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We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

Resolution for the New Year: Create a Budget and Avoid Credit Problems

Crafting a household budget is not only necessary to help evaluate spending patterns and measure income versus expenditures, but it also helps to ensure a secure financial future.

When an individual’s debt-to-income ratio rises, meaning that the person is taking on more debt than they are receiving in income, dire financial circumstances may occur for that person, and his or her family.

And if debt starts to get out of control and goes on unpaid for a period of time, debt collectors will no doubt start reaching out, your vehicle could get repossessed and credit scores could plummet.

It All Starts With Budgeting

The discipline of a budget helps keep a focus on income and payments towards all financial obligations.  Develop a plan to meet your obligations and protect your credit rating.

1. Obtain Current Credit Reports
One of the first steps toward keeping on top of your financial picture is to obtain current copies of your credit reports from the three main reporting agencies, Transunion, Experian and Equifax. You are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each credit bureau.

2. Evaluate Credit Reports for Accuracy
A review of your report will point out any negative entries and possibly errors, which could remain as black marks on your credit reports for up to seven-and-a-half years. These listings may affect terms on existing credit or your ability to obtain favorable terms on new lines of credit. If you discover errors on your reports, dispute the errors in writing directly with the credit bureau.

3. Where is your hard-earned money spent?

If you know how much money is coming in versus going out each month, it becomes less likely that you’ll overspend to the point where payments are skipped or missed. Create the budget that you can stick to with a payment schedule that you can meet.  When you stay in charge of your finances, you decide when it’s time to make a new purchase, whether it be for a home, education, a new vehicle, or another personal expense.

4. Develop a Budget that’s right for you.
It’s all about organization and discipline. Gather all of your paperwork, create files for each account, calendar your payments and focus on meeting your financial goals.  These steps will help you meet your goals.

  • Identify your income sources
  • Compile a list of all expenditures: i.e. rent/mortgage, auto loan, insurance, food, credit cards, etc.
  • Categorize expenses: i.e. essential/necessities versus extraneous/unnecessary
  • Develop a plan to satisfy obligations within a specific time period
  • Obtain current credit reports from Transunion, Experian and Equifax
  • Establish both long and short-term financial goals.
  • Develop a plan to meet your goals.
  • Consider ways to earn or save more to help meet your goals

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with consumer credit problems, such as credit reporting accuracy and privacy issues, abusive debt collection tactics, wrongful vehicle repossession, which stem from over-spending. If you have errors on your credit reports, have received contact from debt collectors, or your auto lender has repossessed your vehicle,  Contact Us for a no-cost evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights may have been violated.

My Car Was Repossessed. What do I need to know?

Woman stressed over car reposession

A vehicle repossession can often come as a surprise.  In many states, including Pennsylvania, the lender is not required to tell you in advance that it will repossess your vehicle.  Often, your lender will attempt to repossess your vehicle in the middle of the night, when no one is around to stop it. The lender’s repo company will then take the vehicle either to a storage lot or an auction.  But how do you know where they took it, and how do you get it back?

Notice of Repossession is Required

After a vehicle repossession, the law requires the lender to send the borrower a specific notice, addressed to the last known address of the borrower.  This repossession notice—also known as the Notice of Intended Disposition or Notice of Right to Redeem—must be mailed immediately or shortly after the repossession. That notice is important because it is required to contain specific information informing you exactly where the car is, how much it will cost for you to get it back, and how much time you have to do so.  If you do not “redeem” (pay the lender to get the car back) the car will then be sold, and the lender will apply the sale proceeds to your loan balance, which usually reduces but does not eliminate your loan balance.

How Much Do I Have to Pay to Get the Car Back?

In many states, including Pennsylvania, the only way to get your car back after a repossession is to pay the entire loan balance, not just past due payments.  For example, let’s say you missed one $300 payment, prompting the lender to repossess your vehicle.  You owe $10,000 on the loan.  To get the car back before the lender sells it, you have to pay the entire $10,000, plus reasonable repossession expenses.

How Much Time Do I Have to Get the Car Back?

You can get the car back at any time before the lender sells the vehicle, even if the vehicle was already taken to an auction.  In Pennsylvania, the lender is required to hold the car for 15 days before it can be sold. But even after the 15-day period, you have the right to get the car back so long as you can pay the entire loan balance and reasonable repossession expenses.  Other states might permit the lender to hold the car for a shorter time period, such as ten days.  But no matter what, you have the right to redeem until the vehicle is sold.

What Happens if I Can’t Pay to Get My Car Back?

Many people do not have enough money to pay the entire loan balance, and the lender will sell the vehicle at a private or public auction.  You have the right to be present at and oversee any public auction.  The lender—in the repossession notice—should have told you the date, time, and location of any public auction if they intend to sell it by public auction.

If the car is sold, then typically the lender will send you another notice explaining the amount you owe after the sale.  This notice—sometimes called an “Explanation of Deficiency,” must itemize specific information about how much you owe, including the principal balance, the sale proceeds, the repossession expenses, and the auction expenses.

Seek Legal Help to Enforce Your Consumer Rights

If your lender did not give you the required post-repossession notices containing the information described above, you might have a consumer protection claim against your lender.  Your right to receive these post-repossession notices apply even if you were in default on the car loan.  If you feel that your lender failed to give you the information required in these post-repossession notices, contact Flitter Milz for a no cost legal evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

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Are You the Victim of a Wrongful Auto Repossession?

Auto repossessionWrongful Auto Repossessions

Auto Repossessions never occur at a convenient time. Without warning, the repo agent may come to take your vehicle. You may be at home, work, out shopping, or visiting family or friends. Even if you anticipated the auto repossession, losing your transportation is frightening.

Continue reading Are You the Victim of a Wrongful Auto Repossession?

Can I Be Sued for Not Paying My Car Loan?

Loan Lawsuit with car repossession

The continuing rise in auto loan debt is placing many consumers in a financially vulnerable position, particularly during the current economic downturn. What if you are unable to pay your car loan? Can this lead to a lawsuit? Knowing the process of repossession can both lessen your stress and help you decide the best course of action.

Continue reading Can I Be Sued for Not Paying My Car Loan?

Understanding Auto Loan Financing

Auto Loan

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs or boats, they’re all expensive.  It’s unusual that these purchases are made in cash.  Whether buying a new or used vehicle, most people choose to finance the purchase and make specified payments over a designated period of time.  Financing can be arranged in two different ways.

Continue reading Understanding Auto Loan Financing

What Can I do if my Car was Illegally Repossessed?

Car Repossession

Illegal or wrongful car repossession typically means that your lender or the repo agent didn’t follow the proper procedures for repossession your vehicle.  Learning about the rights and wrongs of vehicle repossessions can help you determine whether your car was illegally repossessed.  Both the repo agent and the lender must follow the rules.  Whether or not you missed payments, borrowers have rights against the lender and repo agent when a car, truck, motorcycle, boat or RV is repossessed.

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Can the Police Help with My Car Repossession?

Car Being Towed Repossessed

Borrowers facing repossession may contact the police to have an officer on hand when it’s time to surrender their vehicle. As well, the repo agent may request the presence of law enforcement. But can police assist with the car repossession?

Read on to learn more about the role of law enforcement in the process of repossessing a car, truck, motorcycle, RV or boat.

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How Long Does it take for a Repossession to come off your Credit Report?

Low Credit Score from Car Repossession

It’s not enough stress to have your car repossessed, but the consequences  —  collection contact and negative credit reporting  —  can be too much to bear.

Car repossessions carry negative weight to a credit report for 7 ½ years from the date it was first reported as late by the lender.  Credit scores may drop and your ability to get new credit, and credit with favorable terms, may diminish.

In this blog, we’d like to take a closer look at how long a repossession remains on your credit report and what you can do to correct credit reporting errors.

Continue reading How Long Does it take for a Repossession to come off your Credit Report?

Will My Car Be Repossessed If I Miss One Payment?

Woman making a car payment

It’s a frightening thought: Money has gotten so tight that you weren’t able to make this month’s payment on your car loan.

Now, you’re worried about car repossession, and imagining the day when a tow truck comes to your house and hauls away your only source of transportation.

But can the lender repossess your car after a single missed payment?

Continue reading Will My Car Be Repossessed If I Miss One Payment?

The Lender Sold My Repossessed Car. Why am I being sued?

Car auction car lot

Perhaps the worst thing about having your car repossessed is that even after your vehicle is gone, the lender may not be done with you.

In some cases, lenders hire collectors or file lawsuits against borrowers to recoup what they’re owed. In this blog post, we’ll look at steps lenders may take after repossessing a car. 

Continue reading The Lender Sold My Repossessed Car. Why am I being sued?