Man Offers To Set Car On Fire To Save Home From HSBC Foreclosure

John admits on his blog that he’s responsible for falling six months behind on his mortgage. But once he got over his divorce and losing his adopted son and started trying to make things right, he ended up in loan modification limbo at HSBC. The bank never moved forward on any modification, and now he has to pay $21,638.02 today if he wants to keep his house. Logically, he’s offering to burn his car and post the video online in return for donations.

The guys at Foreclosure Boys interviewed him, which led to this exchange:

Foreclosure Boy: So help me understand… you’re gonna light your car on fire.

John: Well I don’t wanna light my car on fire.

He goes on to explain:

But $15,000 is a lot of money to just ask of people, even my friends. So to think of raising that amount of money, to ask that of friends and strangers, I thought, the only thing I have that is some form of entertainment I can give them is I can light my car on fire for money. I’ll give them 3 or 4 minutes of entertainment, they’ll give me $5 dollars.

John says he intends to pay back any person who lends him some money, and so far he’s raised over $13,000 to go with the $6,500 he personally saved, so he might actually make it. (The foreclosure sale happens at 9:15 PST today.) He adds this to the bottom of his post:

So if while reading this you’re thinking, “I’m not sure if he deserves my $5/$10/$20 to get out of this mess.” then I say to you, you are right.

I suggest however, you think of it this way, “Even though he doesn’t deserve it, it would be pretty cool to see a video of him lighting his car on fire and possibly getting arrested. That’s a venture I can get behind.”

“HELP! Save the Maxim Pad from Foreclosure” [ via FARK] (Thanks to Tom!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. FatLynn says:

    Does it look like he’ll be able to make the payments in the future? I wouldn’t mind donating $5 to help someone stay in his house, but I don’t think I’d give $5 just to delay the inevitable.

    • awer25 says:

      If not to help him stay in his house, do it for the “3-4 minutes of entertainment” ;)

    • Sumtron5000 says:

      I would hope that if people are willing to donate to him, they would still donate even if he didn’t set his car on fire!

  2. PunditGuy says:

    I guess this is what happens when the “Jackass” generation grows up.

    • rpm773 says:

      Nah, this is collapse in a service-based economy. The guys wants $21K to do something that is of little or no economic value to anyone.

      Nevertheless, I’d give him $60 to see him run his TV through a wood chipper


    • u1itn0w2day says:

      LOL- bingo!

      Uh,hate to say it but divorce and on the verge of foreclosure-uh,cry me a river.

      The fact that someone would go online and tell the whole world their troubles which happens on a daily basis in everyday life tells me this guy thinks he just too darn special. Trying to change and make things right is good. Begging for dollars is not so good. And really, after and if the guy scarfs up the cash will we have to endure his begging next time?

      Tell me where they screwed you on the mortgage or modification I’ll donate but if you’re just another sorry ass smoe oh well.

  3. sois says:

    Dude, just move into an apartment! I hate that people would rather kill their families and burn their cars than just live in an apartment. What is so terrible about renting?

    If you haven’t paid your mortgage in 6 months, you should have enough for moving expenses and deposit.

    Yeah divorce sucks, but you aren’t dead. I hate this defeatist attitude. I lived in an apartment for years before buying my house. There is nothing wrong with living in a rental.

  4. 3rdUserName says:

    Losing a house is always a tough situation, but I’m not sure this is a good way to go about it..

  5. Floppywesl says:

    Step 1 – cut a hole in that box
    Step 2 – Put yo junk in that box
    Step 3- Let them forclose on that box , then get a apartment on the beach with a hot latin maid

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      In some localities it’s cheaper to own a house than rent an apartment. I.E. he couldn’t afford the hot latin maid.

  6. Scurvythepirate says:

    I can’t see the video (damn work filters), but what about selling said car? If it would have gotten him the money he needed instead of burning it. But if it is a clunker, burn baby burn.

    • notovny says:

      At this point, I doubt he has time. 9:15 PDT is 1 1/4 hours from this posting.

      • Scurvythepirate says:

        Yes, but he probably knew in advanced that this was going to happen. Plenty of time to sell a car.

        • CookiePuss says:

          We’ll see him again in a month for filing a false insurance claim on his vehicle that mysteriously caught on fire. :P

  7. pantheonoutcast says:

    On his blog, there’s a nice picture of his Audi A6, which must be the car he’s keeping after he sets fire to the Ford POS.

    • Destron says:

      I’m not donating anything unless he lights up the Audi — I can see a Ford burning on the side of the road on the way to work.

    • Sumtron5000 says:

      If he sold the nice car and used the old clunker to get around/to work, he would have enough money to cover the extra 2k that he’s short (according to another commenter, he only has 2 thou left to get in donations). I hope to god I never have to go through a foreclosure, so I can’t really judge, but at this point, still asking for money seems kinda greedy.

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Dear God, he’s got $19,500 of the $21,6380.02, I sure hope the bank will stop the forclosure proceeding. He can pay the other 2k later. That would be sad if they didn’t.

  9. weestrom says:

    I slid him $20, hard times suck.

  10. hmburgers says:

    Next week he’ll be offering to set his hair on fire because he can’t make his mortgage payments because he lost his job due to having no reliable transportation… that or due to missing work after having to deal with the jail/court time from willfully lighting fire to his car in what I’m sure will end up not being a safe situation and will result in a fire department call.

  11. CookiePuss says:

    I can google car fire and watch video upon video of cars on fire for free. Not much entertainment there.

    Start doing what any responsible homeowner would do in this financial situation, start blowing dudes behind the local 7-11. Then you can honestly say your giving people a few minutes of entertainment. Nah, I’m just kiddin. Good luck with the car fire.

  12. dragonvpm says:

    While I suspect this is likely to be lost on many of the “kick the bum out” crowd I’ll just say that even thought burning his car seems like a silly publicity stunt I find it very disturbing that banks can’t be bothered to get their acts together and either give him the modification or not. Why keep this guy in limbo for months on end?

    I wish they’d worked something into the finance reform bill so that financial institutions were obligated to legitimately process modifications (i.e. they can’t just rubber stamp NO on all of them) in a reasonable time frame and had to do so BEFORE they could foreclose. I bet that would get the whole modification thing rolling a lot faster.

    • craptastico says:

      i think the charges he bank levied against him are ridiculous. in the article it says he’s 6 months behind which was around 15k, and that the other 6k are late fees and penalties. seems a bit excessive.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Why should banks have to rescue people who can’t afford their houses? They signed a legal contract saying they would pay for the house under certain terms, now half of society wants banks to basically give out what basically amounts to middle class welfare when the guy can just move to an affordable apartment and give it back to the bank? Banks and taxpayers shouldn’t have to finance people’s stubborn attachments to their houses, especially since many of these people end up getting behind yet again and then getting foreclosed on any way.

      • Destron says:

        I agree that banks (or anybody) should not have to bail someone out for taking on more than they can afford – however banks are just as guilty of giving loans to people that should NEVER be approved and if they had just denied him the house to begin with they would not be in this situation.

      • dragonvpm says:

        I never said they had to rescue anyone I just think it’s very telling that they can’t just tell someone yes or no on a modification (or a short sale or any of the random things that we see on the consumerist). Is it really that hard for them to go through the paperwork and say “We need A, B, C, and D to make a decision” and then based on that information (or more if they decide they need it) they then say yes or no and move on.

        It seems like all we hear about are how many times banks don’t do anything until they decide it’s time to foreclose and then you have them whining about how terrible it is when people do things like strategically foreclose or don’t honor their debts etc…

  13. Bob Lu says:

    Just curious, if you house was foreclosured for a small amount of money, say $1000, what then? Will the bank sell the house the pocket all the money, or will you get whatever exceed the $1000 and other fees?

  14. suez says:

    It’s a shame it’s not BoA; they would just reposess the neighbor’s house.

  15. ThunderRoad says:

    Just gut the house of all the copper and metal, appliances, aluminum siding, etc. Leave it an empty shell and walk away.

    It’s just a house, man. At this point, go rent an apartment (or even rent a house) and move on.

  16. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    I can see he’s trying to get an angle so he stands out-but this goes against all reason

    does he have a job?

    will he be able to get back/forth to/from work without a car?

    he might as well just do this on “America’s got Talent”, he could have Nick Cannon drive it off a cliff er sumthin

  17. jessjj347 says:

    I just hope he doesn’t try to claim any insurance money for the car after this…

  18. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    From what I’ve read, a lot of people who get modifications end up defaulting any way. It is simply delaying the inevitable in most cases and costing banks more money on top of the inevitable foreclosure. People need to buy far less house than they can supposedly “afford.” That way, if something goes awry, they will be more likely to still afford payments.

    These people who are defaulting probably have horrific credit from not paying their house payment and many, many other bills. Why not walk away or file bankruptcy and get out of the mess instead of holding on for dear life? I never did understand the extreme emotional attachment people have for their houses. We owned a home for 8 years and I was glad to get out of it. Great house, but too much work and upkeep.

  19. Destron says:

    I hope the car is paid for … I don’t think GAP insurance covers this sort if thing… :P

  20. ElizabethD says:

    Sorry to nitpick, but is there any reason the word “son” required the modifier “adopted” in this summary? What does the boy’s birth origin have to do with the story?

  21. dg says:

    Sounds like Milton from Office Space…. “Ok, that’s the last straw… I’m going to burn down the [car]…”

  22. anduin says:

    Sorry, tough luck buddy. If you want to live in a capitalist driven civilization, you have to be able to reap the consequences when you mess up.

  23. eccsame says:

    Even if he owns the car outright, is that even legal? Think of all of the toxic substances that are created with a car fire. Hope he gets enough donations to post bail.

  24. EarthAngel says:

    “But once he got over his divorce and losing his adopted son”

    I have never understood this. Does the child being adopted make him any less of a son? Why do reporters feel they have to differentiate between biological and adopted children? “Oh, well that’s okay that he lost his son then. After all, he was only adopted…” I just don’t get it.

  25. Taed says:

    UPDATE: I “loaned” him $1, and the web site counter probably hit $15,000 before the 9:15 AM deadline, though I don’t know how he would have accessed that money and gotten it off PayPal in time. Regardless, I received an email from him a few hours ago, reading “Thank you so much Taed! Because of your help I was able to save my house. I’ll let you know the details of the fire as I do. I will pay you back.”

  26. ArmyCats says:

    Ford should donate some money so that he’ll become a loyal customer and buy Ford cars later when he’s out of the bad situation…

  27. Rob says:

    He will probably need to use the money for bail and or lawyer fees after being arrested and convicted for arson.