Repossessions: Know What to Expect – Before, During and After

A Record 7 Million Behind on Car Loans”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/13/19

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that, “A record seven million Americans are 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments.  Despite a strong economy, economists are warning that Americans are struggling. Although a car loan is the first payment people make because a vehicle is critical to getting to work, when car loan delinquencies rise, it is a sign that many American are under duress.”

BEFORE a Repossession:
1) Prepare yourself.
We all know that when a borrower falls behind on payments or breaks the terms of an auto loan agreement, the lender, whether it’s the bank, finance institution or credit union, is entitled to repossess the vehicle.  These terms are stated in the loan agreement, or Retail Installment Sales Contract, that is signed at the time of purchase.

Repossessions can occur at any time of day or night — while at the supermarket, taking the kids to school, at a relative’s home for holiday dinner, or while  asleep.  Even if a borrower anticipates a repossession may occur, it never happens at a good time.  Prepare yourself.

With a little forethought, you may be able to ease the stress caused by a car repossession.  If you’ve fallen behind and believe your car may be up for repossession, make a plan to handle daily chores for you and your family. 

  • Ask for help.  Contact your family, friends and neighbors and find out who may help. Inquire about their work schedules and daily commitments. Let them know you may have an emergency coming up and need their assistance.
  • Organize carpools and babysitters. Develop a network of friends that can step in to cover demands of the household.
  • Arrange for delivery. Call your supermarket or pharmacy to find out if they are able to make deliveries to your home.  Inquire about the cost and delivery schedule.

2) Clean out the car.  
Before your vehicle is taken, gather items from your car and store them in a safe place.  If your car is taken unexpectedly, you may not have a chance to remove all of your personal items.  Often, the repo man may not allow you time to remove everything. And, remember, once out of your possession, these belongings may be lost – forever

Pre-Repossession Check List
_____ Buyer’s Agreement
_____ Loan Agreement
_____ Odometer Statement
_____ Vehicle Registration
_____ Warranty Agreement
_____ Auto Insurance Policy & Card
_____ Auto Insurance Payment Record
_____ Vehicle Service Records
_____ Loan Payment History from Lender
_____ Loan Payment Records
_____ All Correspondence from Lender             

Vehicle Photographs
_____ Car Interior & Exterior   
_____ VIN# from Inside Door
_____ Odometer Reading
                   
 Removal of all Valuables
_____ Wallet/Purse/Cash/Paycheck
_____ Medications/Prescriptions
_____ Work-related items
_____ Laptop computer
_____ Phone
_____ Child Car Seat

DURING a Repossession:

The lender will hire a repossession company to retrieve vehicles scheduled for repossession. The repo-man cannot use physical force, threaten you, or enter your property without permission.  If you believe the repo-man mishandled the repossession, take steps to document the event.

  • Prepare a written statement with date, time, repo company & agent, & events.
  • Photograph the scene.
  • Repo agent’s truck and license plate.
  • Your vehicle, interior, exterior and odometer reading.
  • Damaged property, i.e. garage door, fence, other vehicles, lawn, etc.
  • Obtain witness statements.
  • Request the police come to the scene. Obtain a police report.

Police Involvement:  Keep the Peace or Breach the Peace?

It’s not uncommon for the police to become involved during a car repossession. Sometimes the repo agent or the borrower will ask the police to be there to diffuse a potentially volatile situation. The police may assist in keeping the peace.  

If the police get involved in the repossession of the vehicle, they may have crossed the line from keeping the peace, to breaching the peace.  The police may not threaten arrest, or damage to the vehicle, or command the vehicle or keys be turned over.  If this occurs, the borrower’s Constitutional rights may have been violated and a lawsuit against the police, repo agency and/or lender may be filed.

AFTER a Repossession:

The borrower is entitled to receive notices from the lender after a vehicle is repossessed.  The first letter is a repossession notice called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property, which details terms for the borrower to retrieve the vehicle.  This notice will detail payments required, the time period for payments to be paid to the lender, and the repo lot location for retrieval of the vehicle and any personal property.

If the borrower is unable to get the vehicle back, the lender will arrange to sell the it at an auction or a private sale.  Once sold, a second notice is sent to the borrower confirming the selling price of the vehicle and any remaining balance due on the loan. This notice is called a Deficiency Notice.  

FREE LEGAL HELP:

Flitter Milz is knowledgeable about the laws governing repossessions of cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and RVs.  If your vehicle has been repossessed, CONTACT US.  We will review the details of your case at no cost to you, and evaluate whether your consumer rights were violated. 

What Can I Do If My Car Was Repossessed by Mistake?

When you default on a car loan, your lender can repossess your vehicle. Most defaults come from someone failing to make their monthly payments. If you’re up to date on your payments and your car was repossessed, then clearly, a wrongful car repossession has occurred.

But even if you have missed payments, lenders and repo agents need to follow the law. If your vehicle has been unlawfully repossessed, you may be able to sue your lender and the repo agent.

Here’s what lenders and repossession companies need to do to stay within the bounds of the law:

  1. Before they repossess your car, the repo company needs to notify your local police. If you wake up to a missing car, call the police and your lender to confirm whether the car was stolen, or simply repossessed.
  2. Repo agents are not allowed to “breach the peace” while doing their job. This means they can’t threaten you or use physical force. Nor can they access locked/fenced-in areas of your property without permission. Finally, repo agents must leave your property when asked.
  3. Repo agents cannot damage your property. If you see this happen, document it and get statements from witnesses.
  4. After your vehicle has been repossessed, you might be asking “Can I get my car back after repossession?” Your lender is required to send you a notice that outlines what you need to do to recover your car. This is what’s known as a “Notice of Intent to Sell Property.”

Did the police obey the law?

It’s not uncommon for the police to become involved during a car repossession. Sometimes the repo agent will ask the police to be there to defuse a potentially volatile situation. Other times the consumer might call the police on the repossession company.

However, there are limits to what the police can do. They aren’t allowed to assist the repo agent by ordering you to hand over your keys or threatening to arrest you.

If the police do any of these things, they may have gone from keeping the peace to breaching the peace and violating your rights. You may be able to bring a suit against the police, along with the repo agency and your lender.

What should I do while my car is being repossessed?

During the repossession, make a record of everything that’s happening. This includes:

  • Date and time of the repossession
  • The name of the car repossession company and agent and the license number of their tow truck
  • The name and badge number of the responding police officers
  • A copy of the police report
  • Names and contact info for witnesses
  • Photos of any property damage and video of the entire event

Make sure you remove your personal property from your car, as well as any documents relating to the sale of the vehicle, including your retail installment sales contract, buyer’s agreement, and registration and insurance information.

Again, your lender is required to send you the notice of intent to sell your car after the repossession to allow you enough time to recover your vehicle before it is auctioned off or sold to a private buyer.

Your car has been taken, and now you’re wondering “Can I get my car back after repossession?” Let the attorneys at Flitter Milz help you figure out where to go from here.

If your lender or the repo agency mishandled your case, our consumer protection attorneys are ready to fight for you. Contact us today so we can review your case. You’ve tried to play by the rules with your car payments. There’s no reason your lender shouldn’t do the same.

How Do You Get Your Car Back After Repossession?

You don’t park your car in front of your house anymore.

It’s been a few months since you were able to make a payment and you’re worried about repo men showing up in the middle of the night.

What you didn’t anticipate is the repossession firm showing up where you work. Suddenly, you have no car, no way to get back home, no way to get anywhere.

This can be a devastating situation, but it’s not a hopeless one. Even though your car has been repossessed, it doesn’t mean you can’t get it back.

Was your vehicle wrongfully repossessed?

Auto lenders can repossess vehicles if the borrower defaults on the loan.  However, consumer laws protect borrowers from tactics used by the lender or repossession agent in the process of taking a vehicle.  While the repossession company must inform local police of an impending repossession, the repo agent can’t:

  • Enter a closed garage or trespass on your property
  • Come into your home unless they’ve been invited
  • Damage your car during repossession
  • Cause physical harm to you
  • Threaten you with violence or arrest
  • Make you pull over while driving
  • Have law enforcement assist

If your vehicle has been taken, contact a qualified a car repossession lawyer for review of the sequence of events.  An evaluation of the consumer protection laws will determine whether the lender wrongfully repossessed your vehicle and if you have a case to pursue against the lender.

How to get your car back?

Look at your loan agreement

Your signed loan agreement, or Retail Installment Sales Contract, states terms if your vehicle is repossessed. Some loan agreements allow the borrower to reinstate the loan by paying past due payments, while others demand a full payoff of the loan.  Check your agreement to see the terms that were agreed upon for your loan.

Review documents sent by the lender

After your vehicle has been repossessed, the lender, bank, or credit union is required to provide you with a letter which confirms the repossession and states terms for you to get it back.  This notice, frequently called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property, explains how much money is owed, where your car is, and how much time you have to meet the terms before the car will be sold at a private sale or auction.

After the vehicle is sold, the lender will send a Deficiency Letter to the borrower confirming the selling price of the car and any remaining balance owed on the loan, or surplus due the borrower.

Retrieve your personal belongings

The repo company or lender don’t have any claim to your personal belongings left in the car at the time of the repossession.  You have 30 days to retrieve your belongings from the repo lot. After this period, the repo agent will dispose of these items.

Gather these documents for a legal review

1. Loan Agreement or Retail Installment Sales Contract

If you financed your car through an auto dealer, your loan agreement, or Retail Installment Sales Contract (RISC), details what will happen if you default on your loan. Keep this and other car purchase documents in a safe place (in other words, not in your car).

But if you have left your loan agreement in the car, you can either contact your lender or the car dealership to retrieve this paperwork or visit the repo lot to get back the agreement and any other personal items you left in your vehicle.

2. Repossession Notice or Notice of Intent to Sell Property

Under the law, your lender doesn’t have to notify you in advance of the repossession. But they do need to send you a repossession notice once the vehicle has been taken.  This notice contains the most important piece of information about your car repossession: how to get it back.

The letter will tell you how much you’ll need to pay to get your car back. This amount might be the full balance of your loan, or just the past due payments.  You should receive this letter within enough time to make arrangements to recover the car before it’s sold or auctioned off.

3. Deficiency Notice

After the car has been sold, the lender will send you a letter known as a Deficiency Notice which lets you know the sale price, any repossession and storage fees, and  the calculation of the remaining balance owed on the loan.  As well, if there’s a surplus from the sale, the letter will tell you the amount owed to you by the lender if the sale price was more than the full loan balance.

If your rights have been violated during repossession, or if your bank or the repossession agent overlooked the laws protecting borrowers, you may be able to take legal action.

Seek Legal Assistance

The attorneys at Flitter Milz can help. Our consumer protection lawyers will review your case and determine whether the finance company and/or repossession agent acted within the bounds of the law and if you can take legal action.

If your car – or truck, boat, motorcycle or recreational vehicle – has been repossessed, contact us today for a free consultation.

What Auto Lenders Check on Your Credit Report

When you apply for an auto loan, lenders will perform a credit check on you. Your credit affects whether or not you’ll be approved for the loan, and the interest rate for the loan. The interest rate and terms of the loan have a major impact on how much you will end up paying overall, so it’s important that you know where your credit stands before you apply for an auto loan. When you apply, lenders will look at the following components of your credit file.

Payment History

Before they approve you for a loan, lenders want to be sure that you have a history of making payments in full and on time. This is a reflection of whether or not you’ll make timely payments on the loan. If you have a history of late payments, it may be more difficult for you to get approved for a loan.

Status of Accounts

Your credit report also lists the status of each of your open accounts. If one or more of your accounts is late or in default, it can signal to a lender that you may be experiencing financial hardship and won’t be able to make timely payments on a new line of credit.

Credit Utilization

Many people don’t realize that the amount of credit they use on a monthly basis has a significant impact on their credit. Not only should you avoid maxing out your credit, you should strive to only use 30 percent of your credit limit. This means that if your credit limit is $1,000, you shouldn’t spend more than $300 each month. Credit utilization is an indicator of how responsible you are with your credit.

New Credit

Lenders will also look at any new accounts you’ve opened. Multiple new lines of credit may be a red flag to a lender. It’s also worth noting that each time a lender pulls your credit, it’s considered a hard inquiry, which temporarily lowers your credit score.

Length of Credit History

Lenders will also look at the length of your credit history. If you don’t have a well established credit history, it may make it more difficult for you to get approved for a loan, or you may be approved at a higher interest rate.

How to Check Your Credit Report

Determine how your credit stacks up by checking your report regularly. When you’re familiar with the information on your credit report, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you apply for an auto loan.

You can request a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax – every 12 months. Get a sample request letter and mail it to one of the bureaus.

Shop Around

Before you sign on a loan, take time to shop around for loan terms and interest rates that suit your budget. Certain lenders may offer lower interest rates, which can mean paying less in the long run.

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that pursues matters against lenders, debt collectors and the credit bureaus. If you have issues on your credit report that are keeping you of getting approved for a car loan, Contact Us.  There is no cost for the legal evaluation.

Tips on Purchasing a Car

The decision to purchase a new vehicle is exciting. Whether it’s your first car purchase or not, the freedom of mobility and independence is invaluable. You can go anywhere, whenever you like.

But cars are expensive. Buying a vehicle that suits your needs and your budget can be a challenge. Often, the vehicle that you would like to drive may not be the one that you can afford. Become an educated buyer.

Buying a car is a two step process

1) Shop around for your new car.

You may want to attend a local auto show, purchase car magazines, speak to car owners, or research online. Once you’ve determined the type of vehicle you’d like to buy, visit dealership websites. Find the year, make, model, and color you’d like. Ask about the cost and availability.

2) Shop for your financing.

Once you know the cost of the vehicle, decide how you plan to pay for it.  Figure out the best way for you to finance your vehicle. You may have saved some money, have a vehicle to trade, or see that a dealer is offering rebates. Review your budget and determine the amount that you can afford on a new car.  At last, check your credit reports for errors.  If you need to dispute inaccurate listings on your report, do so in advance of applying for new credit.  The errors  could make the difference between you being approved or denied for the loan.

Research your Lending Options

Many times the dealer will assist in securing financing for your auto loan. However, you may be able to get better terms through another bank, credit union, or financial institution. Different lenders offer different terms. You may be able to secure a loan on your own with a lower interest rate, monthly payment amount, and shorter loan period.

Only enter into a loan that you can afford. Do not sign a loan agreement until you’ve made sure the financing terms are right for you.

Down payment, trade-in, or both?

Often when someone plans to purchase a new car money has been saved to make a down payment.  Any funds paid towards the cost of the new car will lower the amount financed.

Also, new car buyers may have a car to trade. The dealer will evaluate the condition of the car and offer an amount that the buyer could apply towards the cost of the new car.

After deducting the down payment and/or trade, the balance of the car cost is the amount that a buyer would finance.

Is Money Still Owed on my Trade?

Before going to a car dealership, contact your lender to find out the balance owed on your car loan.  Request a payoff figure so that you know the total amount to satisfy the loan.

The dealer may offer to add any balance owed on your trade to the new car loan.  Whether you apply money toward the new purchase with a down payment, or have the value of your traded vehicle applied towards the purchase, the cost of the new car will be reduced and this will decrease the amount you need to finance.

Owning a car is a responsibility

Auto loans may make the purchase of a vehicle more affordable, allowing the borrower to make monthly payments over a specified period of time. The loan agreement, or Retail Installment Sales Contract, signed at the time of purchase states the monthly payment amount and the date the payment is due. Payments must be made in full and on time. If the buyer defaults on the terms of the auto loan, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle.

Check your credit report

If you’re in good financial standing and have a good credit score, you should be approved for an auto loan. Good credit shows financial responsibility and that you have a history of making payments on time. Check your credit report and score before you discuss options with a potential lender so you know where you stand. You can get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit reporting bureaus.

Consider a co-signer

If you can’t secure a loan on your own, consider asking a family member or friend with good credit to co-sign for you. A co-signer guarantees that the loan will be paid if the primary borrower falls behind on payments or defaults. It is a significant financial responsibility, so make sure that the person you ask to co-sign is aware of the financial obligation.

Wait and save

If purchasing a new vehicle doesn’t fit your budget right now, consider waiting a bit longer. It may be worth it in the long run. If you’re in a stronger financial position, you may be able to make a larger down payment, get a loan with a lower interest rate and shorter payoff period.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents people that have had a vehicle repossessed – whether payments were missed or notContact Us to discuss issues related to your vehicle.

8 Things To Do When Buying a Car

Before any major purchase, it’s important to do some research to make sure you stay within your budget and get the most for your money… and cars are no exception. A new vehicle is a large expense and requires some planning. This is especially true if you choose to secure an auto loan to make it more affordable. Here are some steps you should take before you finance an auto loan.

1) Request your credit reports and score

Before you start shopping for a car, get a free copy of your credit report. Your credit report is an overview of your credit history, so it reflects your overall financial health. You’re entitled to one free credit report from each, Transunion, Experian and Equifax,  every 12 months. The report will list any credit accounts you have and will show if your accounts are up to date or if you’ve fallen behind on payments.

You can also get your credit score to see a numerical summary of your creditworthiness. Lenders use this information to determine whether or not they should approve you for a new line of credit, whether it’s a credit card, auto loan, or another type.

It’s important to gather this information before you start shopping so you know where you stand with lenders. Negative marks on your credit report and a low credit score will likely make it more difficult to get a loan with a lower interest rate.

2) Calculate how much you can afford

Once you know where your credit stands, take an in depth look at your finances to determine a monthly budget for a car. Don’t forget to factor in regular maintenance costs as well. Setting a budget before you begin to shop will help you stay on track and prevent you from agreeing to an option that isn’t affordable.

3) Shop for the best interest rates

Finding the right car is only one step in the process. Separately, you should shop around for the financing. Look for the best loan terms and interest rate.

Hard Inquiry vs. Soft Inquiry

Some lenders may perform a soft credit inquiry to pre-qualify you while others may perform a hard inquiry. Hard inquiries may lower your credit score. However, lenders will view multiple inquiries from similar creditors as one inquiry if they happen within 14-45 days. Shopping for rates shouldn’t negatively impact your score.

4) Research the vehicle’s history

Purchasing a used car is a great way to save money when you’re on a budget. Before you buy a used vehicle, do some research into its history. CARFAX provides comprehensive reports on a car’s history and includes information related to accidents, odometer readings, number of owners, and service records. You want your car to be safe and reliable, so it’s important to get this information.

5) Get an inspection

It’s always a good idea to have a mechanic do an inspection before you buy. Spending some extra money in advance, could end up saving you thousands on repairs later on.

6) Take it for a test drive

Even if you’re familiar with the make and model of the car, take it for a test drive to make sure there aren’t any notable issues before you commit to buying.

7) Read the loan agreement

Before you sign anything, make sure you understand and fully agree to the terms of the loan agreement. You should be aware of the length of the agreement, your monthly payment amount, how much money you’ll end up paying overall, and what occurs if you happen to fall behind on payments.

8) Know your rights

Before you sign any contract or financial agreement, make sure you know your rights. Should anything go wrong with your new car, you’ll want to know what your options are.

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents people with issues involving the denial of an auto loan due to inaccurate credit reports.  Contact us for a free consultation if you have been denied an auto loan.

Do I Still Owe Money After My Car was Repossessed?

If you’re going through financial hardship or a difficult life event, it can be challenging to keep up with your car loan payments. Your vehicle is collateral, or your pledge to a lender that you’ll repay the loan. If you default on the terms of your loan agreement, the lender may choose to repossess your vehicle. They’re not required to contact you before the repossession.

If your car was recently repossessed, you may be wondering what happens next. Do you still owe the payments that you missed on your loan? Do you still owe the full balance after your car is sold?

What happens after a repossession?

After your vehicle is repossessed, the lender will typically send a Repossession Notice, frequently called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property. This letter confirms that your vehicle was repossessed and tells you how to get the vehicle back. It also tells you when and where your vehicle will be sold or auctioned.

Once the vehicle has been sold, the lender will send a Deficiency Notice. This letter shows the selling price of your vehicle, and deducts that amount from the balance owed on your loan.  Often charges for storage and a repossession fee are added to the balance, then reflecting a total balance owed in order to satisfy the loan.  You’re required to pay this outstanding balance under the terms of your loan agreement.

What if the repossession was handled illegally?

Repossession agents have to follow clear laws when they repossess a vehicle. For example, they’re not allowed to harass you, threaten or touch you, or refuse to leave your property, among other laws.

If the repossession agent didn’t follow the law, you may be able to take legal action against the repo agent and the creditor at no cost.

What role do the police have during a repossession?

The local police are often contacted during a repossession. Whether the consumer or the repo agent requested that the police come to the scene, the police are there to help keep the peace. They should assist in diffusing any confrontations between the borrower and the repo agent.

If the police threaten you with arrest or insist that you turn over the keys or vehicle to the repo agent, they may have crossed the line from keeping the peace to breaching the peace. This may be a violation of your constitutional rights. You may be entitled to bring a lawsuit against the police department, the repossession company, and the lender.

Seek Legal Help

To evaluate whether your consumer rights were violated, Contact us for a free evaluation of your case. Whether you fell behind on car loan payments or not, you have rights against the lender, repo agent and police that may have wrongfully repossessed your vehicle.

How Do I Get My Repossessed Car Back in Pennsylvania?

Vehicle repossession is inconvenient and worrisome, but it is possible to get your car back.  After the repossession agent comes, the lender is to send the borrower a repossession notice, frequently called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property.  This notice will inform the borrower of terms to get the vehicle back.  Sometimes the lender will demand a full loan payoff, while other times, past due payments may be accepted.  This notice informs the borrower of the vehicle’s location, the cost of repossession and any storage charges.  The borrower usually has 30 days to arrange for retrieval of any personal property from the repo lot.

If the borrower can not meet the lender’s terms to get the car back, the lender will take steps to sell the vehicle at a private sale or auction.  Once the vehicle is sold, the lender will send a notice which confirms the selling price of the vehicle along with any remaining balance due on the loan.  This notice is called a Deficiency Notice.

Flitter Milz has pursued several class action lawsuits against lenders for improperly repossessing vehicles – whether the borrower fell behind on payments or not.  Consumers across Pennsylvania, and in other states, have benefited from the results of these lawsuits.

For example, once the distribution period of a consumer class action settlement has ended, there may be funds left over, usually resulting from class members that could not be located, are incarcerated, have passed away, or simply did not cash or deposit the settlement check. The undistributed funds are considered for cy pres , and often designated for an organization that helps disadvantaged consumers.

The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN), and regional legal aid societies supported by PLAN,  have been designated as recipients of cy pres awards from class action settlements pursued by Flitter Milz. These funds assist legal aid in their work to provide civil legal assistance and direct legal services for low-income Pennsylvania residents.

Attorney Cary Flitter was recognized with PLAN’s Excellence Award for pro bono achievements in 2013.

“Cary L. Flitter is a leading consumer protection lawyer and has trained many legal services attorneys in consumer law issues, has paid for legal services attorneys to attend consumer law training conferences, and directed significant amounts of cy pres funds to support consumer law practice at legal aid programs in Pennsylvania.” 

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 Free Legal Consultation

Borrowers have rights against lenders that have wrongfully repossessed vehicles.  Flitter Milz is knowledgeable about the laws governing repossession of cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and RVs.  If your vehicle has been repossessed in the past six years by a bank or credit union, Contact Us for a free consultation.

How to Avoid Vehicle Repossession After a Late Payment

Sometimes things come up and you miss a payment on your auto loan. While it’s not the end of the world, you do need to act quickly to avoid a negative impact on your credit and be at potential risk of a vehicle repossession.

What happens when a payment is late?

Depending on your auto loan lender and the terms of your agreement, you may incur a late fee immediately when the payment isn’t received in full and on time. However, a late fee doesn’t necessarily mean the late payment will appear on your credit report.

There are guidelines that creditors should follow to comply with federal law when there are late payments. Based on these standards, a late payment can’t appear on your credit report until it’s at least thirty days past due. It’s a violation of federal law for a creditor to report an account as late prior to thirty days.

What should I do if I miss a payment?

If you miss a payment on your auto loan, try to bring the account current by making all past due payments plus late fees immediately, if you’re able to. If you wait more than thirty days to pay your balance, you run the risk of the late status appearing on your credit.

If you’re able to, set up automatic payments so that you don’t miss a payment in the future. You can also set up a calendar, email, or text reminder to stay on top of bill due dates.

What if I can’t pay the bill immediately?

Unexpected life events happen all the time and financial hardships are common. If you’re having difficulty paying bills on time, it’s still important to confront the issue and take action immediately.

If you’re experiencing a short-term financial hardship that you know will be resolved soon, contact your lender to discuss your options. They may allow you to defer this month’s payment until the end of the loan. Be sure to get any changes or updates to the original agreement in writing.

What if I can’t afford my loan?

If your loan agreement is proving to be unaffordable, you should contact your lender and have an open discussion about your available options. Explain your situation and why you’re having difficulty making payments. They may allow you to defer payments for a period of time. You may want to consider refinancing or trading in your car for another, more affordable option.

If you choose to voluntarily repossess your car, the lender must follow the law and provide you with proper documents concerning your loan and sale of the vehicle.  As well, the lender will probably list your loan as a repossession on your credit report.

What to do if you think your car might be repossessed?

If your account is sixty to ninety days late, your vehicle may be at risk for repossession. Contact your lender, if you haven’t already, and prepare for a potential repossession by following these steps.

A vehicle repossession can remain on your credit report for up to seven and a half years, so it’s important to take steps to avoid this at all costs.

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that pursues matters against lenders for wrongfully repossessing vehicles, and against the credit bureaus for reporting inaccurate information on credit reports. Contact Us .  Our attorneys will provide a free case evaluation.