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‘I was scared’: Ontario man’s car repossessed after missing two repair loan payments

An Ontario man said when he went to get in his car after work he was shocked when it wasn’t there and he thought it had been stolen.

“I was scared, I was anxious and I was stressed out. I saw an empty space where my car was supposed to be and I didn’t know what to do,” said Jeff Pierre of Markham, Ont.

Pierre has a 2018 Hyundai Elantra and last year the car needed new brakes, tires and other repairs. The auto shop that he went to said he could pay for the repairs with loans that came to $4,909 and he agreed.

Pierre said he didn’t want to borrow the money buy felt he had no choice with a baby on the way.

“I didn’t have the funds to be able to repair the car and I needed the car to take my wife to work and I need the car to get to work also,” Pierre said.

Pierre took out the loans with Wippy, a company that works with auto shops providing loans to consumers for automotive repairs, tires and rims.

When Pierre missed two payments, Wippy repossessed his car and he was told if he wanted to get it back he had to pay $9,708, which was the loan amount plus interest and other fees.

“At least give me the chance to repay the outstanding balance, because no one wants to have their car repossessed,” Pierre said.

A spokesperson for Wippy told CTV News Toronto: “Repossession is always a last resort for us, and we understand the emotional and financial impact it can have on individuals and families. We exhaust all possible avenues to avoid such situations, including multiple attempts to contact customers and arrange alternative payment arrangements.”

“However, when all efforts fail, we are obligated to take appropriate action to recover outstanding debts. While we empathize with the challenges Mr. Pierre is facing, it’s important to acknowledge that these costs are incurred as a result of the situation, and are part of the overall process of debt recovery.”

The Wippy spokesperson also told CTV News: “It’s important to note that our company offers various options to accommodate different financial needs…Some of our plans offer a 0% interest rate if payments are made on time. However, in the event of default, a default rate may apply…We do not assign an interest rate based on the customer’s credit rating, the customer can choose any of our plans which range from 0% to 25.95%.”

Meanwhile, credit counselling services tell CTV News they are receiving more calls from people who are having their cars repossessed because of the financial situations they are in.

“Certainly during this time of inflation and people struggling to make ends meet we are hearing more about these experiences with people calling and their stories are often heartbreaking,” said Becky Western-Macfadyen, the manager of financial coaching with Credit Canada.

Western-Macfadyen said that if you do have your car repossessed it will have a dramatic impact on your credit rating and credit score, which will take years to improve.

“A repossession will stay on your record for seven years, and that’s whether it’s a voluntary or an involuntary repossession. If your vehicle is repossessed it will also make it harder for you to qualify for a car loan in the future,” she said.

Pierre also has an outstanding bank loan on the car, but says there is no way he can pay the $9,708 owing for the repairs meaning the car will likely be sold to pay the bill.

“I just can’t pay that lump sum payment in one payment. It’s just not possible for me” said Pierre.

If you’re having financial issues and are going to miss a loan payment you’re better off calling the lender in advance to see if they’ll work with you as you may be able to avoid your car being repossessed.

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