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At some point, most of us will rely on financing to buy the things we need or want. But what happens when financing terms aren’t clear? Or you’re told to expect a monthly payment amount, but end up paying more? That’s not only illegal, but it costs you money and can hurt your credit.

The FTC says that’s what happened to customers of Aqua Finance, Inc. (“AFI”), a finance company offering loans for people to buy home water treatment systems through a network of door-to-door dealers. The lawsuit says the company’s dealers frequently misled people about AFI’s financing terms, provided paperwork that didn’t clearly explain the financing, targeted older adults and Spanish speakers, and pressured people to sign financing documents they didn’t understand. This led to people paying more than they could afford and caused some to miss payments. And, the FTC says, AFI shared account details with credit bureaus, reporting missed payments and inaccurate information about people’s loans. Reporting negative information hurts people’s credit.

Here's advice for anyone looking to finance a purchase:

  • Resist the pressure to act immediately. If someone pressures you to sign documents without clearly explaining the terms, it’s a red flag. Before signing, take your time and talk to someone you trust.
  • Ask questions and get details in writing. What are the terms of the financing? How much interest will I pay? What is the annual percentage rate — and will it ever go up? How long will a loan take to pay off? Get specific details of the financing in writing. 
  • Check your credit report before you finance. Your credit rating plays a big role in how much you’ll pay to borrow money. Mistakes reported on your credit report could lower your credit rating.

If you've experienced aggressive sales tactics or been misled on financing terms, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov

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Pressured to sign documents you don’t understand?  Walk away. It could be a scam. ReportFraud.ftc.gov

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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ANGELA MONTGOMERY
May 02, 2024

I am a victim of Aqua, somehow my signature showed up 9 times for refinance and I only signed once. I tried to reach out and could not get any assistance.

Baksh
May 02, 2024

Good advise, we are desperate and get targeted. Instead.
instead of alerting the public why the government don't take severe action with these kind of scammers?

Jose Garcia Ruiz
May 02, 2024

I am part of the people that was involved under Aqua Finance. I want to know what my next steps are as victim of this fraud.

lee short
May 02, 2024

inforative article, will pass on

Andy Miranda
May 02, 2024

I am a customers of Aqua Finance, Inc.

Meilin Martinez
May 03, 2024

I'm a victim of Aqua Finance, I wish to know the next steps for this fraud. Thank you

Michael Wheeler
May 03, 2024

My interest rates changed. I was told I was being charged interest by the day. It looks like I will be paying 25 thousand dollars on 10 thousand loan. Aqua finance needs to be investigated and shutdown

Marina Harte
May 03, 2024

My husband, with onset Dementia, signed up for this, lock, stock and barrel. Tried to cancel, couldn't.

David Tiger
May 06, 2024

We are in the same boat with Aqua finance. A debt we can never pay down.
Paying for three to four years and no principal touched.

Kim
May 07, 2024

They should look into Aqua financing the roofing for people homes.

Cesar Ruelas
May 09, 2024

Also a customer of aqua finance. I’m worried about my loan, what do I do?

Clinton
May 10, 2024

Just found out by a title search that a lien was put on my house by aqua finance what can I do and they are still pulling payments

Sherman
May 14, 2024

I am a victim of this. I have been paying on this loan for over 5 years threw aqua finance. Short story but basically till recent I haven't been paying much attention to it because it very little that I have to pay. The loan amount was for 1500. Which with the monthly payments I have made after 5 years has well accede that amount and the company now states I still owe 1450. Wish I would have done my research before hand.