Suffering a repossession of your car can bring your life to a screaming halt. Our lives depend on our car. It gets us from point A to point B, it gets our kids to school and activities, it gets us to work, etc. One reason we handle vehicle cases is because we want to protect you from the inconvenience and financial hardship that comes with a bad vehicle purchase. We also protect you against bad repossessions. A repossession is when a bank or other finance company takes your car for some reason.
If your vehicle was repossessed, it was likely because you missed a payment or stopped paying on your financing or loan. Most people do not have cash to pay for a new or used vehicle. So, they have to take out a loan in order to buy a car. A bank gives you the money to buy the car under an agreement that you will pay the bank back over a period of time, usually years. These loans are often sold from one bank to another. Each month, you are issued a statement for payment, and as long as you keep paying, the bank does nothing. If you stop paying, or miss a payment, each bank has different repossession policies. Most banks will let you get a couple of payments behind before they try to repossess your car.
The actual bank will not come to your house to take your car. Banks have contracts with companies that do nothing but repossess vehicles or other equipment. These companies specialize in taking your car and giving it back to the bank for resale. The repossession company is paid by the bank depending on whether the repossession company actually retrieves the car. In other words, if the repossession company tries to take back your car, but comes up empty handed, it will be paid less than if it actually takes your car. For this reason, repossession companies will do just about anything to take your car.
The law in Pennsylvania states that repossession companies are allowed to take your car as long as it does not disturb the peace in the process. “Disturbing the peace” can mean a lot of things. A good repossession would involve the repossession company coming to your house, explaining why it is there, asking for the keys, and driving the car away. Disturbing the peace involves yelling, screaming, threatening, any kind of touching, destroying property, moving objects, or entering a closed garage. Also, if a repossession company comes to your house, and you tell the repossession man to get off of your property and do not take the car, he is supposed to leave immediately and come back with a court order. However, again, the repossession company does not get paid unless it takes your car, so the repossession man will do everything he can to take the car.
Once your vehicle is repossessed, the bank must send you a “Notice of Repossession.” This Notice will tell you where the car is located, give you a chance to come retrieve your personal belongings from the car, and quote a reinstatement fee to get your car back and reinstate the loan.
If you voluntarily give your vehicle back to the bank because you are unable to continue payments, you have undergone a “Voluntary Repossession.” You cannot sue the bank for a bad repossession if you voluntarily repossessed the vehicle. The bank will simply note the repossession and this will appear on your credit report. Voluntary repossession is rarely a good idea because it will make it difficult to receive a loan for another car in the future. Every car dealership from that day forward will see that you failed to pay on a previous loan and voluntarily gave up the vehicle.
If your car has been repossessed recently give us a call. You may not know that the repossession violated the law until you talk with one of our auto fraud/lemon law attorneys. We are often able to handle your matter for little to no money from you. The most common result is to get you money in your pocket. Rarely are we able to retrieve the vehicle because repossession companies and banks sell them at auto auctions quickly after repossession. The law also provides the ability to handle your case at little to no cost and we are only be paid once we win you money. Don’t let the bank bully you. Give us a call today for a free no obligation consultation.