Consumers run into issues with ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ services

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(NewsNation) — Some frustrated customers who used “buy now, pay later” services are claiming they paid thousands of dollars for furniture that never arrived. Now, they can’t get answers — or a refund.

When Haley Krugler bought her couch from Interior Define, she says she didn’t think twice about financing it with Affirm. According to its website, Affirm lets people pay for items over time with four interest-fee payments every two weeks, or in monthly installments for bigger purchases.

“I’ve got a ton of money tied up with them that I’m technically responsible for,” Krugler said.

Soon after committing to a $4,000 loan, Krugler says she discovered hundreds of complaints online about customers not receiving furniture and getting denied refunds despite multiple disputes with Interior Define and Affirm. She is currently trying to get her money back.

“Clearly they’ve been having issues for at least the past year,” Krugler said when asked what she thinks of Affirm continuing to partner with Interior Define.

“I get teary-eyed thinking about it,” Highsmith said. “It feels like I’ve been taken advantage of.”

“I’ve just been getting run around, run around, run around with Affirm,” she went on.

Affirm said to NewsNation they are “working to resolve” the issue “as quickly as possible.”
A statement posted to Interior Define’s website says the company is being liquidated due to “several months of severe financial hardship.”

“We are truly sorry for how these challenges have impacted Interior Define, Inc.’s, customers, employees, and community,” Interior Define said.

Purchase protection is one of several problems customers can run into when using “buy now, pay later” services like Affirm, Klarna and Afterpay that allow customers to pay off individual items over time, often with no interest.

Other issues consumers have faced include overextending themselves with multiple loans, missing payments and getting hit with late fees and challenges getting refunds for items that they returned.

And lately, these services have skyrocketed in popularity.
A recent survey found that 60% of customers have use “buy now, pay later” services to buy anything from clothes and furniture to electronics and food.
Despite their rapid growth, these services are still largely unregulated, unlike traditional credit cards.
That’s something that could soon change, though.

“We want to write rules that protect the public,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “We will look down the road at working with the Treasury Department, working with the Federal Reserve and working with other bank regulators.”

In the meantime, consumer protection advocates advise keeping track of your loans so you don’t over-extend, know the fees involved with late payments and read the fine print.

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