A recent investigation by Edmunds.com delved into the Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) industry, which has been criticized for charging interest rates approaching 30 percent, requiring steep down payments, and repossessing vehicles at a high rate. In “The Debt-Free Car Project,” researchers purchased a 17-year old used Lexus outright, drove it for a year, sold it, and then compared the total out-of-pocket costs to a BHPH loan on a newer car. Spending $3,800 for the car and another $3,286 in maintenance would still put the buyer ahead of the BHPH customer by about $5,700, the researchers found. Edmunds calculated that a BHPH loan would cost a total of $12,784 over the life of a typical 36-month payoff period. It also estimated the BHPH costs using a 17 percent interest rate that is far below what most BHPH dealerships charge, yielding what is probably a conservative figure. Many potential BHPH customers, however, are in desperate need of a vehicle and do not have the time or the means to gather several thousand in cash. Many of them also have bad credit or no credit and thus cannot go to the bank or a traditional dealer, making BHPH dealers the most appealing option to many.