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Brownsville Family Worried Over Increased Car Payments

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BROWNSVILLE – A Brownsville woman is struggling to make payments on a car she financed through a major auto lender. She said she only missed one monthly payment and the car was repossessed.

Last August, Belinda Ayala realized her family had a need for transportation. So she went to a Brownsville car dealer to purchase a used minivan.

Ayala lives off a monthly disability check. She is the sole support for her husband and three children.

“I have kids. My kids go to school. I’m handicapped. I don’t drive. I live far from everybody else and my husband is the only person who drives me around to where I need to go or my kids, them to school or when they get sick,” she said.

She visited Mr. B’s Car Dealer. She found a 2007 minivan that would suit her family’s needs. The dealer pointed her to a lender known as Credit Acceptance, a company that helps people with bad or no credit.

She said she kept up with the payments until missing one in December. Before the January payment was due, without warning, her car was repossessed.

“In January, around 1-1:30 in the morning, I saw a bunch of lights in here, in my room. I thought something was going on. We woke up, my husband woke up. We went outside. The repo company was already picking up my van,” Ayala said.

She had to pay a fee to get her minivan back. Then, she said she saw her monthly payments go from $220 to $312.

The owner of Mr. B’s would not speak on camera. He said his dealership uses Credit Acceptance to finance cars. He said Credit Acceptance is a big, reputable company that helps to finance cars for people with no credit.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS researched and learned Credit Acceptance does not score well with the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB gives the lender an “F.” On its web page it notes 552 complaints.

Ayala said she cannot afford the monthly payments of over $300. She said she’s talked with Mr. B’s and Credit Acceptance almost every day since her car was repossessed and their story keeps changing.

Credit Acceptance is a Michigan-based company that has had success since being found in 1972.

According to Fortune magazine, Credit Acceptance is a company with an annual operating income of $723.5 million. It employs 1,321 staffers at four work sites.

Credit Acceptance is publicly traded and was trading for 200 a share. 

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