Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban helped John Oliver demonstrate how auto lenders are aggressively steering vulnerable people into crushing debt, creating a car-loan crisis similar to the home-loan crisis of a few years back.
Buy-here-pay-here dealerships trap people with few options into paying vastly more than a car is worth.
By way of illustration, Last Week Tonight tracked down a used car the Los Angeles Times had tracked “a few years ago” being sold, repossessed, and re-sold eight times in just three years at prices double or triple its Blue Book value. Since then, Oliver said, the vehicle had been sold again, reposed, and re-sold three more times, until it apparently was stolen.
But buy-here-pay-here car lenders have lost market share because “everyone is getting into sub-prime auto lending now,” Oliver updated, faux-wondering why “everyone” is in such a hurry to lend money to people with bad credit. During the mortgage crisis, lenders were bundling high-interest loans and selling them on Wall Street. That is happening again, with cars, creating what some experts think is a sub-prime crisis with car loans.