As our roller coaster economy continues its downward spiral, repo men are unfortunately having their best year ever. In an article which recently ran in New York Newsday, the number of cars, boats, motorcycles, and trucks being repossessed has been growing as more Americans are struggling to make ends meet. According to a consultant who works for the National Automotive Finance Association, “the first quarter of 2008 brought the auto finance industry a significant increase in delinquencies and repossessions.”
So, how can you take control if you are facing repossession?
First, you may want to proactively address the issue with your lender to see if they can restructure the loan or payment schedule. Banks don’t normally like to repo vehicles; they lose thousands on each vehicle repoed so they will work with you to try and prevent it. You can also enlist the help of a credit counselor to negotiate with the lender. Newsday recommends the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227.
Lastly, you should look into enlisting a consumer attorney to make sure that your rights were not violated. The creditor may not have the right to repo the car. For instance, if the seller committed fraud, misrepresentation or illegal practices in selling the vehicle, the creditor is responsible for their wrongdoing. Therefore, the contract may be null and void and they may be prevented from repossessing the car. In addition, the bank may be responsible for compensating the consumer for the seller’s actions.
Furthermore, repo men may not trespass onto your property or use threats of force. And, while they don’t have to provide prior notice, they must immediately provide you notice in person or via certified mail which outlines the debtor; the vehicle; the location of the car; whether or not the buyer can reinstate the contract; the time, place and manner of resale; an itemized statement of amounts owed; including any repossession charges; and a list of the location and personal property contained in the vehicle. The letter must be sent no less than 15 days before the date of resale.
If your car has been repoed, and you feel your rights have been violated, please contact us and we will be glad to discuss the matter with you.