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We can help repossession problems

Beware: The lot that holds your vehicle CAN auction the vehicle to cover storage fees.

If you are facing a repossession situation, you MUST act quickly.

You need to understand the law and your time limits.

If you don't know the rules, you can lose your car.

Every day there are people that lose their vehicle even AFTER paying the arrearage!


Why our law firm? Take a look at our references.

You will find that we have helped many people and we have received significant praise.


Your rights after missing a payment

Even after you have missed payments, you still have legal rights.
In many cases, the law can protect you from wrongful vehicle repossessions.
The company repossessing your vehicle MUST follow the law.
If a law is overlooked by the repossession company, you have rights to fight back.


Some of your rights includes:
A notice immediately after the repossession.
A notice BEFORE your vehicle is sold or auctioned.
After auctioned, a statement showing the figures.

How does a repossession work?
Repossession is generally used to refer to a financial institution taking back an object that was either used as collateral or rented or leased in a transaction. Repossession is a "self-help" type of action in which the party having right of ownership of the property in question takes the property back from the party having right of possession without invoking court proceedings. The property is then sold on by either the financial institution or 3rd party sellers.


Common items repossessed include cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, and motor homes.

If you miss making payments on your vehicle, the lender will now has a reason to repossess the vehicle.


Why is a repossession of my vehicle possible?
Because the lender has a "security interest" in the vehicle. This means your lender can repossess the car (without notice) if you default on the loan. Many things can create a default but the most common reasons are not making timely loan payments or not having car insurance. Car lenders can seize your vehicle without prior notice if you are in default. However, they cannot "breach the peace" while they do it. They cannot make threats or use physical force against you to take the car back. Also, they cannot repossess a car from your closed garage. If your lender commits a breach of the peace, you may be entitled to damages or use it to defend against a deficiency lawsuit. After they repossess the car, the lender can keep the car or sell it to satisfy your loan obligation. You have a right to know when and where the sale will take place. Also, your lender must sell the car in a commercially reasonable manner. Repossession is only one of the remedies available to your lender if you default on your loan. Having your car repossessed doesn’t get you off the hook for your obligation to pay the entire balance of the loan. If the proceeds from the sale of the vehicle are not enough to cover the balance of your loan, the remaining portion is called the deficiency balance. In New York, your lender can sue you to collect this deficiency.

Below are some legal defenses
The lender breached the peace when repossessing the car
The lender did not sell the car in a commercially reasonable manner, or
The lender lost the right to sue by waiting too long and letting the “statute of limitations” run.
You may still be able to get your car back if the lender has not sold it yet.

Redeem the Car - Redeeming essentially means buying back the vehicle. You can generally redeem your car if you pay the lender your entire loan balance including all arrears and repossession costs. However, most people usually don’t have the money required to redeem a car.

Buy It Back at the Auction - If your lender sells the car at an auction, you can bid on the vehicle to try to buy it back. However, even if you buy back the car, you will still remain liable for any resulting deficiency balance.

Reinstate the Loan - Sometimes you can reinstate your loan and get the car back if you can cure all of your arrears and pay for the repossession costs. After you reinstate, you must continue to make regular payments on the loan.

File for Bankruptcy - If you file for bankruptcy prior to the sale, the automatic stay will prohibit the lender from selling the car without obtaining court permission. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, this can buy you more time to gather the necessary money to get your car back or allow you to cure your arrears through the bankruptcy.

Repossession can be a terrible process and typically happens very fast - In New York, if a borrower has defaulted on a car loan, the creditor has the right to repossess your car even if you are only a few weeks behind. And to do so, the creditor does not even need permission from the court to pick up the car. This is because a car is a moveable asset, and if a borrower were given notice of the repossession, they might hide the car or attempt to damage it. If you are having temporary difficulties making car payments, stay in touch with your lender. You may also decide not to pay credit card, medical bills, or other low priority debts to keep the car payments current. Not paying low priority debts for several months will have little consequence; however, if you miss a couple car payments, the car will likely be repossessed. The lender does not care if they have to take your car away. They do this every day. They often send a service that will take away the car via a tow truck while you're sleeping in order to avoid any confrontation. Your car lender may be willing to negotiate an arrangement to temporarily lower payments or add the missed payments on to the end of the term, but, again, you must maintain contact with the lender.


Can I get the car back? If the car is repossessed, you may seek to reinstate your contract by paying all of the past due payments. If the contract is not reinstated, the lender will likely look to sell the vehicle at auction. In New York State, if you have paid more than 60% of the loan when the car is repossessed, the lender must auction the vehicle within 90 days. If the car is auctioned, the lender will apply the funds first to any repossession or storage fees and expenses and then to the balance owing on the loan. If the amount recovered at auction is insufficient to pay the loan in full, the lender can look to sue you for the balance remaining, called the deficiency. If you have had a repossession, or repossession is imminent, filing bankruptcy may be an option to assist you with resolving the resulting financial mess.

With a deficiency balance, you may be able to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and either discharge that balance or repay it at a percentage on the dollar. If instead you are looking to save a vehicle, bankruptcy will at least afford you the benefit of the automatic stay for a short time and may allow you the opportunity to pay arrears through a Chapter 13 plan. To determine if any of these options are available to you, tell us about your situation because our law firm handles bankruptcy cases.


Does a repossession mess up my credit score?

Yes, it can. Missed payments on a financial obligation can be reported to the credit bureau.


Repossession allowed without committing a "breach of the peace"

The term "breach of the peace" does not have a clear definition.

Many courts apply this test:

Was the borrower's property entered onto by the creditor (or an agent of the creditor?)

If so, did the borrower (or an agent of the borrower) refuse to consent to the entry and repossession?