businesses know individual consumers can't afford to spend $5,000-20,000 to pursue something like this, so they simply refuse to play ball with the BBB.
Whatever you do, don't do business with Citifinancial Auto!