Crest Financial business model is just another form of Payday loans, with a twist using a lease agreement to help limit their losses by retaining ownership of whatever a dupe may use the money to purchase. As with all loan scams that stick outrageously high interest rates up a consumers anus sideways, Crest Financial's scam has some weak points that scream deceptive trade.
I became familiar with Crest Financial a couple weeks back when I ran across an ad in Craigslist offering an Xbox One for $40.00 After chasing down the bait and hook, I discovered a buy here pay here business making some extra money as an agent for Crest, slinging customer applications by the hundreds to Crest in hopes of hooking some suckers.
I have always been a person who likes to explore all kinds of ways to
make money, so I decided to present myself and one of my employees who is always willing to lend me a hand in such endeavors, as two different kinds of dupes, to see how Crest would apply the hook.
Crest's bait, "No Credit Needed" stands out like a sore thumb, no matter how they and or their agents try to spin it. A loan to purchase popular consumer products without any credit check, or better off put, a loan to consumers with horrible credit. Even if I did not have seats (a term used to describe a paid access to a data service) to many of the sub credit reporting systems, it was very easy to see right through the lie that Crest was not considering their customers credit in regards to approving or not approving their lease applications.
I have a very high credit score and my employees credit after being hit with over a million in medical bills is very poor. In applying for our leases we both used low paying positions with incomes of $2,500.00 Our applications were very similar in every respect. The purpose of applying using basically the same demographic and financial information, was to see if Crest would come at us the same. Of course, they did not. My application was instantly approved within 10 minutes after submitting it. My employees, is still pending after seven days.
After receiving my so called approval, certain conditions were sent to me requesting that I provide 90 days of bank statements, my ID, a copy of my most current pay stub and a voided check. Coincidentally, Crest requested the same documentation from my employee. I immediately sent them a copy of my drivers license, a voided check off my internet account (an account I keep strictly for buying things off the internet) my last pay stub and three months of bank statements off said account. I was told that once I submitted the same, that I would receive within 40 minutes, the amount Crest would be willing to enter in to a lease agreement with me for, or, basically how much money they would lend me. Seven days later, I am still waiting for that email. (LMAO)
In lieu of receiving an email with a credit limit (remember, No Credit Needed) I received an email instructing me to login to a portal on their website for the purpose of submitting to an electronic bank verification. To accomplish this, you must furnish Crest with your online banking user name and password, so that they can log in to your account supposedly to verify that you actually have an account. What they are actually doing is verifying that you have direct deposits from your payroll or other creditable sources, that will be available to them should they decide they need to take it.
The reason I gave them access to my internet account is that I keep a sufficient enough balance in their to handle my internet purchases and bill paying, but it would drive any accountant crazy trying to find where the money is coming from that feeds that account. Crest calls me and emails every day now, asking me for access to my other accounts. When I remind them that what they are demanding is proof of financial creditability, (remember, no credit needed), they try to talk around me and come up with all kinds of nonsense about underwriting guidelines, but we both know they will never cough up the lease and money (remember I was instantly approved) until
I give them access to an account that gives them the best assurances that they are going to be able to get all of their money out of me.
Crest approaches approving their customers loans the exact same way that payday loan companies do. Get access to your customers banks account, verify that regular money is coming in from a job or other creditable sources, evaluate their credit, and determine how much risk they want to take with each deal. Crest took the Payday loan farther by bringing in retailers and other slum lord businesses, who purchase and or sell popular consumers goods to their customers under a lease agreement. Once the deal is in place, high interest rates are disguised as different fees and finance charges, but the end result is the same. Lend a customer an average of $500.00, do all you can to keep the dupe on the hook for at least 12 months, and collect about a 800% return on their money. The new spin of lending the money under a lease agreement, was sure brilliance, because they now have criminal statutes / recourse to help them get their money and or collateral back from those customers who know how to screw high interest lenders.
As stated in the beginning of this post, Crest Financials' weak point, is that they have to lie to their customers to hook them in to the high interest screwing. All it would take to shed a light on their deceptive trade practices and other fraudulent practices, is for someone who does not enter in to a lease agreement with them, to hit them up with a lawsuit, crafted with some artfully crafted interrogatories and subpoenas. Though I have not seen one of their lease agreements yet, I have no doubt that their agreement contains an arbitration clause to keep their customers from hauling them in to a court of law. (Thank God applications are not deemed contractual).
In conclusion, no matter how these high risk lending companies spin their bait, those customers who find themselves hooked by it, end up on the losing end. In the example of the Xbox One Craigslist ad I mentioned earlier, The Xbox One which currently retails at $339.00, is sold by the retailer to the consumer for $600.00 The consumer will end up in about 85% of their so-called lease deals, paying Crest well over $2,000.00 paying off the lease. The agent (retailer / slumlord) also makes some money from Crest in the form of rewards for how many customers they bring Crest. For those people like myself who are eager to sue businesses such as Crest, the chance of ever getting their cases in front of a jury for a judgment, will find that Crest's business model is for a maximum for 5 years. All high risk finance companies do not stay in for the long haul. Rule number 1 for them, is to get out before the legal hammers fall on them. Only in America! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!
Product or Service Mentioned: Crest Financial Loan.
Reason of review: Deceptive Trade.
Monetary Loss: $2000.