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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.

Can I Keep my car if I file for Bankruptcy? 5 things to know.

Buying a car is costly.  Most people finance the purchase of a vehicle by taking out a loan. The agreement states terms for regular monthly payments to be made until the debt is satisfied. If the borrower defaults on payments, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle.

Auto Finance Law & Bankruptcy  

However, there is a complicated intersection between auto finance law and bankruptcy. Before taking any action, borrowers must understand the implications of bankruptcy and be able to determine the most prudent steps to take before and after a vehicle has been repossessed. In general, merely having your car or truck repossessed is not enough to warrant filing for bankruptcy.  Let’s try to simplify it.

Repossession = Bankruptcy?  Maybe, maybe not.

  1. Filing a bankruptcy can stop a repossession from going forward.
    When a consumer bankruptcy is initiated, the debtor protections include an “automatic stay.” This means that your creditors are prohibited from taking almost all actions to collect a debt.  This automatic provision can be a powerful way to prevent repossession of the car, but only temporarily.
  2. The automatic stay can last weeks or years.
    The stay begins automatically upon filing and lasts only as long as the Court allows it to, which can be anywhere from weeks to several years, depending on the type of bankruptcy you choose to file. However, if you filed an earlier bankruptcy within a year of the new bankruptcy case, the automatic stay will terminate within 30 days. The judge also has the choice of extending or shortening the time period in certain circumstances. Even if you file for bankruptcy, to keep your financed car you will have to resume a car loan repayment schedule.
  3. Filing a bankruptcy after the repossession will not necessarily get you the car back.
    If the lender already repossessed your car, then the bankruptcy does not necessarily require the lender to return the car.  If the car was already sold by the lender by the time you file bankruptcy, then it is already too late.  However, if the sale has not gone forward, a bankruptcy may stop the lender from selling the car, and perhaps you can get it back by agreeing to ongoing monthly payments. This is something to discuss with your bankruptcy attorney.
  4. If you file bankruptcy, you might have to eventually give up the car, but not always.
    The point of bankruptcy is to help people in debt have a fresh start.  Because of this, there are certain state and federal exemptions you can claim to prevent the car from being lost to the bankruptcy.  For example, under the federal rules, you can claim $4,450 in a motor vehicle as exempt.  This means that if you owe less than that amount on the car, you’ll be able to keep it.  If you owe more, then the trustee may sell your car, pay you $4,450 for the exemption, and distribute the rest among your creditors — unless you make a showing of need before the bankruptcy court, something your bankruptcy lawyer can help with.
  5. Even if you file bankruptcy, you will likely need to continue making car payments throughout the bankruptcy if you want to keep the car.
    This is because the lender has “lien” or “security interest” in the car, which is still recognized in the bankruptcy.  So, if you don’t pay as agreed, or if you default on the car loan in some other way (g. failing to maintain insurance) then the lender may still be able to repossess the car.  Practically speaking, you’ll need to keep paying on the car loan if you want to keep the car through your bankruptcy.

    Borrowers have rights when facing repossession

If your car was already repossessed, you have other rights as a consumer borrower, separate from any bankruptcy proceeding.  Bankruptcy is only one tool or avenue if your car or truck has been repossessed – and it might, or might not, be right for your specific situation. Consult with an experienced consumer lawyer to understand your options outside of a bankruptcy.

Seek advice from an Experienced Consumer Lawyer

If you’re concerned that the lender my repossess your vehicle, or perhaps thinking of filing bankruptcy to get your car back after repossession, contact Flitter Milz for a no cost case evaluation. Our attorneys are knowledgeable of consumer laws that protect borrowers from wrongful repossessions.
Pictured l-r: Attorneys Cary Flitter and Andy Milz.

How to locate your car after repossession?

Lenders are not required to notify the borrower in advance of an auto repossession.  However, after a vehicle has been taken, the lender must send a letter to the borrower outlining terms to get the vehicle back — whether the lender is a bank, such as Well Fargo or Bank of America, a credit union, such as Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union or Erie Federal Credit Union, or a financial institution such as Driveway Finance or PA Auto Credit. The repossession letter, often called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property, details the location of the vehicle and where personal property may be picked up, the amount to be paid to retrieve the vehicle, and the time period in which the borrower must act before the vehicle is sent to an auction or private sale to be sold.

Let’s face it.  Car repossessions never occur at convenient times. A variety of reasons may have caused default on the loan. The borrower may be suffering an illness or from a death in the family, be going through divorce, or had a job loss. Regardless, once the vehicle has been taken, the borrower must take steps to locate it and find out how to get it back. As well, the lender must follow the law.

The Role of the Repo Agent

After the lender has made the decision to repossess a vehicle, arrangements are made with a repo agent who will locate the vehicle and take it, often without warning.  In advance of the repossession, the repo agent must inform the local police department of their intent to seize the vehicle.  The repo agent may come with a tow truck to the borrower’s home or place of employment. Or, they may track the vehicle finding it at another location, such as at a shopping mall, doctor’s office, or the address of a family member or friend. Sometimes at the time of purchase, the dealership may have installed a GPS tracking device or a remote control car disabler.  The repo agent may use these devices to track vehicles that have been assigned for repossession.

In Pennsylvania, a repossession agent has to be licensed with the Department of Banking and Securities of the Commonwealth and may be hired by a bank, credit union or finance company to repossess cars, trucks motorcycles, RVs, powersport vehicles, boats or airplanes. If a vehicle is missing, the borrower should make calls to the local police and the lender to confirm it was not stolen.

Wrongful Repossession by the Repo Agent

        • Breach the Peace
        • Enter a closed garage to get your vehicle
        • Damage your car or property during the repossession
        • Threaten arrest or violence
        • Force you to pull over while driving
        • Involve the police to aid in the repossession

If you feel the repo agent handled the repossession improperly, gather documents that illustrate what happened and when, such as a written statement of events; photographs or video of the scent, and witness statements.  Contact an experienced consumer protection law firm to evaluate whether your consumer rights were violated.

Borrower’s Rights

Borrowers have legal rights, whether payments were missed or not – without filing for bankruptcy.  If you believe your vehicle may have been wrongfully repossessed, review the terms of the loan agreement to understand steps that may be taken after default. In addition, gather all correspondence sent from the lender after the repossession.  Consult with an experienced consumer protection attorney to evaluate whether your consumer rights were violated.

Your signed Loan agreement
If the loan agreement has been misplaced or was left inside the
repossessed car, the borrower could obtain a copy either by
contacting the lender or the dealership where the vehicle was
purchased.

Gather the following documents sent by the lender after repossession.

Repossession Notice from the lender
This notice will state terms to retrieve the vehicle. The lender
may demand full payment of the loan, or accept past due payments
plus late fees, and costs associated with repossession and storage.
When the borrower can not meet the payment terms to recover the
vehicle, the lender will sell it, either at an auction or private sale.

Deficiency Notice from the lender
Once a vehicle is sold, the lender must inform the borrower of the
sale by sending a letter known as a Deficiency Letter which details
the balance to satisfy the loan.

Retrieve Personal Property
The borrower has 30 days from the date of the repossession notice to recover personal property.  Afterwards, the repo agent may dispose of the property.  If you believe your vehicle is at the risk of repossession, it may be a good idea to remove all personal items and paperwork from the vehicle.

Seek experienced consumer lawyers firm

Flitter Milz has the expertise in representing borrowers whose vehicles have been wrongfully repossessed by banks, credit unions and financial companies. Contact us today for a no cost legal evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

 

Pictured:  Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).

 

 

 

Auto Repossession and the Pandemic

During COVID, many consumers experienced wrongful repossession of their cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs or boats — not just by big banks, such as Wells Fargo, Chase, Capital One or Bank of America, but also by credit unions and subprime lenders. While some lenders claimed to have paused repos, the rate of repossessions during the pandemic still seems to be high.  Indeed, as the Fall and Winter of 2021, a lot of COVID pandemic protections states implemented to help consumers reeling with COVID have expired.

After falling behind, many borrowers requested to have payments lowered  or deferred by their lender. Whether suffering from hardships related to unemployment, child care expenses, or missed work due to the pandemic, vehicles were still repossessed.

When do lenders decide to repossess vehicles?

Lenders don’t care why borrowers are late. They want to be paid. Most decisions to repossess are made automatically by lenders’ computer systems, and sometimes as quickly as missing only one payment.  When the system notices a missed payment, repo orders are sent electronically to the repo agent who is assigned to take the car. These same computers will simultaneously send negative late payment and repo notations to the credit bureaus.

Fallen Behind?  Three Steps to consider.

1. Contact your lender
Call the bank, credit union or financial institution and discuss whether  payments can be postponed.  Possibly, the lender may be willing to negotiate the due date or amount.  Be sure to get any changes to payment terms in writing  – whether it’s a big bank like Bank of America or Capital One, a credit union or a sub-prime lender, you must receive confirmation of any changes to the loan from the lender.
2. Consider refinancing the loan
Contact other credible lenders to see whether your loan can be refinanced at terms that you can meet.
3. Seek legal guidance from Flitter Milz, P.C.
The attorneys at Flitter Milz are experienced in representing consumers against banks, credit unions and financial institutions, as individuals and in class action lawsuits, for violation of their rights after repossession.

MOST IMPORTANT — Don’t ignore the debt.  Seek a solution.

Borrowers have rights after repossession

Are you the victim of a wrongful auto repossession?

Wrongful Repossession:  Was my vehicle repossessed in error?
Breach of the Peace:  Did the repo agent use violence or damage my property?
Police Involvement:  Did the police assist in the repossession?
Improper Notices:  Did the lender provide proper notices after the repossession?
Credit Reporting:  Are there errors on my credit report related to repossession?

Repossessions, Credit Reporting & Credit Scores

Credit Reports
Vehicle repossessions carry negative weight on credit reports.  Consumers must check their reports for accuracy and determine whether the lender has listed the payment history, loan status or balance owed in error.  To obtain a current copy of your credit report from Transunion, Experian or Equifax consumers may write to the credit bureau or visit:  annualcreditreport.com.

When errors appear on credit reports, the consumer must send a written dispute to the bureau.  The dispute must be accompanied by supporting documents that illustrate the error.  The credit bureaus have 30 days to respond to the written dispute.

Credit Scores
Auto loans that have fallen into default, and ultimately the vehicle is repossessed, a negative listing will appear on the borrower’s credit report.  The lender’s tradeline may be listed on the reports for 7 1/2 years from the date the last payment was made. This listing will factor in to a lowered credit score and make it difficult for the borrower to secure favorable terms on loans going forward.

Seek Legal Help After Repossession

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that pursues matters against banks, credit unions and financial institutions for the wrongful repossession of cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs and boats.  Contact Us for a no cost legal evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Pictured:  Cary Flitter (center),
Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).

 

Are there Advantages to a Voluntary Repossession?

While most repossessions are initiated by the lender, sometimes it’s the borrower that decides to voluntarily surrender his or her vehicle.  Whether or not, after a repossession it’s important for the borrower to understand his or her financial responsibility to satisfy the loan once the lender has taken possession of the vehicle.

Surrendering Your Vehicle

The choice to voluntarily surrender your vehicle is not easy decision. Borrowers understand that the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle if they can’t meet the terms agreed upon in their auto loan agreement.

After payments are missed or late, the lender could come to take the vehicle at any time of day or night. Repossessions are stressful and usually occur at the most inopportune times.

Often, borrowers faced with the possibility of repossession may choose to voluntarily give their car back. A voluntary repossession allows the borrower to have some control and address financial troubles in a less stressful manner, and without the shock of finding the car missing.

Ten Advantages of a Voluntary Repossession:

1. Arranged return of the vehicle – date, time and location
2. Removal of all personal belongings from the vehicle
3. Removal of all important documents from the vehicle
4. Removal of the license place
5. Photograph the condition of the vehicle – interior & exterior
6. Take odometer reading to know precise mileage on the vehicle
7. Contact auto insurance carrier to inform of the voluntary repossession
8. Deliver the vehicle and keys to a convenient location
9. May not have to pay a repossession fee
10. May not have to pay storage fee

Voluntary Repossession Will Not Cancel Your Loan

A voluntary repossession does not dismiss the responsibility that the borrower has to satisfy the loan.  The financial obligation and collection process from a voluntary repossession are the same as a regular repossession.

First, after taking back the vehicle, the lender will send a repossession notice, or Notice of Intent to Sell Property, to the borrower. This letter states the location of the vehicle, terms to get the vehicle back, where to retrieve personal property, and where and when the vehicle will be sold.

Second, once the vehicle has been sold, the borrower will receive a letter called a Deficiency Notice.  This notice informs the borrower of the selling price of their vehicle and shows the calculation of any remaining balance owed on to satisfy the loan.

Collection of the deficient balance may be handled by the lender’s collection department, or the lender may assign this task to a third-party collector. If the collector is unsuccessful in collecting the balance, the lender may choose to file a lawsuit against the borrower to collect this balance.

Repossession and Your Credit Report

Both voluntary surrender and lender-initiated repossession carry negative weight on a credit report.  It’s not just the repossession that is listed on credit reports, but also, the missed or late payments that may have led to the repossession in the first place.

These negative listings can remain on your credit report for up to seven and one-half years, jeopardizing the ability to obtain another auto loan, or one with favorable credit terms.  In addition, repossessions could have other negative consequences such as creditors raising interest rates, the reduction of credit limits, or an overall drop in credit scores.

Seek Legal Help After Repossession

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that pursues matters against banks, credit unions and financial institutions for the wrongful repossession of cars, truck, motorcycles, RVs and boats.  Contact Us for a no cost legal evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.  Pictured:  Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right)

 

Understanding Vehicle Repossession and the Impact on Credit

The hard facts about Repossession.

We all understand that when you borrow money, you need to pay it back. And if you take out an auto loan, whether it’s with a bank, credit union or other financial institution, if payments are late or missed, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle.

Signing a loan agreement means that you agree to the terms to repay the money borrowed, plus any interest and fees, within a scheduled period of time. Opting to finance a vehicle is an important decision and carries significant responsibility and financial discipline.

Short Term v. Long Term Effects of Repossession

When the borrower defaults on an auto loan there are serious consequences. Immediately, daily life becomes upset without use of the car.  Getting to work or handling routine daily chores, such as food shopping, taking children to school, or attending doctor’s appointments, may present difficulties for the household.

But more important is the long-term consequence. Repossessions can remain on credit reports for seven-and-one-half years, beginning from the date that the account first became delinquent.  And, as long as the repossession stays on your report, it can seriously damage credit and impact the calculation of credit scores. Also, negative listings on credit reports may make it more difficult to secure new loans, and existing creditors could alter credit terms by lowering credit limits or increasing interest rates.

Factors that can Damage Credit

  • Late payments – every month a payment is missed a negative mark appears on the account’s payment history.
  • Defaults – Loan defaults carry negative weight.   i.e. charge-off or repossession.
  • Collections – Collection accounts appear as negative listings on credit reports.
  • Court Judgments – Unsuccessful collection attempts, lead to lawsuits against the borrower to obtain a judgment.

Factors Contributing to the Calculation of a Credit Score

  • Payment History – Timely payments made to an account
  • Credit Utilization – The ratio of available to used credit
  • Age of Credit – The length of time an account has been open
  • Types of Accounts – A consumer’s credit mix: mortgage, credit cards, loans, etc.
  • Application history – The number of credit applications submitted within a specific period

Legal Protections from a Wrongful Repossessions

Whether or not the borrower defaulted on the terms of the auto loan, State and Federal laws govern how lenders and repo agents are to handle repossessions properly– at the scene and afterwards. When the borrower’s consumer rights are violated, a case could be pursued against the lender, repo agent or both. Repo agents may not threaten the borrower or use physical force.  In the course of repossession, the borrower’s vehicle or property is not to be damaged.  If police are called to the scene, their job is to keep the peace, not assist with the repossession.  If personal items have been left in the repossessed vehicle, the repo agent must permit the borrower to retrieve those items.

AFTER the Repossession

Following the repossession the lender has responsibilities to the borrower.  They must provide notices that inform the borrower with steps to retrieve the vehicle and their personal property.  Once the vehicle is sold, the lender must inform the borrower of the selling price and present a calculation of any remaining balance owed to satisfy the loan.

Manage Auto Loan Payments and Credit Reporting

Monitor Credit Reports for Errors
Over the course of the auto loan, borrowers should monitor their Transunion, Experian and Equifax credit reports for accurate reporting. If incorrect information is listed, such as a late payment history, a dispute letter should be sent to the lender and the credit bureau to request correction on the report.  

Send Effective Disputes
Disputes letters must include documents that show the error, such as cancelled checks, account statements, correspondence with the lender, etc. Also, the dispute must clearly state the requested action,  an update, correction or removal of the information.

Keep Accurate Payment Records

As important as it is to make payments in full and on time, we can’t always rely on the lender to keep an accurate record of payments.  Sometimes mistakes are made. Incorrect payment amounts could be applied to the borrower’s account, or the payment could be applied to someone else’s account.  Borrowers that manage and keep accurate payment records have good documents to support disputes made to the lender and/or credit bureau.

Seek advice from a Qualified Repossession Lawyers

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents consumers in matters of wrongful repossessions and credit reporting accuracy and privacy disputes. When errors remain on credit reports after a dispute, Contact Us for a no cost legal review to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.  Pictured: Cary Flitter (center), Andy Milz (left), Jody López-Jacobs (right).

Dangers of Co-Signing an Auto Loan

Being asked to co-sign a loan for a family member or close friend is a larger responsibility than most people realize.  When you co-sign a loan, such as an auto loan, you and your credit are on the hook if that relative or friend decides to stop making payments on the loan.  In other words, by co-signing, you are a co-borrower and must accept responsibility of terms stated in the loan agreement.

Risks of Co-Signing

There are inherent risks associated with co-signing an auto loan for someone else. Usually, when someone approaches a relative or friend about co-signing a loan for the purchase of a vehicle, it is because that individual, or co-borrower, does not have good enough credit to qualify for the loan on his or her own.

When you agree to co-sign an auto loan, if anything goes wrong, you will be subject to the terms of the loan and responsible to satisfy any balance owed.

The vehicle could be repossessed.
If the co-borrower does misses payments on the auto loan and the vehicle is repossessed, the lender will approach the co-signer to furnish past due payments, or possibly request payment of the entire loan balance.  If the co-signer can not meet the terms, the vehicle would be sold at an auction or private sale.  Afterwards, the lender will seek payment of any deficient balance owed to satisfy the loan.

Additionally, when proper insurance is not maintained on the vehicle, the co-borrower may be in breach of the auto loan agreement. This type of breach could pave the way for the lender to repossess the vehicle, causing additional harm to the both co-borrowers credit reports and credit scores.

You Could Be Sued.

Once the vehicle is sold, the lender may assign collection of the deficient balance to a debt collector or law firm collector.  If the loan balance is not paid, the lender could choose to sue the co-borrowers to recoup funds owed on the outstanding balance.

 

 

The Occurrance of Unexpected Life Events
Equally important, the loan agreement may state terms  if unexpected life events were to occur.  In these situations, the lender may look to the co-signer to fulfill the terms of the outstanding auto loan agreement. Be sure to read the loan agreement carefully and understand your obligation.

      • Divorce
      • Loss of employment
      • Filing for bankruptcy
      • Death of Co-Borrower

Impact on your Credit — Understand your Debt-to-Income Ratio.
Co-signing a loan should not be taken casually. The co-signer must consider whether or not credit may be needed for him or herself.  If a co-signer has too much debt in relation to income, he or she may be viewed as a high risk for a new loan. The lender may either decline the new loan application or offer unfavorable credit terms.


Offer Help in Other Ways 


If you truly desire to help out a family member or friend who may simply be unable to secure a loan on his or her own, perhaps you can consider privately loaning the individual the money for the purchase. In other words, you lend the individual the money and they pay you back in installments over time, or whatever agreement the two of you come up with.

Of course, if the loan is for a larger purchase, such as an automobile, you should make sure the friend or relative would be able to pay you back. Whenever you loan money, it’s advisable to get your agreement in writing and indicate the amount borrowed and terms for repayment.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents individuals in matters against auto lenders, as well as debt collectors and credit bureaus.  CONTACT US for a no cost legal evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

 

 

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?