Despite the coronavirus pandemic, consumers still found time to grouse about their auto loans.
Complaints by consumers about auto lenders in June revealed the pandemic-spurred financial struggles and call center volume spikes, despite an overall dip in auto finance complaints during the month, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Complaints reported to the CFPB last month totaled 435, down from 442 during the same month in 2019, a drop of just 1.6%. The federal enforcement agency reports customer complaints about lenders on a rolling basis.
Still, complaints related to “getting a loan or lease” rose to 14% of June grievances with auto lenders, increasing to 60 complaints from 48 year over year. Customers are given an option to specify a particular issue as part of their auto finance complaint, including fraudulent loan, misleading and high-pressure marketing tactics, credit denial or “changes in terms mid-deal or after closing.”
Santander Consumer USA (SCUSA), was the company with the highest number of complaints in June, at 60, or 1.36 complaints per $1 billion dollars of outstandings. Five of these were fraudulent-loan complaints while 14 were related to billing problems, although additional details were not provided in the individual complaints.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Capital America (HCA), captive for Hyundai Motors and Kia Motors, registered 0.63 complaints per $1 billion dollars in loans outstanding in 2019. One HCA customer, for example, accused the lender of not applying additional payments as credits to their account — the customer considered the practice fraudulent.
“There is a serious problem of information asymmetry, where the consumer has little to no information about their account, but the company can see all of these details,” the complaint read. “They are holding my money and not allowing me to apply it to my principle. They mislead me every time I attempt to resolve the issue and then refuse to give me any confirmation that I talked to them about this issue.”
The CFPB did not indicate how HCA resolved this matter, disclosing only that “the complaint was closed with explanation.”
Call center volumes have also spiked since the pandemic gained a foothold in the U.S, which has strained the response time of several lenders.
Another HCA customer said they were unable to get in touch with an agent when they finished their lease payment, but were still receiving missed payment notifications.
“I call at different times of the day, every day of the week and can never get through, cannot leave a message, and cannot stay on hold as the phone system hangs up on me,” the consumer complained.
The names of consumers complaining to the CFPB are not released publicly.
Other rates of complaint — including complaints regarding managing a loan or lease, problems at the end of the contract, struggling to pay off the remainder of the loan or lease, and incorrect information on the reports — either remained flat or fell on a YoY basis, according to an analysis of complaints filed with the CFPB by Auto Finance News.
Neither Santander nor Hyundai Capital America responded to a request for comment by presstime.
Originally published on Auto Finance News