In John Soliday Financial Group, LLC v. Wetzl (2010), Mahoning County No. 09-MA-04, 2010-Ohio-756 (Feb. 25, 2010) the Court of Appeals held that a lender’s assignee was entitled to the 24.95% interest rate specified in the lender’s contract and not the statutory default rate of 8%. The loan at issue in Soliday v. Wetzl was for a used car. Defendant Betty Wetzl purchased a used car from Pro Car Auto Group Inc., and signed a “Retail Installment Contract and Security Agreement” that included financing at an annual percentage rate of 24.95%. Wetzl defaulted on the payments for the car, and the car was repossessed and sold at auction. After the auction, a total deficiency of $4,953.33 remained. Soliday, the lender’s assignee, sued Wetzl for the deficiency balance.
The trial court awarded summary judgment to Plaintiff Soliday, but awarded interest at the statutory default rate of 8 percent. Soliday appealed, arguing that in addition to judgment in the amount of the deficiency, it was entitled to 24.95% interest, because the contract between the parties stipulated in writing that Wetzl would pay 24.95% interest. The Court reversed and modified the judgment, finding that the trial court erred in disregarding the contractual stipulation. The court found that under R.C. § 1343.03 and the contract itself, Soliday was entitled to judgment plus 24.95% interest until the amount due was paid.