One of the tricks shady dealers (call them D's) of these kinds of goods use is "selling the paper" immediately after the dealer makes the financed sale (immediately as in "before the ink dries"). By selling the paper, the dealer gets paid immediately and the supposedly innocent lender (call this lender L) acts as if all the shady techniques the seller used are irrelevant to the buyer's obligation to pay on the contract -- even for goods that were totally not as represented and that fell apart as soon as you got them home. Over the years, many consumers have been duped into thinking that even though the dealer ripped them off horribly, they're still stuck on the loan, because the Lender L didn't participate in the fraudulent sale.
Because of this ancient game by shady dealers and shady lenders, something called the "Holder Rule" emerged. That name comes from a key phrase in consumer law:
"The holder (of the loan) takes the loan subject to all the claims and defenses the buyer would have been able to bring against the seller."
But if that's too much legalese, you can simply think of the Holder Rule as the
"Keeping the Holder of Your Loan from Weaseling Off the Hook When You Got Scammed Rule."
Under this special rule, when you find out you got scammed on goods you borrowed money to buy, you can usually raise the same claims against the Lender (L) that you could have brought against the Dealer (D) -- even though, in theory, Lender L was (supposedly) totally not involved in the shady sale of the goods and didn't make the misrepresentations about the goods.
(I say Lender L was supposedly not involved because shady dealers usually or sometimes only send customers who need loans to buy their goods to certain preferred finance companies. Sometimes the lenders even pay kickbacks or "referral fees" to the dealers or the same person owns both. Such "preferred" lenders are well aware of how often the dealer's shoddy goods fall apart or are total rip-offs, but the lender likes to pretend to be completely innocent about what a ripoff the dealer is; these lenders turn a blind eye and pretend that the shady dealer is a reputable seller, and they certainly aren't going to tell you about the holder rule, which lets you bring up the sins of the dealer when you are explaining why you stopped paying the Lender.)
FTC Completes Review of Holder Rule
For Your Information
May 2, 2019
The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it has completed its review of the Holder Rule, which protects consumers who purchase goods and services using credit obtained through a merchant.As part of its systematic review of all its rules and guides, the FTC in November 2015 sought public comment on the Holder Rule, including its efficiency, the costs and benefits of the Rule, and its impact.
The Rule, formally called the “Trade Regulation Rule Concerning Preservation of Consumers’ Claims and Defenses,” protects consumers when they purchase personal goods or services with money loaned by a merchant or by a lender who works with a merchant. The Rule requires that such loans include a provision that preserves consumers’ ability to raise the merchant’s misconduct as a reason for not repaying the loan, even if the loan is sold. The Rule prevents businesses from using financing mechanisms to collect debts from consumers in situations where the debt arises from a sale in which the merchant defrauded customers, failed to deliver the goods or services, or engaged in other misconduct.
The FTC received 19 comments, all of which urged retaining the Rule. After reviewing the comments, the Commission found that there is a continuing need for the Rule and the record did not warrant a rulemaking to modify the Rule. The Commission specifically restated a 2012 advisory opinion that affirmed that the remedies that the Rule provides are not limited to circumstances where the seller’s conduct warrants rescission of the contract, or where the goods or services sold to the consumer are worthless.
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve publication of the confirmation of the Rule in the Federal Register. It will be published in the Federal Register shortly.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).