HOUSTON – This article is co-published with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.
Also, sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
On an afternoon in mid-June, Analleli Solis was walking home from her brother’s house just down the street when she noticed someone she didn’t know retreating from the front door of her modest brick home.
Solis approached the woman, who handed her an envelope.
Inside was a lawsuit from Oportun Inc., a personal loan company Solis had turned to for years when she and her husband didn’t have enough cash to cover rent, fix their cars or take a vacation.
Now, the company was suing Solis to recoup some of that money, demanding $4,196.23 including fees and interest.
Solis’ shock quickly gave way to anger. Three months earlier, after she missed a few of her $130 bimonthly payments, she said she called Oportun to tell the company she had lost her jobs as a hotel housekeeper and fast food worker because of the coronavirus pandemic and needed some relief.
The 43-year-old mother of three expected the company would understand.