I've read the various horror stories regarding Westlake and would like to add my own. I caution anyone considering a loan through Westlake to do whatever it takes to obtain your car by other means. It just isn't worth the aggravation you will go through dealing with these people if you find yourself in a position paying them late.
I'm married, in my late 50's with two teenage daughters. For most of my life my wife and I have enjoyed good credit. That all changed about 5 years ago. I lost my job suddenly after nearly 25 years of steady employment with the same company, there were some health problems and a subsequent bankruptcy. Before we knew it, we were behind in all of our bills and our credit rating was no longer anywhere near good. It doesn't take much to sink into the abyss, but it takes a long, long time to find your way out.
Two years ago we found ourselves in need of a used car. Due to the poor credit no one would touch us. Then the knight in shining armor named Westlake rode to our rescue. Ha! The guy at the dealership told us up front that he preferred not to use Westlake because they could be "aggressive" if you were late in making a payment. Unfortunately it was our only option. We obtained the loan and a ridiculously high rate and off we drove in the "new" car.
For the first year everything was fine. We paid on time, no problems. Then one day I lost my job again, more health problems hit the family, one thing led to another and circumstances dictated that we had to constantly juggle bills and we began paying Westlake late. BOOM! That's when the **** hit the fan. I should mention that we put an emphasis on paying the mortgage, food, utilities etc. first and the car- Westlake- last. It just works out better that way for us right now. For the past year our payment to them averages 7-10 days late. One month we were 19 days late and another 23 but that was extreme. During this time we have experienced the following;
- As soon as you are one day late the phone calls begin. Westlake will call you at home, on your cell phone and at work. There is never any pattern. They might call once or twice a day or as many as 5-6 or more. Their "record" is leaving 3 messages at home, 5 on my cell phone, 3 at work and 2 with a friend of mine- one of my references. 13 calls in one day, amazing. I would have called them back but I was in the hospital undergoing surgery at the time! Later that day when my wife called to find out what they wanted and told them I was in the hospital she was told "that's a *** of a story. I havent heard that one before" and "next time he has surgery tell him to make arrangements to pay his bills." All things considered those are mild Westlake comments.
- At times Westlake's representatives will leave a message, other times they merely hang up. Frequently their "message" is Spanish/Mexican dance music but no voice. There's nothing like going to work and having a boss or coworker hnd you a message to call Westlake. Most aggravating and embarrassing of all is when they call one- or more- of the references from your loan application. A friend of mine once called me quite angrily to say Westlake called his house and began yelling at his 10 year old son who had answered the phone. When my friend grabbed the phone from his crying son he was told "I wouldn't be calling you if your dead beat friend would make his payments." Dead beat. Gotta love it.
- Their "Customer Service Representatives" are almost always young, heavily accented Hispanic/Latino and rude. More often than not they go beyond rude and are extremely condescending. No amount of explanation or negotiation on your part will matter. They quite simply do not want to hear it. They want their money and they want it NOW or else! Although I have never been cursed at, I have been yelled at. Once in the midst of explaining why our payment was going to be late, the young woman on the other end of the phone cut me off and said "sounds like you need to go on Welfare."
- Frequently your return calls to Westlake will be forwarded into the bowels of their system without ever reaching a human being, you will be disconnected or placed on eternal hold. If you have the audacity to ask to speak with a supervisor they will 100% of the time be "in a meeting." I have been passed from one person to another to another, with each of them giggling or trying to suppress laughter. It's a game to them. On the rare occasion I was able to speak with a "supervisor," I strongly suspect it was not.
- Westlake's employees will ask you why you're out of work, why you don't get a loan from a friend or family member or why don't you get a part time job. It goes on and on. In some cases it's not a question but a demand, as in "You need to borrow the money off a friend or family member." On so many occasions I have patiently taken the time to explain to them our financial circumstances, going far beyond what I should have to to try and communicate to them why the payment will be late or is late. To no avail. There have been days when I have talked with 2-3 different people only to have Westlake call again later that day or even within the hour. They have called work or my friends shortly after speaking with me. One day I was completely exasperated and told the girl "I just spoke with Javier and hour ago and Juan an hour before that!" Her response was to ask "Do you have the money for the payment yet?"
- As bad as things are when dealing with 'Customer Service" it only gets worse if your account is forwarded to "Collections." That's when you meet the hardcore Westlake employees. Verbal abuse and harassment go to new heights when dealing with the people at Collections. I once saved a message for friends and family to listen to. It required half a dozen college educated adults listening several times to decipher the guy's rapid nearly unintelligible dialect. As near as we could tell the message was "This is Carlos from Westlake Financial. You have ignored us for the last time. You have exactly 30 minutes to contact Westlake with your payment or your vehicle will be repossesed." He then repeated the message in Spanish! Funny thing, I had made the payment- including late fees- the day before!
That's all for now folks. There's more but I'm getting angry just writing this so I'll call it a night. No sense in having an artery burst over Westlake Financial. You get the point. Avoid Westlake at all costs!
Product or Service Mentioned: Westlake Financial Services Loan.