Buy-here pay-here is basically a dealership that provides in-house financing specifically for people who are credit challenged. We carry the note here at the dealership instead of sending it to an offsite bank.
After you buy the car, you’ll make your payments right here at the same place you bought it. So: buy here—pay here.
Country Auto is our own finance company; instead of sending customers to a bank to get financing. The main term is we deal with people who have bad credit, no credit, such as those who’ve faced bankruptcy, are going through a divorce, etc. We also finance first-time buyers. Buy here pay here dealers finance people whom the banks and typical finance companies won’t.
Does that mean I’m guaranteed to get financing and a car?
There are still stipulations that Country Auto and the customer have to meet. We most likely need a down payment, proof of income, the customer needs to have a steady job, proof of residency, and a steady place to live—they can’t be living in a car or couch-surfing with friends. But as long as they meet a few simple requirements—like have a relatively steady job and income—they’re pretty much guaranteed to get a car.
Does Country Auto offer a discount if someone buys with cash?
No. We found that we didn’t want to hurt the customer who doesn’t have cash. And we don’t negotiate. So we just came out with a fair, one-standard price, everybody pays that price. Makes it easy. There’s no negotiating. Not a disadvantage to the guy who needs our in-house financing. It’s the same price.
What are a buyer’s options if they no longer want the car?
A customer can either trade in a car they no longer want. They can trade it in with us, or trade it in with another dealer, or even sell it on their own. If they’re far enough into the loan, sometimes we’ll just buy it back off of them.
What can a customer do if their vehicle is in an accident, stolen, impounded, or repossessed?
If it’s wrecked, we’re really lenient with that. If they have insurance and the insurance pays, and as long as they buy another car from us, we will forgive the balance owed. So we put them right back in another car. If it’s stolen, we’ll do the same sort of thing. Repossessed? We’ll finance it again, but they would have to fix the problem that caused the repossession, such as if they had a job loss, we would require them to have a good, stable job again. They would also need another down payment.
What if someone can’t afford to make their payments on time? Or they’ve been repossessed, and they want to try again?
If a customer is just having a hard time making payments, a lot of times we’ll redo a budget sheet with them, find out what their budget is.
For example: let’s say they had a 24-month term and they’ve paid 12 months. If we can, we’ll redo the loan for another 12 months, so we’ll gain them an extra 12 months. That cuts that payment down basically in half at that point.
We try to lower the payments, do what we can to keep them in the car and keep them paying.
Repossession just depends on the reason for the repossession. If we just repo’d it and we feel like it was just a one-off circumstance and we think they’ll be able to make payments going forward, we just require that they become current; then they can get the car back and continue making payments.
What are the most common reasons for people not making their payments?
Job loss is a big one. Major life changes—divorce, sick child, illness, hurt on the job, that sort of thing. Those are probably our biggest.
Mechanical failure is a little bit. For the most part we’ve done away with that with having the warranty but it’s weird how some people still just won’t even bring the car in. The car will break down, so they’re not paying, and they quit calling. We’ll go get it, and find the transmission was acting up so it’s having tranny problems.
But if they would’ve just called—we give free towing with our warranty, free roadside assistance. With our roadside assistance, we would’ve gone and picked the vehicle up, put a tranny in it, and they could’ve been driving again. So, that is part of it, which is kind of weird.