It seemed like a harmless loan.
Holding down a steady job building scaffolds at refineries, Juan Rodriguez thought he could easily handle a $30,000 home equity loan to buy a new vehicle, catch up on taxes and pay off some debts. He took out the loan three years ago even after he found out at closing that the 9 percent rate he was originally promised would instead be 12.5 percent.
And then 14 months ago, Rodriguez was laid off from work.
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