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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.

What Are the Laws Governing Motorcycle Repossession?

Motorcycle on the road

When banks record an increase in credit losses and delinquencies, often there is an uptick in repossessions.  These indicators not only reflect repossessions of cars and trucks, but also pleasure vehicles, such as RVs, boats and motorcycles.

Fortunately for consumers, the laws that protect victims of car and truck repossessions, also apply to motorcycles, RVs and boats.

If you’ve fallen behind on your loan payments and are worried that your motorcycle, or other vehicle, is in danger of repossession, here’s what you need to know.

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What Notices Must My Lender Have to Provide After Repossession?

Car repossession

As we’ve written before, consumers dealing with car repossession still have certain rights, regardless of how behind they might be on their payments.

For example, you have the right to be kept safe from an aggressive or abusive repo agent. They can’t break into your garage, damage your property or vehicle, or threaten you with physical harm.

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5 Things to Do After Your Car Has Been Repossessed

Car being towed repossessed

Your car is hooked up to the tow truck. You’d been struggling for months to make payments, and now the thing you feared most has come true: repossession.

And you think to yourself:  What do I do now?  Where is my car?  Is there some sort of car repossession look-up service that can track it down?

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My Car Was Repossessed. Can I Get It Back?

Car being towed, repossessed

One of the worst things about car repossession is that it seems so final.

You’d fallen behind on your payments, and now that the repossession has happened, it seems like you’ll never see your car again.

But in the back of your mind, you wonder: “If my car is repossessed, can I get it back?”

You can. But it’s also important to make sure your rights are protected even if you can’t. Here are three things you can do if you’re dealing with a repossession.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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My Car Was Repossessed. Where Do I Go From Here?

Unforeseen Circumstances

When your car gets repossessed, you may feel a range of different emotions. Whether it’s anger, embarrassment, helplessness, or guilt, you may wonder, “How did I let this happen?” It may have been a situation beyond your control. We’re often confronted with unexpected events, such as a job loss, divorce, illness, or death in the family, which may have a severe impact on meeting our financial obligations.

Repossessing a Vehicle

When a vehicle is financed through a bank or credit union, the lender has the right to repossess the car if the borrower has defaulted on the terms of the loan agreement. For example, if you don’t make timely payments or if insurance lapses, the lender can repossess the car. The lender is not required to notify the borrower in advance of the repossession.

Usually, the lender will arrange for a repossession agent to locate the car and seize it. The repossession truck could come to your home, place of employment, or even a shopping center or restaurant where the car is parked. When seizing a vehicle, the repo agent may not “breach the peace”, which means they can’t use physical force, threaten force, or remove your car from a secured area without your permission.

How can I get my car back?

The lender will send a written Notice of Repossession, to the consumer AFTER the vehicle has been taken. This letter, sometimes called a Notice of Intent to Sell Property, will indicate terms to retrieve the vehicle within a specific period of time. If the borrower is not able to meet those terms, the lender will arrange to sell the vehicle at an auction or private sale. Once the car is sold, the lender will send a second letter, called a Deficiency Notice, to the consumer. This letter will detail the selling price of the car, any repossession and storage fees, and the total balance owed to satisfy the loan.

Do I have rights even though I defaulted on my loan?

If your car, truck, motorcycle, boat, or RV has been repossessed, a qualified consumer protection attorney can evaluate whether your rights have been violated. It will be important for you to provide a copy of your signed Retail Installment Sales Contract or loan agreement, along with any repossession correspondence from the lender to the attorney.

My loan agreement is in my car? How can I get a copy?   

Consumers will often keep their loan agreement in their car, which presents a problem if the vehicle is repossessed. In that situation, there are three ways to obtain a copy of the loan agreement.

1. Contact the lender: Write, call, email, or visit a local branch.

For example: If you had a loan with Peoples Security Bank & Trust and lived near their Scranton, PA branch, you could contact the bank office directly to request a complete copy of your loan agreement. You may need to get the bank’s contact information from a car loan statement, phone book listing, or by searching online. You will find their address, branch phone number, and email address.

Once you reach a bank representative in the repossession department, request they provide you with a complete copy of your loan agreement..

2. Visit the repo lot and obtain all of your personal belongings.

3. Contact the car dealership where the vehicle was purchased. The dealership often keeps copies of all loan agreements. You could visit the dealership to obtain a copy, or the dealership may be able to send a copy by fax, email, or through the US Mail.

Remember, when requesting a copy of your loan agreement, be sure to obtain a complete copy, front and back, and make certain that the copy is legible.

Seek Legal Help

Whether you fell behind on payments or not, borrowers have legal rights when the lender or repo agent has wrongfully repossessed the vehicle.  Contact a qualified consumer protection law firm to discuss your rights and steps to take.