Watch John Oliver Tear Down the Shady Practice of Subprime Auto Loans


It’s easy to pigeonhole used car dealers as predatory slicksters who’ll sell you a lemon with a handshake and a smile. According to John Oliver, that stereotype has stuck for a reason. The topic of his latest missile is subrime auto lending, a shady practice that bears all too many hallmarks of America’s recent subprime mortgage crisis.

The vast majority of Americans rely on cars to transport themselves to work and their children to school. But cars are expensive, and like houses, many people need to take out loans to afford them. Oliver points out that nearly a quarter of all auto loans are now subprime loans, a ten-year high.

Many lenders are proud to advertise that they don’t even check credit scores. But as Oliver points out, this practice is “just one of the many ways in which, when you’re poor, everything can be more expensive.” Some wind up paying thousands upon thousands of dollars in interest, totaling way more than what the car itself is worth. Check out the complete video, in which Oliver enlists Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban to help illustrate his point.