Those of us who have vehicles realize the importance of them to our daily lives. For some they are an absolute necessity to get to work, school, and other places due to a lack of public transportation or other transportation options. For some people their vehicle is the most expensive asset they own and is pivotal to their lifestyle.
The two most prevalent reasons for a lender to repossess a vehicle are (1) failure to make loan payment and (2) failure to maintain the required insurance coverage on the vehicle. When one of these two things is on the horizon it is helpful to contact the lender and discuss some type of payment arrangement or other means of you fulfilling your contractual obligation and preventing your vehicle from being taken. If you have any such discussion with the lender and reach an agreement you should always seek to get written confirmation of any such agreement that would prevent the repossession.
Too often I am contacted by people whose vehicles were taken and they say they had an extension arrangement with the lender but without that arrangement being confirmed in writing it may not be valid. One reason for this is that most finance contracts and retail installment sales contracts state that any modifications or changes to the contractual obligations must be made in writing to have any legal effect. Further, if you do not have some documentation or recording of the agreement then it becomes the classic “he said, she said” issue if the case were to go to court. Not good for you.
But even if your vehicle is repossessed for a legitimate reason, there are state and federal laws which relate to the recovery of the vehicle, notices you should receive, the calculation of any remaining loan balance or obligations, and even the disposition of the vehicle. And you have an absolute right to the return of all personal property and items in the vehicle that are not deemed fixtures.
What should you do if your vehicle is repossessed? Do not contact the lender or finance company or bank or creditor directly. And know the tow truck operator or recovery company that took the vehicle likely cannot help you either. Contact the O’Neal Law Office and provide your documents and information for a review of your situation. In some cases, even with a legitimate repossession, we are able to find violations and damages that can reduce the amount owed on the loan or sometimes even result in the consumer being entitled to receive money.
For Repossession related issues fill out the Repossession Contact Form.