We have a car loan on our 2003 Nissan Altima (its 1.9% interest rate has had us paying the minimum so that we can pay off my student loans, which have a higher interest rate). In yesterday’s mail, we received a “Payment Extension Offer” from Nissan, which stated that they know we might be experiencing a financial hardship due to the “recent disaster” (presumably the wildfires) in our area and giving us the option of deferring the next payment due “to the month following your last scheduled payment.”
My first thought was, “Oh, that’s nice for the people who need that.” My second thought was, “My goodness, look at the extra interest they’re going to charge people who take advantage of this offer!” Because the form stated in smaller (but not hidden) print that “interest will accrue on the extended payment.”
And in composing this post, I realized that not only were the fires nowhere near us (in terms of real danger), Nissan ought to know that by looking at our zip code. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I suppose that someone who lives in our area could have been financially impacted by the wildfires either through damage to investment property or by losing a job when their workplace was destroyed. But the combination of the interest that would accrue and the broadness of the offer makes me suspect that Nissan’s motives are more profit-driven than altruistic.